Deciding where to dine for good salads is no easy feat. Most restaurants offer salads as a complement or starter to meals without much focus on them. Sometimes the best meal is a fresh and well made bowl of vegetables. This is a list of places where “salad” is not an afterthought. – Jeff Rapp
2124 Northbrook Ct.
Northbrook, IL 60062
Di Pescara is an Italian seafood house located in one of the suburb’s busiest malls. Choose from their list of nine salads with either a “small” for starters or a “large” for a meal. Choices include the Hong Kong, seared ahi-tuna or the decadent Louie Louie (with iced mussels, jumbo shrimp, poached salmon, Alaskan crab legs, and more).
Fogo de Chao Churrascaria
661 N La Salle St
Chicago, IL 60610
It sounds crazy to go to a Brazilian steak house for salad, but Fogo’s salad and sides bar is one of the best in the city. There are more choices of greens and cooked vegetables than most restaurants in town. Try hard not to fill up before the rest of the meal starts.
Multiple locations, for more information check their website
Freshii is a Canadian company quickly invading the States aiming to be your one stop healthy food destination. It is a loop favorite for quick lunches serving fresh and local ingredients. Choose a salad from the menu or create your own, and decide if you want it served in a bowl, pita, wrap or soup. Their moto: fresh food custom built.
51 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60610
Hub is well known for solid execution of everything on their diverse menu. The “six salads” are no exception with choices ranging from their Del Mar seafood, roasted turkey chopped or a personal favorite – Sonoma salad (baby spinach, grapefruit, avocado, walnuts and more).
Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab
60 E Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
Joe’s is one of the best all-around restaurants in the city that does more than steak and crab. The gourmet salad options include seafood chopped and lobster salad. They are good portions and can serve as a main course when you need a break from meat.
Kirkwood Bar and Grill
2934 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60689
One does not normally suggest bars as a good place for salads, but Kirkwood does a good job without loading up on fried additives or creamy dressing. They are a good value and, as a bonus, all salads are $5 on Tuesdays.
Maxwell’s at the Club
500 N Kingsbury St
Chicago, IL 60654
It should not surprise that a world class health club offers good salads to its health minded customers. What does surprise is that Maxwell’s Caesar salad remains my all-time favorite Caesar. They do not overload with cheese and croutons and serve a light but delicious dressing.
2056 N Lincoln Park W
Chicago, IL 60614
R.J. Grunts has two main menu items, hamburgers and a salad bar. They do both extremely well since they opened in 1971. Located in the heart of Lincoln Park, it’s a good spot to create your own plate of fresh greens.
200 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60606
Many quick lunch spots downtown offer build-your-own salads, but few have the range of choices as Salad Spinners. You can choose off the menu or create your own, and do not overlook their soup selections (especially in winter, where a cup of soup costs the outside temperature).
Jeff Rapp is a Chicago native currently living in the Lakeview neighborhood. When he is not eating and writing, Jeff enjoys skiing, mountain climbing and running. Follow Jeff on Twitter and you can find his blog at jjrappeats.blogspot.com.