Food & Drink

The Best Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants in LA

The fact that even your dad has heard of cashew cheese and veggie dogs proves that vegan food is officially mainstream. While plant-based eaters were once relegated to steamed veggies and pasta with marinara sauce on many menus, LA's restaurant scene has changed faster than you can say teriyaki tofu to capture the veg-head set. From high-end hip spots to fast-casual finds, it’s easier than ever to go veggie when dining out, whether you’re a die-hard vegan or an open-minded omnivore looking to expand your meatless horizons -- here are 19 top spots for vegetarian and vegan eats in LA worth knowing.

Fresh

West Hollywood
Toronto-based vegan restaurant group’s glam foray into the US 

The plant-based restaurant group out of Toronto that began as a juice bar more than two decades ago opened its first US location last year on Sunset. It still offers up a full line of raw, organic cold-pressed juices (which it also utilizes in its craft cocktails) along with a varied food menu of salads, wraps, burgers, and bowls. Using whole, all-natural ingredients, the kitchen can churn out everything from decadent dishes like mushroom gravy-covered poutine fries, crispy cauliflower tacos, and a nine-layer burrito with cashew queso to the vibrant tangled Thai salad centered around spiralized colorful carrots and beets. The glam space (that formerly housed Serafina) features circular velvet booths, light wood-paneled walls and a lush patio.

Shojin

Culver City and Downtown
Two locations for macrobiotic, organic vegan sushi rolls

We know what you’re thinking: If you’re going out for sushi, you’re going out for sushi. You know, the kind with fish and everything? But wait -- what the rolls lack in seafood, they make up for in flavor and creativity. Try the baked California roll that replaces crab with an enoki-radish-veganaise concoction, and then gets torched at the table or the popular Shojin Dynamite roll stuffed with tofu, avocado, and topped with dynamite and spicy beet sauce. Bonus: Shojin also boasts the fact it’s organic and macrobiotic in addition to completely veggie-friendly.

Bulan Thai Vegetarian Kitchen

Silver Lake
Vegetarian and vegan Thai with lots of mock meats

Classic Thai dishes get a vegetarian update at this Eastside spot; think veggie Tom Yum soup, garlic-pepper veggie chicken, and mock duck curry, along with the usual noodle suspects like pad tai and pad see-ew, all packed with flavor but not meat. Bonus: The menu notes which dishes are already vegan and which can be made vegan (or gluten-free) by request.

Todo Verde

Smorgasburg
Clean, plant-based Latin fare centered with lots of taco options
Jocelyn Ramirez brings plant-based Latin fare to her native Southeast LA and beyond via her catering company catering Todo Verde, but you can get a taste of her a la carte cooking every Sunday at food fest Smorgasburg. She takes traditional blue corn tortillas and stuffs them with mushroom tinga and jackfruit done with a bright pipian verde sauce of pumpkin seeds, pistachios, and poblanos and cashew crema, along with cashew cheese-based nachos and quesadillas and fruity agua frescas. Look for Ramirez to open a brick-and-mortar spot somewhere in the city later this year.

Double Zero

Venice
Plant-based pizzeria with housemade nut-and-rice based cheeses 
At this dark, sleek venue with a backlit wall of wines, star vegan chef Matthew Kenney bakes an array of plant pizzas in his wood-burning oven. Pies are covered with his signature nut cheeses (including a luscious cashew mozzarella) and toppings like Calabrian chiles and shiitake bacon. His “Not Pizza” section is filled with variations on old-school Italian fare including eggplant parm, baked meatballs with macadamia ricotta, a sunflower Caesar and an array of vegan gelatos. Most pizzas can be made gluten-free with rice-based cheese for those who want nothing to do with nuts.

Café Gratitude

Downtown, Larchmont, Venice
Organic, international vegan eats made with locally sourced ingredients

The globally inspired dishes at this small SoCal chain are dubbed with descriptive names that, admittedly, don't actually tell you much about what's them. You'll choose between items like the Exquisite (beer-battered coconut “calamari), Evolved (a black bean rice bibimbap bowl with grilled oyster mushrooms and chickpea frittata), or Glorious (a blackened tempeh wrap layered with cashew Caesar dressing and coconut bacon). It's all super satisfying, if a bit on the lofty side.

Donut Farm

Silver Lake 
Bay-Area outpost with gourmet donut flavors and coffee drinks

This Bay area-based vegan donut shop (officially called Pepples Donut Farm) expanded to LA in 2016, bringing its all-vegan pastry lineup to a Silver Lake stripmall shop. Donuts range from classics like vanilla glaze and cinnamon sugar, to “top shelf” offerings of lavender earl grey and whiskey tangerine, to amped-up fritters in flavors including banana and apple. There’s also an espresso bar doling out perfect donut-washing-down beverages.

Gokoku Vegetarian Ramen Shop

Studio City
Vegan bowls with big flavor and gluten-free options 

The world of ramen has never been especially welcoming to vegetarians, but this Valley spot is making up for lost time thanks to an entirely vegan and vegetarian menu with noodle bowls centered around a veggie-based broth, wood ear mushrooms, jicama, baby bok choy, and fried onions. From there, you can customize your ramen with options like jalapeno and black beans, various types of tofu, and lots of different spice levels; non-vegans can opt for a soft-boiled egg, and gluten-free folk can get GF noodles for an upcharge.

Ramen Hood

Downtown 
Vegan ramen counter from a Top Cheffer at Grand Central Market 

The ramen from Top Chef alum Ilan Hall’s counter-service spot within Grand Central Market is another ramen opportunity for vegans, with a milky broth that gets its thick-ish texture from sunflower seeds. The ramen menu is a short one: you can choose spicy, or regular. Both come loaded with umami-packed king oyster mushrooms, bean sprouts, chili threads, scallions, and nori. There’s a smattering of sides and add-ons for the bowls, including extra anything and a plant-based egg that looks and tastes like the real deal.

Sage Vegan Bistro

Culver City, Echo Park, Pasadena 
Expansive vegetarian menu with plenty of plays on bar food 

This trio of organic vegan eateries boasts a massive menu running the gamut from tacos and tostadas to burgers and banh mi, in addition to a selection of pizzas and a heavy section of bar food including multiple varieties of Sage’s signature cauliflower-based wings. Founder Mollie Angelheart’s small-batch raw vegan ice cream is available at all three locations as are wine, cocktails, and craft brews. The larger Culver City venue also features a 1,500-square-foot outdoor beer garden.  

Beelman’s

Downtown
Casual pub with plant-based bar food
This plant-based pub previously owned by Tony Yannow’s beer-and-vegan-fare-focused Artisanal Brewers Collective, was recently taken over by a new hospitality group that’s keeping the menu mostly as-is for now. That means the same casual bar fare amped up with Asian influences. There’s snacky stuff like smoked tofu wonton bites, crispy garbanzos tossed with togarashi and gochujang, and heartier offerings including a loco moco bowl made with Impossible meat, tater-tot “Tachos” topped with cashew cheese, and a kicky chili dog in addition to the big beer selection.

Veggie Grill

Various locations
National fast-casual chain with vegan tacos, burgers, sandwiches, and salads

The growing fast-casual chain now has 15 locations around LA, all of which offer a much-appreciated quick bite for vegans and those who want a break from Chipotle. The place offers vegan alternatives to not just tacos and burritos but superfood-laced salads, burgers, brats, and that food-world darling the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich. The chain also does a lineup of seasonal specials which, right now, includes paleo zucchini noodles with Beyond sausage and a BBQ chicken salad.

Plant Food + Wine

Venice
Plant-based fare on the patio from chef/restaurateur Matthew Kenny 
Matthew Kenney’s now-international vegan empire is officially too large to keep track of, with venues in cities from Boston to Bogota, but this Abbot Kinney outpost still feels firmly Venice cool with its minimalist interior, sunny back patio, and upscale seasonal menu. Put together a cheese plate with plays on raclette, blue cheese, and ashed chevre, or go with one of Kenney’s takes on classics including a kelp noodle cacio é pepe, mushroom pâté, and a jackfruit melt at lunch. The organic wine list is solid, and you can also opt for the six-course tasting menu if you really want to impress.

by CHLOE.

Silver Lake
Quick service vegan joint within Whole Foods 

This vegan New York import has been super-buzzy since attaching itself to the LA’s first 365 by Whole Foods, which is now just a regular old Whole Foods (read: even pricier). It makes everything in-house -- from its pesto “meatballs” to its guac burgers -- and also does two types of air-baked fries, vegan ice cream, as well as a packed weekend brunch.

The Butcher’s Daughter

Venice
Bright all-day vegetarian restaurant on Abbot Kinney
The self-proclaimed “vegetable slaughterhouse” (which got its start in NYC) is equal parts hotspot, brunch hangout, juice bar, and vegetarian eatery, all housed in a bright design-centric space with soaring ceilings, white-brick walls, distressed woods, copper accents, and that ultra-of-the-moment LA restaurant accessory: the hanging plant. Look for breakfast dishes of shakshuka and avocado toast benedict, a variety of sandwiches and bowls at lunch, and an evening menu of mezze platters, cheese boards, a cauliflower T-bone, and housemade pastas. Stone-oven pizzas (which can be made with gluten-free, cauliflower crusts) are available day and night. The patio is perfect for Abbot Kinney people-watching.

Native Foods Cafe

Westwood
LA’s last outpost of the quick-service plant-based chain 
Only one LA location remains of this fast-casual originally founded in Palm Springs by plant-based powerhouse Chef Tanya Petrovna (who is no longer involved with the company and now operates local fave Chef Tanya’s Kitchen out in PS), but the Westwood store is still hanging in there. It’s a go-to spot for a quick fix of salads, veggie-and-grain-heavy bowls, and lots of faux meat options including sandwiches including a decadent crunchy chicken and tempeh bacon club and a meatball sub that will likely fool your Italian dad. We’ve done it.

veSTATION

Sherman Oaks
Pan-Asian staple for curries, noodle dishes, and gyoza

The Valley’s full of veggie and vegan options, but this meatless Pan-Asian kitchen blasts out coconut curries, pad Thai, and Japanese gyoza that could easily compete with any meatier options. Soy fish may not sound super appealing, but it's actually a good alternative to the usual faux chicken and you can make it the protein for any of its a la carte veggie plates, noodle dishes, and curry bowls. Try the hemp seed-topped coconut gelato for dessert.

Crossroads

West Hollywood
Innovative Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a stylish space 

Part of what makes Tai Ronnen’s acclaimed Crossroads so appealing to non-vegans is, it doesn’t feel like a vegan eatery -- more like an upscale restaurant that just happens to not include any animal products. The dinner menu has an especially innovative small plate section with crispy almond ricotta-stuffed zucchini blossoms, artichoke oysters paired with kale caviar, and grilled cabbage atop tahini-based yogurt. You'll also find salads, plant-based pizzas, and entrees like housemade pastas, lentil-tempeh piccata, and an eggplant moussaka layered with Impossible meat. The place also serves lunch during the week, brunch on weekends (check out the smoked heirloom carrot “lox”), and a late-night bar food menu along with a proper wine and cocktail list.

Gracias Madre

West Hollywood
Vegan Mexican food with a solid happy hour

This attractive restaurant with exposed brick and a tiled bar does equally attractive Latin fare focused on flavorful, organic, plant-based plates of chilaquiles, enchiladas, pozole, coconut ceviche, and plenty of other feel-good dishes. The cocktails are top-notch, and there’s a popular food-and-drink happy hour during on weekdays, too, with most items topping out at eight bucks.

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Lizbeth Scordo is officially into plant-based pizza. Follow her alternative pie lifestyle on Instagram @modlizbeth and Twitter @lalizbeth.