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Jun 15, 2007 09:07 AM

Great Vegetarian in or near Culver City

I'm looking to take some friends out to a thank you dinner in July for letting me stay a their place.
I'm a out of town carnivore and i'd really like to suprise them with great vegetarian dinner.
Atmosphere doesn't matter as long as the food makes up for it.

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  1. Last time i was out there i went to califonia vegan,it was pretty good but they go there alot and real food daily ,which i wasn't that impressed with.
    Can anybody help me out?

    1. Since you say atmosphere doesn't matter I would suggest Tender Greens? They have excellent salads, the grilled veggie salad is my favorite, along with a few other veggie options. You will also be happy with their non-veggie meals. I love the Nicoise and the free range chicken hot plate. They do have wine and beers but its not a sit down place and very casual so I don't know how it fits the bill as a thank you dinner. The atmosphere is nice though and I like their outdoor seating. Check out their website or do a search here, there are many reviews.

      9 Replies
      1. re: CarlieInLA

        I like India Sweet & Spice on Venice next to the Hari Krishna center for Indian.

        1. re: pamm5959

          my favorite vegetarian indian food can be found at SAMOSA HOUSE/ BHARAT BAZAAR.
          if atmosphere matters at all to you, though, you need to know that the food is served on styrofoam plates and the restaurant is self serve.

        2. re: CarlieInLA

          I am a vegetarian (not vegan) and find that most restaurants either have lots of veggie choices on the menu or can provide a plate if requested. I just quiz the kitchen about stocks in soups, request they leave out the pancetta or whatever in a dish, etc.

          1. re: CarlieInLA

            are they 'real' vegetarians or do they eat fish (pescatarians)?
            if they are real vegetarians, imho, tender greens doesn't offer very many vegetarian choices.
            also, i don't like standing in line to place my order nor jockeying for a table.

            1. re: westsidegal

              Actually 4 of their salads don't have meat or seafood of any kind and you can always ask to have their other salads without meat. You can have a hot plate with roasted veggies and usually one of their soups is vegetarian. Thats plenty of choices I think.

              1. re: CarlieInLA

                normally vegetarians would appreciate some form of protein in their meal.

                tender greens, as i recall, offered two salads with cheese being the protein source, and a middle eastern plate with hummus serving as the protein source.

                imho a plate of grilled vegetables won't be filling enough do the trick.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  I don't mean to sound defensive, just want to add my $.02. I agree that Samosa House has very good food and the price is awesome.

                  I am nearly a vegetarian and my husband is a committed one. We don't find it necessary to have an ostensible chunk of protein at every meal. For most normal lifestyles, a good protein source once a day is sufficient. As for Tender Green's veggie hot plate or veggie sandwich not being filling enough, I'd beg to differ. The hot plate has a large delicious serving of mashed potatoes, a good sized side salad and a pile of grilled veggies. There is quite a bit of delicious fiber on that plate and fiber = filling. The sandwich plate has potatoes substituted with a large roll. Also filling. I'd recommend staying away from the vegan plate though - all four scoops of stuff taste similar and boring.

                  1. re: sweetTooth

                    it's good to hear another point of view.
                    to me, fiber may be filling,
                    but protein is much more filling.

                    if i eat lunch at noon, a plate of vegetables and a salad won't hold me until dinner. if there were some form of legumes served with the vegetables and salad, that would be a different matter.

                    also, it seems to me, that many of the vegetarians/pescatarians i know aren't too interested in mashed potatoes or other 'white' carbs anymore.

                    by the way, on occasion, ibex ethiopian restaurant in inglewood serves a green lentil salad that is amazing AND very satisfying.

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      Sorry for the tardy response - I hadn't logged in for weeks!

                      Heh heh. Yeah, unfortunately I'm much too partial to all the bad-for-you white carbs. And TG's mashed potatoes are particularly hard to resist. :(

                      Thanks for that green lentil salad rec! Will check it out!

          2. How great? I bet some of the best restaurants in town would be willing to do a vegetarian tasting menu, upon request. Melisse, Grace, and Josie all spring to mind.

            1. I second all the suggestions for India Sweets and Spices and the Samosa House. I also love Tacomiendo, which serves Mexican is not the most authentic Mexican, but has a lot of veggie options that are delicious. They do make the veggies on the same grill as the meat, though. My roommates love Tender Greens, but they eat meat, and as a vegetarian, I think it's a bit overrated (ie, no taste without the meat)...I would also stay away from Leaf; it's overpriced, raw garbage that even this 13 year veggie can't digest. Other options are Cuban...Versailles on Venice or El Rincon Criollo on Sepulveda. The down side is they don't have many veg options, but the ones they have are delicious. I especially like he black bean soup at El Rincon Criollo.

              8 Replies
              1. re: laguerita

                Leaf is so very sad. I also really like El Rincon's soup. What about Thai Boom? Very good Thai and you can get tofu substitutions....

                1. re: Densible

                  My sister who is a long-time hardcore vegan went to Leaf with date upon asking me if I knew of any places with alot of vegetarian options - she came back thinking that it was some kind of cruel joke that I played on here. I guess you really need the digestive constitution of a cow to graze through some of their food.

                  I like the Indian and Thai options mentioned above as well - my wife's a vegetarian with some flexibility and enjoys those places mentioned above.

                  I never thought of those Cuban options for vegetarian folks. The black bean soup sounds great, but is it possible that there might be some sort of pork product added for flavoring? The only reason I bring this up is that Cuban and pork are inseperable and one of my childhood neighbors (Cuban) who were from Miami made black bean soup using some sort of ham hock or bacon to flavor the soup base...

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      virtually everything at versailles is infused with some form of pork/animal fat.

                    2. re: Densible

                      the folks at thai boom are WONDERFUL about substituting tofu (steamed, fried, or sauteed your choice) for meat in any of the dishes they offer.
                      basically, about 80% of their long list of menu items can be converted to vegetarian.

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        A lot of Thai food contains fish sauce. I'm not sure about Thai Boom or how diligent your guests are but a lot of the time it isn't strictly 100% vegetarian.

                  1. If you're willing to drive up to Fairfax/Beverly, Grace is very nice and always has a vegan option or two.

                    And for the absolute opposite end of the spectrum, there's Swingers in Santa Monica and at Fairfax/Beverly that has plenty of vegan options, and is a great trendy diner.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: luv2savr

                      Gaby's Mediterranean Cafe would suit you well... They have plenty of veggie options, including a whole menu section of vegetarian mezza.

                      As suggested by luv2savr, Grace is fantastically accommodating, and I'll throw a nod also to La Cachette (great butternut squash ravioli!).

                      26 Beach or James' Beach in Venice

                      You might if you don't care for ambience consider Mao's Chinese Kitchen, which has all sorts of meat substitutes, and is quite tasty to boot.

                      Newsroom Cafe on Montana has great veggie options.

                      Fritto Misto would be a nice Italian option.