The Ultimate Guide to Finding a Healthy Dinner Near Boston

Check out our list of healthy restaurants before your next night out.

Restaurants

Photos, from top left: Life Alive, by Edward DiCroce; Walnut Grille, provided; Erbaluce, by Christopher Draghi; Oleana, provided; The Red Lentil, provided; True Bistro, by Charlotte Hyland

Going out to dinner, whether for a romantic date or just a fun night out with friends, doesn’t have to mean leaving your diet at home. We searched the city and found 24 different healthy dinner options near Boston. Our simple criteria: each spot had to be a sit-down restaurant that’s heavy on produce and fresh, local ingredients, and light on butter, cream, and fried foods. Below, our list of where to find a healthy dinner near Boston.

Allston

Ariana Restaurant: Broaden your horizons and have a nutritious meal at Ariana Restaurant, which serves traditional cuisine from Afghanistan. Main courses such as lamb with onion, sun-dried grapes, garlic, eggplant, and rice are hearty but healthy.

Ariana Restaurant, 129 Brighton Ave., Allston; arianarestaurantboston.com.

Root: If you’re looking for a casual meal that isn’t a burger and fries, Root is your place. With a menu of juices and meals such as a packed hummus and vegetable wrap and a sweet potato quesadilla, you can have a relaxed meal that’s miles away from fast food.

Root, 487 Cambridge St., Allston; rootboston.com.

Back Bay

Lucy Ethiopian Cafe: There’s no trouble finding a healthy meal at this off-the-beaten-path spot. One such option is the Addis Combo: red lentils in a spicy sauce, split peas in a garlic ginger sauce, and spinach simmered with potatoes and spices.

Lucy Ethiopian Cafe, 334 Massachusetts Ave., Boston; 617-536-0415.

Snappy Sushi: Sticky white rice’s days may be numbered with Snappy Sushi using exclusively brown rice in its rolls. If you want to be even healthier, choose one of its vegetarian options.

Snappy Sushi, 108 Newbury St., Boston; snappysushi.com.

Trident Booksellers & Cafe: You already love Trident for brunch, but little did you know it’s a great place to grab a healthy dinner, too. Try options such as “The Trident Bowl” (filled with brussels sprouts, sweet potato, kale, beets, and more) and vegan cashew chili.

Trident Booksellers & Cafe, 338 Newbury St., Boston; tridentbookscafe.com.

Bay Village

Erbaluce: An Italian restaurant that stays away from butter and cream is practically unheard of, but that’s exactly what Erbaluce is doing, while instead focusing on flavors added from fresh produce and herbs. For once, you won’t have to feel guilty about your pasta cravings.

Erbaluce, 69 Church St., Boston; erbaluce-boston.com.

Cambridge

The Elephant Walk: The combination of French and Cambodian cuisines at this restaurant makes it worth the trip, and a meal there won’t pack on the pounds. Many meals can be made vegan, and even those that aren’t (like a quinoa and vegetable risotto or a raw tuna and avocado salad) won’t wreck your calorie count.

The Elephant Walk, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; elephantwalk.com. *Boston location coming soon

EVOO: The menu changes daily at EVOO (an acronym for extra virgin olive oil), which is committed to using organic, local, and sustainable products in its cooking. Try the corn bisque or bluefish fillet with corn risotto and zucchini.

EVOO, 350 3rd St., Cambridge; evoorestaurant.com.

Life Alive: Eating raw? What about gluten-free? It’s no problem at Life Alive, a Cambridge eatery serving up unprocessed, organic wraps, salads, soups, smoothies, and hot entrées. Its signature dish is “The Goddess,” a mixture of ginger nama shoyu sauce, carrots, beets, broccoli, greens, tofu, and brown rice.

Life Alive, 765 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; lifealive.com.

Oleana: It’s not often a critically-acclaimed restaurant is also diet-friendly, but Mediterranean restaurant Oleana fits the bill. We recommend offerings such as the vegetable tasting menu, chickpea terrine, and spinach falafel.

Oleana, 134 Hampshire St., Cambridge; oleanarestaurant.com.

Chestnut Hill

Seasons 52: If you’re tired of having to search every inch of a menu to find a healthy option, head to Seasons 52 instead. The restaurant, which uses in-season ingredients, vows that none of its dishes exceed 475 calories—even the steak and blue cheese flatbread.

Seasons 52, 220 Boylston St., Chestnut Hill; seasons52.com.

Downtown

Blu: The menu at this acclaimed spot boasts seasonally-appropriate choices such as the “Vegan Quinoa Feast” (with portabella mushrooms, acorn squash, broccoli rabe, beets, and cilantro vinaigrette) and sweet potato-crusted cod.

Blu, 4 Avery St., Boston; blurestaurant.com.

Post 390: This restaurant features an entire menu devoted to farm-to-table options, such as acorn squash soup and spaghetti and zucchini carbonara. The regular menu also has some healthy choices—arugula ravioli and lemon and black pepper organic chicken with spinach and white bean puree.

Post 390, 406 Stuart St., Boston; post390restaurant.com.

Jamaica Plain

Ten Tables: Ten Tables supports local vendors and makes as much food on-premises as possible, resulting in healthy choices such as roasted wild mushrooms with potatoes and beet puree and bluefish with wild rice, winter squash, and peppercress.

Ten Tables, 597 Centre St., Jamaica Plain; tentables.net. *Also a location in Cambridge

Vee Vee: This Jamaica Plain eatery cooks with seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients to ensure freshness and nutrition, and offers an entire vegan menu. Entreés include options such as Sardinian cous cous with mushroom bolognese.

Vee Vee, 763 Centre St., Jamaica Plain; veeveejp.com.

Newton

Farmstead Table: Committed to local, responsible sourcing, Farmstead Table’s dining experience is both ethically and nutritionally guilt-free. Opt for choices such as the mezze board for two or the all-natural poussin with mushroom ragout, carrots, and spinach.

Farmstead Table, 71 Union St., Newton Centre; farmsteadtable.com.

Walnut Grille: Despite serving only vegetarian and vegan food, Walnut Grille has a surprisingly diverse menu. The restaurant offers everything from soy “chicken” piccata to vegetable lasagna and tandoori tofu.

Walnut Grille, 1203 Walnut St., Newton Highlands; walnutgrille.com.

Somerville

True Bistro: Proving that vegan dining can be sophisticated and upscale, True Bistro serves high-brow dishes such as “oyster” mushrooms, and roasted pumpkin with roasted root vegetables, tempeh, and a Soubise sauce.

True Bistro, 1153 Broadway, Somerville; truebistroboston.com.

Yak & Yeti: This Nepalese eatery uses seasonal, local, and organic ingredients when possible, and makes all of its stocks, sauces, and breads from scratch every day. The result: dishes such as tofu and spinach with ginger, garlic, and herbs or potato, black-eye beans, and bamboo.

Yak & Yeti, 719 Broadway, Somerville; yakandyeticafe.net.

South Boston/Seaport

Legal Harborside: You can, of course, indulge your fried seafood cravings at Legal. But if you can resist, the menu also features many healthy options as well. Try the Atlantic halibut with lentils or the black bass with cauliflower.

Legal Harborside, 270 Northern Ave., Boston; legalseafoods.com. *Other locations city-wide

Stephi’s in Southie: Since it’s part of the Stephanie’s family, your mind may immediately go to mac ‘n’ cheese when you think of Stephi’s. Think again, because the Southie outpost has one of the best salad menus in the city, with choices such as an Asian yellowfin tuna salad and a goat cheese and sesame roasted beet salad.

Stephi’s in Southie, 130 Dorchester Ave., Boston; stephisinsouthie.com.

South End

Myers & Chang: No more Chinese takeout in paper boxes. At Myers & Chang, Asian food takes on a decidedly lighter feel, with dishes such as spicy silky tofu and pan-roasted soy-glazed salmon. The restaurant also offers vegetarian, nut-free, gluten-free, and shellfish-free menus.

Myers & Chang, 1145 Washington St., Boston; myersandchang.com.

Teranga: This restaurant serves traditional Senegalese food, which is typically vegetable-heavy, and the establishment also offers a full vegetarian menu for those looking to go the extra mile. Choices include herb-stuffed whitefish with a variety of vegetables and jasmine rice and okra stew over jasmine rice.

Teranga, 1746 Washington St., Boston; terangaboston.com.

Watertown

Red Lentil: This vegan and vegetarian restaurant has as large a salad menu as you would expect, but it doesn’t stop there. The butternut squash polenta and rustic paella are a must-try.

Red Lentil, 600 Mount Auburn St., Watertown; theredlentil.com.