The Healthier Food Resolution: Where to Eat Better Downtown

Posted January 24, 2014 by Stephanie Rineman in Downtown Boston
Temple Place Cafe

The new year has dawned. It has ushered in the inescapable draw of the resolution and its accompanying gym membership purchases and calorie-counting apps. This is the year. . . right? Even with the best intentions, much of this self-improvement fervor begins to fizzle out with the realization that swimsuit season in the Northeast won’t begin for another six or so months. The good news? There are many healthy restaurants in the Downtown area that can help keep you on track one step at a time.

Café Hemshin, 8 City Hall Avenue

There’s a reason we look to countries bordering the Mediterranean when it comes to eating healthy, and Café Hemshin’s Turkish offerings are prime example. As one of the most healthy restaurants in the area, the emphasis here is on light, wholesome foods. Their menu is chock-full of salads, kebabs, and legumes, lots and lots of legumes. At Café Hemshin, you can order your legumes fried in the form of falafel, or opt for more basic versions like their white bean salad or green lentil salad. All that fiber is bound to fill you up, but if you’ve saved room, the dessert menu does offer a nice reward for your healthy noshing. Beyond the basic brownie, you can try the more traditional baklava, or sutlac, a rice pudding dish with milk, sugar, and vanilla.

Black Seed Café & Grill, 131 Tremont Street

Eating healthy means loading up on fruits and vegetables, but eating fruits and vegetables can be less than exciting. Drinking them? This may solve the problem, or at least make them more tolerable. Black Seed features an extensive list of smoothie options that vary from the more traditional Strawberry Splash to the serious-business Super Fire, which turns things up a notch with a high protein supplement. Each concoction is packed with fresh fruit, frozen yogurt to get your protein fix, and honey as a healthier alternative to sugar. Even with the Piña Colada smoothie you can’t go wrong: Pineapple puree, fresh pineapple, frozen yogurt, honey, and banana. It’s like a little taste of the islands in the frozen tundra that we call January.

Temple Place Café, 26 Temple Place

Sweet or savory? It’s a debate for the ages, but at Temple Place Café you don’t have to choose. This friendly café offers good coffee, tea, and free Wi-Fi. Most importantly, they serve crepes, those skinny little pancakes that make us feel both classily European and nutritionally responsible at the same time. See, subzero temperatures don’t always lend themselves nicely to a desire for salads and other healthy grub. Enter the crepe—a light compromise that works as a meal or merely satisfies a sweet tooth. Top it off with a fresh mint lemonade. Bon appetit, indeed.

The Taco Truck, Pearl Street at Franklin

If you have ever been out to Southern California, the words “taco truck” may bring to mind a meal both indescribably delicious, but also gastrointestinally risky. The Taco Truck is only one of those things. The guys behind this New Jersey-based company not only provide great food at great prices, but also take pride in supporting the farm to table, er, truck movement. The menu boasts organic, all-natural ingredients, and meat that is vegetarian-fed and free of hormones and antibiotics. Partnerships with area food purveyors means there is a good chance that your carnitas are homegrown. This is one food truck always on the go, so you’ll have to check for their most up-to-date schedule.

Back Deck offers sit-down dining with food straight off the grill.

Back Deck offers sit-down dining with food straight off the grill. Photo Credit: Stephanie Rineman

Milk Street Café, 50 Milk Street

This weekday breakfast and lunch spot has been a local staple since 1981, providing a menu that is always healthy and, whenever possible, sourced with organic produce from local farmers. Highlights include a healthy fish dish every day, an extensive salad bar, and wholesome panini combinations. Although it’s anything but a chain establishment, Milk Street does offer similar customer perks in the form of Brownie Points, which can be redeemed for gift cards, catering, or donations to The Greater Boston Food Bank. Was giving back another one of your resolutions? Milk Street Café donates its leftovers to the food bank on a daily basis. Eating here tastes good and feels good, too.

Back Deck, 2 West Street

If you are looking for a more traditional sit-down environment, Back Deck offers a great menu because of its emphasis on grilling. A nice diversion from the cozy pubs and more hearty restaurants in the area, Back Deck focuses on a more simple, healthy approach with grilled fish, chicken, beef, and plenty of vegetables. This spot also caters to special diets by offering gluten free lunch and dinner menus. Urban living often means giving up the grill, but Back Deck lets you have it all.



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