Doctors’ orders: What physicians eat at 6 Charleston restaurants

tuna poke bowl

So many restaurants and not enough time. We reached out to six physicians about their favorite healthy dishes specific to their medical specialties. They identified eateries located across the Lowcountry, including Summerville, Mount Pleasant, downtown Charleston, West Ashley and James Island. Find out what we learned.

Dr. Aman Amin
Internal Medicine, Primary Care
Restaurant: Lacey’s Takeaway
I like quick, healthy, on the go meals that taste homemade. With busy schedules, Lacey’sin Mount Pleasant fits the bill. Fresh salads, desserts and a long list of dinner ideas from lasagna, chicken parm, farro roasted veg, cheesy meatball bake, vegetarian lasagna, chicken piccata, bacon wrapped meatloaf, quinoa Bolognese! They have wraps and have vegetarian and gluten free options as well. All you have to do is order by phone and soon online and pick up to take home to reheat and enjoy. This is a great healthy option for anyone on the go and families with busy schedules but don’t want fast food. 

Dr. Danielle Metzler
Family Medicine, Primary Care
Pollo Guapo and Point Break Coffee
On James Island, I like Point Break Coffee — lots of juices, smoothies and whole-food options for a light breakfast, lunch or snack. I also like Pollo Guapo which is new. I like this place because of the salad and bowl options. Whenever I go out to eat, I like to find places where the main item is constructed of whole foods — plenty of lean protein and vegetables, with limited sauces or additives. Their salads and bowls are fresh and filling. I feel good about “eating out” here! At Pollo Guapo, I like the Spanish-chop Green Bowl and the Spent Green Bowl – a variety of veggies and protein. Always ask for dressing on the side to limit the portion of dressing you are consuming! I also like the Arroz-con Pollo Rice Bowl and the Almost Legal Rice Bowl. Again, dressing on the side. And ask without queso fresco to limit cholesterol. Try to avoid the words “crispy” on any menu. That usually means fried in high-inflammatory oil!

Dr. Sarah Minter
Obesity Medicine
Restaurant: Viva Chicken Summerville
I like the quarter chicken with cilantro rice and plantains because it’s a good balance of protein to carbs. It satisfies both the sweet and the savory, plus it’s not overly heavy but it’s filling. You can also dress up the flavor with huacatay, medium-green sauce, which is not a full-fat based dressing but it has a fresh flavor. Also, the sauce doesn’t take away from the sweet and the savory.

Dr. Matthew Neal
Restaurant: Lacey’s Takeaway
Lacey’s Take-Away in Mount Pleasant offers many fresh food options that can boost brain health. Try the Superfood Salad. The green leafy and other vegetables are packed with brain friendly nutrients such as beta-carotene, folic acid lutein, and vitamins A, C and K. In addition, the berries are packed with antioxidants that promote brain health. The Miso Glazed Salmon is an excellent protein choice. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which have been associated with increased learning, memory, cognitive well-being and blood flow in the brain. Consider adding a side of roasted broccoli which is packed with sulforaphane, a chemical known to promote the growth and repair of brain tissues.

Dr. Julia Saylors
Medical Oncology, Hematology and Integrative Medicine
Restaurant: Philosophia
A newish restaurant is Philosophia in Mount Pleasant. The Mediterranean diet has proven itself in numerous studies to be heart healthy, anti-inflammatory and cancer preventing. The perfect meal at Philosophia would be a Greek salad with the extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing, the salmon entree or whole branzino and a side of beets or crispy Brussel sprouts. 

Dr. Andrew Smith
Orthopaedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Sports Medicine
Restaurant: EmojiPoke
A newish restaurant I’d recommend for a bone healthy meal is EmojiPoke. Foods rich in calcium and Vitamin D are essential to bone health. Leafy green vegetables, fish and dairy are excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D. The perfect bone healthy meal at EmojiPoke is the LOL Salmon Bowl which contains salmon, avocado, edamame, mango, asparagus, furikake and seaweed salad. 

Dr. Louise Wannamaker
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Restaurant: Basic Kitchen
The Green Salad is great to start with followed by the Market Fish or the Basic Bowl with grains, greens, chickpeas. In general, I recommend eating a balanced diet. For those trying to get pregnant, there is research noting a benefit to replacing meat with plant-based proteins. For pregnant women ensuring adequate protein intake and eating vitamin rich vegetables is ideal. Basic Kitchen makes delicious and nutrient packed food out of local produce providing fantastic options to achieve these nutritional goals.

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