Vegan L.A.! What Plant-Heavy Restaurants Do You Love in Your City?

As of this past Saturday I am on the vegan plan! And since I have every intention of sticking with it for the duration of the vegan-for-a-week challenge, I’ve been tapping my memory for favorite veggie spots around Los Angeles.

Most days I’ll likely eat at home since my cooking skews largely vegetarian as it is, and I’m already a vegan cappuccino convert. But restaurants are a whole other story: I tend to go for French and Italian when out—as in butter, cream, cheese, and maybe some dried salami (guh). So in an effort to be ready for curveball plans—like an unforseen lunch meeting (or better yet—an unforseen date!)—I will put these spots on speed dial.

I think it’s super important to go into a challenge like this prepared, not least of all because cheese and salami are hard to resist if the rest of the menu has slim plant pickings. So here are some great vegan-friendly go-tos. Be sure to share favorites in your city in the comments!

M Cafe: It’s an obvious choice for a reason: This popular place has an amazing selection of macrobiotic food. And while not everything is vegan, there is a more than ample selection. The peanut butter kale will not soon be forgotten.

Elf Cafe: This is probably one of LA’s best restaurants, period. (And also one of its best kept secrets). Elf is like the most amazing home-cooked meal you’ve never had.

Real Food Daily: If you’re craving something like nachos or pizza, this is your joint. Is it your first foray into meatlessnes? Well then I highly recommend you head to RFD to ease you in.

Kind Kreme: Welcome to heaven for anyone who is vegan, lactose intolerant, or just tends to get tummy aches from regular ice cream (that’s me!). I can’t believe that Sunday was my first time trying this stuff. Most of their ice creams—and there are many to choose from—are coconut based (without the coconut flavor) and sweetened with agave. They. Are. Bananas. I had the coffee chocolate chip one with a some raw salted caramel sauce. I could weep thinking about it.

Vegan Express: This unassuming little spot has shockingly good Thai curries. It also has French fries, faux chicken nuggets, breakfast burritos, and the best coleslaw I’ve ever eaten (they won’t tell me the secret recipe). Something for everyone, and super cheap too.

Agra Cafe: If you like Indian food, you’ll be golden this week. And while LA isn’t known for its Indian, this strip mall restaurant in Silver Lake offers up some of the best I’ve had (including an actual trip to India). It’s also super affordable, and makes for great delivery food (and even better leftovers).

Okay, L.A. peeps—what other great spots am I missing? As for the rest of you, please share your picks in the comments section so that challenged readers in your city have some guidance too.

Image of a vegan restaurant In LA that I have yet to try via


Comments
10 Responses to “Vegan L.A.! What Plant-Heavy Restaurants Do You Love in Your City?”
  1. Ariel says:

    Leaf, a vegetarian restaurant in Boulder, Colorado.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I love Cafe Gratitude. There are a bunch of these in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s a great experience. It really taught me that vegan/raw/gluten free can have lots of variety. They have cooked food too, and it’s not all gluten free so ask about the menu item if that’s an issue for you. I love to go there for the full eating out experience – appetizer, meal, drink, dessert….yum! Every dessert they make is unbelievable!

    Check out http://vegansteven.com/ to search for vegan spots in your area, with reviews. They have an iPhone app which I’ve found helpful.

  3. Melissa says:

    Veggie Grill –http://www.veggiegrill.com/visitus.html –I´m not much for meat substitutes, but <3 All hail kale salad, sweet potato fries and really good vegan cookies.

    Green Peas in Culver–http://www.greenpeasrestaurant.com/vegan.html –3 mushrooms on a sandwich :) For some reason everything here is either vegan or not vegetarian. Also, banana iced coffee (I´m sure they could make it with soy milk or something).

    Eating Vegetarian in LA is super easy, I don´t know how I will keep it up elsewhere.

  4. andreína (andre) says:

    Actually, San Diego! Evolution “Fast Food”.
    Do yourself a favor and stop by if you’re ever in that area… the food is incredible! and yes, not fast food at all…

    I’ll have to try to go to those in LA… it’s closer to me anyways!

  5. Zanna Leigh says:

    In Washington, DC – Cafe Green and Java Green are both vegetarian restaurants that cater very well to vegans – Cafe Green is a sit down restaurant with a very warm atmosphere and Java Green is a cafe with the same comfortable feeling. The mac’n'cheese is the best vegan mac’n'cheese I’ve ever had –> http://www.javagreen.net/

    Sticky Fingers Bakery is a vegan bakery that features a menu full of cupcakes, cookies, cakes and lunch items completely vegan!!! It’s a great place to go if you’re craving that creamy, rich cupcake –> http://www.stickyfingersbakery.com/

    (Thanks for the vegansteven website and app Rebecca…I’m definitely checking those out!)

  6. HM says:

    Shojin – AMAZING Japanese food in Downtown Los Angeles

    Native Foods – this is, hands down, my favorite restaurant. Their ruben is the greatest one I’ve had – vegan or otherwise.

    Veggie Grill is good for omnis who need their cheeseburger fix.

    A Taste of Life – vegan soul food every Sunday at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market

    Madeleine Bistro – Not my personal favorite, but lots of people like it. Very upscale, fine dining.

    Follow Your Heart in the San Fernando Valley is the original vegetarian/vegan restaurant.

    Loving Hut is pretty amazing – they have restaurants all over the world.

    Doomie’s – in Hollywood. This place is the greatest thing EVER. Total comfort food. They even have “Clam chowder” in a bread bowl!

    I would also recommend you try making it up to Animal Acres in Acton, CA to round out your vegan week! Good luck!

  7. Stancie says:

    Have you tried Babycakes vegan cupcakes in LA? Dessert, perhaps :) Also, Akasha in Culver City is supposed to be great too…they focus on fresh, natural, organic, local ingredients (not strictly vegan). I discovered them on the Food Network awhile back and the place and food looks wonderful!

  8. Tricia says:

    I used to live in LA and you named a few of my favorites. Cafe Gratitude just opened on Larchmont and Melrose in LA. You must go!

    I also love Juliano’s raw and Native Foods in LA

  9. Jess says:

    Man, I envy you all. I live in East Texas, where the closest you can get to vegan when eating out is an iceberg lettuce “salad” — hold the cheese. Everything is breaded and fried or covered in gravy. Gaggh. It’s frustratingto go out to eat and have to order just a triple order of steamed broccoli “No, really, no butter, no cheeze”.

  10. Christina says:

    Bulan Thai – there are 2 locations in the L.A. area. It’s vegetarian, and the vegan selections are clearly marked on the menu. It’s seriously the best Thai food I’ve ever had!

    For more L.A. vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in the L.A. area, check out quarrygirl.com.

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