I know this is probably not what most people think would be a good idea, but I really think that buffets are a great way to control what you eat. Amercian stlye buffets are the best, not Chinese or Pizza or other specialty ones. You can physically inspect the food before you put it on your plate, and you can load up on the good stuff (veggies) without the extra crap and still have a decent size meal.
It's a great way to avoid the dreaded "I'm on a diet" conversation with anyone that wants to accompany you, as you can actually eat there. I use this tactic a lot when my in-laws come into town, as they are big eaters. We can go there, I get my little plate of roasted chicken, vegetables, and the occaisional cheat item, they eat till they burst and everyone's happy. Just learn to control your portions and you're golden.
For real restaurants, you can't beat Applebee's or Chili's. They have some decent low cal healthy-ish meals. Especially for someone like me that hates all forms of lettuce.
Hope this helps. I'm in the same boat as you, but restaurants are doable without hurting your goals, or your self-esteem.