When it comes to eating well at restaurants, the professionally fit seem to have a healthy gift for finding just the right spot.
Last month we learned where top New York fitness instructors dine. (Hint: their faves did not involve places with mobile cart laden with chips and guacamole—though a taco or two were represented.)
And now we’re calling on some of the biggest names on the Los Angeles fitness scene for their healthy dinner advice. (Open Table should tap these people!)
Here’s where LA’s most ripped make reservations or grab a quick, well-balanced meal when they’re in a, well, crunch. —Randi Eichenbaum
“I’m a vegan, gluten-free gal, so dining out isn’t always easy. But I’ve found a few great restaurants along the way,” says the native New Yorker and current co-owner of the Santa Monica yoga studio known for its expansive online classes.
The Spot: Hostaria del Piccolo
The Dish: They have delicious pizzas with gluten-free crust that taste amazing. I know lots of people doubt that, but I’ve gone with friends who order the regular pizza and end up liking mine better! They can do almost all of their pizzas without cheese, too.
Any drinks with that? I have a glass of red wine once in a blue moon. Badger Mountain is great because it’s organic and sulfite-free.
“If I’m honest, I never really enjoyed cooking,” says the former dancer who opened her Hollywood gym known for its rock ‘n roll vibe in 2008. “Single parenthood didn’t leave me a whole amount of free time. What’s funny is my kids love to cook! My daughter is a bit of a gourmet chef and my son cooks a mean Greek chicken soup!”
The Spot: 101 Coffee Shop
The Dish: Cobb chicken salad, chopped and tossed with no avocado and balsamic dressing. After 10 years of ordering this they know my order before I open my mouth!
“It’s funny, people assume because what I do for a living that I have a ‘strict diet.’ Or that I would judge them for what they eat,” says the Venice resident and owner of the well-known yoga/spinning hybrid studio chain YAS in Los Angeles. “Honestly, I eat just about everything. And on top of that I have a sweet tooth. Keep me away from the cookies!”
The Spot: James Beach
The Dish: Their shrimp tacos are the best. They grill the shrimp and I have them pretty traditional with flour tortillas, guacamole, lime, and salt. I like things pretty salty. In fact, “Salty” was my nickname when I was a kid.
Any drinks with that?I also love the mimosas at James Beach. They are made like a traditional mimosa but they add strawberry puree. I have them add extra strawberry.
The owner of the Los Angeles Megaformer mini empire—she has five studios in total—abides by one main rule when it comes to eating. “My golden rule is fresh. I base my meals around fresh ingredients and try to stay away from processed foods. If the fresh foods are local and organic then that is a double win on my plate.”
The Spot: Cafe Gratitude
The Dish: Definitely, the Pure salad. It won’t let you down! But then everything is raw and the organic foods are made to order with love.
Any drinks with that? The essential oil hot teas. Oh, and you can always, always catch me enjoying some organic coffee or espresso, served hot or cold.
The longtime instructor, known for losing an impressive amount of weight from cycling and recently a featured on Racked’s Hottest Trainer competition, opts for simply prepared dishes when going out to eat. “I really try and limit the sauces and dressings,” she says. “There are so many hidden calories when dining out.”
The Spot: Tender Greens
The Dish: I love the Big Plate. I usually get the chicken breast with a simple salad (Caesar dressing on the side) and I sub the grilled vegetables instead of the mashed potatoes.
Any drinks with that? I’ve never met a Moscow Mule I didn’t like. But if I’m trying to be good I go with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet. It goes down slower.
“I have a burrito and Oreo habit. It is really bad. Thank goodness I’m a fitness instructor,” says the Beverly Hills instructor and fitness fashion entrepreneur, who aims to balance bad food with the good-for-you stuff. “Most of the time I am consuming vast amounts of kale and dessert.”
The Spot: La Scala in Beverly Hills
The Dish: The chopped salad. Add cucumbers, tomatoes, and Peperoncini, hold the salami, and add chicken. Oh, now I know what I am going to have for lunch!
Any drinks with that? The Look Better Naked cocktail! Two parts vodka, one part St. Germaine, club soda, lime and mint. One hundred twenty calories and delish.
The former ballerina and founder of the popular national barre chain, which all started in Silverlake, says she limits eating out to one night a week. “I’ve really started to cook well enough that I prefer to eat at home unless it’s a really great restaurant,” she says.
The Spot: Forage in Silverlake is great for lunch salads!
The Dish: They always have some staple salads and then I always add in what’s fresh for the day.
Any drinks with that? Water, water, water. Sparkling and flat. I get Mountain Valley water delivered at home because it comes in glass bottles.
The master instructor at both West Coast outposts of Flywheel attributes her success in controlling her MS symptoms to maintaining a plant-based diet, and adheres to that way of eating whether at home or dining out. “Luckily in L.A. most of the hot restaurants will make an amazing vegan meal if I call ahead,” she says.
The Spot: My favorite L.A. restaurant is the new Crossroads Kitchen on Melrose. Tal Ronnen, who’s the vegan chef to Ellen [Degeneres] and Oprah opened it in April. I love that I can eat anything on the menu. Non-vegans also pack this place!
The Dish: I’m obsessed with their vegan cheese plate, which are nut-based cheeses and are also for sale in the restaurant and at Whole Foods under the name Kite Hill. My go-to entree is their tortellini. It is rich, creamy, and feels really naughty but is actually healthy! The “ricotta cheese” is made from almonds and the cream sauce is from spinach. Truly amazing.
Any drinks with that? I always get the Strand Beach House Amber beer on tap.
Best friends and founders of the full-body workout that uses drum sticks, taught at gyms like Crunch and smaller studios, take time to make lunch at work—and take pleasure in keeping up with the Los Angeles dining scene. “One day a week we eat out or have a lunch meeting at a fun, new restaurant just to keep things exciting,” they say.
The Spot: Son of a Gun
The Dish: We always like to switch things up so there’s no such thing as regular for us, but we do give high praise to the Lobster Roll.
Any drinks with that? We love the Buck Dynasty cocktail at Petty Cash. Does that count?
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