East Bay: good places to eat without eating grain-based stuff
February 12, 2018 9:46 AM   Subscribe

I am doing some lunatic diet that is I vaguely south-beach-ish and currently includes eating very little in the way of wheat products, rice, etc. I eat out a certain amount and am looking to expand my list of restaurants.

[reluctant bay-area-filter or something]

I have eaten badly for years and years and am hacking away at that in a number of ways. I eliminated soft drinks which wasn't that hard and sweets which is REALLY hard and now, for the last six weeks, I have cut back almost entirely on bread, pasta, rice, rice noodles, everything enjoyable basically. And it hasn't been terrible.

My default now is to find places that make really good salads. As a lifelong thing, I hate salad, but it turns out if they have interesting stuff in them, they're really fine. I've had good luck at Ba-Bite on Piedmont, Grand Tavern, SweetGreens in Berkeley and to some extent Mezzo though my god, tone it down with the bean sprouts.

Anyway, looking for recs for places that make great salads (ideally with addable or inherent protein) or, to go another way entirely, places that serve good meat without a ton of attendant carbs. Doesn't need to be bargain basement but not looking for high-end, more everyday. Thanks!
posted by Smearcase to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh, extra points for stuff in the Concord/Pleasant Hill/Walnut Creek area as I work there but that's more of a long shot.
posted by Smearcase at 9:47 AM on February 12


Not a direct answer to your question but I did a low-carb diet in Minneapolis and was pleasantly surprised at how universally easy it was. No matter what restaurant I went to, waitstaff were familiar with low-carb requirements and were able to suggest something right away. It's really not a big deal in 2018.

Congrats on joining the cult! My low-carb diet was awesome and I was able to keep a lot of the new habits.
posted by rada at 9:51 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Still no east bay location, but Pluto's has been my favorite salad place for years (two locations in SF), and they also have carved meats, and a few of the sides are vegetables other than potatoes.

If beans and corn products are fine with you:
I haven't kept up with where the truck still goes, but Liba Falafel is great. Tons of veggie sides you can pile on your falafel bowl. La Mediterannee in Rockridge has a really good salad plate, with a mix of actual green salad and then some of their sides like hummus and baba ganoush. Mexican is easy to find all over; my favorites are Cancun and Monte Cristo, both in Berkeley. All of these require some willpower to avoid the serious carbs. I also love the salad at Koja Kitchen (I think the salad with salmon/tuna is only available on Thursday and Friday in Berkeley, but anytime in Emeryville.

My other everyday salads, besides what you've already mentioned, include Yali's and Smashburger. Tender Greens, Suya, and Platano all have good salad options. Just a couple options at each, but something else to throw in the mix. As mentioned above, just about any sandwich or burger place will happily serve you a lettuce wrap without even batting an eye.
posted by ktkt at 10:30 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Fast-food wise, the former San Francisco Soup Company, now called "Ladle and Leaf", has really excellent salads, many of which have no grains, and all of which you can add protein to. There are numerous outlets in the area, including one at Oakland City Center and several in downtown San Francisco.
posted by suelac at 10:59 AM on February 12 [2 favorites]


Hello fellow Diablo valley worker! I work in Lafayette but live in the south bay, so I do a lot of last-minute lunch grabbing out here.

HomeGrown has great salads/grain bowls with non-rice/non-wheat options. They used to have a location in Lafayette but it looks like it moved to Danville.

Urban Remedy has a lot more than juice, including really good salads, and has a location in WC.

On the non-salad front, have you ever been to Kinder's Meats? I'm not even a barbecue person and I like to eat there (granted, I do usually have a salad with BBQ chicken on top). They have a bunch of locations including 2 in WC, one in Pleasant Hill, and one in Concord. There's also a Buckhorn Grill in WC on Locust St and Olympic Blvd, across from the Chipotle and the Starbucks.

Also, if you can tolerate the parking lot, don't underestimate Trader Joe's! I can usually find something pretty good on the Wall O' Salads; I usually add an avocado or some kind of extra seasonal something to make it more exciting.
posted by assenav at 11:24 AM on February 12 [1 favorite]


There's a little Lebanese joint in Emeryville called Wally's Cafe. Cash only, around the back of a bar. They have this *amazing* chicken shawarma that they'll put on a salad. And all of their meals come with a free bowl of lentil soup.

Bakesale Betty will put their fried chicken on coleslaw rather than a sandwich, if you ask.

Hina is a yakotori place that only does veggies and chicken (more or less) and is legit one of the hidden gems of West Oakland/Emeryville. Since almost nothing they serve has rice (there are a couple of options that do) you can just order all the skewers you want.
posted by themadthinker at 12:07 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


General ideas:
- Poke bowl places are becoming popular lately, and most of them will sub in greens instead of rice.
- Ethiopian is a great option if you just don't eat the injera bread
- Sashmi with a side salad & miso soap is a great option at sushi restaurants
- In general, you can find good options in most upscale-ish New American type restaurants - they'll typically have some vegetable sides & meat-heavy entrees that don't feature much in the way of carbs.

Downtown/Uptown Oakland:
- Baygreens Salads has good quality salads with interesting combos, and great fresh juice as well
- Bacheesos is a Mediterranean place with a good brunch buffet that is super vegetable heavy. Lots of low carb options there
- Mockingbird is an upscale restaurant with some good veg & meat dishes
- Mua is another upscale new American-ish restaurant with good options.

Emeryville:
- Seconding Wally's Cafe - so tasty!
- Homegrown isn't the sort of place you'd go out of your way to get to, but it has good bowls (where you can sub the rice out for greens) and salads if you're in the area. Solid ingredients.
posted by Jaclyn at 12:32 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Agree with Ladle and Leaf (there are actually still SF Soup Co locations, but some of them have upgraded to Ladle and Leaf).
posted by radioamy at 1:11 PM on February 12


Lebanese food? Falafel balls (made of chickpeas), sliced roasted meat, and some assorted salads makes a pretty good dinner.

Maybe Ethiopian, too? Order all the different stews and meats and veggies * without the injera bread * (it's made of teff, and it's yummy, so this is sacrilage, but if you're cutting carbs, you might wanna) and eat all the things with a spoon.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 1:33 PM on February 12


There's Bonehead's BBQ on Mt. Diablo, in Lafayette, good for brisket, beans & slaw. And I think Roam will do bun-free burgers as well. You could also explore the salad bars at Whole Foods, in Lafayette & Walnut Creek.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:56 PM on February 12 [1 favorite]


Have you been to Mission Heirloom in Berkeley yet? They're paleo-focused, so while it's grain-free, it's not always low-carb (because paleo is cool with sweeteners like honey and agave). But they'll happily accommodate requests to de-carb-ify when they can. And the food is very good! They have a little market of grab-n-go/pantry foods, too.
posted by rhiannonstone at 8:03 PM on February 12


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