One thing that I love about living in a big city is the fantastic selection of vegetarian restaurants. Los Angeles has a pretty large selection of vegetarian restaurants, and also vegetarian friendly restaurants. Although I do make most of my meals at home, eating at wonderful vegetarian restaurants sparks more creativity for cooking.
Also there is nothing more freeing as a vegetarian than going out to eat, and looking at the menu knowing that you can pretty much eat anything on it without having to ask for modifications. Today I wanted to share an updated 2015 list of my absolute favorite vegan and vegetarian places to eat. The food is absolutely amazing at each one of these places!
1. Native Foods Cafe
Native Foods Cafe is 100% vegan and has a truly unique and inviting menu. The menu is rich with a mix of cultures, flavors, hearty food, and perfect little cupcakes I used to never be able to resist. I’m proud to say I have some self control now.
I love ordering the Soul Bowl which has southern fried “native chicken” with red beans, brown rice, steamed veggies and kale dressed with ranch and BBQ sauce, and a side of cornbread. I now order this without the “native chicken” (since it is not gluten-free) although I have not forgotten that it is ridiculously good. Another absolute favorite is the Baja Tacos with grilled soft corn tortillas, blackened tempeh, creamy chipotle sauce, salsa fresca, and cabbage. You can’t forget to order their refreshing Watermelon Fresca either.
Native Foods Cafe has several locations in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Palm Springs. Native Foods Cafe also has restaurants in Oregon, Washington D.C. Colorado, and In Chicago, Illinois. Because this phenomenal restaurant also catered my wedding, they will always have a warm place in my heart. For more info on Native Foods Cafe go here.
2. Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
My love for Indian food is undeniable. It is actually my comfort food. I don’t know exactly why, but I don’t question it. Honestly I’m thinking its the flavorful warm spices used in this phenomenal South Indian cuisine that just makes me feel so good.
Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant is a hidden treasure in East Hollywood. Although it is not located in the touristy part of Hollywood, that shouldn’t stop you from going. Paru’s is all about getting wonderful Indian cuisine and dining well with charming Indian decor.
Some of my favorite dishes are the Yogi’s Delight, Dehli Durbar, Punjab Glory, and of course the Masala Dosa. I never go to an Indian restaurant without ordering Samosas, truly one of my favorite treats. Ask for vegan dishes if needed as they will guide you on what to order. Get more info on Paru’s here.
3. Veggie Grill
Veggie Grill is the perfect yummy inexpensive quick meal spot. Veggie Grill is a 100% vegan restaurant with a ton of Southern California locations, and is also now in Washington and Oregon. One of my all time indulgences is their Sweetheart Sweet Potato Fries which come with a delicious vegan chipotle ranch dressing. In the past when I ordered take out, I could hardly get the sweet potato fries home before I’d eaten them all up during the drive. At least they didn’t get cold.
Some of my favorite dishes are the Quinoa Power Salad which contains organic quinoa, diced red onions, bell pepper, avocado, fennel, cannelloni beans, carrots, almonds, currants, mint, hemp seeds, marinated kale and romaine with a yummy citrus vinaigrette. Another favorite is the Bali Bliss which contains organic blackened tempeh, lettuce, tomato, red onion, with chipotle ranch, and definitely add avocado if you like. All of their sandwiches are served on a wheat bun, as a wrap, or bread-free kale style.
I can never get enough of their Cabbage Slaw or Crispy Cauliflower either. Their menu is so much fun! Check out more here.
4. Hugo’s Restaurant
Ok so Hugo’s isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, but I’m including them in this list because they are one of those healthy whole food gems where if you are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc. there are literally tons of options. Plus if you have company who is interested in having non-vegetarian choices, they will be very pleased with this dining choice while you can still be happy too. I love Hugo’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
One of my favorites on the menu is The Power Of Green Salad which contains chopped spinach, organic leafy greens, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, organic dried cherries, avocado, and sunflower seeds with a sherry vinaigrette dressing. I’m also a bit of a fanatic for their New American Veggie Burger made with mung beans, organic brown rice, assorted vegetables, mushrooms, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pesto, herbs, and spices. I always order it with their insanely scrumptious gluten-free flatbread. All of their burgers are customizable, and the topping options are pretty extensive.
Hugo’s also has an extensive list of fresh loose teas, amazing pasta dishes, and a create-a-plate option which allows you to design your own meal with up to five options. Don’t forget to ask about their soup of the day too. Hugo’s has a few Los Angeles locations so definitely check them out here.
5. Real Food Daily
Real Food Daily is an organic vegan restaurant with a home cooked vibe surrounded by art and ambiance. Real Food Daily currently has locations in Santa Monica, West Hollywood, and Pasadena. I love that this restaurant is also non-gmo!
One of my favorite starters is the gluten-free Southern Style Cornbread. I just have a thing for cornbread I guess. Their Supreme Burrito is out of this world with Spanish rice, black beans, cashew cheese, tempeh bacon, tofu sour cream, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, and a whole wheat tortilla. Opt for the burrito bowl if you are gluten-free. I also adore the Real Food Meal which is a macrobiotic dish with brown rice, beans, daily greens, land and sea vegetables, pressed salad, and a choice of dressing. I will always love tahini, but there are others as well. Find out more about Real Food Daily here.
6. Euphoria Loves RAWvolution
I discovered Euphoria Loves RAWvolution during a summer stroll on Main Street in Santa Monica. The food is truly healing and nourishing to the body. The flavors are also insanely incredible! Euphoria Loves RAWvolution is one of the best raw food restaurants that I’ve ever been to.
I fell in love with the Enlightenment Salad which has kale, baby greens, sauerkraut, tomatoes, tabouli, olives, avocado, hemp seeds, carrots, sesame seeds, scallions, nori, superfood powder, and flax oil. I also can’t get enough of their Chips And Bacon Burger which is served on onion bread with lettuce, coconut jerky, kale chips, tomatoes, and cashew mayo. Their menu has so much to offer including amazing smoothies and other delightful drinks. Check out Euphoria Loves RAWvolution here.
7. Rahel Ethopian Vegan Cuisine
Ethopian food is magical! At least that is how I feel when I go to Rahel’s. The favors literally melt in your mouth, and eating everything with injera, a sourdough risen flatbread which is gluten-free is always a lovely experience.
I doubt you can go wrong with anything that you order from the menu, yet I love ordering a combination dish with friends or family. One of my favorites is the Millenium Special (pictured above) which is a combination of split lentil stew, split pea stew, string beans with carrots, greens, injera, potatoes and cabbage, pumpkin stew, a house salad, and dessert. I never have room for dessert though as that plate is huge! They have an all you can eat brunch which I can only imagine to be insanely good. Check out their menu and other information here.
8. Cafe Gratitude
I heard about Cafe Gratitude for awhile before it became one of my go-to spots to meet up with friends or to take family or guests when visiting. If you want amazing organic plant-based food and ambiance, then Cafe Gratitude is your place. They currently have locations in Los Angeles, one in Santa Cruz and Berkeley, California as well as Kansas City, Missouri. The energy and food here is incredible!
I have a bunch of favorites, yet will only share a few as I’m not trying to write a novel. If you love sandwiches try the Magical, a black bean burger with cashew cheese on a gluten-free amaranth and millet bun with avocado and chipotle coconut bacon added. Another favorite is the Awesome, an eggplant parmesan (Brazil nut cheese) panini which is also gluten-free with marinara sauce, cashew ricotta, arugula and basil. Other favorites include Humble, an Indian lentil curry bowl with roasted garnet yams, coconut chutney and scallions served with sprouted brown rice or quinoa and Hearty, a raw Italian pizza which has so many incredible flavors you won’t believe it!
I can’t forget to mention their extensive drink menu which includes their wellness elixirs like Brave, and immunity booster with lemon, turmeric, ginger, oregano oil,mand cayenne pepper, or their smoothies like Grace with coconut milk, coconut meat, almond butter, dates, and vanilla beans. Learn more about this amazing eatery here!
Whether you are vegetarian or not, all of these restaurants will be a pleasure to go to and enjoy.
(Image by Dawn Michelle from Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cusine)