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The whole “eating out” and “eating healthy” don’t usually go hand in hand. Watching what you eat can be difficult at a restaurant, especially with a dessert menu looming in the distance. Even when a professionally prepared entrée seems diet-friendly, there are hidden ingredients in hidden quantities that can sabotage a New Year’s resolution faster than Mariah Carey performing live in Times Square. And to add insult to ice cream cake injury, there are some delicious new restaurants in Atlanta just waiting for you to try their delectable offerings.

Don’t worry, we have you covered! We’re taking you through some tasty AND healthy Atlanta restaurants that recently opened, which won’t break your health-conscious resolve. Honest: forks crossed, pizza promise.

Salata

265 19th St., Atlanta, GA 30363 • (470) 233-7164
Hours: Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

860 Johnson Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30342 • (470) 233-7493
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Houston-based Salata not only opened one but two Atlanta locations sure to satisfy salad-loving folks who can’t resist a build-your-own experience. Salata’s motto is “eat good, look good, feel good,” and your bod is sure to do all three after a visit to this more-than-meets-the-eye salad bar and wrap restaurant. It’s super exciting to choose from over 50 different toppings, including standard veggies like tomatoes and broccoli, as well as more exotic choices like bean sprouts, jicama and more. After you slide through the veg section, here’s where things get really fun at Salata — choose a protein and dressing from a huge list of offerings. Want a Middle Eastern-themed mix? Choose falafel and a lemon vinaigrette. Going vegan? Try the baked tofu with ginger lime dressing. If you’re not into the whole salad thing, these creations can also get folded into their wraps.

When hunger really calls, order the complete meal, which also comes with soup, dessert and a drink. Make sure not to pass up on Salata’s signature organic teas and lemonades. Though I loved the peach lemonade, the organic plum cinnamon tea and prickly pear lemonade are also delish options when the thirst is actually real.

Healthy restaurants in atlanta

It’s like salad Xanadu at Salata. The options are endless when creating your personalized salad or wrap, made just to your liking. Image: Salata

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

I ordered a premium protein, salmon, to bring up my salad game. Other protein options include Asian BBQ chicken, spicy chipotle chicken, shrimp, quinoa and lots more. Image: Melanie Preis

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

If you’re a bit overwhelmed when facing the display of over 50 ingredients, ask the Salata staff for their recommendations and advice. The women creating my salad bowl were super helpful telling me what paired well together and even let me try dressings and such before I committed to my masterpiece. Image: Melanie Preis

SAMA: Food for Balance

56 East Andrews Drive, Atlanta, GA 30305 • (404) 500-3550
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

If you not only want to eat healthy food but understand the principles and beliefs behind a health-conscious life, SAMA offers it all. This peaceful Buckhead spot uses Ayurveda principles and seasonal ingredients to create an Atlanta oasis of balance for the body, mind and soul. Shannon Salter Sliger, the creative genius who started Dtox Organic Juice a few years ago, opened SAMA, which means “balance” in Sanskrit, as a one-stop shop in the pursuit of whole-being wellness. SAMA offers meditation and yoga classes, cleanses and, of course, yummy food.

Though we could go into more detail regarding the Kitchari cleanse (an Ayurvedic cleansing food made from split mung beans and brown basmati rice, which is added to a regime of SAMA juices and teas), we came here for the food! SAMA has an amazing morning beverage menu, featuring macchiatos, lattes and tea lattes made with vegan “mylk” and the option to add superfood syrups like Maca Mesquite, Medicinal Mushroom and Turmeric Ginger. The juices are invigorating (the same from the Kitchari cleanse), especially Six Taste Juice, featuring cucumber, green apple, lemon, celery, dandelion and ginger, and the smoothies will get you going, especially the Smokin’ Hot, made of mango, kale, jalapeno, cilantro, pineapple water and chia seeds. If you like a little smooth with a little crunch, try a SAMA Brekkie Bowl, like the Beauty and the Beet, with an açai, pineapple, berry and beet base and topped with bee pollen and beet granola. When lunch cravings call, go for a Balance Bowl — either the Kitchari, or maybe the Kapha (with superfood grains, lentils, sunchokes and green chili lime chutney). Better yet, build your own bowl! Choose the base (I like cauliflower rice), a protein (I loved the seared salmon), a few sides (maybe avocado sprinkled with citrus and pink salt), and finish it up with a chutney and dressing (cilantro green goddess is my jam).

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

SAMA’s fabulous juices are not only part of their Kitchari Cleanse, but can also be enjoyed on their own. Image: SAMA

healthy restaurants in atlanta

If you don’t want to commit to one of SAMA’s amazing Balance Bowls, make your own! The restaurant/yoga studio/coffeehouse-hybrid offers extraordinary options like pickled cabbage and cucumbers, summer squash leek sauté, chickpea ranch dressing and other fabulous options. Image: SAMA

Muchacho

904 Memorial Drive, Atlanta, GA 30316 • (404) 748-9254‬ 
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

If you like California cuisine served with a ’70s vibe, you, my friend, must be a Muchacho. This retro-loving Reynoldstown restaurant opened late last year, and it’s been pleasing customers with its creative menu and chill atmosphere. Brought to you from the creative mind behind Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall, Michael Lennox opened this homage to 1970s Venice Beach alongside another new restaurant, Golden Eagle.

Muchacho is a casual hangout offering breakfast and lunch tacos, toasts, grain bowls and poke bowls, plus canned beer and wine, cocktails and housemade agua frescas (which can be served spiked — otherwise known as “Muchacho style”). So even if you’re avoiding carb-y beers, at least your dining companions can knock one back while you focus on the tasty offerings, like the stone fruit and ricotta toast. When it comes to their grain bowls, go sweet (with sorghum, coconut kefir, turmeric, ginger jam and seasonal fruits), savory (think legumes and veggies) or Vietnamese (brown rice, cilantro pesto, egg and sweet hot peppers). The poke bowls are also killer as well as the signature “bevvies.” Besides the coffee, try Muchacho’s cortados — a drink of either coffee or espresso mixed with an equal amount of warm milk. So even though Atlanta is land-locked and the only radical surfers we come across are those of the internet, we think you’ll enjoy the California vibe, and the tasty menu, from Muchacho.

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

Muchacho’s laid-back ’70s vibe is obvious from the second you step through its doors. Besides the great food, Muchacho has earned a loyal following for its clever signature bevvies, including Awesome Blossom Tonic and Chai Apple Shrub, as well as coffee, cortado, espresso and fresh horchata, agua fresca and ginger turmeric tonic. Image: Andrew Thomas Lee

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

The salmon poke bowl at Muchacho includes salmon, sticky rice, kewpie sriracha, pickled veggies and wakame salad. There’s also a tuna poke version. Image: Andrew Thomas Lee

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

The Vietnamese bowl is just one of Muchacho’s delicious grain bowls. Other delicious menu items include the toasts — my recommendation is the smoked salmon on sourdough. Image: Andrew Thomas Lee

Upbeet

1071 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta, GA 30318 • (404) 347-1071
Hours: Sunday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you’re at all active on Instagram, Upbeet, or the people who dine there, should be in your feed. This Westside hotspot makes the most gorgeous grain bowls, smoothie bowls, yogurt bowls, salad bowls … pretty much you drop some food into a bowl at Upbeet and it’s gonna be photo-worthy. But here’s the shocker — everything TASTES really amazing as well. This made-to-order restaurant takes into consideration clean eating and wholesome ingredients to present a menu that will not only impress your taste buds but the rest of your bod as well.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a garbanzo bean addict, so my fave on the menu is any bowl with the spicy roasted chickpeas — specifically the Curry Up grain bowl (said chickpeas, quinoa, kale, roasted sweet potatoes and coconut curry dressing). Another at the top of my list is the Aloha Bowl, featuring bamboo rice, mango, macadamia nuts, avocado and topped with ginger miso dressing and tuna poke. If you want to steer the ship at Upbeet, build your own bowl. Choose from savory or sweet toasts, with the option of gluten-free bread (I like the G.O.A.T toast since I love me some goat cheese). Upbeet’s whimsical smoothie bowls are almost too pretty to eat — my kids love the Pretty in Pink (more for the gorgeous pink hue than the nutritional ingredients like pitaya, goji berries, strawberries and seeds). And do not leave Upbeet without trying one of their fantastic beverages — go the caffeinated route with a superfood latte. Try the Smurf Latte, created with Blue Majik, or a butter coffee with grass-fed ghee, or try the smoothie-in-a-cup route with Beach House, filled to the brim with pineapple, mango, mint, dates and vanilla coconut milk.

healthy restaurants in atlanta

Forget the band — Upbeet’s Green Day is the only way to rock out. This smoothie features kale, spinach, avocado, banana, apple juice, dates and almond milk. There are loads of other smoothie and smoothie bowl choices, all of which can be upgraded (at an additional cost) with ingredients like collagen protein, grass-fed ghee, probiotics and prebiotics and more. Image: Upbeet

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

The Aloha Bowl (left) and the Coconut Kale Salad (right) are chock-full of everything to get your body feeling good. And feel free to tweak the listed bowls with your own idea of what sounds good together. Image: Upbeet

Mediterranea

332 Ormond St., Atlanta, GA 30315 • (404) 748-4219
Hours: Bakery and coffee counter: Wednesday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch: Wednesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner: Wednesday through Saturday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Brunch: Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

When researching the type of eating to follow when ringing in the new year on a health-conscious wave, the Mediterranean diet always pops up at the top of the list. And if you are following this diet, or just enjoy really delicious food, Mediterranea will be your go-to restaurant. Save money on that cruise to Greece and just head to Grant Park to take part in Mediterranea’s homage to the region’s diet — emphasizing simply prepared vegetables, fruits, whole grains, olive oil, legumes, seeds and herbs and seafood and poultry. Here’s where things get even better at Mediterranea — the kitchen and bakery are gluten-free, and it offers a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly menu.

As I’ve already established, I love garbanzo beans (as well as artichokes, eggplant and olives), so I was made for Mediterranea. When it comes to their lunch menu, it’s all about simple preparation and lots of flavor — the artichoke white bean croquette salad and the savory hummus sandwich are at the top of my must-devour list. For dinner, there are some wonderful vegetarian options, like the roasted garlic and fava bean risotto, served with butternut squash and hazelnuts, and the eggplant tart, as well as the braised monkfish (artfully highlighted with fennel and orange) and the Calabrese shrimp and orzo. I suggest you plan on a cheat day if you venture into Mediterranea’s bakery as there is every delectable pie, cookie, cake and pastry under the Mediterranean sun.

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

Mediterranea is gluten-free and very friendly for vegetarian diners. Case in point? The Croquette Grain Bowl. This sumptuous dish features panko-crusted artichoke white bean croquettes, served atop various grains and finished with pine nuts, avocado, greens, tomato and olives. Image: Mediterranea

Healthy restaurants in Atlanta

Mediterranea’s flatbread pizza is created with roasted tomatoes, artichokes, peppers, three cheeses and basil. Image: Mediterranea

Happy, and healthy, eating!

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Find more amazing places to eat in Atlanta in our Food & Dining section!

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