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really tasty vegan restaurants?

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  • yum Jul 17, 2006 07:43 AM
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anyone know of a great vegan restaurant in LA? I've tried real food daily and was really disappointed..LOVE m cafe de chaya but it's not quite vegan... something healthy, tasty and not too salty i guess.. thanks!

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  1. rahel.
    vegan ethiopian restaurant on fairfax.
    excellent.

    i believe happy family on atlantic in monterey park is vegan also.
    they recently moved, so check the address. (also, they close after lunch and reopen for dinner, so check their hours).

    although the entire restaurant is not vegan (vegetarian yes, vegan no) they have a ton of vegan choices--the spot in hermosa beach on second st.

    same story with native foods in westwood.

    1 Reply
    1. re: westsidegal

      re: Happy Family (they did move a while back) and other veg Chinese / Thai / Vietnamese restaurants... they are often close to vegan, and will often represent themselves as such - but depending how strict you are, there will often be some small amount of dairy or egg in certain dishes, esp. those containing fake meat. Have a read of this post I wrote a while back:

      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/41885...

      M. Cafe is vegan except for the stuff containing fish, which is pretty easy to avoid; are you intent on going to a restaurant that's purely vegan, or just one that has good vegan options? I know it's nice to be sure you're getting vegan food, but there are a ton of places that are pretty careful about preparation and labelling that aren't strictly vegan.

      Definitely check out Madeline Bistro as mentioned below.

    2. I'm curious to know why you didn't like RFD, it's one of my usual spots. I also like M Cafe, and as long as you don't order one of the (few) fish things, all the food is vegan...this is the same with Inaka on La Brea.

      Rahel is great!

      Native Foods is good and completely vegan, but the menu is somewhat geared toward vegan alternatives to junk food (e.g. burgers, tacos, pizza). I really like the soy amigo salad!

      Also, Juliano's Raw in Santa Monica, Leaf Cuisine in Culver City, and Taste of the Goddess on Santa Monica Blvd. are raw vegan places...there's another raw place on Main St. in Santa Monica, but I don't like it as much.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ceegee

        Two places that my vegan friends have been happy at are, Fritto Misto (Santa Monica and Hermosa) and Papillon in El Segundo. Unfortunately, we don't have any stellar options for high end vegan food, in my own omnivorous opinion.

      2. California Vegan for Thai vegan. It is on Santa Monica in West LA. They have some great options - just skip anything that sounds vaguely Chinese and skip the green salad (that basically translates to ordering a la carte instead of the specials that come with salad and a spring roll).

        My picks: Vegetable Curry, Coconut in Paradise (sort of like gaeng keo wan served in a coconut), garlic sauce made with the pepper steak. They have pretty good fake chicken - not a fan of the fake shrimp. I like the chicken nuggets, but mostly because it served with a VERY Thai tasting dipping sauce.

        The one real downside of this place is that they only use brown rice. I don't know why they think vegans wouldn't like a really fragrant jasmine rice, but so it goes...

        California Vegan
        12113 Santa Monica Blvd # 207
        310.207.4798

        3 Replies
        1. re: igj

          California Vegan is not bad, but it doesn't feel healthy to me. It's cheap, so I guess that's good, but there's nothing there I love...and the pancakes are really dense! They have a location at Sunset/Fuller as well.

          There seems to be some question as to whether the fake chicken is actually vegan: http://livingvegan.org/News-viewnews-...

          1. re: ceegee

            Pancakes? Hmm... I'd skip anything that doesn't seem Thai at this place. The Thai mungsaweerat tradition - Monk's vegetarian food- is strong enough that there is plenty of cultural experience in making tasty veggie/vegan Thai food. The other stuff that California Vegan does seems iffy to me.

            If coconut milk seems unhealthy, then most yummy Thai vegan things will be unhealthy. I like some of the non-curry vegan things I've had (in LA and in Bangkok), but the best ones have the fat of coconut milk to make the dish taste good.

            1. re: igj

              I love the pancakes at those places. And I'm usually really skeptical of gluten-free pancakes. But just watch out - some of those places serve fake maple syrup by default, and some will charge you extra for real ("organic", but not really) maple syrup.

              While those restaurants (the *** vegan ones) are mostly Thai-owned, the menu is kind of all over the place (the menus are all variations on Pia's "Vegan Express", which is the original restaurant of this type AFAIK, though she doesn't own it anymore).

              I do agree that the Thai dishes tend to be the best option, but there are plenty of other good dishes that aren't Thai style - the tofu scrambles aren't bad, some of the burgers and wraps are decent, and the pancakes are tasty.

              I think most of the concerns raised by the livingvegan site have been addressed by most of the restaurants, but I am still skeptical that they've all gotten rid of all the fake meat w/ small amounts of dairy in it.

              Personally, I usually just order tofu dishes there these days.

        2. Akbar (Indian) will prepare vegan meals if you ask.

          When I'm eating vegan, I just let the server know I'd like a vegan meal. Sometimes I order, sometimes I just let the chef prepare what he feels is a nice selection.

          They'll use oil instead of butter, they'll not use any yogurt and they'll bake the whole wheat naan, which is the only naan they have with no milk in the recipe.

          I'm pretty sure other Indian restaurants will do the same, but Akbar is where I've personally been accomodated and enjoy both the food and the service.

          There is an Akbar in Santa Monica, in Marina Del Rey, in Pasadena and in the South Bay (Hermosa, Torrance, Redondo, Manhattan ... something like that).

          I believe Indian cuisine is one of the tastiest of all ...

          1. As mentioned above, Native Foods in Westwood is great. It was the first vegan place that I thought was tasty rather than plain.

            1. I hear that Green Temple and The Spot are really good in the South Bay. I've never been.

              1 Reply
              1. re: young_chower

                i'll second your recommendation of both these places.
                i like the food better at the spot, but the ambiance at green temple is much better.

              2. For Vegan Indian I like SURATI FARSAN MART (www.suratifarsan.com).

                For Vegan Chinese, I like NEW HAPPY FAMILY RESTAURANT (8632 E. Valley Blvd., #E Rosemead, Phone: 626-288-5786).

                For Vegan American, I goto OREAN (www.oreanshealthexpress.com) for their chili cheese fries and granola rum shake.

                1. Madeleine Bistro - Unique Cuisine
                  Healthy - Organic - Vegan
                  18621 Ventura Blvd.
                  Tarzana, CA 91356
                  (818) 758-6971
                  http://www.madeleinebistro.com/

                  Their website is almost impossible to navigate, but the food is excellent. (high-end, fancy, not cheap, but casual

                  )

                  See a more complete post at
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Bendiner

                    This was the best vegan food I have had in the LA area. Or come up to Ventura to try Mary's Secret Garden, which is really lovely.

                  2. There's Truly Vegan on Hollywood for Thai etc. vegan.
                    The food was good but just a tad on the greasy side for me.

                    1. The Vegan Plate, in Studio City, is excellent. Try the yellow curry. Mmmm!

                      Vegan Plate
                      11943 Ventura Blvd
                      Studio City, CA 91604
                      (818) 506-9015

                      1. does anybody know about cafe flore on sunset in silver lake? news about when it will open?
                        is silverlake there is also a raw/vegan restaurant, i don't remember its name, but it's where they have the farmer's market on saturday on griffith park. i also like elf, which has a lot of vegan options.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: laromagnola

                          Hmmm... are you maybe thinking of Green Leaves, on Hillhurst? It's not that far from Griffith Park. I think they opened about a year ago.

                          http://www.greenleavesvegan.com/about...

                          1. re: ashleytrailrunner

                            no it's cru cafe, i found it
                            CRU Cafe
                            1521 Griffith Park Blvd.
                            Los Angeles, CA 90026
                            323-667-1551

                            i went to green leaves once last year and it sucked real bad. i don't know if it got any better. i never went back to try it again

                          2. re: laromagnola

                            You are correct, it's called Flore and it opened around the time of Sunset Junction. I had breakfast there today-- buckwheat pancakes topped with homemade blueberry-apple preserves and pecans served with tempeh bacon and a large iced americano. The food was delicious (my dining companion was likewise pleased with her wheat/gluten free griddle cakes), portions and prices were nice, and the service was excellent. The menu is really appealing, lots of lunches and dinner options too, I can't wait to go back for a tempeh reuben or vegan cupcake! Here's their info:

                            Flore Vegan Cuisine
                            3818 W Sunset Blvd.
                            LA CA 90026
                            (818) 953-0611

                            1. re: udontmakefriendswithsalad

                              couldn't disagree more. none of the four people in our party liked flore. the food was dreadful, the service rude and we didn't like the space it was in. worst of all, after assuring us that the pizzas were gluten-free (and they wrote "gluten-free" on the menu), we asked to see the package for the flour and discovered that it in fact was made entirely of gluten!! amazing -- two of us can't eat gluten and they lied right on the menu.

                          3. I second the rec for Rahel. Extremely tasty vegan food. There are very good vegan options at Urth cafe too.

                            When dining out with vegan friends we usually stick to lebanese/arabic places. I like Gaby's on Washington by the beach and Sham on Santa Monica near 6th. While neither of these are vegan restaurants a lot of Arabic mezze suits the vegan diet, like hummus, babaghanoush, lentil soup, mujadara, tabbouleh, fattoush, zaatar, falafel etc

                            1. I am a veg, not a vegan, but I like both Vegan Plate in Studio City (north side of Ventura, just east of Laurel Cyn), & the Vegan Joint in WLA (corner of what I call National & National, kitty corner from Hu's). Both places are spotless & pretty yummy (I like Vegan Plate a tad more, but I live in WLA). I do not like RFD (tasteless) or Madeleine (weird), but I know others like them both. Tuk Tuk on Pico & Swall will make their food vegan if you let them know when ordering.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: sherpa50

                                Agree on RFD, but I like Madeleine a LOT. Also, Leonor's Vegetarian Mexican cuisine, a pair of holes-in-the-wall in North Hollywood, have vegan options.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  Love Madeleine too.

                                  Au Lac

                                  Not all of these (or any) are specifically vegan, but all with good options...

                                  Mao's Chinese Kitchen (Venice or now Melrose too) has good options and is very accommodating.

                                  The Dressing Room in Sherman Oaks for good options

                                  Inn of the Seventh Ray and La Cachette can both accommodate, as will Grace on a special request

                                  The Spot in Hermosa

                                  Woodlands in Chatsworth

                                  For dessert, Scoops for vegan gelato!!

                                  1. re: Emme

                                    I love woodlands, but am not sure it is vegan. They may use ghee.

                                2. re: sherpa50

                                  i agree with you about madeline:
                                  serving chicken fried seitan sandwichs on fancy dinnerware seemed strange to me.
                                  the dish is CASUAL and deep fried. certainly didn't go with the fancy table clothes , etc.

                                3. go to cerritos, Pioneer Blvd. most of the eateries there are vegetarian. and you can definitely ask to have any dish prepared vegan... they're used to is.

                                  1. Just to mix things up, Scoops offers a few vegan ice creams. Also, I believe there's a vegan pub across the street.

                                    -----
                                    Scoops
                                    712 N Heliotrope Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90029

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                                      what's the name of the pub?

                                      1. re: Diana

                                        Pure Luck -- they're supposed to carry a bunch of craft beers too, but honestly I've not been.

                                        Here's Normal's thread on Pure Luck:
                                        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/417650

                                        1. re: Diana

                                          I'm going to have to recomend Pure Luck as well. They have great draft beers, and menu that changes with the season/whats local.

                                          They make amazing pulled "pork" sandwiches and tacos out of the meat of a jackfruit. Its become my recent craving.

                                          Prices are pretty much all under $10 per entree, but bring cash because thats all they take. Then get vegan scoops!

                                      2. Leaf, Real Food Daily,the options @ M Cafe
                                        and Truly Vegan for cheap eats

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Pancee

                                          The OP said he/she already tried Real Food Daily and didn't like it. Some of the food at Real Food Daily is passable, but most of it is miserable.

                                          I recently had one of the worst meals of my life there. The weekly special - Buddha Belly (highly touted by the waitress) - Thai peanut sauce tossed in udon noodles with sweet rice croquettes and orange glazed tempeh triangles.

                                          It is hard to think of words to describe how vile this dish was. Gloppy udon noodles in a sickeningly sweet sauce (okay, they don't use sugar - big deal -- whatever "natural" sweetener they used was equally overdone) with fried tempeh doused in a sweet cloying sauce. Not only did it taste bad, but I doubt it had anything to offer nutritionally.

                                          It's sad that Real Food Daily is the only non raw food vegan restaurant on the Westside.

                                          1. re: omotosando

                                            I'd consider California Vegan (whatever you think about their actual vegan-ness or how good their food is) and Native Foods to be west side... there are probably a couple others that I'm not thinking of.

                                            Overall, I think the west side is better for veg / vegan food than most other parts of town (lots of good options at non-veg places)... one of the unfortunate things about LA being so decentralized is that there isn't really any one area that has a lot of good options (east side is getting better than it used to be, but really isn't that good either).

                                            ps - I've had mixed experiences at RFD, but I think that they are still doing some good stuff. It is unfortunate that their specials aren't as good as they used to be.

                                        2. Happy Famiy is good for the all-you-can-eat dinners (only avaialable at the Monterey Park location) where you and preferrably a few friends can sample an unlimited amount of small plates from 60+ item menu. Otherwise, the other vegetarian Chinese places in the San Gabriel Valley such as Fine Garden on Las Tunas and Mighty Veggie House on Valley Blvd. are a little more flavorful.

                                          If you like Thai food, Bulan Vegetarian Kitchen on Melrose is better than the California Vegans, Vegan Express and the other dozen or so vegan Thai places featuring pancakes and wraps on the menu. Although it is not entirely vegan, most of the menu items at Bulan are identified as vegan. Of course you have to investigate the ingredients in the soy meat. You can see pics and a review from a recent meal there at: http://meatlessinla.blogspot.com/2007...

                                          China Beach Vietnames Bistro in Venice has a vegetarian section on their menu.

                                          Cafe Inaka on La Brea offers clean simple Japanese macrobitic food (not inexpensive) but they aren't strictly vegan as they do have a couple of fish dishes daily.

                                          Magic Carpet on Pico near La Cienega is also not vegetarian but is Kosher so all of the easily identifiable non-meat items on the menu strictly non-dairy. They serve Yemenite cuisine with good soups, salads, falafel, eggplant dishes and melawach (pizza-like, crispy multi layered pancake served with a variety of toppings).

                                          1. I'm not a vegan, or veggie for that matter, but I have friends who are and I don't mind eating vegan food. I think Leaf in Culver City is what gives vegan food a bad name. Tasteless and overpriced. I've been a few times, and didn't care for it. They're friendly though.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: writergirl

                                              leaf is not only vegan, but they only serve RAW food.

                                            2. what about the Vegan place on Hillhurst?

                                              1. love Veggie Grill in Irvine if ur ever in OC

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: baharflower

                                                  Also Avanti Cafe in Costa Mesa....I'm not a vegitarian, but I love their food.

                                                2. Vegan Glory on Beverly. I love their soy shrimp!! The Vegan Glory Wrap is great and huge and just covered with yummy things like avocado, edamame, peanuty sauce, and soy chicken skewers. Mmmmm.

                                                  1. Bulan Thai is wonderful (opening a new branch in Hollywood) as is the relatively new Vegan Express in North Hollywood (on Vineland near Magnolia). Their Cowboy Burgers are divine. Seriously.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: dillidibilli

                                                      I was just at Bulan Thai and thought that the food here was the blandest possible Thai food I've ever had. I did like the pumpkin brown rice though. I had a curry, a "duck" dish, and some other thai dishes. I'll try the cowboy burger though, if I have to go here again.

                                                      The only really tasty vegan restaurant I like is Veggie Grill. All the meat eaters I know love the place, and so do I.