Unique Salads Freshly Picked By the Country's Best Chefs

January brings on a lot of New Year's resolution-fueled salad eating. If you're growing fatigued of spring mix and chicken breast, here's where to find the most interesting takes on salad in the country–some are healthier than others, but all are vetted as delicious by the top chefs in the U.S.

January 14, 2014 ● 5 min read

New York

Fried pork and crispy oyster salad at Kin Shop, recommended by chef Marco Canora who says it has "all of the addictive flavors—chili, lime, mint—that make the cuisine so great."

Chef Philippe's warm chicken salad at Benoit, recommended by chef Francois Payard who says it's "it's what I always get."

Crispy Chinese watercress salad at SriPraPhai, recommended by chef Michael White who says "the textures in this salad are amazing. Once you start eating this, you just can’t stop."

Warm lobster salad at Gramercy Tavern, recommended by chef Sean Rembold who says "There's a certain uptown-downtown magic that comes over you while catching a late lunch at the Tavern."

Roasted carrot & avocado salad at ABC Kitchen, recommended by chefs Alain Ducasse and Ben Pollinger who say "The avocado and sour cream make for a wonderful tart and sweet dressing, and the crunchy sunflower and sesame seeds up against the sweet carrots and smooth avocado are a great textural combination," and "Dan Kluger really elevates the humble carrot into an art form. It's sweet, tender, and even has a little heat!" respectively.

San Francisco

Tiger salad at Mission Chinese Food recommended by chef Melissa Perello who says "This is just plain delicious, and I don't have to feel guilty eating it! Next time I might order two. This comes with herbs, lettuce, turnip vinegar, and chili oil."

Chicory salad at Rich Table, recommended by chef Melissa Perello who says "There is so much dynamic to this dish—sweet from the date vinaigrette, bitter from the chicories, and salty and crunchy from the crispy chicken skin. It's just plain delicious."

Sweet potato salad at Bar Tartine, recommended by chef Michael Anthony who says it's "creative, clean, and so thoughtful."

Beef tendon salad at Nojo, recommended by chefs Liza Shaw and Scott Whitman who say "This is full of great textures, acidity, and richness. I could eat this all day," and "Thin strips of beef tendon are combined with kaiware, watermelon radishes, and sesame. It's soul-satisfying," respectively.

Los Angeles

Baby calamari salad at Jar, recommended by chef Christian Page who says "When in season, Suzanne does this delicately grilled baby squid with lightly dressed greens, a simple and delicious dish."

Grilled octopus salad at Angelini Osteria, recommended by chef Josiah Citrin who says "No one does it better. With cherry tomatoes, grilled octopus, on top of a bed of arugula, you can taste the Mediterranean Sea in every bite."

Crispy morning glory salad at Jitlada, recommended by chef Andrew Kirschner who says "The textural combination of fried morning glory alongside sweet shrimp, all dressed in a spicy lime dressing that's infused with fish sauce, is a party in your mouth."

Escarole and sunchoke salad at Gjelina recommended by chef Josef Centeno who says "I love this salad for its freshness and simplicity. It has crunchy hearts of escarole and paper-thin slices of shaved, raw sunchoke with a bright preserved-lemon vinaigrette and house-smoked almonds."


Porkbelly salad at Ruxbin recommended by chef Danny Grant who says "So many places use pork belly, yet oftentimes it’s not memorable. That’s not the case here: it’s crispy and delicious, served with a few additions that make sense and a few that make you wonder, why didn’t I think of that?"

Quinoa ssam salad at Belly Shack recommended by chef Art Smith who says "Their quinoa is a flavorful amalgamation of juicy, tamarind-marinated portobello mushrooms, Asian pear-fennel kimchi and red oak lettuce."

Apple salad at the Bristol recommended by chef Jimmy Bannos Jr. who says "The dish is clean, bright, and offers just the right amount of crunch. It’s a menu staple for a reason."

Little gem salad with crispy pig ear at The Publican recommended by chef Michael Kornick who says "This seemingly simple Boston lettuce salad just does it for me. Tangy, creamy, a hint of sweetness, and then wham! Bits of salty, expertly spiced ears."


White seaweed salad at Tei-An recommended by chefs John Tesar, Gilbert Garza, Julian Barsotti who say "I've never had anything like this seaweed," "It’s ethereal, clean, and has a very well-rounded texture. Plus, you don’t get fatigued eating it," and "it primes your appetite for the rest of the meal" respectively.

Lobster and shiitake mushroom salad at Nobu recommended by chef Chris Ward who says "The lobster meat is mixed with onions, cherry tomatoes, serrano chile, and cilantro tossed in a yuzu dressing and placed over Bibb lettuce. Roll it up like a taco: sweet, citrusy, spicy, and ocean-fresh."

Grilled octopus salad at Victor Tangos recommended by chef Espartaco Borga who says "The crispy yet tender octopus is tossed with a tangy dressing and mixed greens, all of which makes just the perfect balance."


Grüner salad at Grüner recommended by chefs Cathy Whims and Andy Ricker who say "This salad is a great assortment of 12 different vegetables and lettuces. It's crunchy, delicious, colorful, and healthy," and "The 'Grüner' salad had better never leave the menu: raw shaved vegetables, different crisp lettuces, pumpkin seeds, and pretzel bread croutons with a simple red wine vinaigrette. It just never disappoints" respectively.

Jellyfish salad at Frank's Noodle House recommended by chef Noong Poonsukwattana who says "This is great on a hot day. The jellyfish salad balances out the stir-fried noodle meal. It's all about the food."

Brussels sprouts salad at Boke Bowl recommended by chefs Tommy Habetz, John Gorham, Jason French, and Naomi Pomeroy who say "The cauliflower and brussels sprouts are always perfectly brown and crunchy," "Since the first time I had it, I've craved this at least once a week," "Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and blood orange—it's my favorite salad right now," and "The citrus plays off well with the strong flavors from the brussels and cauliflower, giving the dish a sweet, tart note that makes it perfectly balanced" respectively.

Spicy carrot and avocado salad at Departure recommended by chef Jason French who says "Chef Gregory Gourdet specializes in vegetarian cuisine, and this is one of his standouts, with the contrasting textures and flavors of carrots, avocado, pickled cucumbers, and sourdough croutons."

Or if you're tired of salad entirely, find out where chefs are going for the best game day food like wings, burgers, and pizza here.