Just organic doesn’t cut it in the Bay Area, where a wave of healthy gourmet eateries is inspiring diners to opt for cleaner food. The 78-seat Little Gem (littlegem.restaurant) uses only responsibly raised meat and veggies grown without chemicals. The result? Naturally dairy- and refined-sugar–free dishes, such as the beluga lentil and sweet carrot salad. Nourish Café (nourishcafesf.com) puts a plant-based spin on comfort food, serving up a “ham and cheese” that’s actually roasted yam and cashew cream. Gluten-free Seed + Salt (seedandsalt.com) has garnered a cult following for its vegan burger made with beets, walnuts and lentils, then topped with optional eggplant “bacon.” And Al’s Place (alsplacesf.com) turns traditional menus upside down: Meats are under “sides” and vegetables claim the spotlight. The daily-changing fare may include ingredients from chef Aaron London’s own biodynamic garden.
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