The Healthiest — & Most Delicious — Menu Options At 9 Chicago Hot Spots

So, you and your crew have finally scored reservations at one of Chicago's hottest spots. But, with the holiday season swiftly approaching, you're trying to be more mindful about what you're eating before the inevitable onslaught of egg nog and third helpings of turkey (extra gravy, please). Fortunately, that doesn't mean you just have to sit there, sipping on a seltzer water and eating undressed greens. At many of Chicago's most popular restaurants, you can eat out and still eat incredibly well. And, we don't mean, "yeah, that was good." We are talking about some straight-up life-changing sips and bites.
Want some proof you can taste? Here, nine top-tier Chicago bars and restaurants share the healthy and delicious menu items that you need to order now. Consider this your secret weapon for heading off winter weight gain.
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Photo: Courtesy of Avec.
Avec
Finally, a small plate that actually fills you up! Avec's charred cauliflower tabbouleh with freekeh is teeming with filling fiber. Plus, with all-vegan ingredients including oranges, radishes, green Castelvetrano olives, and tahini, this dish is the epitome of clean eating.
Avec, 615 West Randolph (between Desplaines and Jefferson streets); 312-377-2002.
GT Fish & Oyster
European seabass goes by many names: spigola, loup de mer, róbalo, and lubina, to name a few. But, at this modern seafood restaurant, it goes by branzino. And, Michelin-starred executive chef Giuseppe Tentori is serving it up with kabocha squash, Brussels sprouts, and apple ginger.
GT Fish & Oyster, 531 North Wells Street (between West Grand Avenue and West Ohio Street); 312-929-3501.
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Chicago Q
Barbecue joints aren't exactly what comes to mind when you think healthy, but Chef Lee Ann Whipple's elevated version of BBQ puts a refined spin on American classics. The perfect example: Her stuffed acorn squash, which features butternut squash, apples, fennel tossed with farro, dried cranberries, red onion, sage, and poblano croutons on top of a fig sauce.
Chicago Q, 1160 North Dearborn Avenue (between Elm and Division streets); 312-642-1160 .
Photo: Courtesy of Acadia.
Acadia
Available in both the formal dining room or up front in the bar, Acadia's vegan butternut squash soup isn't just pretty to look at, it's also chock full of healthy ingredients, including pomegranate seeds, ground cherries, and three different types of radish. FYI, it tastes amazing paired with the coho salmon, another veritable health food.
Acadia, 1639 South Wabash Avenue (between 16th and 18th streets); 312-360-9500.
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The Violet Hour
If you make it past this bar's velvet curtains, celebrate with the healthiest cocktail in town: The Corrections. It mixes four health-packed bitters — Unicum, Cynar, Fernet Branca, and Underberg bitters — which aid in digestion and help regulate appetite. Fun fact: Unicum, a Hungarian digestif made of more than 40 herbs and spices, was first developed by a royal physician in the 18th century.
The Violet Hour, 1520 North Damen (between Wicker Park and Pierce avenues); 773-252-1500
Girl and the Goat
Okay, so we know you don't wait it line at this West Loop spot to eat a salad, but if you know anything about Girl and the Goat, you know its menu options are anything but predictable — and that goes for the salads, too. Case in point: the kohlrabi salad. The cabbage variety is served covered in fennel, Evalon (a scrumptious type of goat's milk cheese), toasted almonds, Bartlett pears, and roasted shiitake. Yum.
Girl and the Goat, 809 West Randolph Street (between Green and Halsted streets); 312-492-6262.
Photo: Courtesy of Blackbird.
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Blackbird
On any menu, salmon is generally a "safe" option, but Blackbird's roasted wild sockeye salmon served in an apple cider-miso glaze goes above and beyond in the superfoods department; the accompanying sunchokes and rapini tossed in a chamomile vinaigrette are as nutrient-packed (a triple punch of iron, folate, and Vitamin C) as they are flavorful.
Blackbird, 619 West Randolph (between Desplaines and Jefferson streets); 312-715-0708.
Tru
Sure, Tru is famed for its desserts, but if you order a salad to start, you can use it as an excuse to splurge later on. Luckily, though, the petite salad is amazing all on its own — especially if you're into truffles. Light, crisp, and seasonal, the salad's green oak leaves are served with an egg yolk and roasted eggplant emulsion, toasted brioche, burgundy truffle rounds, egg white sous vide, shaved burgundy truffles, and truffle vinaigrette.
Tru Restaurant, 676 North Saint Clair (between Erie and Huron streets); 312-202-0001.
Three Dots and a Dash
Tiki bars are known for their sugary sweet drinks. And, while Three Dots and a Dash has plenty of those, the Jet Pilot is more spirituous than sugary. With three types of rum, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon, falernum, absinthe, and angostura bitters, it depends on fresh ingredients and spices for its complex flavors.
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Three Dots and a Dash, 435 North Clark (back alley on Hubbard Street); 312-610-4220.
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