Being plant-based while traveling may be difficult deepening on your destination. According to some of my favorite plant-based foodies, the top cities in the U.S for finding yummy vegan food are Portland, OR, Los Angeles, CA, Washington D.C, Miami and New York.
Personally, I’ve been to 4 out of the 5 cities listed and I can assure you that it’s possible to find great plant-based options in all of these cities.
Here is a running list of reviews on restaurants that I’ve tried for plant-based eats in LA.
I’ve had the pleasure of trying out some of the popular vegan spots in the city and feel confident in my ability to recommend some really tasty restaurants with great atmospheres.
No other buffalo cauliflower can compare, not even my own. This buffalo cauliflower and buffalo cauliflower pizza is something you need to try while visiting the LA area. Sage is also great because it appeals to plant-based and standard diet eaters - but only offers plant-based dishes.
Aside from the food, the atmosphere was nice, the service was good and that have kombucha on tap. It’s safe to say that Sage is a great place to try while in LA. They have multiple locations so be sure to add them to your trip itinerary.
What I ate:
For Lunch/Dinner -
Fried Brussels with lime, salt and habanero cream cheese.
Buffalo cauliflower pizza with pesto, mozzarella cheese, arugula and ranch sauce.
The buffalo sauce is a perfect balance of vinegar and heat while the pizza dough and vegan ranch-like sauce is a perfect combination.
For Breakfast/Brunch -
Biscuits and Gravy with tempeh sausage.
The Breakfast Bowl with hash browns, tofu scramble, tempeh sausage, brown rice, and black beans.
Chia French Toast with strawberries and bananas.
Acai bowl with extra granola and hemp seeds. This is probably one of the most creamiest acai bowls I’ve ever had.
I’ve been to Sage and I’ve never been disappointed with my meal, I highly recommend.
A cute restaurant that offers plant-based and non-plant based options. I visited Kitchen Mouse during my solo trip to LA and stopped in for brunch. I’ve heard this place can get pretty crowded during the weekends but I didn’t have any issues grabbing a table on a Tuesday morning. The atmosphere is cute, very instagramable.
What I ate:
Mikey's Chilaquiles -
Corn chips tossed with enchilada sauce on seasoned black beans, drizzled with cilantro sauce, topped with pepitas, vegan cheese sauce, serrano slaw, and avocado. I added tofu scramble too.
My meal was great, full of flavor but I felt hot sauce was required. I really enjoyed the tofu scramble too, it was cooked perfectly. I also got two mini-donuts for the road and I really wish I got more than two, they were probably the best part of my meal.
Love Baked Wings
A great wing spot of Melrose and it’s busy storefront area. After a lot of shopping, I ended my trip on Melrose at Love Baked Wings. It’s a casual, counter-style restaurant that was started by Beyoncé's personal chef. They specialize in oil-free baked wings rather than deep fried. They offer plant-based and traditional diet options which made it a great stop for me and my partner.
What I ate:
The chickpea “wings” reminded me more of nuggets than wings for obvious reasons but the taste profile was spot on. Unfortunately, the house buffalo sauce had butter so I wasn’t able to try transitional style buffalo wings so I opted for the jerk and honey BBQ flavor. The chickpea batter had great flavor and wasn’t dry, even though I order my wings extra hard so I was thrilled to see that they weren’t overcooked. The jerk wings were hot so the pickled cucumbers definitely added a refreshing taste. The potatoes wedges were also crispy and brown, you couldn’t even tell they were baked.
The Curious Palate
A really cute restaurant in Santa Monica about two blocks away from ocean avenue and the boardwalk. They offer meat and plant-based options so it’s great for accommodating different diets. The service was also as great as the food! If you’re in Santa Monica for the day I really suggest this restaurant for lunch!
What I ate:
Insalata Mediterranea - pasta salad of cucumbers, garbanzo beans, olives, spinach, red bell peppers, carrots, grilled zucchini, pickled peppers and peas tossed in torchio pasta w/sherry vinaigrette
Crispy Kabocha Squash - chimichurri and salsa roja dipping sauce
My meal was phenomenal, I highly recommend the pasta salad! My partner also really enjoyed his meal which was nice because we often struggle with finding restaurants that make tasty the plant based and meat diet meals.
I’ve seen plates from Cafe Gratitude on my Instagram feed for years, but never had the opportunity to try it until my most recent trip to LA. Let me start off by saying that the service at their art district location is amazing. We basically arrived at 10:55 and we were able to order breakfast that ended at 11, our server was very accommodating. We didn’t expect the ride to be 54 minutes to only travel 9 miles, but LA traffic is an all-day thing.
The atmosphere was great at the art district location and there was even a parking lot which was surprising. The menu is fully plant-based which was nice, and my partner enjoyed his food so it’s safe to say this is for both plant-based and standard diet folk.
What I ate:
Grounded / Smashed Red Potatoes
Baked Potato Style / smokey cashew sour cream, scallions, smoked salt
Open-Hearted / Buckwheat Flax Pancakes
three gluten-free pancakes served with maple syrup added berries
Pure / Asian Kale & Wakame Salad
sea palm, nori, avocado, cucumber, carrots, toasted almonds, sprouts, garlic tahini wasabi dressing
Overall the food was great! I topped my potatoes with hot sauce and it made all the difference. As I was eating I wished the ‘baked potato style’ dish was topped with tempeh bacon pieces, that would’ve taken the dish to the next level. The pancakes were tasty, they remind me of the recipe that I have in my ebook.
Because I clearly prefer savory over sweet I also got a half salad. The salad had great textures if you prefer kale-based salads I really recommend this salad. The dressing wasn’t overbearing with allowed you to taste the flavor of the nori and avocado.
The portion sizes at Cafe Gratitude were pretty standard, one dish would suffice but I would encourage you all to eat with someone who doesn’t mind sharing their food so that you can get a taste of the flavor profiles that this cafe offers
Stuff I Eat
If you’re looking for vegan soul food while you’re in LA then I suggest stopping by Stuff I Eat! I had the opportunity to visit Stuff I Eat during a long layover in LA. I heard about Stuff I Eat through social media and wanted to give it a try for myself. Stuff I Eat is a fully vegan restaurant. The atmosphere was similar to a cafe style restaurant, I went around lunch time so it was fairly crowded with the majority of the people taking their food to go.
What I Ate:
Organic* Soul Food Platter -
Yams*, mac’n’ cheese, BBQ tofu*, kale greens*, black-eyed peas*, cornbread muffin* potato salad & coleslaw.
Soul food can be tricky because 9 times out of 10 I’m comparing this dishes to family recipes that I’ve grown to love. The highlights of the dish were definitely the yams, greens, coleslaw and potato salad. I thought the texture of the BBQ tofu was a little off, and I really didn’t enjoy the cornbread muffin. Overall I thought the food was good and would definitely go back again. I think soul food is one of the tricker cuisines to veganize so kudos to them for getting it right.
Cuban Vegan Restaurant
Growing up I never had the opportunity to have cuban food frequently. I knew that it was meat forward and figured it would be impossible for me to familiarize myself with cuban flavors living a plant based diet. When I heard there was a vegan Cuban restaurant in LA (Inglewood) I had to visit because I knew I wanted to give ropa vieja a try!
The food was great, full of flavor and the ropa vieja had great texture! I ended my meal with some rice pudding, I wish I got two servings worth - it was that good. The restaurant is on the smaller side and it doesn’t have a public restaurant. If you’re with more than two people I’d suggest getting your food to go.
The Stinking Rose
I love garlic. I could eat garlic on everything which is why we (my partner and I) had to visit The Stinking Rose for date night. You may have seen The Stinking Rose featured on viral video around the internet for their use of garlic and restaurant decor. This isn’t a vegan or plant based restaurant but if you let your server know your dietary restrictions they’re really helpful. I had such a fun time at The Stinking Rose I would love to go back with a group of friends!
What I Ate:
Portobello Mushroom Steak with Roasted Vegetables and Garlic Bulb
Plant Food + Wine
Plant Food + Wine is a cute and modern restaurant that specializes in plant based meals with gorgeous plating and style. I went to Plant Food + Wine to celebrate my 25th birthday! The food and atmosphere was nice on a Sunday afternoon. I enjoyed my meal and as someone who passionate about food I really respected the chefs vision for creating an innovative plant based dining experience.
What I Ate:
PLANT BOWL. Black lentil, quinoa, thumbelina carrot, kalette, avocado, piquillo romesco, and lemon tahini.
MOLE BURRITO. Roasted potato, black beans, avocado, salsa verde, and lime creama.
CARROT CAKE. Lime leaf cream, coconut sorbet and Thai tea.