I used to think that eating healthy food in this city was impossible. At every restaurant I could find, the salads were covered in dressing and meat, and the vegetables were cooked in cream or butter. If you asked for a vegetarian option from the chef, more often than not you got some assemblage of the vegetable side dishes onto one plate. One of my good friends even joked that unless you were shopping at the farmer’s market or Whole Foods and then cooking at home, you were destined to become a cog in the New Orleans deep-fried machine. As a rule of thumb, when I look at a menu, if it seems like the veggie options are an afterthought, then it’s probably not a healthy place to eat. But as it turns out, if you look closely, there are a growing number of fresh and delicious options for people looking to eat healthy.
Headed up by Chef Edward Rhinehart, most recently of R’evolution, this health oasis is a needle in a haystack. Besides the super-fresh vegetarian cuisine, they also offer creative fresh juices that are the real gems here. Try The Standard, which is made with beets, apple, ginger, carrots and lemon.
If you had a vegetarian aunt, and she owned a restaurant, this would be it. The staff is exceedingly friendly and more than happy to explain anything on the menu. My favorite is the Broken Noodle Salad, which is made with rice noodles, tofu, cucumber, peas and a citrusy, ginger chili vinaigrette.
Situated on upper Magazine Street, this Vietnamese pho joint is everything you could ever want in a health food restaurant. Start with the mushroom spring rolls, and then order the vegan pho, which is a magical vegetarian take on traditional Vietnamese pho. It will heal you from the inside out.
Famous for its brunches, Surrey’s is a beautiful, relaxing restaurant. Highlights include their tasty, fresh-squeezed juice menu and their relaxed outdoor seating. Try the avocado pesto sandwich with tofu for a particularly delicious lunch. Then, finish up with an orange, carrot and ginger juice for the perfect digestif.
Located in the Bywater, this hip breakfast and lunch spot offers up some of the best healthy fare in the city. Make sure to try the roasted pear and brie melt. Then, get the Green Drink, a tasty combination of apple, fennel, kale, cucumber and celery.