If you look on the Keto blogs, instagram pages or Facebook groups a lot of people seem to think it is hard to eat out while following a Ketogenic way of eating. I could not disagree more. In fact, one of the things I love about low carb high fat diets is that as long as you know what to look for it is super easy to find food on almost any menu.
I love to cook, but I am also a busy single mom, so while I may cook 3 to 4 nights a week, I am eating out for lunch every single day and a few nights a week for dinner. I love eating out for lunch because I get to spend time with coworkers, but also I get to explore downtown Los Angeles which is very different from where I live on the Westside of LA.
So here are some of my favorite spots, they range in price from the cheap (Five Guys and Jimmy John's) to the not so cheap (Del Frisco's), so hopefully that gives you an idea of options at any price range... these are in no particular order.
Everyone knows In-N-Out is the bomb. Tourists flock to them, but so do locals. A double double cheeseburger protein style with no onions, no sauce, but add mustard is my go to. Usually I eat one of those, but I've been known to eat 2 on particularly hungry days:)
I know I have an unfair advantage in the Keto world because I live less than 2 miles from an actual Bulletproof Coffee Shop. Just to make it even more unfair they are currently under construction on a second shop that will be less than 2 miles from my work downtown. But I am guessing they will be rapidly expanding around the country sometime soon! Of course the coffee is great, but the food is even better! They have a delicious menu of food available, breakfast is served all day and then super yummy lunch and dinner options too. Their Bulletproof ice cream is incredible. Rumor has it they are expanding their Santa Monica spot, so I hope that happens because people who just think this is a coffee shop are seriously missing out. Their food quality is beyond most high end restaurants! Plus you know everything you are eating is the highest quality.
Gaby's is a Mediterranean spot by my house and it is my favorite place to stop on busy volleyball nights when we want to grab something that is on our way home. They have a drive through too which is awesome when I am feeling exceptionally lazy:) I always order the exact same thing... a whole chicken a la carte and a greek salad, no onions but add cucumbers. I ask for no pita but extra garlic sauce (which is BOMB!). They also have Sprite Zero which is oddly rare at restaurants.
I have worked at the same place for 5 years in downtown Los Angeles and it was only about 9 months ago that I discovered Little Tokyo Market Place. I don't know what took me so long, but I am so glad I found it! Lunch in downtown can often be decided on the ease of parking at a particular location, LTMP has free parking and lots of it! Yay! It is not necessarily the ideal Keto lunch spot because it is filled with carbs. The second you walk in you see ramen and a huge section of baked goods where the ladies literally yell out at you to come try their carb-filled creations, but if you just keep walking you will find a couple treasures. My favorite is their relatively new Poke bar where you can customize a Poke creation. They normally add rice to their poke bowls, but just tell them no- they will look at you funny and ask you 3 or 4 times if you are sure, but just stay strong.
My poke bowls have salmon (I get all 3 fish servings as salmon, but you can mix and match however you want), crab meat, avocado, onions, green onions, seaweed salad, smelt eggs and medium sauce (sometimes spicy). You also have the option of getting this as a salad with lettuce but I never do.
They also have good sushi, but for whatever reason they never have sashimi so I buy salmon nigiri and just take the fish off of the rice and throw the rice away. They also have different meats in small portions in their hot section so sometimes I get ribs and sometimes they have plain chicken wings.
This list in no particular order, but if it was out of sheer volume of visits and money spent Starbucks would definitely be #1. I pretty much go to Starbucks every weekday morning. I never, ever make breakfast and I have a 12 year old that needs to eat on her way to school so we always stop. I usually order ahead of time with my Starbucks app which is AWESOME. Starbucks does not have very many Keto food options, but if you're creative you can make it work. My favorite breakfast option in the Bacon Gouda sandwich, I usually ask for it toasted open face so the bacon gets crispy and then I just eat the middle and discard the bread. You can do the same with their sausage sandwich. Bread doesn't tempt me, but I guess for some they wouldn't want that bread left in the bag taunting them... to each their own lol. I also love Moon Cheese as a snack option.
There are quite a few drink options for Keto.
My favorite: Venti Americano, 6 pumps of sugar free cinnamon dolce, with steamed heavy cream added (about 2"). Sometimes I add a couple tsps of Bulletproof Brain Octane oil to my drink when I get in the car, especially on the days I do Intermittent Fasting.
My daughter's favorite: Tall unsweetened passion tea iced with 1" of heavy cream added and 1 packet of Splenda. That one is basically a keto version of a Strawberry and Cream Frap which used to be her favorite drink pre-keto.
She also orders unsweetened green tea and adds a packet of splenda quite often and I do the same with unsweetened passion tea when I don't want caffeine.
The Blue Star is literally the only restaurant within walking distance of my work so it is my easy go-to spot when I am in back to back meetings and need a quick to-go lunch. I almost always order the same thing: cobb salad but no turkey and add salmon instead. Then they sound confused and tell me "it will cost extra", then I say "yup I know"- same thing every time lol. They really should put this on their menu with salmon because it's delicious and they do a really good job with the salmon! I also from time to time get a bunless burger with bacon added and a side salad which is also yummy.
7. JIMMY JOHN'S
I had never heard of Jimmy John's until I started doing Keto and noticed people on Instagram posting pictures of Unwiches. Then I looked it up and they are everywhere- have I been living under a rock?! Anyway, there is one by USC so I headed over there one day and was super impressed. They are SUPER fast and the unwiches are really yummy! I get the #9 (it's an italian sandwich basically, can't remember the name), no onions, unwiched. And now I buy 2 because the first time I went and brought it back to work I was still hungry, so now I double up!
Plus they are next door to 5 Guys...
8. FIVE GUYS
I love 5 Guys! Burgers in a bowl, peanuts while you wait, those "design your own" soda machines- all good things! They are also super friendly in my experience no matter which one I go to.
I order the double bacon burger with cheese in a bowl. Mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mustard. Pretty simple.
9. ALOHA CAFE
I love this place, they are super nice and it is in Little Tokyo not too far from where I work. I can't eat most of the things on the menu, but you can make it work. It is Hawaiian Plate Lunch, which I am very familiar with because my family lived in Honolulu for 9 years. You get a meat, 2 scoops of white rice and a scoop of mac salad. I used to get this before I was Keto and now I still go and get Kalbi chicken with no rice, no mac salad. Instead they give me a side salad which is sometimes mixed with their cabbage salad. Delicious and a huge portion, sometimes I can eat it all but usually it is 2 meals for me. They also have bacon because they have breakfast so one day I also got a side of bacon (not pictured).
10. DEL FRISCO'S GRILLE
I love Del Frisco's Grille! I've been going since they first opened and now that I am Keto I discovered they have some great options, like most steak houses. My favorite is the Steakhouse Salad which has steak (of course), deviled eggs, avocado, bacon, parm, blue cheese and crunchy cress. YUM!!! It was so perfect! My favorite appetizer is the artichoke! I've also gotten the lamb burger before bunless with a salad, and the asparagus.
11. THE CHAIRMAN
The Chairman is in the Art District and is one of my favorite lunch spots. It started as a food truck in San Fran and this is their first brick & mortar location. Initially the menu seemed challenging for a Keto person because there is a lot of rice, buns and noodles but there are definitely a couple delicious options! My favorite is the Pork Belly Fennel Salad with Spicy Mayo on top! Mouth-watering! My other favorite is their wings! They are fried but with some spicy mayo on top they are perfect!
Fresh Brothers has awesome pizza, I used to order their GF pizza quite often pre-Keto. But now I just order their delicious baked wings and greek salad. I love dry wings so I order them that way with mild sauce and blue cheese on the side. Sometimes I mix some of the mild into the blue cheese and sometimes I skip the sauce all together.
13. WHOLE FOODS
I've always loved Whole Foods, my go-tos are the salmon sashimi, salad bar of course, rotisserie chicken, and the cold prepared bar has some good options too for cold proteins and veggies. The seafood bar is also a favorite stop of mine, especially the poke bar! My daughter always wants the shrimp cocktail, and sometimes they have other yumminess like bacon wrapped scallops.
14. WHARO KOREAN BBQ
There aren't a lot of Korean BBQ places on the Westside, but this one is super close to my house! If there was a style of food made for Keto people it would have to be Korean BBQ! Kalbi beef and pork belly are usually my go-tos. Also Steamed Eggs! If you haven't had them you must, they taste like the fluffiest scrammbled eggs imaginable.
15. EREWHON MARKET
Erewhon is basically a smaller, fancier Whole Foods. Everything is organic and they have a lot of raw and vegan foods as well. They have great prepared food with a lot of different proteins, salads and whatnot. They also have a lot of options that are hard to find (think vegan gluten-free macaroni and cheese). You can take your healthiest friends there and everyone will find something delicious!
ENJOY! Photos were originally posted on my Instagram page