Vegetarian in Los Angeles: A Feast of Global Choices

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by Paige Newman and Jon Charles Newman, Exclusive to VegDining.com

The Los Angeles area is huge, and since it is a greatly international region, you can find numerous vegetarian choices – everything from Mexican eateries and Thai vegan restaurants to farmer’s markets and dozens of health food stores.

The ecologically-friendly coastal city of Santa Monica is a good place to start, boasting many veg-friendly restaurants. Always popular is the all-vegan Real Food Daily. Interim Café (formerly Newsroom Café) has meat-free chili, tofu burgers and more, while Juliano’s Raw serves unique items like zucchini fries and avocado soup and is run by a raw food pioneer, Juliano.

In ritzy Brentwood, A Votre Sante is a nice bright place, offering several vegetarian items from falafels to tostadas.

On hip Melrose Avenue, M Café de Chaya is full of vegan options with a macrobiotic focus, including shiitake avocado rolls and homemade desserts. Or you can find deliciously handmade ice creams, including smooth vegan flavors like pistachio lemon and maple at nearby Scoops on N. Heliotrope at Melrose Avenue.

If you are in the Westwood area catching a movie, Native Foods has wonderful, big portions.

Braving the traffic from West L.A. to the less culturally inspiring San Fernando Valley might be worth it for the many vegetarian options.

Follow Your Heart (the makers of a favorite type of vegan cheese) in Canoga Park is a classic, with veggie pizzas, burgers and other sandwiches, and an adjacent natural foods store.

In Tarzana is the exquisite Madeleine Bistro, a fine dining experience that just happens to be all-vegan. The menu changes seasonally, but one can mention the chicken-fried seitan or portabella steak. The desserts must be sampled too.

Also in Tarzana is Vegan Factory, one of the many Thai-vegan places to open recently in the broader L.A. area that features all the standard Thai dishes, which can be ordered with tofu or a variety of faux meats. Try the yellow curry or the prik king (green beans and your choice of “meat” and chili).

In Studio City, tucked in a corner of a tiny nondescript strip mall is Leonor’s, serving predominantly Mexican dishes, but also a variety of sandwiches and surprisingly good soy cheese pizza. Check out the many “chicken” dishes (tacos, enchiladas, tamales, etc.) for a start.

To really get a feel for the wealth of veggie choices L.A. has to offer, one would definitely need a car, a comfortable budget and many free days to explore.

Paige Newman was raised in Los Angeles but now resides in San Diego. She is a longtime vegan and writer of veg-friendly travel articles.

Jon Charles Newman, Paige’s cousin, is a lifelong musician and resident of L.A. who has gradually gone vegetarian over the last several years.

This article was originally printed in VegDining.com. Photos Courtesy of Paige Newman.

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5 Responses to “Vegetarian in Los Angeles: A Feast of Global Choices”

  1. Aleksandra Says:

    Thank you for this post, Paige. Though I no longer live in LA, I will pass on this information to friends who do. I had a problem finding vegetarian/vegan restaurants when I lived there, but am glad that they exist. Two places I really enjoyed are Euphoria Loves RAWvolution in Santa Monica and Vegetable Delight in Granada Hills. Thanks again!

  2. Paige Newman Says:

    Aleksandra, you are welcome! Like many of my posts, this was actually an article written for VegDining.com that I wanted to share with a larger group. Glad you enjoyed, and sorry for my delayed response – somehow I didn’t see your comment. L.A. veggies can also check out:
    http://www.vegparadise.com/restaurants.html

    There are tons of places to go! Paige

  3. Paige Newman Says:

    Hollywood has a delicious Thai vegetarian place called Bulan! My whole family was amazed at the “sate” — fake chicken skewers with peanut sauce. Everything was great, from papaya salad to Pad Thai to hot dumplings, and there are numerous vegan options. We were on Melrose, but they also have a restaurant in Silver Lake. http://www.bulanthai.com.

    I also enjoyed Veggie Grill in El Segundo! Good sweet potato fries with “ranch” dressing. If trying to avoid wheat, you can order certain veggie burgers/steaks and such on kale rather than a bun. The place was packed during a weekday at lunch and had a fairly casual atmosphere and a large menu. They have two locations in Irvine and told me they were opening one in Westwood as well. http://www.veggiegrill.com.

    Pizza Fusion in Santa Monica has great service, an eco-friendly business model, and is now serving up Daiya brand vegan cheese which people have been raving about. You can have Daiya on the pizza with spinach, artichoke and many other variations, of course followed by a vegan brownie.

    Also see article on comedian Leo Flowers at:
    http://paigenewman.com/09/the-blooming-of-leo-flowers-a-veggie-comedian/

    He suggests some great-sounding veg-friendly spots in L.A.!

  4. Alison Acaster Says:

    Hi Paige,

    Lovely to meet you yesterday, thank you for pointing me to your blog, this LA article is wonderful and I see Scoops is in there so I have no excuse for not trying it :-) You’re right about needing the car.

    Be well, Alison

  5. Paige Newman Says:

    Thanks, great to meet you too!

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