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Healthy Menu Navigator: Gastropub

What should you steer clear of besides the fancy fish and chips? Here's how to order healthy dishes off any gastropub menu.
Gastropubs are basically a gourmet, highly designed version of your typical corner pub. (Photo: Martha Stewart Living)
Gastropubs are basically a gourmet, highly designed version of your typical corner brew house. (Photo: Martha Stewart Living)


Even if you know to steer clear of the bread basket, it turns out the average restaurant meal clocks in at a whopping 1,128 calories—yep, 1,128—making it easy for even the most health-savvy among us to think we’re eating well while eating out, when we’re not.

Enter nutritionist-author Heather Bauer, of Bread is the Devil and Bestowed fame—and our culinary compass. Each week, Bauer steers us toward the healthiest choices on restaurant menus of any type.

HealthyMenuNavigatorFinal21Last time, it was what to eat at a classic American diner. This week, it’s a gastropub! Here’s what you need to know before you approach the craft beer taps.

Heather Bauer’s café menu navigational nugget

Let’s accept it—you’re ordering a beer. But you don’t have to feel bad about it, just adjust the rest of that day’s meals accordingly.

“If you know in advance that you’re going to a gastropub, save your carbs for that meal,” Bauer suggests. “That way, you can do the beer. And choose the lighter brew.”

With a pint already on your tab, here’s what else to order that won’t leave you feeling like a bloated (yet artisanal) beer keg.



1. Crudo raw bar. If it’s the type of place with raw fish, oysters and thinly sliced fluke are always a good, clean option. (But careful with those oysters and beer if you’re on a first date, wink wink.)

2. Shrimp cocktail—Another seafood option, shrimp is light and protein packed. Plus, spicy cocktail sauce goes down great with nice a Lemon Shandy. (Hello, thirsty!)

3. Wedge or chopped salad—Almost all gastropubs will have either of these options. And don’t worry about the fat in the dressing, it’s so much better than any of the other menu options.


1. Roasted chicken with veggies—This is a classic English pub dish. Skip the mash and ask for a double serving of veggies. Plus peel the skin off the chicken.

2. Blackened fish tacos. These typically come in threes. It’s a light option that feels satisfying. 

3. Sliders—You have to do it. Just go topless with these. (The sliders, not you—jeez, didn’t you see the warning about oysters and beer?!)


1. Fish and chips—These are often done in a fancy version compared to the local pub, but fancier doesn’t mean less carbs, fat, and sodium.

2. Bacon-wrapped meatloaf—Is an explanation really necessary on this one?

3. Truffle mac and cheese. Like your past bad boy lover: it feels so right until the next morning. Better off skipping it all together.

Hungry for more? Check out Bauer’s guides to ordering at a raw and vegan restaurant or a conference room lunch.