What makes a salad? Some may say anything that uses lettuce as a base or maybe anything that’s served in a bowl and has a cold component. Some salads are just understudies and others are so complex and deserving of the main dish role. This list comprises the latter and will make you a salad-as-a-meal convert if you weren’t already.
The Greek salad at Middle East Market & Deli has everything you would expect from a salad such as this. A generous portion of lamb, chicken or beef shawarma, crisp romaine, fresh cucumber and tomato, kalamata olives, thinly sliced onion and feta cheese are topped with a luscious red wine vinaigrette infused with herbs and spices. Pro tip: Ask for pita and tzatziki on the side to turn your salad into a makeshift gyro. 5405 Everhart Rd.
The lettuce is an afterthought in this salad, but the Seafood Salad at Doc’s Seafood & Steaks is a salad nonetheless. Calamari, blackened yellowfin tuna and poached shrimp are soaked in a cilantro ginger vinaigrette and served cold over a bed of lettuce with a honey soy and cucumber wasabi drizzle. Order in conjunction with the blackened tuna nachos and seafood queso. 13309 SPID
Don’t be fooled by the spinach-to-toppings ratio of this salad at Shoreline Sandwich. The salty bacon, tart apple, candied pecans and sharp bleu cheese are all strong ingredients and need a neutral, hearty base to soak up the zippy and acidic sherry vinaigrette. 5350 S. Staples St Suite 111
Since the revamping of the dining scene at the Aquarium, locals have all the more reason to visit. The Southwest Bowl at Pepsi Shoreline Grill has mixed greens, charred corn, black beans, pico de gallo, chili-toasted pepitas, guacamole, cilantro, cotija cheese and smoky chipotle vinaigrette. It’s a delightful, healthy and hearty meal to enjoy after the dolphin show and before hitting the splash pad. 2710 N Shoreline Blvd
No one does Italian fine dining better than Bellino and the Umberto salad is proof. Spinach, spring mix, oranges and fennel are drizzled with a honey pepper dressing and topped with pistachio-crusted goat cheese bites. This salad is a surprisingly balanced delight of sweet, peppery and salty components perfect for enjoying before sharing a signature pinsa with the table. 3815 S Alameda