It's Worth Getting Sloppy For This Grilled Cheese Taco
Westwood (and other locations)
This beloved East Coast ultra-casual Mediterranean chain finally dropped in LA this year, and has already become beloved by both vegetarians and meat lovers for its ultra-flavorful, customizable bowls. Ingredients are sourced from local farms, with options including seasonal vegetables and falafel, as well as killer dips including lemon-herb tahini and the ultra-delicious Crazy Feta.
This vegan NY import’s been super-buzzy since opening next to the first 365 by Whole Foods in Silver Lake: it makes everything from pesto “meatballs” to burgers from scratch, and also does vegan ice cream, as well as a packed weekend brunch.
The latest Abbot Kinney hotspot is this vegetarian-leaning (but vegan-friendly) foodery. It's got stone-oven pizzas as well as hearty options like a summer squash lasagna and a carbonara with spaghetti squash and fake bacon. You can wash everything down with cold-pressed cocktails -- if you’re lucky, at a seat on the outdoor patio.
This Echo Park gastropub (with over 70 beers on tap) is the perfect place for vegans and vegetarians who have meat-loving friends, thanks to a menu that skews mostly veggie but also throws a couple bones (get it??) to meat eaters. The buffalo cauliflower was an early trendsetter (and is still a must-order), and the brunch includes a ton of tofu-based options. But its burger (yes, with actual beef) will placate anyone who’s down to go full carnivore.
If there was an LA-based answer to Portlandia, it’d feature a sketch about this Arts District oasis, which is part plant-based kitchen, part juice bar, part yoga studio wellness center (yes, seriously). It may be the only place in LA where you can get a deep-tissue massage and a kelp noodle summer roll back-to-back. For brunch, it's got both egg-loaded and eggless options, depending on how hardcore you want to be.
According to tabloids, for the brief moment Beyonce went vegan, Native Foods was her go-to spot -- and if it’s good enough for the Queen, it’s good enough for you. The portions are generous, the flavors, uh, flavorful, and the faux meat (especially the corned whatever that stuffs the Reuben) so meat-like that it’ll fool all but the most devoted carnivores.
Smack in the heart of Hollywood is this little Peruvian restaurant, which uses California produce to create Latin American dishes. It may lack meat, but it’s far from lacking in flavor -- the mole verde enchilada’s stuffed with cashew nacho cheese and lime crema, and the blue corn tamale’s got a heaping helping of sugar pie pumpkin.
The Valley’s stacked with veggie and vegan options, but this meatless Pan-Asian kitchen blasts out coconut curries, pad Thai, and Japanese gyoza that could compete with any fully meaty options. Make sure to hit the goji berry-infused ginger-quinoa fried rice for a bit of sweetness with all the savory.
It’s probably the most famous (and most expensive) vegan restaurant in LA, and with good reason: the food at the date-friendly Crossroads is made with the same precision and care that any major chef would give his or her product, whether or not meat was included. Start with the lentil flatbread, then work your way through the menu; the pastas are mouthwatering, and the desserts -- including a full-vegan hot fudge sundae -- will knock you out.
This basically hidden Indian restaurant’s an all-vegetarian mecca, in a part of town where you’d be far more likely to find a great selection of bargain tires than incredible Far East eats. Go through the iron gate into a deceptively huge dining room and get the combos, which will hit you with chickpea curry, coconut chutney, and plenty of hearty flavor.
This vegan Mexican restaurant pleases meat eaters as well, thanks to ultra-hearty portion sizes and flavors that will make your tastebuds happy instead of wistful. Lunch here has also become a favorite, thanks to massive bowls of lentils with peanut sauce and pineapples, and the drinks (including weed-infused cocktails -- seriously!) are constantly heralded as among the best in the city.
This South Bay Mexican restaurant doesn’t play favorites: it has meat if you want to go for it, but also a separate vegan and veggie menu if you don’t think the slaughterhouse rules. That means actual short rib tacos (and short rib-less cousins) as well as guacamole (and margaritas) for everyone.
Vegans have basically made this place their mecca, and if you’re a meat eater who’s bitten into its faux Big Mac, it’s easy to see why. It’s somehow juicy, savory, and fulfilling (and tastes, uh, meaty) even without any cow products at all. That said, pro tip: you can add real cheese instead of the cashew stuff by request, and if you’re not full-boat vegan, that’s definitely what you should do. It also has BBQ “pork” sandwiches, mac & cheese, and fried “shrimp” -- yeah, it’s confusing, but it’s all delicious.
1. Cava Grill1073 Broxton Ave, Los Angeles
2. by CHLOE.2520 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles
3. The Butcher's Daughter1205 Abbot Kinney, Los Angeles
4. Mohawk Bend2141 W Sunset, Los Angeles
5. The Springs608 Mateo St, Los Angeles
6. Native Foods1114 Gayley Ave, Los Angeles
7. Chavela1358 Vine St, Los Angeles
8. VeStation144335 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks
9. Crossroads Kitchen8284 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
10. Paru's5140 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
11. Gracias Madre8905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood
12. Ortega1201814 S Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach
13. Doomie's Home Cookin'1253 Vine St #9, Los Angeles
This casual East Coast chain brings its Greek goodness to LA, where it's become a favorite of vegetarians and meat lovers alike for its traditional and bold Mediterranean flavors. The sleek, counter-service joint lets you build your own authentic bowls, pitas, and salads, so be sure to load 'em up with fresh, colorful vegetables and plenty of falafel, plus some dips you won't be able to stop pouring, including lemon-herb tahini and Crazy Feta.
When the first location of By Chloe, the fast-casual vegan spot from celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli (winner of the Food Network's Cupcake Wars ) opened in New York in 2015, it made any and all naysayers fall in love with meatless burgers and air-baked French fries. After Coscarelli's runaway success on the East Coast, she took her mini-chain to Silver Lake, a town much more welcoming to the vegan lifestyle than the concrete jungle of Manhattan. Expect insanely creative animal-free dishes like sweet potato and cashew mac & cheese and portobello mushroom barbecue sandwiches. Don't leave without getting dessert -- the kale cookies & cream ice cream will turn your world upside down.
This Abbot Kinney vegetarian hotspot is serving up filling and wholesome meals like stone-oven vegan pizza and homemade pastas, including a scrumptious summer squash lasagna, as well as pastries from a chef who's done time at Bottega Louie. You'll want to check out the cabbage and cole slaw, too, or the Grateful Veg Sandwich (cashew-cheddar cheese, avocado, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, and harissa). Be sure to wash it all down with a cold-pressed cocktail at a seat on the outdoor patio.
From the guys behind Tony's Darts Away, Mohawk Bend is a "craft everything" brewpub in Echo Park. The space is divided into five areas: a cozy dining cathedral (complete with fireplace), a pub room with a communal concrete table; two separate bars; and a covered patio. Drink options include more than 60 beers and a few wines (all from California) on tap, plus a cocktail program boasting 100 spirits from the Golden State. Menus change seasonally here but the selection of upscale, wood-fired pizzas like the Pig Newton topped with Serrano ham, goat cheese, fig, and rosemary tapenade are always guaranteed to stave off a rumbling stomach.
Okay, stick with us here: this yoga studio/juicery/vegan eatery/wine and beer bar (this place is straight outta Portlandia) appeals to health-conscious winos who 1) apparently exist?, and 2) also like craft IPAs as well as actually tasty-sounding, plant-based foods like mushroom-miso pho. You might want hit this spot up for brunch, too, when it offers both egg-loaded and eggless options, depending on how hardcore you are. Know what's even better than dessert? Topping off your meal with a deep-tissue massage.
During the beautiful, fleeting period that Beyoncé was a vegan, tabloids showed that she became a regular at Native Foods. Isn't that really all you need to know? If not, know that you'll find fresh, homemade dishes at this bright and cheery chain, where favorites run the gamut from the Super Italian Meatball Sub to the Ensalada Azteca to the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger. They also have some killer nachos on the menu. Everything pops with flavor and uses faux meet that's mind-blowingly similar to the real thing.
This small and sleek Peruvian restaurant lives in the heart of Hollywood and serves up vegan Latin American dishes that are equal parts colorful and flavorful. You'll want to dig into the mole verde enchiladas, which are stuffed with cashew nacho cheese and lime crema, or the blue corn tamale with a large scoop of sugar pie pumpkin. Be sure to top it off with the chili chocolate ganache, made with rich avocado and chocolate cream. The best part of this place, though, might be its signature sangrias loaded with California produce.
VeStation is a bright, sleek, and meatless Pan-Asian Kitchen in the Valley that's whipping up dishes that could give most meat-heavy ones a run for their money. You'll get all your antioxidants in order with options like the Superfood Salad, or opt for the flavor-packed pad Thai, some coconut curry, a papaya salad, or Japanese gyoza. To balance out some of that savory goodness, you might also check out the sweet goji berry-infused ginger-quinoa fried rice.
This sophisticated Melrose Ave restaurant offers patrons Mediterranean small plates and well-crafted cocktails for a posh, plant-based dining experience. It's possibly the most well-known (and expensive, sorry) vegan spot in LA, and once you see the kind of care and precision that the dishes are crafted with, you'll understand why. Consider starting with the lentil flatbread, then dive into one of the pasta dishes, and top it all off with the full-vegan hot fudge sundae.
When you first roll up to this Indian restaurant on the border of Silverlake and East Hollywood, you may be concerned by the iron security gate that doubles as the entrance. Do not be deterred. Step inside and you'll find a deceptively large dining room and a lush outdoor garden, where you can nosh on the best damn veggie Indian food. You'll want to check out the combos, which come with chickpea curry, coconut chutney, and plenty of hearty flavor. And here you thought you could only get bargain tires in this part of town.
You’ll say gracias to this madre of a vegan restaurant when you taste chilaquiles, enchiladas, pozole, and other Mexican-inspired dishes made with organic, plant-based ingredients. No matter how much you live and die for carne asada, you'll find Gracias Madre's meat-free creations (coconut bacon, flash-fried cauliflower) beyond satisfying. Plus, no outdoor space in WeHo feels so quintessentially Californian.
On the PCH in Redondo Beach, Ortega 120's a beachside Mexican joint that looks and feels like a resort on the Mayan Riviera. There's a lot to love here -- Dias de los Muertos design, great food, and killer cocktails. You'd be wise to get the tequila pairing and the tour de tacos.
A mecca for vegans in the area, Doomie's Home Cookin' is a casual spot that puts its own meatless twist on typically meat-heavy comfort foods -- from fried chicken to tacos to burgers. Consider its faux Big Mac, which is still plenty juicy, tender, and savory without any beef (or McDonald's drive-thru) involved. The patty comes topped with a cashew-based cheese, but if you're not a full-blown vegan, you can still request the stuff that comes from a cow. The team here is cooking up BBQ “pork” sandwiches, mac & cheese, and fried “shrimp," too.