5 Healthy Fast-Casual Restaurants in Boca Raton
If healthy eating is one of your new-year goals, you’re in luck — because one thing we are not lacking in Boca Raton is the abundance of healthy fast-casual restaurants.
In our fast-paced lives, the demand for wholesome, flavorful meals served swiftly has given rise to a new category in the restaurant industry that has become increasingly popular within the last decade. It’s all about the convenience of quick ordering with grab-and-go options — without sacrificing good health.
Some of the trends for healthy fast-casual restaurants include the build-your-own-bowl concept, vegan protein alternatives, 100% gluten-free menus, and fresh-pressed juices. Let’s explore some of the top establishments in Boca Raton that cater to those leading a health-conscious yet on-the-go lifestyle.
Bolay Fresh Bold Kitchen
5030 Champion Blvd. G1D
7152-B Beracasa Way
Bolay is a huge player in the healthy fast-casual dining category, and I think it may have been the very first one I visited. The first location was established in 2016 in Palm Beach Gardens, by Chris Gannon and his father Tim, who also founded Outback Steakhouse in 1988. At the present time, there are 26 locations in total, all over Florida. Boca residents are lucky enough to have two locations – one on Clint Moore and Military and another on Powerline and Palmetto.
Bolay is a 100% gluten-free facility with a focus on fresh, bold ingredients that are also nutrient dense. Guests are invited to build their own “bol” through a simple 5-step process: choose your greens and grains (the base), add veggies, pick your protein, choose an additional topping and then get saucy. There is also a variety of signature Chef’s Bols available, if you don’t want to make your own.
Vale Food Co.
5250 Town Center Circle #131
Vale is another fast-casual Florida staple, with a total of eight locations all over the state. The Boca location opened very recently, in September 2023. I had been to the Fort Lauderdale location once before and loved it. The restaurant is all about living green, focusing on sustainability, food integrity, supporting local and natural, high quality ingredients.
The menu features signature bowls and salads (or you can create your own), poke bowls, açaí, dragonfruit and chia pudding bowls, smoothies, avocado toast, craft lemonades and more. Gluten-free and vegan guests will be well taken care of with all of the options available — and I do mean a lot of options. The list of ingredients to choose from when building your own bowl/salad is huge, which I appreciate. I love options, and I love a bowl that’s jam-packed with all the things!
Fit Foodz Cafe
9704 Clint Moore Rd. A-108
Fit Foodz Cafe is a long-standing member of the West Boca community, serving up healthy comfort food and affordable meal plans since 2011. It also has a sister restaurant in Delray, Ripe, which is 100% gluten free, and my personal favorite for fast-casual in Delray. Fit Foodz Cafe is not entirely gluten free, but it does offer a lot of gluten-free options, as well as vegan, vegetarian, Keto and Paleo. The menu is large with tons of variety — fresh juices and smoothies, breakfast, salads, bunless burgers, wraps, sandwiches with an option for a lettuce wrap, carb/carb-less pasta and more. For those who count macros, a full list is available for the menu items.
The best part of the place is the dessert case, where owner Susan displays her homemade treats that are not only delicious, but they are healthy desserts too! Don’t sleep on the vegan, gluten-free funfetti cookie sandwiches. You can thank me later.
Orion Fresh Mediterranean
1654 N Federal Highway
I’ve only been to Orion Fresh Mediterranean one time on a total whim, but was pretty impressed with its Mediterranean-style build-your-own-bowl (or pita) concept. The menu is filled with predominantly Greek flavors, inspired by one of the co-owners who was born in Northern Greece. The other owner is Vietnamese-American, and the two have combined their culture’s rich flavors to create a really unique menu.
The choices are very different than Bolay or Vale: things like turmeric and harissa-spiced rice and lentils, braised lamb and basil shrimp, chickpea salad, baba ganoush, tzatziki, and Sriracha tahini. They also offer cilantro-lime hummus, Dolmades (grape leaves) and Spanakopita (spinach pie) as side options.
10 East Palmetto Park Rd. Unit 102
20642 State Road 7
Fun fact: Carrot Express was born on the inside of a gas station on Alton Road in South Beach back in 1993. Now, the restaurant has multiple locations across Palm Beach County, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and New York City. In 2023 alone, it not only surpassed 20 stores, but it launched a new app and opened its 25th store! Its extensive menu focuses on natural, high quality ingredients, with plenty of options for vegan and gluten-free customers.
Breakfast, avocado toast, sandwiches, soups, wraps, açaí bowls, power bowls and salads, burgers, protein platters, juices and smoothies, and stuffed baked sweet potatoes, and even a dessert menu featuring, of course, a slice of the signature carrot cake — the menu basically covers all the bases.
Oh, and don’t miss out on the homemade cilantro-lime vinaigrette. It’s an option for pretty much all of the salads, but trust me…get it to drizzle over any bowl, spread on your burgers, dip your sandwich or wrap into, etc. I can’t even begin to describe how good it is.
Healthy Eating Doesn’t Have to Be Boring
The uptick in healthy fast-casual restaurant presence is not only a trend but a fundamental shift in how we approach dining when we lead busy lives, but still care about our health. You shouldn’t have to compromise taste for health or vice versa. We can have both — and these are five healthy fast-casual restaurants in Boca that are proving that point in the most delicious ways.
Disclosure: This blog is based on my own personal opinion, and not sponsored. Restaurants are not listed in any particular order.