Prima: Fast, Casual, Healthy Italian Just Minutes From DC

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Are you looking for a new restaurant to try in Bethesda? Just minutes from DC, I recently had the chance to try the food at the newly opened Prima restaurant. Read on to see what you can expect and tips to enjoy your visit.

When it comes to getting casual Italian food fast, let’s face it…pasta, bread and lots of pizza come to mind and don’t forget the cheese.

Certainly you’re not expecting it to be healthy. Your not expecting Paleo, vegetarian and vegan options.

And gluten free?

I once wondered into a casual dining pizza restuarant and asked the guy baking the pizzas if they offered gluten-free varieties.

He stared back in my direction, eyes bulging and said, “Gluten free? Never!”

But ohhh…I found something good. Have you heard of Prima?

What to Expect

When you walk into Prima the set up will feel familiar. That’s because Prima is a fast casual restaurant where patrons walk in and head straight to the front of the restaurant to tell eager employeers behind a low glass partition what they want.

Yes, you’ve seen this restaurant concept before. Think of the popular fast Mexican restaurant that took off like wild fire some years back. But you won’t any rice, beans or burritos here. The food is fresh and the food is good.

The best part…Everything is made right in front of you. If you’re one of those folks that takes a while to figure out what you want, look at the menu online ahead of time. Certainly you can step aside to let other people go ahead but, there’s not a whole lot of space inside to diddle daddle.


Prima is a new restaurant located in the heart of Bethesda Row that serves their guests fresh, healthy Italian Prima bowls. I had to see it and experience it to believe it.

So I took Prima up on their offer try some lunch. It wasn’t a particularly busy Saturday. Prima had only been open for a week but, I found that everyone that walked by decided to stay. The weather was good, so we scooped up a few seats near the rear of the restaurant by a large open window.


We ordered the tender Caesar salad , ortolana “vegan” bowl and some chef summer salads.

At Prima, all the bowls are made fresh and to order so it’s easy to omit the fresh mozzarella cheese on the chef summer salad if you’re eating dairy-free.

Over the year, I have coached many people about adapting healthier diets. One of the things that really holds them back is finding fresh, tasty and healthy options on the go. Let’s just say that’s not a problem here.

We also took advantage of gluten free desserts like the chocolate chip cookie, rice Krispie treats and chocolate brownie. You can view the entire Prima menu here.


Preselected chef specialty bowls are $12 a piece. If you’re feeling creative however, you can build your bowl from scratch. Bowls start at $10 and include three toppings. Additional toppings are an additional fee. Prima also serves up Italian sodas like blood orange and lemon if you’re feeling particularly fancy.

So if you’re looking for a healthy casual restaurant that can cater to your gluten-free as well as paleo, vegan, vegetarian friendly and just overall healthy lifestyle, try Prima restaurant in Bethesda.

It’s quick healthy Italian food that you can actually feel good about.

Watch the video below to find out more about Prima.

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