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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Plant-based on the West Coast: the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles

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California has long been associated with the body and health-conscious, so it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles are enjoyed by more than just the plant-based community.

Vegetarian and vegan food is firmly on the menu everywhere in LA and why? It’s trendy, can be healthier than other diets and a lot of the core ingredients can be locally sourced. That, and the fact that the days of bland tofu chunks on a bed of lettuce are firmly behind us all.

The vegan food scene in Los Angeles is diverse, bringing everything from wheatgrass juices to fast food to the table. Gluten-free options are easily catered for as well, because if you’re going dairy-free, what harm can it do to skip the gluten too?

If you’re an LA native that needs some new plant-based inspiration, or hoping to visit the area soon, take a look at our choice of some of the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles and start planning your itinerary.

Crossroads Kitchen

Melrose Avenue

Opened in 2013, Crossroads Kitchen has always taken a highbrow approach to vegan food, skipping the junk food side of things and heading straight to artisan culinary styling. The food, curated by legendary chef Tal Ronnen, satisfies, surprises and supports the wider community, as it gives diners the option to make a donation to the Support and Feed initiative.

Come for the: truffle mushroom Bianca pizza.

Stay for the: upmarket decor, relaxed atmosphere and community outreach.

Monty’s Good Burger

3rd Street, Echo Park and Koreatown

monty's good burgerA traditional American diner experience with a cruelty-free twist, Monty’s Good Burger makes great use of the Impossible burger patty. Stacked with all the salad, pickles and vegan cheese you could ever want, it comes with a side of shoestring fries or tater tots. Don’t skimp on the shakes and floats either, all made with vegan ice cream.

Come for the: chill vibe and faithful recreation of a proper burger.

Stay for the: craft sodas and cookies.

The Vegan Joint

Culver City, Woodland Hills and Downtown LA

 

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Though age is not always a guarantee of skill, in the case of The Vegan Joint, it is. Not only one of the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, it is also one of the oldest. The interesting thing about the menu here is how it shifts according to time of day, with early hour snacks being more burrito and grab-and-go style, before gently easing into a Thai-inspired selection that’s heavy on noodles and curries. There’s something for everyone though and thanks to being focused on healthy options, there’s an all-day breakfast menu that will make you rethink tofu scramble, in the best possible way.

Come for the: soy chicken and hashbrowns.

Stay for the: genuine warmth and pride that comes from being one of the originals.

Ramen Hood

Grand Central Market

ramen hoodRamen doesn’t get any better or more vegan than the bowls served up at Ramen Hood. Diners can choose from hot or cold recipes, with dishes arriving at the table packed high and ready to dive into. Perhaps one of the most infamous elements of a Ramen Hood dish is the addition of a hyper-realistic vegan egg, gently placed on top of a finished meal, as a nod to traditional animal-based creations. Fans have noted how shockingly tasty and comparable the plant-based version is.

Come for the: cold smokey ramen with vegan egg.

Stay for the: banh mi poutine.

Read our interview with Merle O’Neal, Buzzfeed’s LA-based vegan producer and a fan of Ramen Hood.

Honeybee Burger

Silver Lake and The Colony (West LA)

 

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A newer addition to the LA vegan fast food community, Honeybee Burger has been welcomed with open arms, thanks to the egalitarian menu that somehow seems to satisfy every possible craving. Plus a few you didn’t know you had until you read what is on offer. Juicy stacked burgers, fried chick’n sandwiches, burritos and combo boxes are just some of the most popular choices, but you’ll need to leave space for shakes and desserts too.

Come for the: choice of Impossible or Beyond Meat patties in your stacked burgers.

Stay for the: frots (fries and tots combo), bagel egg and cheese, and soft-serve ice cream.

Hinterhof Vegan German Kitchen and Beer Garden

Highland Park

la veganNow for something completely different. It’s probably a safe bet that German cuisine isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about vegan dinner options. And yet, LA is home to one of the best vegan restaurants that happens to be Deutschland-derived.

Hinterhof serves up brats, sauerkraut, fries and schnitzel, all meat-free but bursting with traditional Bavarian flavour. There’s a kid’s menu too, with delicious soft pretzels and potato pancakes, plus an impressive selection of vegan-friendly beers and cocktails. This is international comfort food on a whole other level, so make sure you wear your larger lederhosen when paying a visit.

Come for the: sausage party selection plate.

Stay for the: schnitzel and waffles and Oktoberfest atmosphere all year round.

Nic’s On Beverly

Beverly Boulevard

vegan los angelesIt’s comfort food but not as we know it, as Nic’s on Beverly adds a gourmet and plant-based spin to everything. We never knew we needed avocado crispy rice, until we couldn’t live without it. And forget mac and cheese, because a balsamic ricotta pizza sounds just the ticket right now. Part-artisan, part-family favourite, the menu is a collection of well-thought-out and tasty dishes that make every meal a celebration.

Come for the: falafel burger with truffle tahini.

Stay for the: Detroit-style wood-fired pizzas and wild berry shortcake.

Equelecuá Cuban Vegan Café

Madison Avenue, Pasadena

If you thought vegan German food was a stretch, wait until you try the incredible menu at Equelecuá. Traditionally a meat-heavy cuisine, Cuban food lends itself to plant-based recipes shockingly well and this, the first all-vegan Cuban dining spot in the world, proves it.

Come for the: El Cubanaso classic sandwich.

Stay for the: yuca fries, croquettes and basically everything else. The menu is vast, authentic and exciting.

The great thing about LA is how culturally diverse it is, because this translates into an inclusive and thrilling food scene. Whatever you’re hungry for, regardless of how specialist you might think it is, the best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles will be able to cater to you.

Seriously. Where else can you find an authentic Cuban sandwich within easy reach of German Schnitzels and old-fashioned American burgers? Add in the meat-free caveat and LA might be the only place in the world that brings them all together.

Read about how LA is embracing sustainability, as well as veganism.

Amy Buxton
Amy is a committed ethical vegan, raising a next generation compassionate human with her husband and their beloved dog, Boo. A freelance writer with a background in PR, she decided to use the COVID lockdown period to refocus her client base and has come to The Vegan Review as a senior writer and editor, before moving into her external content director role. "What we should be doing is working at the job of life itself" is Amy's mantra, courtesy of Tom from The Good Life.