LA RESTAURANT SCENE - Vegan restaurants are popping up everywhere and are increasingly popular with both vegans and non-vegans alike, offering menus every bit as diverse, if not more so, than their traditional counterparts catering to omnivores.
If you’re heading to LA and are keen to sample the local vegan food scene, you’re in luck: the city is well-known for its many fabulous dining opportunities, and its vegan eateries are especially well-regarded. In fact, there are so many great choices that you may be hard-pressed to decide where to dine. We can help: here are the seven must-visit establishments to be found in the City of Angels.
Crossroads first opened its doors in 2013 and is all about serving guests sumptuous Mediterranean food in a fine dining setting. The restaurant offers a plant-based menu and is the first vegan eatery in LA to offer a full bar, which includes a fabulous cocktail program.
Crossroad’s relaxed yet elegant ambiance, striking decor, contemporary restaurant furniture, and cozy lighting are the perfect backdrop for the food. The Winter Tasting Menu features seven glorious courses and includes a glass of champagne and a signed Crossroads cookbook; the dishes include Stuffed Zucchini Blossom, Eggplant Short Rib, and Porcini and Cauliflower Ravioli - for the latter, the chef himself shaves truffles table side to add to the theatrical element!
Double Zero, Venice
This fully plant-based pizza restaurant is a must-visit for vegans and non-vegans alike! The freshly made pizzas (such as the Squash Blossom and Pesto Pizza) are some of the best-tasting around and can be savored slowly in a laid-back, convivial atmosphere. Double Zero also boasts an enviable wine list that features organic and bio-dynamic options.
And the name? Double zero is the grade of flour used when making traditional Italian pizza.
Margo’s, Santa Monica
Fully vegan and extremely popular with locals and visitors alike, Margo’s offers a wide range of small and large-plate meals and is well-known for its delicious brunches. Choose from a fully loaded Breakfast Burrito, a Pancake short stack, Jumbo French Toast Sticks, Sicilian Style Breakfast Pizza, and more!
Made with the freshest of ingredients, this is food full of flavor and presented with aplomb; for those wanting something lighter, there’s also a range of pastries, as well as sliders and tacos.
Nic’s on Beverly, Beverly Boulevard
Chef Jared Symons, well-known from his tenureship of cult-favorite eating establishment Taco Vega, recently took over the kitchen of Nic’s, and it’s been climbing in the popularity stakes ever since! As well as mouth-wateringly fluffy pizzas made using nut-based cheese, the restaurant’s Southern-style fried oyster mushrooms and truffle falafel burgers are already firm fan favorites.
Nic’s also benefits from a secret garden-style patio area, where guests can relax over their meal with a glass of something lovely and enjoy the calm vibes as they eat.
LA Vegan, Centinela Avenue
This Thai restaurant prides itself on using only the very freshest and highest-quality ingredients in every dish that comes out of its kitchen and on its lively, fun, and welcoming atmosphere. Its ‘exhibition kitchen’ also offers an enhanced experience for diners, who can watch the hustle and bustle of the chefs preparing various meals.
The Kung Pao and Orange Chicken are particularly popular dishes, and for extra convenience, you can order online ahead to save on the wait time.
Shojin, Culver City & Downtown LA
The menu here is plant-based, gluten-free, and macrobiotic, and the dishes are as stylish as the decor. For this restaurant, the aim is to provide its diners with a comfortable, home-from-home experience where they feel cared for and content. Executive Chef Jun Matoshiro specializes in creating traditional Japanese food with a contemporary edge: every item on the menu is produced without the use of artificial ingredients, sugar, table salt, or even microwaves!
This love of the craft of preparing cuisine is evident in every single dish, from the Truffle Maitake Tempura to the fiery Shojin Dragon Roll. There’s also a spectacular selection of sushi and noodle dishes on offer, as well as a tempting wine list.
Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine, Fairfax Avenue
For heritage vegan dishes made for sharing, it’s hard to beat this restaurant. It specializes in hearty stews packed with lentils, chickpeas, zucchini, and beans, slow-cooked in a carefully selected range of spices. A combination platter typically features nine entrees to share alongside a generous helping of injera bread.
The Veggie Paradise Combo Special is a particular menu highlight: order this to sample a range of curried vegetables with tasty sauces on the side for dipping - why not finish off your meal with the hugely popular Vegan Lemon Cheesecake for a refreshing after-dinner treat?
Guests can also enjoy partaking in a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony at Rahel’s - this is certainly not something to rush, as this very special ceremony can take a few hours to fully perform!
Takeaway (and Eat In)
LA is home to a thriving dining scene, and vegan restaurants, in particular, are leading the charge when it comes to innovative, inspiring menus and fresh new dining spaces. Try out one - or all! - of the establishments listed above to enjoy plant-based cuisine that takes vegan dining to a whole new level.