The Los Angeles area has a wealth of vegan restaurants, particularly several Thai ones, and restaurants with vegan options noted. Between Hollywood, people who keep Kosher or are Hindu, and health fanatics, the area is ripe for healthy food options that draw non-vegans as well as vegans. Since a lot of newer places do not survive, I wanted to highlight some restaurants that have been around a while. Here are some that stand out:
The Vegan Joint
This casual neighborhood café place actually has three locations: West Los Angeles, the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles and in the San Fernando Valley in Woodland Hills. The menu includes wraps, Asian stir-fries and stir-fried rice, with breakfast options like pancakes and burritos. The dishes can be made with tofu; soy chicken, fish or beef; extra vegetables or seitan.
I’ve only tried the Woodland Hills location (multiple times), but the menu is the same across the board. The only downside is the hours. They are not open beyond 8 or 9 p.m., and only the West Los Angeles location is open on Sundays.
Real Food Daily
Real Food Daily is more pricy, but the menu offers a wide array, including scrambles, freshly made juices, coconut and hemp milkshakes, lots of dessert options, lots of salad options, sandwiches and main courses. Its specialties include the macrobiotic Real Food Meal and Real Food Bargain, which feature brown rice, beans, land and sea vegetables, greens, and more. There is also an option of basics (various veggies, beans, grains and plant proteins) that is charged based on how many are ordered. Real Food Daily has locations in Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Pasadena, with the first two Kosher certified.
This Chinese restaurant is in an unlikely place, on Reseda Boulevard in Tarzana, away from other restaurants and foot traffic. But, it is worth seeking out. It offers a choice of basic Chinese dishes (like Kung Pao, Orange Chicken, Fried Rice) with veggie meats and low prices. We’ve taken several non-vegetarian family members here who have liked it. The only down side is the dishes do not always come out at the same time.
For those with more eclectic and adventurous palates, try:
Rahel Ethiopia Vegan Cuisine
Ethiopian cuisine features a lot of vegetable (or lentil stews (wot). I recommend trying one of the special combination dishes to get a sense of the different tastes and options. They has drinks made from flax seed, sunflower seed, or barley besides more common choices. They have an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet every day that is also a good way to sample a variety of things. This restaurant is in the Little Ethiopia Fairfax area, but is the only vegan one there.
Paru’s Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
The food at this Southern Indian restaurant is vegan. Their drinks and desserts may contain dairy, however, so ask. I included them because they are such a mainstay having been on Sunset Boulevard, near Hollywood, since 1979. The cuisine includes masala dosa, idli, vegetable curries, samosas, uppuma and paratha. Most of these offerings are vegan.
A good source to find vegan restaurants wherever you are is Happycow.net. There is also an option that specializes in Los Angeles: vegparadise.com