T+L Reports: Fast-Food Nations
Super Size Me may have put you off burgers and fries for good, but there's still hope in Europe. Organic fast-food joints have been popping up in major cities, proving that quick bites can be good for you, too. Move over, Big Mac!
Camper FoodBALL Barcelona
LOCATION 9 Elisabets St.; 34-93/270-1363; lunch for two $14
THE VIBE The stadium-style seating at this celadon-colored space is prime for people-watching.
THE DISH Rice balls stuffed with chickpeas, seaweed, or wild mushrooms are the main event here.
LOCATION 3 Rue Danielle-Casanova; 33-1/42-61-17-67; lunch for two $41
THE VIBE Shoppers from Marché St.-Honoré take a break on Eames chairs in a stark setting.
THE DISH Omega-3-loaded salads, "bio" burgers, and even unlikely snacks such as vegetable tagines.
Babes 'n' Burgers London
LOCATION 275 Portobello Rd.; 44-207/727-4163; lunch for two $35
THE VIBE Health-minded baby boomers bring the kids to this "green" McD's for the colorful playground.
THE DISH Chicken, beef, and tofu burgers topped with avocado, bacon, or cheese—you can't be virtuous all the time.
LOCATION 35 Great Marlborough St.; 44-207/437-5280; lunch for two $26
THE VIBE Vintage hotel stickers and old-school postcards complement an ethnic menu.
THE DISH Turkish biyaldi and Greek tzatziki, plus smoothies spiked with ginseng (or vodka, if that's more your speed).
Inspired by the belief that food should “taste good and do you good,” Leon is an ever-growing local chain of award-winning cafés that revolutionized the definition of “fast food.” At this Carnaby Street location, the bright interior has vintage books scattered about as well as a lively world music soundtrack, upholstered bench seating, and a centralized open kitchen. There, chefs use seasonal organic ingredients, olive oil, and fresh herbs to create dishes that are both healthy and flavorful. Specialties include breakfast porridge with blossom honey, Moroccan meatballs in plum tomato sauce, and a sweet potato falafel wrap with mango chutney.
Created by the Camper shoe company which also opened the Casa Camper hotel next door on Elisabets Street in north El Raval, FoodBALL is a unique two-room eatery that serves rice balls. Seating is on three tiers of broad steps with woven cushions and small lamps along a green wall. Together with the steps, the large windows produce an effect of sitting on a porch and watching people go by. The organic rice balls have a variety of fillings, such as mushrooms, chickpeas, or artichokes, and come with dipping sauces. Soup, snacks, and juice are also sold.