My Top 10 Vegan Spots
Delicious vegan lasagna from Sun Cafe in Studio City. My favorite by far.
One of the best things about a major lifestyle change, especially in food, is exploring all the wonderful dishes they have to offer. I live in the San Fernando Valley, and unfortunately there aren't many options, bleh, but it just gave me another reason to leave the house and eat. Since committing to a full vegan lifestyle I also got to meet some amazing people in my industry and mostly all of them are vegan so it was a win win. Through exploring new places just about every weekend and eating out with my new vegan friends, I finally got to compile a list of my top 10 favorite vegan eateries, for now at least.
10. Cafe Gratitude
So my first experience at Cafe Gratitude this past June for my graduation dinner. My ceremony was at the Opheum Theatre in DTLA, in the midst of all things chaotic but I couldn't wait to eat. My first choice was actually Shojin, a Japanese vegan restaurant but they weren't open until 5pm. It's another place on my list. My family and I arrived at the Arts District and it was already inviting with its minimal aesthetic and greenery. This organic plant-based chain focuses on local farmers, sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products for an exciting and healthy food experience. They also have location on Larchmont, San Diego, Venice, Newport Beach, and Beverly Hills. Now go!
9. Au Lac
In the corner of a shopping complex, this upscale raw vegan establishment offers a chic environment for a night out. This was actually one of the first few spots I went to on a date with my partner, perfect for date night with a few cocktails. Also, around the corner of The Broad, Walt Disney Concert Hall and more. The only things is just about everything is made raw but with the upmost fresh ingredients, presentation, and super nice servers. Started by Mai Nguyen who suffered a serious illness and changing her diet to plant-based. So you definitely know every dish is made with compassion and your health. They have 2 locations, the first one being started in Fountain Valley and the second location in Downtown LA by Mai's daughter in 2015.
Okay so here's the Japanese vegan restaurant I was talking about a bit ago, and oh they have sushi! This year I got to work at EDV ( Eat Drink Vegan) in Pasadena to help promote LA's first vegan fashion show during Los Angeles Fashion Week. It was also my first time experiencing this amazing communal event and I am definitely going back. Our booth got offered free food left and right and Shojin gave us some free sushi dishes and I was hooked. So a month later my partner and I made another vegan adventure to try it out. They have a very chic atmosphere with calligraphy and art everywhere and their customer service was outstanding! Move over regular seafood and hello vegan sushi that's healthy for you in every way possible. Check them out in their other location in Culver City as well.
Vegan sushi at Shojin Downtown. Pirates of the Crunchy 2.1 roll.
7. By Chloe.
It was Sunday morning and let's just say I had a few more glasses of wine the night before than I have anticipated. My friends and I were starved and wanted some delicious comfort food. So we made a trip to good ol' Silverlake where vegan and hipsters flock to for Sunday Funday. By Chloe "really defines what it means to eat well" and their options are full of flavor you would never think vegan food can have. From mac n' cheese, juicy burgers, ice cream pops, and fresh salads they got it all to make you feel good! Literally mouthwatering while your waiting in line for their animal-free, dairy free, no preservatives or artificial flavors and more food. And right next to it you can pick up a few things at Whole Foods 365 Market. See By Chloe. in New York, Boston, and Providence too!
A small whole in the wall establishment but packed with culture and rich traditional dishes. My first experience was at the North Hollywood location, crammed between 2 shops but well worth the pin in the haystack find. I've been hooked because i'm Mexican myself and I grew up on every traditional dish you can think, so it was comforting to find a vegan spot with a sense of familiarity to it. They have tortas, mole enchiladas, pozole, and empanadas with an amazing bread to just die for! I also love seeing the same waitress there every time I go, and sometimes I even wonder if that's Leonor herself, ha! I also about a week ago went to their original location in Studio City and it's just a good, of course.
5. La Charrita
Originally from Burbank, but now in Santa Clarita across from Hart Park in Newhall. I came across this hybrid Mexican restaurant after an amazing and heart warming visit from the Gentle Barn, an animal sanctuary helping animals of all sorts from animal agriculture and neglect. I found them on Yelp and it seemed to have some great responses from vegans everywhere. This was also the first place to introduce me to Jackfruit, a tropical egg like shaped fruit from South India but an amazing texture "meat" substitution. They have all your traditional Mexican dishes and every so often on Sunday's they get vegan pan dulce's from Your Vegan Friend.
4. Little Pine
Another quaint hipster vegan shack by the well-known music artist and activist, Moby. This woodsy-chic spot serves a mediterranean California inspired cuisine with all its proceeds going to animal organizations. From biscuits and gravy to cinnamon rolls and fresh salads and extensive wine list as well for later. The atmosphere is very warm and house-like that'll make you want to stay all day long. For me, it was the biscuits and gravy dish that swooned me to come back again and again. "The food at little pine is, of course, why the restaurant exists. i don’t eat non-vegan food at home, so i don’t know why i’d serve anything other than vegan food in my restaurant." Moby.
In the heart of West Hollywood, this very popular Mexican Cuisine restaurant promises a 100% organic plant based experience from locally grown ingredients. I want to say I visited this spot towards the end of last year, being a surprise date and treat from my partner after just finishing my last quarter at the Art Institutes (thank goodness). The atmosphere is a very chic modern appeal with tasteful Mexican accents everywhere to share their recognition and culture alike. Most of their dishes are inspired from their actual employees families in Mexico. It's also a hot spot for Brunch on Sunday's and a great time for Happy Hour with your friends or casual meeting.