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Salad Savvy

Who said salads have to be a bland, diet-friendly meal? Not some of our favorite S.D. restaurants! When temperatures are rising and you’re craving something fresh that will be kinder to your bikini body than an ice cream cone, try one of these unique creations. Go for the green!

A tasty tuna Nicoise at Tender Greens

For a lunch date with a friend who is nuts about organic and from-scratch cooking, head to Salad Style. The pocket-sized East Village resto plays with familiar favorites, dishing up a caesar with a Mexican accent from cotija cheese, yellow corn and grilled chicken, or a cobb with smoky bacon, spinach and goat cheese. The ahi tuna with roasted tomatoes, olives and capers is a signature, but don’t miss the green tea soba noodle salad with sugar snap peas and shitakes, or the minty Moroccan couscous with feta and toasted almonds. Although often bustling with regulars, fast and friendly service will have you chowing on leafy greens without sweating your lunch break. 807 F. St., saladstyle.com

The downtown crowd heads to Searsucker for Brian Malarkey’s casual-cool lunch menu which, befitting the resto that gave S.D. the Peter Rabbit cocktail, boasts some exceptional greens. Our gourmet picks off the walk-up-and-order chalkboard menu? The chop chop, with salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone and pepperoncini for its Italian flair, or the spinach with Brie croutons and charred peppers. 611 5th Ave., searsucker.com

Blue Water Seafood may claim, “All we do is fish,” but happily that includes your choice of a marinated catch of the day perched atop a salad of mixed greens with purple cabbage, cucumbers, red onion, carrots, tomatoes and capers with delectable homemade dressing. Blame the line out the door on the India Street resto’s Diners, Drive Ins & Dives appearance, but stick around: The wait is well worth it. 3667 India St., bluewaterseafoodsandiego.com

When all the others in your group are feeling carnivorous, steer them towards Neighborhood, where the greens menu is as drool-worthy as the juicy burgers. The summer-friendly farmers market strawberry salad is a winner, but the downtown eatery’s crisp and cool beet salad with arugula and candied walnuts is a perpetual crowd pleaser. And the beer list? Top notch. 777 G St., neighborhoodsd.com

With locations at UTC (where the patio just got a refresher) and Point Loma, plus a third outpost coming soon to downtown, Tender Greens serves up more than just your basic salad combos. Dedicated to from-scratch, organic fare, it’s a go-to for extra healthy options like the happy vegan with cranberry, hanzelnuts, trendy quinoa with cucumber, beets, green hummus, tabbouleh and, of course, tender greens. 2400 Historic Decatur Rd. and 4545 La Jolla Village Dr., tendergreensfood.com