A good salad is hard to come by. On one hand, they are super nutritious. A serving of raw veggies with good fats such as avocado or olive oil is the best way to get you daily dose of vitamins. But that doesn't always guarantee flavor. As much as I love the health benefits of kale, it isn't the easiest leaf to munch on. On the other hand, some of the yummiest salad creations are packed with so many unhealthy calories, you might as well have opted for the burger. I'm talking ingredients like fried wonton bits or sugar heavy dressings. Plus I'm the type of girl who gets pissed when I go out to eat and pay for something I don't even like or doesn't make me feel good. So I complied a short list of my favorite salad spots in SF. When creating this list, I made sure there was balance, compromise, and lots of choices. Eating clean is only as hard as you make it. But first, we must figure out where to eat! Enjoy :)
Souvla | @SouvlaSF | Hayes Street
As a proud woman of the Mediterranean, I take my Greek and Middle Eastern food very seriously. If it doesn't taste like my grandmother's hummus, it's not worth it. Rarely do I go out to eat shawerma, gyros, or falafel. Why spend money on food I can get for free that tastes a million times better? (Apparently, love is the secret ingredient.) So when I found a gem like Souvla in Hayes Valley, I felt like I was cheating on my own culture. Souvla, started by Greek chef Charles Bililies with guidance of Kokkari (for fancier occasions but also a must-try!!)chef, Tony Cervone, is hands down the only place I will go to grab Greek. The souvlaki (or grilled meats on a skewer) is the kind of meat that melts in your mouth. Whether you are a lamb or a chicken person, you can turn any meal into a salad or a gyro, smothered with full fat Greek yogurt of course. You don't eat no meat?? They have vegetarian options! And just in case it's your cheat day, you're looking at Greek fries with feta, booze and REAL Greek frozen yogurt with toppings like olive oil and baklava crumbles. But the salad is why I visit Souvla as much as possible. I'm talking pickled red onions, mizithra cheese, fennel, naval orange, “Granch” dressing (Greek yogurt dressing that's wayyyyy better than real ranch) and did I mention the meat?? Seriously, put Souvla in your schedule this week.
Blue Barn | @BlueBarnSF | Chestnut Street
Blue Barn is your typical San Franciscan slow food salad and sando bar with plenty of organic, grass-fed options. So what sets this place apart? The massive list of toppings! They have every single topping you can think of or would never even imagine on a salad. Overwhelmed by too many choices? Personalize you salad to fit your dietary and taste needs. With original recipes such as "The Detox" salad smothered in a sorta Master Cleanse dressing, these people have the environment and your body's best interest in mind.
Focaccia | focacciacatering.com | Sacramento Street, Market Street, Berry Street
Prior to trying Focaccia, all I ever heard from my FiDi and SOMA clients is that I had to try this place. One day, I met with a client for lunch and he took me to the beautiful Market location. As I walked in and up to the line, a gust of fresh focaccia smells surrounded me. My tummy immediately grumbled. The line was long as it was downtown feeding hour. I expected at least a 10 minute wait till I could even start ordering. We chatted for a couple minutes in line and before I knew it, we were at the front! I didn't even know what I wanted to order. But the staff was super helpful. There's like a million options just for the type of greens you want. I chose kale and mixed greens. And these servings are seriously generous. By the time I was done ordering, I had what felt like a 5 pound salad. This place is fantastic for getting a quick, customized salad if you're on-the-go!
Other places worth mentioning:
Plutos (@PlutosFreshFood)--Great salad bar with freshly grilled meats and a Thanksgiving feast year round!
Mixt Greens (@MixtGreens)--Order your salad from their site! Pick it up at various locations from the Mixt Rover or restaurant.
The Plant Cafe Organic (@ThePlantCafe)--Like your salad blended? Fresh green juices with the best cleansing and detoxing ingredients are made to order!