Lyfe Kitchen | River North, Chicago

Lyfe Kitchen brings healthful, delicious food to River North

Healthy food doesn't have to translate to bean sprouts served on hemp plates.

Lyfe Kitchen, the new fast-casual concept helmed by celeb chef Art Smith, is on a mission: to serve food that's as delicious as it is healthy. After a recent visit, we're already converts.

Here, you don't have to give up your lunchtime slice: Their flatbread's handmade, whole-wheat crust with flax adds so much flavor, you won't even consider the fact that they're only about 500 calories. We licked the pomegranate-balsamic drizzle on the roasted mushroom and goat cheese ($10) version off our fingers.

But despite the "healthy" label, not everything at Lyfe is vegetarian. Mahi tacos with chayote slaw and chipotle salsa fresca, served on warm corn tortillas ($10), may become our go-to cold-weather dish.

Even the now-ubiquitous kale Caesar ($7) shines with the additions of broccolini, crunchy chive breadcrumbs and English cucumbers. So the salty, garlicky dressing happens to be eggless. We couldn't tell.

And we love that the centerpiece of the bright, airy space is a huge rack of fresh herbs; it's a good way to get a dose of green when all you've seen for weeks is gray Chicago winter.