5 Restaurant Mistakes Healthy Eaters Make

Just because Charleston offers up some of the best restaurant experiences in the country, doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a healthy meal. Check out our 5 tips below to make your next dining experience here in the lowcountry or anywhere for that matter a healthful one.

For most of us, light eating means passing up the Alfredo and opting for veggies over the fries. Problem is, even if you adhere to conscientious eating while dining out, healthy options still fall prey to the decadent trappings of extra oil, bigger portions, and serious calories.

But that doesn’t mean you have to eat at home every night. Simply follow these tips when you dine on a diet, and your meal will be both delicious and guilt-free:

Go easy on the olive oil. Sure, olive oil is a better option than slathering your bread with butter, but it’s still a quick source of fat and calories—and that bread soaks it up like a sponge. Olive oil may not have saturated fat or increase your bad cholesterol, but it can still wreak havoc on your waistline. Next time you want to garnish your bread with heavenly flavor, opt for extra-virgin olive oil and add a splash of balsamic vinegar to cut down the calories. Instead of dipping, drizzle it on with a fork.

Beware the small plates. They look innocuous enough, but tapas and appetizers add up, especially since most come to your table deep-fried and calorie-packed. Not to mention, these small dishes trick your brain into thinking you haven’t eaten much, so you tend to eat more. Avoid the extra calories by looking for grilled options, and opt for veggies or protein over carbs.

Watch out for plain old veggies. Steamed veggies are always a smart option for the figure-conscience patron. After all, they are a great source of fiber and antioxidants. Still, chefs often finish them in a sauté pan with a slick of butter or oil to boost the flavor. To avoid the fat-trap, order your veggies by asking for them “dry.” That will let the chef know to steam them and leave the bacon drippings and oil far away from your greens so you can control your calorie count.

Don’t fall for looks. Gorgeously plated meals can make a large serving suddenly look tiny when dwarfed by a huge platter or when piled sky-high. Dodge the extra intake with a proper-portion check. Lean protein should be no bigger than your smartphone. A serving of carbs should be the size of your fist—much smaller than the average pasta entrée.

Be salad savvy. You’ve been ordering your salads with dressing on the side for years now, but the ingredients in even a mixed green salad can mean unwanted calories. One with goat cheese, pears, and candied walnuts, for instance, can set you back 500 calories. Most restaurants are willing to let you custom-create your salad with dressing on the side to avoid these unnecessary temptations.

What are some ways you avoid extra calories while enjoying a meal out?

Charleston’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants

One of the beautiful things about Charleston is its diversity—and when it comes to dining, we make sure no vegetarian is left behind! Aside from the perks of a vegetarian diet—from lower cholesterol to higher life expectancy—vegetarian fare is just plain delicious!

Check out our favorite places to dine around Charleston when craving vegetarian cuisine:

Basil Thai Restaurant: When we’re in the mood for unforgettable flavor without the meat, Basil Thai Restaurant is at the top of our list. Whether it’s Green Curry, Pad See-Eu, or Pad Prik, Basil’s most-loved dishes can be made with tofu at your request. Sit back and take in the lush, sophisticated ambiance while you enjoy your meat-free meal!

Black Bean Co.: Organic, all natural, and vegetarian-friendly—Black Bean Co. gives you the best of all worlds when you walk through its doors. They can even cater to vegan patrons upon request. With a menu that features fresh baked pastries, hearty wraps, gyros, and salads, Black Bean Co. offers foods that make you feel energized and fulfilled all day long.

Alluette’s Cafe: Aluette’s Café cuisine is a mix of Gullah, Gheechi, Soul and southern—and every last flavorful dish is prepared only once it is ordered. Alluette has an “always on the menu” section including brown rice and organic tofu for the vegan and vegetarian diner in addition to the daily specials. While you enjoy your meal, be sure to check out the local artists’ works adorning the salmon-colored walls. One trip to this charming café, and you’ll be hooked. But don’t just take our word for it—even Oprah Winfrey vouched for the deliciousness of Aluette’s fare!

Have you been to these exemplary Charleston restaurants before? Share your experience in the comments section below!


Charleston’s Best Wine Bars

Looking for a sophisticated night on the town in beautiful Charleston? Perhaps you hear a Bordeaux calling your name from a low-lit atmosphere where jazz lilts through the air.

No matter if you prefer a glass of red or white, these wine bars are sure to transport you into a mood of utter relaxation with their unforgettable wines:

  • Social Wine Bar: Since its opening in 2007, Social Wine Bar has received much acclaim, including four stars from the Post & Courier and “Best Wine Selection,” “Best Happy Hour,” and “Best Upscale Bar” by the City Paper. Social Wine Bar supports small, artisinal producers whose prime concern is making the best possible wines and who utilize sustainable methods. If you’re looking to experience a glass of an “old world” wine, rest assured, you’ve come to the right place!
  • Bin 152: Bin 152 is a wine bar, cheese bar, art gallery, and antiques market. Located in the heart of downtown Charleston in the French Quarter, this wine bar offers 30 different wines by the glass and over 100 wines by the bottle. They also offer 35 different cheeses and charcuterie all served a la carte with their freshly baked bread.
  • Cypress: Looking for a world-class meal to go with your wine? Cypress sources ingredients from the Lowcountry’s finest farmers and fishermen, and Chef Craig Deihl serves a dynamic seasonal menu featuring the regional fare. The menu is complemented by an expansive wine list featuring over 4,500 bottles from well known vineyards to small, private vineyards from around the world.
  • Gaslight Art and Wine: Gaslight Art and Wine is an upscale, unique bar situated between Historic Charleston and the Sanctuary Resort at Kiawah Island. The Gaslight is the perfect stop for any wine, art, and animal lover visiting the Charleston area. Once you walk into this elegantly casual bar, you’ll quickly feel the classic speakeasy vibe. Not only are the wine and atmosphere exceptional, but this bar is also pet-friendly. Bring your pampered pooch on by and enjoy a glass of Lost Dog Wines. A portion of the proceeds help many local pet rescue organizations.

Which of these fabulous Charleston wine bars are you most excited to visit this year?

Best Dining Views in Downtown Charleston

rooftop diningWe at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction love our city! Charleston, South Carolina, is full of rich historical and cultural beauty. Whether you’re in town for breast reconstruction surgery or you’ve lived here for years, enjoy the best of what Charleston has to offer by checking out these excellent dining rooms with a view during your next dinner out.

Fleet Landing Restaurant

Constructed by the U.S. Navy in 1942 as a departure point for sailors, Fleet Landing offers diners stunning views of the Charleston Harbor. The restaurant lies within a 6,000-square-foot, hurricane-proof structure that went unused for decades following World War Two. In 2004, visionary Tradd Newton realized his dream of reinventing the striking space, and Fleet Landing was born.

Today, diners enjoy seafood dishes in a rich historical setting. Fleet Landing offers lunch and dinner seven days a week, plus brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Menu and reservation information are available here.

Vendue Inn

Even if you aren’t staying at the Vendue Inn during your time in Charleston, be sure to visit the Rooftop Bar and Restaurant atop the building. Named Charleston’s best bar five years in a row by the Charleston City Paper, Rooftop offers sweeping views of the city’s harbor and historic downtown.

Cozy during any season, the Rooftop boasts outdoor heaters in the chilly months and luxurious sunshine during the rest of the year. Visit seven days a week, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m., with live music in the evenings. Menu information is available here.

Pavilion Bar

Described as a “rooftop oasis,” the Pavilion Bar is located on top of the luxurious Market Pavilion Hotel. Pavilion patrons can sip signature cocktails while enjoying views of historic downtown Charleston and the waterfront. The bar also boasts a cascading waterfall to relax patrons.

Private parties and individuals can enjoy the elegant Pavilion every day between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m., but should be sure to consult the bar’s dress code. Menu and other details are available here .