When a group gets together and one person is a vegan, picking an agreeable place to grab a bite gets tricky if you’re looking for a place with entrée names that are descriptions of the food — not personal affirmations. It can also be a bit difficult to find a place where you can order a glass of ice water without receiving a lecture about how the resident guru has determined that cold liquids are damaging to the chakras. This list is designed to mitigate this problem. Here are 10 restaurants offering a solid vegan meal with maximum flavor and minimum pretension in Los Angeles.
When it’s time for delicious vegetarian/vegan Indian food, Samosa House is the place to go. They offer a wide range of appetizers, from their eponymous samosas to less obvious options like pani puri. Their combination plate is substantial and changes daily to include soy tikka masala, jackfruit, and smoked cauliflower. This spot is well worth a visit.
Native Foods and Veggie Grill are two similar but unrelated restaurants that are no-brainers for group dining with vegans. These clean, corporate, well-lit operations squarely target the popular ‘fast-casual’ dining sector, offering sandwiches, faux-meat burgers, salads, and veggie bowls, all fairly priced and tasty. It’s only when comparing the menus back to back that a merger seems inevitable. Each place has multiple locations in the area.
Declaring itself ‘the only 100 percent animal free vegan pizzeria in Los Angeles,’ this Los Feliz establishment has a wide range of delicious vegan pizza, including the Gourmet Pesto Pizza (pesto sauce, spinach, artichoke, garlic and daiya cheese) and the Quarry Girl Pizza (olive oil, garlic, mushrooms, vegan sausage, and fresh basil.) Takeout is recommended at Cruzer Pizza, but there is a very small seating area for in-house dining.
All-American Stack Burger at VeggieGrill | Flickr/Larry
An organic vegan restaurant in Silverlake can run the risk of becoming a little too twee for its own good, but Flore Vegan rocks. It offers everything from blueberry buckwheat pancakes to kimchi quesadillas and tempeh Reuben sandwiches to chocolate shakes. Definitely go for their delicious Sunday brunch.
With over 30 years in the restaurant business, owner Rahel Woldmedhin offers the only fully vegan restaurant in South Fairfax’s Little Ethiopia. Rahel offers a range of well seasoned vegetable entrées, served family style and eaten traditionally with injera, an Ethiopian tangy pancake-like sourdough bread. Those who like eating with their hands are in luck at Rahel.
This isn’t the ordinary L.A. Thai restaurant. While everything on the menu is vegetarian, and much of it vegan, Bulan Thai’s menu is kicked up a notch with offerings like roti and green curry and busaba pumpkin as well as more standard fare like pad Thai and fried rice.
L.A. doesn’t have too many vegan spots to dress up for, but when it’s time to get fancy for dinner, Shojin is the place. Tucked into the top of a mall in Little Tokyo, behind the curtained entranceway lies an elegant all-vegan Japanese restaurant. With appetizers like shishito pepper and eringyii mushroom and shiitake tempura to seitan steak entrées and a wide range of vegetable-based sushi, Shojin is truly unique.
Green Leaves is a vegan Thai restaurant that decided, ‘What the heck, let’s just offer EVERYTHING we can.’ While this all-embracing approach is not unique to Green Leaves, they’re the best of the genre. You can enjoy a creamy mushroom soup and a red curry tofu while your buddies order pineapple pancakes and veggie chicken quesadillas or BLTs — there’s something for everyone. The guitar art on the wall and the outstandingly friendly staff are merely a bonus.
Vegans have guilty pleasures too — that’s why Doomie’s is a great place to visit. It’s not the best place for a low-carb diet or juice cleanse, but for delicious comfort food in hearty portions, vegan style, this is the ticket. Order the ‘Big Mac’ from the secret menu, and for the extra ravenous, they’ll make it with vegan grilled cheese sandwiches as buns. Seriously, this place is no joke.
Located on Atlantic Avenue in Monterey Park, Happy Family is worth the drive for the 70 item all-you-can-eat menu. Pick out a few entrées, enjoy the smiling service, pick out a few more, and repeat until all are sated. Recommendations include the house special chicken (batter fried mushrooms in spicy garlic sauce), kung pao chicken, minced squab in lettuce, dried sautéed string bean, eggplant with basil, broccoli and shredded pork in sweet and spicy sauce, and sweet and sour taro.