4 Restaurants With the Best Vegan Food in LA
Los Angeles is the mecca of veganism. Situated in the heart of California, one of the most stereotypically healthy US states, LA is particularly focused on fresh, nourishing plant-based food partly due to the abundance of incredible beaches nearby, not to mention the lovely weather.
The vegan food curated in LA-based restaurants has pleasantly surprised every foodie. The variety, the creativity and the originality with which LA embraces vegan dishes in itself is a food adventure for every food enthusiast out there.
Here is a list of a few places to entice those vegans and more so, the non-vegans.
1. Crossroads – Fancy Veganism
Crossroads refines the Los Angeles dining scene, and is helmed by culinary trailblazer Chef Tal Ronnen. Highlighting small plate dining with a Mediterranean influence, Crossroads features the cuisine that Ronnen is famous for; beautifully presented plant based dishes that are flavorful and innovative.
A rotating selection of custom-made libations, artisanal small batch spirits, and a thoughtfully crafted wine list complement the fare. Crossroads is an intersection where vegans, flexitarians, omnivores and meat eaters can cross paths to share a delicious meal and a good time.
This spot was also recommended by Executive Chef Jason Stefanko of Gardein Kitchen, who we recently had the pleasure of interviewing for our LA Food Culture series!
2. Modern Times – Beer & Comfort Food Veganism
Founder Jacob McKean is vegan, and accordingly, he wanted an entirely plant-based menu for Modern Times’ first food operation.
The result is a brief list of classic bar and gastropub fare, including roasted “marrow” (mushroom purée and parsnip) with grilled bread and garlic confit, jalapeño hush puppies with Andouille spiced smoked seitan, green-chili-braised soy tacos with beans and smoky salsa, and a towering, knife-through-the-top double burger with American coconut “cheese,” roasted tomato spread, shallot jam, a house-baked sesame bun, and patties of Beyond Meat, served with a side of pickled onion rings.
3. Gracias Madre – Mexican Vegan Food
Gracias Madre is the definitive example of LA living and dining. It offers vegan Mexican cuisine under a California pepper tree on its outdoor patio in WeHo.
The airy and open indoor dining area next to the bar is bathed in sunlight at lunch and in romantic candlelight at dinner. The stunning, huge courtyard is rustic and comfy, with communal seating and smaller tables, perfect for celebrity spotting.
Veteran chef Chandra Gilbert's brunch selections include chilaquiles made with tortilla chips, spicy tomato salsa, avocado, cashew crème and black beans. The tofu ranchero scramble is a mixture of broccoli, spinach, onion, mushroom, pesto cashew crème, avocado, salsa ranchero, black beans and tortillas. The biscuits and gravy are made with tempeh "bacon," caramelized onion and cracked pepper.
Top it off with a tropical smoothie with mango, spinach, coconut milk, lime, pineapple, ginger and agave, or try the sangria adorned with a chocolate-dipped strawberry.
Plant-based dinner selections include flautas de camote made with sweet potatoes, caramelized onion, guacamole, black beans and cashew nacho cheese. The tacos are a pocketful of barbecue jackfruit carnitas, cashew crema, pickled cabbage, crispy onion and black beans. The escabeche is made fresh daily and a tangy accompaniment to anything. One of the most popular items on the menu is the spicy coliflór frito, great for sharing — cauliflower, cashew nacho cheese and lemon.
4. Cafe Gratitude - Local Vegan Food
Café Gratitude is a collection of 100% organic plant-based restaurants specializing in gourmet cuisines. The food made here supports local farmers, sustainable agriculture and environmentally friendly products.
On my first visit to the Arts District location, I felt silly ordering “I Am Incredible,” a smoothie made with kale, coconut milk, hemp seeds, almond butter, maca, banana and vanilla bean. The server returned with the concoction, placed it before me, and said, "You Are Incredible" as he looked earnestly into my eyes. This place offers food with love and care – something that human nature is in need of.
Veganism is more than just eating plant-based food – it is an experience that involves aesthetics, creativity and intelligence in the variety of foods curated with restrictions on dairy and meat!
What are your favorite vegan food hot spots in LA?