For as difficult as it might sound on paper, being a vegan eater in LA isn’t as hard as it seems.
In fact in Los Angeles, plant-based eaters are eating pretty much the same foods that their carnivorous counterparts are enjoying. Think: Sugary donuts, crispy taquitos, “cheesy” burgers, and even spicy buffalo wings.
Vegan eating really steps up its game here in LA. We’ve selected nine of the best vegan and plant-based restaurants in the city—the ones that vegans and non-vegans can happily enjoy together over a meal that looks nothing like the typical tofu- and sprout-heavy vegan dishes of years ago.
Home of the “Impossible burger,” an entirely plant-based burger that actually tastes like meat, Crossroads is the best place to take anyone who’s skeptical of vegan food. The menu has everything from a cheese plate to pepperoni pizza—and it all tastes like the real thing. Plus, the dining room and bar decor makes the place almost feel like a steakhouse; there’s leather booths (it’s probably pleather), dark wood paneling at the bar, and chandeliers everywhere. It’s a great date spot—you can even order “oysters” … vegan, of course!
Honestly, Cafe Gratitude is a bit like the setting of a Portlandia skit—from the serene servers who all seem to have Buddha-like smiles to the twee names that go along with every dish (“I AM Dazzling” is the ceasar salad, while “I AM Bountiful” gets you a plate of the blackened tempeh bolognese). It’s all enough to make even the most commited vegan eaters roll their eyes. But you have to break it to Cafe Gratitude—with five locations, it’s clear the establishment is doing something right. Definitely a must-try if you’re in Los Angeles!
Although it’s the sister restaurant of Cafe Gratitude, Gracia Madre has a totally different vibe than CG. Chic, airy, and well-decorated, the vegan Mexican restaurant is favorited by starts like Jay-Z and Beyonce. On any given night, its West Hollywood dining room is completely full. If you can sneak in for lunch—or swing a same-day reservation—it’s totally worth it. Try the quesadilla or taquitos, and wash your meal down with a spicy mezcal margarita.
Founded by Moby (yes, the musician), Little Pine isn’t a vegan joint masquerading as a “regular” restaurant. No, the menu is unapologetically veggie-centric, heavy on lightly prepared seasonal offerings. The results are super fresh, bright dishes that allow the fresh vegetables and spices in them to truly shine.
Vegan sushi. Yes, it’s possible, and it’s straight up amazing. From spicy “tuna” to good ol’ California rolls, everything on this menu is plant-based and incredible. Plus, the service is wonderful—the entire experience is worth it.
If you’re a fan of Top Chef, you likely remember young chef Marcel Vigneron from the second season of the show. Nearly a decade later, Vigneron has opened Beefsteak, a fast-casual plant-based restaurant in the Fairfax district. Everything on the menu is life-changingly good—and we especially appreciate that non-vegans can add eggs, bacon, and even chicken to every plant-based dish. At Beefsteak, you’ll be able to find a happy medium for everyone.
Plant Food and Wine
At first glance, Plant Food and Wine is minimalist and unassuming. White walls and marble tables that are meant to be the background of Instagram foodie posts are scattered about the two-room restaurant right off Abbot Kinney in Venice. But step outside onto the garden terrace and you’ll get a real sense of what Plant Food and Wine is all about—luscious, fresh, green food. Matthew Kenney’s original plant-based dining room is slightly more upscale than most other vegan offerings, and everything from the wine list to the nearly-raw food menu is thoughtfully curated for the best dining experience.
Sage Vegan Bistro
Craving macaroni and cheese, buffalo wings, and calamari … but gone vegan? Check out one of Sage Vegan Bistro’s LA locations. Masters at making veggies taste like all of your favorite junky bar food, Sage’s chefs are famous in the vegan community for their inventive and innovative menu items. Our personal favorite? The deep-fried cauliflower buffalo wings—they taste just like the real thing!
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include Donut Friend on our list of go-to vegan spots in LA. Although they only serve donuts (sorry, no other meals here!), it’s worth a visit because every item on the menu is egg- and dairy-free!