My Favorite Spots for a Healthy Lunch in Richmond VA


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One question I get asked often is where I like to go out to eat here in Richmond. Isaac and I have a ton of local favorites for a nice dinner out, but today I want to share options for a quick and healthy lunch. Since I work at home and spend a lot of time cooking, I typically have lots of food on hand and just eat lunch at home. But there are definitely times when I’m meeting a friend for lunch, busy and on-the-go or just don’t feel like cooking. When moments like this hit I have a handful of spots I know I can go to get something quick that’s nutritious and delicious.

Here are my top picks for a healthy lunch in Richmond, VA

Stellas greek chicken quinoa bowl in a to-go container with cucumber, tomatoes, chicken, purple onion and chickpeas, sitting on a blue and white striped towel.

Stella’s Grocery | Near West End

Stella’s, one the best Greek restaurants in Richmond, has the cutest little market across the street with to-go items from the restaurant, other prepared foods, coffee, beer, wine and a variety of other grocery items. Within the prepared foods section they have a bunch of healthy options like whole roasted chickens, grilled veggies, salads, hummus, tabbouleh and more. This is a great grab and go spot because they only have two small tables, both of which are outside.

What I get: Grilled chicken quinoa bowl with chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled onions and a Greek dressing OR the fresh village salad.

Union Market | Church Hill 

An overhead shot of lunch at Union Market. A bowl of salad and a plate with a sandwich cut in half. There is also a small bowl of soup.

Whenever we have friends from out-of-town visiting, we take them to the eatery in Union Market for lunch. They have an awesome menu with a variety of sandwiches, salads and soups so everyone can find something they like. The food comes fast and they have a good amount of indoor and outdoor seating, which is lovely when the weather is nice. They serve beer and wine, plus they have kombucha on tap!

What I get: Chopped salad with chickpeas, avocado, housemade giardinera, cucumber, radish, romaine and feta cheese with house vinaigrette.

A woman holding a salad in her lap with a fork.

Cava Grill | The Fan 

This fast-causal spot started in DC and finally made its way down to Richmond. I tweeted and messaged them so many times begging them to come so needless to say I was so pumped when their first location opened in 2017.

When describing Cava Grill to people I say that the concept it similar to Chipotle, but with Mediterranean food. It has the same assembly line approach to ordering so you decide if you want a bowl or pita, which base you’d like (greens and grains or a combo of both), your protein, 3 dips and spreads as well as a variety of toppings. The dips and spreads consist of things like red pepper hummus, tzatziki, eggplant and red pepper dip, harissa while the toppings are things like cabbage slaw, pickled onions, cauliflower tabbouleh, tomato and cucumber salad, raw beet and dill salad, etc.

What I get: Greens and grains bowl with half super greens and lentils OR greens bowl with a mix of baby spinach and super greens // dips: eggplant and red pepper dip, harissa and red pepper hummus // protein: a mix of grilled chicken and falafel toppings: cabbage slaw, pickled onions, cauliflower tabbouleh, tomato and cucumber salad, raw beet and dill salad, fresh mint, extra romaine // dressing: spicy turmeric tahini.

Overhead photo of two bowls with salads inside.

Goatocado | The Fan

Goatacado is a local spot that started as a single food truck, but now they have more than 5 carts and a brick and mortar location in the Fan area. They’ve always served fresh, flavorful foods and I’ve been obsessed with them since the beginning! The cart menu is a little different than the restaurant menu, but both have awesome quinoa bowls made with seasonal ingredients.

What I get: The Vietnamese quinoa bowl (with seared mushrooms, pickled veggies, shaved red cabbage, cucumber, fresh herbs, zesty carrot top aioli, peanut sauce, toasted sesame seeds and fresh avocado) OR the Californian quinoa bowl (with zesty black beans, apple-corn pico de gallo, chipotle-pineapple dressings shredded smoked gouda cheese and avocado). I like adding a fried egg or grilled chicken too!

Ellwood Thompson’s | Carytown

Richmond’s local, organic market. Ellwood Thompson’s has a hot bar/salad bar, juice bar, cafe, a large selection of prepared foods and a bowl bar where you can get specialty earth bowls or create your own.

What I get: Veggie fresh rolls from the sushi section OR the Hipster earth bowl (with quinoa, roasted better, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, roasted carrots and a lemon dill dressing) OR the salad bar. I love the oven-fried tofu, but they haven’t had it on the bar recently.

Whole Foods | Short Pump

This one is a given, but I had to include it on the list because I often find myself here for lunch.

What I get: A big container from the salad bar with a base of mixed greens, fresh veggies and some of the fun salads. My favorite is the cracklin’ cauliflower and garlicky kale salad <— two recipes I love so much I recreated them at home.

Richmond’s healthy food scene is definitely growing and I couldn’t be more excited about it. We don’t have all the options that big cities like NYC, LA and DC have but we’re moving in the right direction! I still have my fingers crossed that sweetgreen will make its way down here soon!

About Brittany

Hey there, I’m Brittany, the creator of Eating Bird Food, cookbook author, health coach and mama of two littles. Here you’ll find quick and easy recipes that make healthy fun and enjoyable for you and your family!

More about Brittany
Chicken fajita filling on a sheet pan with a wooden spoon. Tortillas are resting on the bottom of the sheet pan.
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  1. I love this style of post! I love how you not only share the restaurants but also what you order. I want to do a similar post for Charlotte places!

    1. Thanks Sara. Definitely do one for Charlotte so I can check it out when I come to visit. 🙂

  2. I love this style of post as well! It’s always interesting to see what types of options people have in other cities. It also helps me branch out where I live, to try new places. That mediterranean style of “chipotle” sounds fabulous! I definitely need to find one here 🙂

  3. This post has me wishing I lived somewhere with these tasty restaurants. Cava Grill sounds amazing – what a great concept!

  4. The Cava Grill sounds so good! We are just now starting to get some variety in healthy food in Nashville, and I couldn’t be more excited! I would love to visit Richmond sometime too! My mom and I have talked about doing a girls relaxing weekend trip up there!

    1. Richmond is SUCH a fun city to explore. Lots of good restaurants, breweries, hiking, river activities and more! Come in the spring or fall for the best weather. It gets really hot and humid in the summer (probably similar to Nashville).

  5. Right on time for my healthy eating challenge! I just tried Cava Grill this week and LOVED it. Parking was a challenge so excited about the Short Pump addition!

    1. Totally agree. The VCU location is close to me, but I’m excited for their other locations because of the parking as well. 🙂

  6. Wow! So many great stops and so much good food! 😀 Stella’s Grocery (looks) and sounds like a nice place to try out…I love Mediterranean food ^_^

  7. One of my favorite spots lately, though their locations are outside the city is Mezeh. I describe it as Cava but way better. Way more options and made the same day. Fresh and delicious.

  8. You should check out Saadias Juicebox in Jackson Ward! We are an all woman owned vegan shop and we offer everything from smoothies, Juices, lattes, energy balls, salads, wraps and a lot more!!