20+ Best Restaurants in Oakleigh, Melbourne (2024)

In this one, we dive into the city's food scene, revealing the best restaurant Melbourne has to offer.
One of Melbourne's cosmopolitan nature's advantages is that it comes to a vibrant food culture. Indeed, almost half of all of Melbourne's residents were born abroad! Some of the cultures influencing Melbourne's gastronomic scene most profoundly include Chinese, Italian and Greek.

Despite being a relatively small city (four million people) at basically the end of the earth, Melbourne has food that's up there with places like New York City or London and has the kind of variety you won't find anywhere else.

While Sydney gets all the international attention, Melbourne is where it's at if you travel mostly to eat a lot. The influence of multiple immigration waves is felt at every level, from the city's longstanding obsession with coffee to a European drinking culture to many Vietnamese and Chinese food. Any food you want, Melbourne has it.

There's plenty to eat in the main Central Business District (the locals refer to it as "the city"), but a lot can also be found in surrounding neighbourhoods like Fitzroy, Carlton, and Richmond. And while you can certainly go all-in on fine dining, these days, a lot of the more exciting spots are casual, focused on family-style menus or small plates or things to share. And then you have the cafes. Melbourne is a coffee town, but "coffee shops" are unheard of - restaurants are almost always table-service affairs with full menus with actually-exciting things to eat. Competition is fierce, which means you're more likely to get ham hock benedict or a full Indonesian breakfast than plain old bacon and eggs at some of the cooler spots around.

The Melbourne food scene is exciting and insanely varied, and yes, also pretty expensive. But if you like to eat, you need to get Melbourne on your list. And maybe plan on doing more than just three meals a day - you've got a lot to get through.

List Of Ultimate List Of Restaurants in Oakleigh, Melbourne [2021]

Vanilla Cakes & Lounge-Restaurant Oakleigh



Amongst the hustle and bustle of this amazing hub are Vanilla Lounge. In August 2008, we opened our doors and our hearts to the community and everyone gave their love back. Being a coffee and dining lounge, Vanilla has something for everyone. It is a family place, a meeting place, a place where you can come and experience a unique European vibe right here in Melbourne.

The family behind Vanilla have been innovators and pioneers in the hospitality industry for over 45 years. With the opening of Vanilla Lounge, Oakleigh saw a new dining culture emerge. What is particularly exciting for Melbourne is that it now boasts another leading patisserie that truly celebrates its cosmopolitan heritage's greatest qualities. Vanilla was praised as one of the Top 10 Patisseries in The Age Good Café Guide 2012.

We are committed to enhancing our patron's experience by providing our boutique coffee brand, Dukes, our extraordinary music acts on Thursday nights, our extensive menu made with local and fresh ingredients and without preservatives or additives, our world-class standard of cakes and biscuits and our latest venture, Vanilla Upstairs which has amazing pan-Mediterranean cuisine and invites people to come together and share in the simple pleasures.



Kentro-Restaurant Oakleigh



KENTRO, located in the heart of Oakleigh, presents to you a modernized Greek restaurant. With your first steps into KENTRO, welcomed by our friendly staff, the feeling of a sense of Greece begins.

The open space layout allows you to relax with comfort and ease. The mesmerizing unique design of the Ancient Greek wall takes you to the heart of Greece.

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, KENTRO offers a wide-ranged menu to suit every individual's requests. From traditional Mediterranean cuisine to modern, we have it all! And you cannot miss out on our unique mouth-watering desserts. All baked on our premises, our pastry chefs deliver a wide range of traditional Greek and modern sweets and biscuits, as well as a large variety of our incomparable divine cakes offered in our display.

Are you thinking of hosting a function? KENTRO upstairs delivers an eccentric feel with its wooden architecture and private feel. Hosting up to 200 seated, along with a foyer, stage, dance floor and a fully licensed bar, KENTRO, 'The Meeting Place' awaits your arrival.


Nikos Cakes-Restaurant Oakleigh



About Us

From humble beginnings in 1987, Oakleigh Quality Cakes has established its reputation as a leading supplier in Melbourne's thriving cake industry. Through a commitment to quality and service, founders Nick and Tass Poupouzas and their dedicated team have produced some of the most spectacular and unique cake designs.

Our award-winning team of cake designers, consultants, pastry chefs and artistic decorators will assist you in creating your dream cake so that the centrepiece on your special day surpasses your expectations in both looks and taste. If you can dream it, we can achieve it!

We invite you to come and join us for a coffee and browse our showroom, which is located above our bustling cafe. With over 90 amazing cakes on display and the largest selection of flavours in Melbourne, you are certain to find a design that suits your taste, theme and budget.


Sweetening Melbourne's palate since 1987 through our bustling cafe and award-winning cake creations


Our award-winning team can bring to life any cake idea, big or small.


Bringing the unique style of Greek coffee culture to the Melbourne coffee scene


Whether you're eating in or collecting a box on your way through, more than 90 sweet varieties to choose from

Creative Team

Our design staff and decorators have over 60 years of experience behind them in cake decorating and can bring to life anything you could possibly imagine. The imaginative and creative ideas and aesthetics they bring to cake designs are amazing, and the intricately detailed work really displays their talent and experience. We strive to exceed (and succeed) our customer's expectations.

Suppose it's a custom creation you need for a wedding, birthday, christening or corporate event. In that case, our creative team will work closely with you in the planning process to come up with a design that combines both quality and creativity.

Our showrooms display the finest quality cakes ranging from designer wedding, novelty and birthday cakes to cupcakes and croquembouche. We are very well known in the cake industry. For over 35 years, we have been sweetening the palettes of Melbournians and delivering cakes to some of Melbourne's prestigious venues such as The Crown, Park and Grand Hyatt, Leonda by the Yarra, The Carousel, The Sofitel, Brighton International, Peninsula, Sketch, Atlantic and Maia just to name a few.


Richmond Oysters-Restaurant Oakleigh



In 1959, brothers Tony & Nick Anassis established a single fronted retail outlet next to the train line in Church Street Richmond. Whilst one brother shucked oysters and filleted fish for sale to local residents, the other established relationships with pub s and restaurants in and around Melbourne through the door-to-door promotion of their wares.

From this humble beginning, our small family business has gr own to be one of the most respected seafood establishments in Melbourne. Today, Richmond Oysters retains its iconic heritage, continuing to operate from our original location. Our wholesale operations are complemented by our retail seafood display, take-away fish'n'chips and a world-class restaurant dining experience.

Our fishmonger s source whole, fresh, local fish from the wholesale markets Monday to Saturday. We shuck live oysters and fillet all of our own product on-premises seven days a week.


We serve premium quality seafood for the enjoyment of all Welcome to the world of the Oyster!


A testament to the vision of the founding brothers, Richmond Oysters, has been a destination for decades for Richmond's local residents beyond. Today, we continue to provide a wholesale service that delivers an extensive range of the freshest fish, the extended variety of Seafood that Melbourne demands, together with a total offer in fresh and frozen general foods.

Not only do the traditions set down by Tony & Nick underpin our business, but many of Melbourne's successful seafood providers have also learnt their trade during their formative years as Richmond Oyster employees, all of which contributes to this strong and vibrant industry.

Richmond Oysters enjoys a wholesale client base with much diversity, including most Five Star hotel groups and establishments in the CBD and surrounds by many cafes and Hotels throughout the suburb s. Together with this heritage, unparalleled prowess in Seafood, a dedicated 60+ strong team and a fleet of 11+ vehicles, we pledge to continue that tradition.

Besides delivering quality products to businesses, Richmond Oysters also provides the finest quality seafood direct to the public through our retail display and online store. Under the stewardship of Theo & Chris, the business has evolved since 2006 into a comprehensive dining experience enjoyed


  • We at Richmond Oysters recognize our position in the market place as a leader in our field.
  • We remain focused on continual improvement and the ongoing refinement of business processes for the benefit of our customers and staff.
  • We have a commitment to a superior standard of quality and to remain dedicated to delivering the highest possible standard of product to our diverse clientele across wholesale, restaurant and retail.


Great Eastern Hakka-Restaurant Oakleigh



Great Eastern Hakka Restaurant is a multicultural fusion of delectable tastes from far-reaching corners of the globe. Come and experience the journey for yourself!

The History

At the Great Eastern Hakka Restaurant, the flavours of Indian style Chinese food and Swedish food combine to present you with our eclectic menu. We offer the culinary adventures of our well-travelled chef on a plate.

Our head chef Steve has been with us since our grand opening in 2006. A Hakka Chinese born in Kolkata, India, he was taught by a myriad of extraordinarily talented chefs (his mother in particular) to become the craftsman in the kitchen he is today. Steve pays homage to his Chinese heritage, his Indian country of birth, his life in the cold Northern plains of Sweden and his journey to becoming a highly qualified experienced chef by creating exquisite dining experiences for you, our customers.

Hakka cuisine is the original cuisine of the Hakka people from numerous provinces located in Southeastern China. In India, many restaurants serve Indian adaptations of traditional Hakka cuisine. However, these often lack some of the main elements that make these dishes authentically Hakka in style. Here, we offer you the genuine experience learnt through generations of Hakka family home cooking on special request. Our Swedish style pizzas are a truly unique experience. The combination of ingredients comes from traditional Swedish produce influences to create intriguing and undeniably delicious selections.

We welcome you to our wonderful restaurant with open arms and look forward to guiding you through these journeys of culture


Orexi Souvlaki-Restaurant Oakleigh




Oakleigh’s oldest and favourite Souvlaki bar is located at 33 Chester Street. It still serves our famous Charcoal grilled gyro. We have now also introduced several more traditional Greek meals like Pasticcio and Mousaka.

If you’re planning one meal in Oakleigh, it should be the Charcoal-grilled Orexi souvlaki rolled in warm pita bread or the one of their generous open plate souvlakia. While you are there, make sure you also try our Coffees.


OREXI is continuing to trade to all our loyal customers and will follow government advice with regard to the COVID 19 outbreak.

  • We’re providing a safe environment for our customers and staff, which will always be our number one priority.
  • We are doing our best to ensure we can provide access to the products people need, whilst doing everything we can to keep our customers and staff safe and healthy.
  • We’re implementing social distancing measures in our store and providing hand sanitiser and gloves to staff for your well being.

Our staff are working hard and doing their best to help customers get the products that they need. We ask customers to respect social distancing in line with government guidelines.

We appreciate everyone’s patience.

Due to the restrictions imposed to minimize the spread of the COVID 19 virus, we have taken the following measures:

  • Our Restaurant is now only providing takeaway and delivery. You can call us on 9569 1151 for pickup or find us on Uber and Deliveroo
  • Until further notice, our business hours will be 10:00 am to 8:00 pm all days except Tuesday
  • Customers are required to observe the 1.5 meters social distancing
  • Hand sanitizers are provide, and we encourage all customers to sanitize their hands upon arrival and departure

Stay safe, and we look forward to your continued support.


Oasis Restaurant Oakleigh


Since 1998, this Australian owned and operated family business has been sharing authentic food worldwide with fellow food lovers. At the heart of the Oasis, the story is the Makool family, who emigrated from Lebanon in the 1970s, along with a strong tradition of bringing people together through food sharing.

Over 20 years of hard work and a commitment to quality have seen three generations of the family transform a humble food store in Melbourne's southeast into an iconic part of its culinary scene. Today Oasis Murrumbeena is home to a bustling café, a gourmet grocery store, a deli of epicurean proportions, a fresh food market and a popular cooking school.

If you find yourself on the northside, pop into Oasis Fairfield, right in the midst of it on Station Street, Fairfield. We've created a new store where you'll find all your favourite groceries, a cafe where you can get the same delicious meals you've grown to love, a cooking school where Oasis founder Marwa Makool takes the time to share her passion for food with you and a beautiful light-filled function and events space where you'll feel at home sharing wonderful food and experiences with your friends and family.

The Oasis name is also found in independent supermarkets everywhere on a wide range of freshly baked breads and Lebanese pizzas, exotic spices, delicious dips, pantry provisions. And many other products inspired by the flavours of the Middle East.


All of our groceries can be ordered online and delivered to you or collected in-store. Once you've completed your online shop, simply select your preference at check-out. There is no minimum spends for our deliveries, and no matter where you are in Victoria, we'll get what you need for you.


One meal from our bustling all-day cafe and you'll understand why foodies travel from far and wide to visit Oasis. Delicious house-made meals, prepared with passion by our experienced chefs, are guaranteed to please.


Discover why they call Oasis a food lover's paradise - either at our iconic Murrumbeena store or our beautiful new, modern and airy Fairfield store.


Mykonos Restaurant Bar-Restaurant Oakleigh



Mykonos is a Greek island filled with passion, creativity and love. A truly inspirational and spiritual place. Our goal is to share this love for this island with everyone that comes in!


Sette Bello-Restaurant Oakleigh



Mouthwatering authentic Italian flavours in a sleek and contemporary environment catering to all dietary requirements, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian!

Please note: for bookings of 10 or more, we offer two-course for $70 per head or three courses for $85 per headset menu option. (children $45 for three courses)

Discover your favourite restaurant - in Melbourne's eastern suburbs!

First impressions count. Every meal is presented to impress, featuring authentic Italian flavours in a sleek and contemporary environment. Compliment your meal from our extensive wine list and save room for our "to die for" desserts and coffee.

Sette Bello is best described as a marriage of food, wine, service and atmosphere. Enjoy modern and traditional Italian cuisine with great service. Sette Bello is more than a restaurant – it's an experience. Yes, the food is delicious, and the first-class service tops it off. Modern food presentation is just the beginning. the team ensures each and every meal is created with the finest seasonal produce. A good wine speaks for itself. Our wine team of sommeliers have carefully selected a vast range of local and imported Italian wine varieties.These wines are chosen to best compliment our sette bello menu. enjoy by the glass, half & full bottle or maybe a cellar selection for that special occasion. We'll help you select the right wine for your meal.


Benino's Pizza-Restaurant Oakleigh



Benino's Pizza was first established in 1995, and in 2006 Rody and his family took over the business. Since then, they've made it their mission to create amazing dishes at affordable prices.

"Inspired by the use of the freshest ingredients, my family and I have dedicated our lives to creating amazing Traditional & Gourmet pizzas, such as the house special Benino's Pizza and the indescribable Mediterranean Lamb pizza. Alongside our delicious pizzas, we've added a variety of dishes to our menus, such as mouth-watering wings and finger-lickin' BBQ Pork ribs" - Rody, owner.

Located in East Oakleigh's heart, just off Princes Highway, Benino's is open seven days a week from 5 pm till late. They offer pickup and delivery services to all surrounding suburbs, including Ashburton, Chadstone, Huntingdale and Clayton.

Benino also caters for all types of events, including birthdays, family parties and even social gatherings, at a very competitive price.

So check out our menu and prepare to be amazed by our irresistible dishes!


Warung Kartini-Restaurant Oakleigh



What do we serve?

Warung Kartini serves variety dishes from Indonesia such as: Nasi goreng, mie goreng, bakmie ayam, gado-gado, satay, pempek and many more. Also, have a taste of our specialties: our signature crunchy roasted pork belly and ayam geek.

Looking for Catering?

Warung Kartini offers authentic homemade Indonesian food catering, which you can enjoy at your home and office. We update our catering menu weekly, and you can choose the catering day that suits your taste.

Visit Us

Located in the centre of Oakleigh, Warung Kartini can be accessed easily where train and bus stops. Visit us during lunch or dinner time, and let us give our best cooking for you.

Connecting the dots between Indonesian tradition and the Melbourne dining scene

From nasi goreng to Balinese crispy pork belly, we are proud to serve our authentic Indonesian dishes. We love authentic Indonesian food, and we want you to enjoy it too. Cooked by our talented chef Vina, we would like to bring you the taste of Indonesia in our Restaurant. We also provide catering for those who want to have a touch of homemade cooking at your home. Warung Kartini is placed at the heart of Oakleigh and close to the bus and train station.


QT Kitchen-Restaurant Oakleigh



Our mission is to provide you with an unforgettable modern Vietnamese café, dining and takeaway experience in Melbourne.

Book or Order Takeaway Now!

  • Reserve a Table
  • Order Takeaway

A QT Kitchen Experience

At QT Kitchen, we are known for our modern Vietnamese cuisine inspired by our love for fresh Australian produce, friendly culture & community.

Our head chef Kevin comes from an international hotel background at the Mantra Group and is looking forward to welcoming you to his dining room.


Tea Garden-Restaurant Oakleigh



An Authentic Chinese & Yum Cha Restaurant

Tea Garden is an authentic Chinese restaurant located in Oakleigh, Victoria. We specialize in providing authentic Cantonese cuisine and Yum Cha to Chadstone, Clayton, Oakleigh, Malvern East & other Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne. We are known for our daily yum cha, and you can be rest assured to have the best yum cha experience ever with us. Our chefs work tirelessly to make the best dishes, using fresh veggies, meat, and seafood.

You can enjoy our Yum Cha Lunch Daily (12 -3 PM). We have lots of different options for Chinese dishes. Our menu includes everything from appetizers and soups to authentic Chinese desserts and beverages. We also serve a wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, especially wine, along with yummy food so you can relax and have a great time with your family or friends.

Come to dine in at Tea Garden or get a takeaway. We’re sure that our food will satiate your taste buds and delight you to the core.


Hunky Dory-Restaurant Oakleigh




A family of fishermen since 1927.

At Hunky Dory, a family is at the heart of everything we do.

Our man behind the Hunky magic, Greg, was raised on the water, standing proudly beside his Greek Dad & Grandfather on their commercial fishing boat. When school holidays rolled around, you could find Greg behind the counter at his family's fish & chip shop. As a seafood-lover, Greg's Dad was well known as one of the friendly faces at the Melbourne Fish Market for years. When Hunky Dory opened its doors in 2004, Greg's family were by his side. They have all proudly worn a Hunkys t-shirt along the way; Greg's Grandfather was still rocking one in-store until he was 91!

We are blessed to see our Hunky family grow over the years & are so grateful for our beautiful family in-store who spread the Hunky Love every day.

Our mission at Hunky Dory has always been the same – to shake up the Fish & Chip game & give it a healthy spin. Whether you're craving a succulent piece of grilled salmon or a crispy potato cake, at Hunkys, everyone has a seat at the table to be as healthy (or as naughty) as you like.


Open seven days a week, from 11 am till late.


We offer indoor and outdoor dining options at our fully licensed stores.

Take away

We offer to take away and package everything to ensure all meals are fresh and tasty.

Large Orders

We can fulfil large orders for all occasions and functions.


Just Italy-Restaurant Oakleigh




In 2015 Tonino Amadio, who hails from Le Marche, a region in Italy that hugs the Adriatic Sea, created Just Italy. A small Italian pasta shop nestled in the heart of Oakleigh. The philosophy was very simple; to offer authentic Italian food, house-made products and uncompromising hospitality.

Three years later, Tonino met Sam Colosimo. A general conversation about business and their love of Italian food commenced, as did a new chapter at Just Italy as Sam joined the business. 

Although the business continues to grow with new locations opening around Melbourne, Tonino and Sam's core value remains the same; re-creating Italy in Australia. It's about no-frills, good, authentic food...just like Nonna's.

Come on down to a Just Italy location near you and experience a little piece of Italy for yourself. 

See you at the bar. 


The Leighoak-Restaurant Oakleigh




The Leighoak is opening Monday, 9 November. We are so excited to open our doors and welcome you back!

All venue facilities are now open with some restrictions in place. When constraints ease further, our Bistro and food service will recommence. Capacity limits apply; please call ahead to secure your booking: 95699954.

Our staff are excited to get back to work and are trained in the requirements to keep you safe. We must record your details, and staff and customers must wear masks if not eating or drinking. You must sanitize your hands when entering our venue. And finally, to help keep us all safe, you must not attend our forum if you feel unwell or have a temperature.

We can’t wait to welcome you back. Please join us soon for an enjoyable outing with friends and family.


Burgled-Restaurant Oakleigh



Yes, eating at Burgled is an experience. When you arrive, you'll be greeted by some amazing sights and smells and maybe even a wave from one of our cheeky chefs who's enjoyed too much of their food. And that coffee aroma comes from one of the finest brews in the world. Ciano is a delightful Italian coffee that complements our menu of hamburgers and breakfast burgers – all of which have been chosen by our leading chef to best demonstrate the tastes and flavours you expect from all corners of the globe. At Burgled, there is something for everyone. We even have a selection of beers from around the world to help you unwind after a stressful day. Burgled is open daily from 9:30 am too late. The dress is casual, but the mood is sharp.

This should be the only time you'll enjoy getting 'burgled'.

At Burgled Burgers, we pride ourselves on the artistry and customisation of burgers. With a diverse range of flavours from around the world, we seek to please our multicultural burger society's palate. With an open kitchen and laid back restaurant-style dining, we cater to big and small occasions. Your satisfaction is our priority. Whether it be a night out for dinner with the kids or a catch up for a burger and a beer with your friends, everybody will feel at home at Burgled burgers.


D'elephant Thai Cuisine-Restaurant Oakleigh



D’elephant Thai Chef’s Recommendations!

Our signature Crispy Pork Belly is served with D'elephant Trio of Sauces! We steamed, stabbed the skin & coated the pork belly in our special marinade, let it dry overnight, roasted with salt, dry again  & finally, roast again until the skin turns crispy.

Brand Story

D’elephant Thai Cuisine is a casual dining restaurant set to offer affordable & authentic Thai food throughout Australia. Launched in late 2014, the founders who are very passionate about authentic Thai food have noticed a gap in the market when they could not get true Thai food that doesn’t cost a fortune for their whole family. They decided to bring the elephant, aptly named D’elephant, to Australia with experience in similar ventures.

After years of success, D’elephant Thai Cuisine prides itself on bringing scrumptious Thai food that is full of flavours and the goodness of fresh local produce, which creates a variety of mouthwatering dishes loved by Melbourne foodies.

With our expertise in Thai Street Food and our customer's high demand from several locations across Melbourne, we decided to open our sister store, D’elephant Thai Street Food, which will serve D’elephant signature dishes and lip-smacking Thai Street Food that everyone can enjoy.

Come experience the real taste of Thai Street Food, well-balanced flavours without letting down the soul of Thai cuisine. Packing a punch in every bite. We source the freshest local ingredients and import the rare elements to create the perfect dish that Thai food lovers will adore, and the epicures cannot wait to devour. Fresh, fun, and delightful, why don’t you take a journey to Thailand with us?


Euro Bites Greek Eatery-Restaurant Oakleigh



Welcome to Euro Bites Greek Eatery

Established in 2008 (Proprietor AYTAC GENC), Euro Bites Greek Eatery provides an extraordinary Mediterranean dining experience complemented by exceptional service and a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Popular with locals and tourists, it has built up a regular clientele over the years where every guest is considered a friend.

All of our dishes are traditionally prepared on the charcoal to enhance those natural flavours for that exceptional taste.

We have a passion for excellence and aim to provide high standards of customer service to all our customers and endeavour to make your visit to Euro Bites a memorable one.


Sumalee-Restaurant Oakleigh




It takes more than exquisite cooking to make a memorable meal. We at Sumalee believe an intimate atmosphere in the right location, personal and attentive service and great company are what separates a delicious dinner from an unforgettable experience. It all began in 2010 with one couple and a dream.

The word Sumalee (pronounced soo-ma-lee) in Thai means "flower" and also is our mother's name…the only person who has inspired both of us for our entire lives. Her philosophy about running a good restaurant has become ours, which is "we are serving our customers only good food and drink with genuine warm service". And that's exactly what Sumalee will bring to you all from the very first step you walk into the restaurant. 


7 Tips for Healthy Dining Out

Restaurant food is meant to look, smell and taste great, and that means nutrition can sometimes fall by the wayside when menus feature main dishes drenched in butter or rich sauces, salads with creamy dressings, and few whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Sleuth It Out

These days, you can find healthful foods almost everywhere. The trick is to know what you're getting into before you get to the restaurant and are tempted by enticing menu descriptions. Many restaurants have their menus online — some with nutrition information readily available. You'll be able to choose the destination with the healthiest options and go into the eatery ready to order the best meal and ask for substitutions where necessary.

Before you head out, make a plan: 

  • Eat a light dinner if you ate a big lunch that day. Or, if you know ahead of time that you're going to a restaurant, plan to have lighter meals during the day.
  • Commit to eating slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are no longer hungry. Fast eaters often are overeaters, while slow eaters tend to eat less and are still satisfied.
  • Make physical activity part of dining out. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. Pick a restaurant that's a 10- or 15-minute walk. You'll get your meal, 30 minutes of physical activity and avoid the parking hassles. Or get moving as a group before or after eating. A brisk walk before a meal gives you time to chat. A stroll afterwards helps your digestion.

Don't Split Your Plate.

You've probably read advice to ask for half portions or share your meal with a friend. But given the huge amount sizes doled out at some restaurants, half may still be too much. Practice visualizing what your plate would look like at home and trying to replicate that in your restaurant meal.

And be deliberate when ordering. Balance your meal by including healthier selections from all the different food groups such as lean protein foods, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Look for freshly made entrée salads that give you "balance in a bowl." For example, entrée salads with baked or grilled chicken, beans or seafood provide protein along with fibre and other nutrients. Ask for dressing on the side so you can control the portion size.

For sandwich toppings, go with veggie options including lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion; if using condiments, choose ketchup, mustard, relish or salsa.

Round out your meal by ordering healthy side dishes, such as a side salad, baked potato or fruit. Boost the nutritional value of your baked potato by topping it with vegetables, salsa or chilli.

Add to Your Meal

Think eating healthfully is all about what you can't eat? Focus on what healthy items you can add to your plate instead of only what foods to avoid. Look for whole-grain bread, pasta and sides; opt for foods with healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds; be sure to order lots of fruits and veggies; and go for lean meat, turkey, chicken or fish.

Don't Go Overly Hungry.

You sit down starving, and before you know it, you've scarfed down several pieces of buttered bread before your main meal arrives. Suppose you're ravenous before you leave for the restaurant, nosh on a small snack such as a piece of fruit. Or, at the restaurant, order a cup of broth-based soup or small salad to stave off hunger.

Watch for the Wording

The way a dish is described on a menu can give you clues to how it's prepared. Look for words including "grilled," "broiled", or "steamed," meaning the food is cooked with less fat, and avoid dishes with descriptions such as "fried," "breaded," "smothered," "alfredo," "rich" and "creamy."

Ask, Ask, Ask

Don't be afraid to ask your server to help you healthy-up your meal. For example, you could ask for a salad in place of the usual fries or chips with a meal. You can also ask for items to be prepared with less oil or cheese, ask the server to take away the bread basket and serve salad with dressing on the side and request an appetizer portion of the main meal.

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