By Melanie Graysmith

Over the last decade we’ve read many horror stories centered on how empty, fattening, and dangerous carbohydrate calories can be. And no, it’s not all starchy white flours and rice, but certainly the “simple carbs” of white breads, crackers, sodas and sweets are the worst offenders. There is no clear definition of what comprises a low-carb diet. The U.S. Department of Agriculture hasn’t established a specific definition for a daily low-carb allowance.

Although various diets, organizations, and studies offer some guidelines, experimentation is the best way to find your personalized carbs-per-day number. Some say 100-150 grams per day is low-carb, while others feel under 50 grams per day is an optimal range. But if you are trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight use care to choose healthy proteins as low-carb diets do not restrict high saturated fat, increasing the risk of heart attack and strokes.

Read on for five San Francisco restaurants that will satisfy your quest for low carb dishes.

500 Brannan St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-1413

Marlow, more of a small neighborhood bistro than big city restaurant, is known for its innovative meat centric menu with some uniquely modern twists. Opened since 2010, Marlowe is a popular spot for meals all day; lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, plus happily it has a Bar Menu Monday to Friday, 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm when Oysters (MP), Marlow’s signature Crispy Brussels Sprouts Chips ($9.5), and Warm Deviled Egg ($3) take the spotlight, as they do at Lunch. Additional lower carb options at Marlowe include fish and seafood dishes, including a Smoked Salmon & English Cucumber starter ($15), Pan Seared Black Cod main dish ($29), and vegetable side Smokey Baked Cauliflower ($9), along with several meat options, such as the Marlowe Burger ($16) that some say is the best burger around. Check the website menus for other selections that may fit a low carb diet.

Related: Best Winer Soups In The Bay Area

Woodhouse Fish Co.
1914 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
(415) 437-CRAB (2722)

Woodhouse Fish Co. An American Seafood Restaurant, is an excellent destination dining spot and first-rate fit for low carb fish options. When choosing low carb foods a wide range of grilled, baked, and oven fried fish and seafood make excellent choices, and Woodhouse Fish Co. has several:

Whole Roasted Idaho Trout with Seasonal Vegetables ($26), Dungeness Crab (seasonally priced), Steamed Shellfish ($14/$17, but skip the fires), Raw ($3 each) or BBQ Oysters (4/$13) and a Mixed Greens Salad ($7) can fit a low carb diet. A second location is at 2073 Market Street with a similar though reduced menu.

Roam Artisan Burgers
1785 Union St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 440-7626 (ROAM)

Roam just may become your favorite burger joint in town with its endless possibilities menu selection that lets you create your own burger from beef, turkey, veggie, bison (+$2.99), or elk (+$1.99) burgers plus pile-on options from free to a buck or two, such as a gluten free bun (+$1), a range of cheeses (+$1) or specialties like Applewood Smoked Bacon or Truffle Parmesan Fries (+$1.75). Roam has plenty of low carb items. Any of Roam’s burgers, 100% grass fed beef, free range turkey, all natural bison or its house made organic veggie burger are low carb, as of these can be made in a lettuce wrap. Roam has a huge Farmer’s Market Salad with rainbow carrots, radishes, persimmons, avocado and Cotija cheese, which can be topped with a skewer of mini patties (select from above burger choices), as can the seasonal veggies, which currently are Brussels sprouts with red Fresno chilies, rice wine vinegar, garlic and lime. Wow … what a selection! Check it all out here. A second San Francisco Roam location is at 1923 Fillmore Street, San Francisco 94115. Also located in Lafayette, CA.

Marcella’s Lasagneria
1099 Tennessee St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 920-2225

Something special is happening in the City’s Dogpatch neighborhood – a entire restaurant devoted to lasagna. Don’t you love it? According to Marcella Lasagneria, “Many people are under the impression that because of the pasta… they are a high calorie item. In reality, because the pasta layers are so very thin, the ratio of pasta to fillings makes it not as high on calories as most folks would think.” And surprisingly, Marcella’s Lasagneria serves several lower carb items as well, with good-for-you ingredients in filling portions. All Marcella’s lasagnas are made with six layers of ultra-thin pasta, béchamel, tomato sauce, parmigiano, reggiano, and mozzarella cheeses ($11.50). Two lasagna selections fit lower carb options: Abruzzo, made with Marcella’s hand-made Italian sausage in a spicy red sauce, and Bolognese, made with ground Angus sirloin in a savory red sauce, both have just 11 grams of carbs and 270 calories in each 7-ounce serving. Also available are several salads. View the menu here.

Related: Top 5 Middle Eastern Restaurants In San Francisco

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria
2200 Lombard St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 885-4500

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria has been a Bay Area pizza favorite since 1987, and continues to satisfy with its wide range of delicious pizzas using quality ingredients. With gluten free pizzas available at some pizzerias these days it is important to note that gluten free is not the same as low-carb, although eliminating gluten cuts down on carbohydrate intake. That said, Amici’s gluten free menu offers a wide range of pizza options on a 12” gluten-free crust, and several are vegetarian or vegan too ($21.75 – $26.95), along with a huge choice of toppings, most low carb and/or gluten free as well. A second San Francisco location is at 216 King Street, San Francisco 94107.


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