Fabulous Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in LA
Summer is nearly over, but you still have time for a beach trip or two before the days start getting shorter and the nights start getting colder. Keep your body bathing suit-ready by dining at one of these health-conscious vegan or vegetarian restaurants around Los Angeles. Even if you don’t normally stick to a plant-based diet, these dining spots will have you salivating for more.
The hotspot that put vegan fine-dining on L.A.’s culinary map is open for takeout, delivery, and even modified dine-in these days, so you can plan your next wellness-oriented date night out. The artichoke “oysters” with artichoke puree, crispy oyster mushrooms, béarnaise and kelp caviar are a must, as are the stuffed zucchini blossoms. Even if you have overloaded on pasta at home, the radiatori capesante with saffron and Meyer lemon cream sauce, English peas and oyster mushroom scallops are a nice change of pace, as is the Italian “sausage” of wheat protein with peppers, onions and tomatoes in a fennel-seed demi-glaze sauce. Save room for the blackberry shortcake with coconut-milk mascarpone and vanilla shortbread for dessert. That last one may not be healthy, but it’s worth it.
8284 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-782-9245; crossroadskitchen.com
It’s all in the name – gratitude is the driving principle behind this popular raw, vegan chain with locations in Downtown, Larchmont, and Venice. Hence the cheerful menu listings, like the Fortified, a bowl of sautéed seasonal market vegetables with garlic tahini, sprouts and a choice of brown rice or quinoa; and the signature Grateful bowl, which has recently been renamed the Black Lives Matter bowl with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, the NAACP, Fair Fight Action, and the Equal Justice Initiative. It just makes its mix of kale, black beans, garlic tahini, and choice of brown rice or quinoa that much more delicious. For now, the Venice and Larchmont locations are open for takeout and delivery but stay tuned for news on the outpost in the Arts District.
639 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004, 323-580-6383
512 Rose Ave., Venice, CA 90291, 424-231-8000
Fresh on Sunset
It’s a shame you still can’t dine in (for the moment) at the recently opened first U.S. location of this Canadian-based restaurant chain. The dining room is a vibrant, leafy enclave that captures the energy (appropriately enough) of Sunset Boulevard through bright floor-to-ceiling windows. However, you can still order takeout and delivery of its “plant-powered” menu (though not botanical cocktails for now) straight to your home. The onion rings battered in breadcrumbs and puffed quinoa are always a crowd pleaser, as are the crispy cauliflower tacos with jicama, avocado, Napa cabbage, beet sauerkraut and lemon aioli. The house made grain burgers taste as juicy as the real thing, while exotic bowls include one with steamed baby bok choy, Swiss chard, kale, broccoli ginger-chili tempeh, picked ginger, tahini, and a dash of sunflower nori salt drizzled with spicy house made taberu rayu Japanese chili oil. It’s addictive.
8768 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90069, 310-432-5199; freshplantpowered.com
Not strictly vegetarian, this macrobiotic Melrose mainstay still deserves a mention thanks to its ultra-healthy menu. Morning folk should appreciate breakfast fare like the matcha granola with seasonal berries over vanilla chia pudding, coconut yogurt or an oat milk pour-over. The signature deli salads include red beet poke, kelp noodle alfredo and probiotic slaw, while heartier options include the burrito bowl with steamed quinoa, charred corn, black beans, pico de gallo, avocado, shredded cabbage, cilantro, soy crema, chipotle sauce and lime. Or just opt for the famous grilled tuna burger with ahi in a teriyaki glaze with avocado, tangy shiso leaf, pickled red onion, daikon sprouts and spicy yuzu mayo on a sesame brioche bun. Even if you’re not eating there yourself, you can still donate to feed frontline medical workers via the restaurant’s website.
7119 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046, 323-525-0511; mcafedechaya.com
Real Food Daily
Known to locals as RFD since 1993, Real Food Daily was one of the pioneers of bringing healthy eating to the masses, and continues to serve its signature menu of vegan cuisine at locations in West Hollywood (the original), Pasadena, and even at LAX International Airport. Who needs chicken and waffles when you can start your day with crispy seitan and gooey maple syrup over waffles served with a side of seasonal fruit? Dinner items include the signature buffalo cauliflower with curried, roasted florets doused in spicy buffalo sauce with a “creamy” ranch dressing. There are now two Impossible burgers on the menu, but opt instead for a build-your-own bowl with protein options like braised jackfruit, marinated tempeh, and almond tuna, among others; a choice of grains or legumes including soba noodles or lentils; and veggies that include grilled plantains, roasted mushrooms, sea vegetables, or steamed spinach.
414 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, 310-289-9910
899 E. Del Mar Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91106, 626-844-8900
Last modified: August 12, 2020