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Visiting Vegetarians

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I have two vegetarian friends coming to visit at the end of the month and I'm trying to decide where to take them. I'm a pescatarian veggie so I tend to not notice the lack/abundance of pure veggie options if there is seafood. I don't know the full extent of their vegetarianism but I believe that eggs and dairy are ok. I think fish sauce being used to cook something won't throw them off but beef broth won't cut it.

I'm interested in three specific cuisines. Korean, in Korea Town (for the atmosphere) or elsewhere. Japanese - maybe a soup place or Mishima market on Centinela since I find veggie sushi to be dull. Indian in Artesia or an Indian all-veggie place anywhere. I'm open to hearing about non-Westside choices or all-vegetarian restaurants which are in the under $10 an entree category. I might also take them to Govinda's (the Krishna place on Venice) because I know that nothing of the kind exists in their hometown. And I was also considering a Thai Temple visit. Any suggestions or experiences to share?

Last time, I took them to Ruen Pair (which is my fave place ever) and we had papaya salad, the morning glory and the pad see ewe with tofu - they loved all three, so I think great food overall is important. And they will try things they have never seen before.

Of course, an LA vibe doesn't hurt so places like Newsroom Cafe are also in the running.

And finally, is there anything in proximity to Joshua Tree/Palm Springs that they might enjoy? Thanks.

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  1. I was in Joshua Tree a few weeks ago and dined at Enchada Mexican Restaurant near Twentynine Palms. The food was decent for the area, and inexpensive. I'm sure you can ordre veggie burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas. I wouldn't order seafood in a dessert area though.

    1. You don't mention if the presence of meat at the restaurant is unacceptable. If not, I try to get visiting vegetarians to try Ethiopian food. This usually means Fairfax -- my personal preference is Merkato for the good food, laid-back atmosphere, and cheap prices. This also means a communal plate and eating with their fingers (though they could probably scrounge up some forks if your guests would prefer that). Their vegetarian combination will get you a hefty helping of four or five different meatless dishes. They do have butter in them, though.

      About a year ago I stumbled into Paru's (5140 Sunset, in Hollywood) by accident, and was quite pleasantly surprised. Paru's is an all-vegetarian South Indian place which provides a nice break from the standard tandoori/vindaloo/naan fare. It's got a pleasant atmosphere, not too fancy, and although entrees are under $10 a plate, you'll probably want to order some sides which will up the price a little over the $10 mark. Still, it's not an expensive place, and is worth a visit.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Bjartmarr

        for vegetarian eithiopian food, imho, the best place is rahel which ONLY makes vegan ethiopian food. be sure to request some awazay with your meal as a condiment.

        a place that has many wonderful, reasonably priced, innovative vegetarian options go to Homegirl Cafe. (they were in boyle heights, but i've heard rumors that they were trying to change locations, so be sure to phone first.)

        very good healthy vegetarian food (i.e. whole grain tortillas, etc.) THE SPOT which is practically on the boardwalk at 2nd street in hermosa beach. you can take a lovely ocean-view stroll before or after the meal.

        for vegetarian persian food, go to shamshiri grill which has an entire section of their menu devoted to their excellent vegetarian options. note that they also serve many other vegetarian dishes which are scattered in the other sections of the menu.

        for vegetarian indian food, very inexpensive, but served on styrofoam plates, my vote goes to SAMOSA HOUSE on washinton and berryman (just west of the 405)

        1. re: westsidegal

          Funny, I was at Samosa House last night and thought that my friends might enjoy it especially since they serve unique items like jack fruit and lotus and the set-up is much nice than the India Sweet & Spices on Venice.

          I hadn't considered Ethiopean but I will look into Rahel since most Ethiopean places only have one veg option (plus appetizers). I think Merkato is where we usually go - love their fish.

          Just looked up Homegirl Cafe and it definitely seems worth a visit.

          Thanks for all the suggestions!

          1. re: SusieGirl7

            when you go to SAMOSA HOUSE be sure to ask them if they are serving their phenomenal mango/banana/pistachio soup.

          2. re: westsidegal

            I second Rahel. It is FABULOUS! The food is great and Rahel herself is a really great lady.

          3. re: Bjartmarr

            Another excellent place for vegetarian Indian food is Annapurna in the West LA / Culver City area:

            http://www.annapurnacuisine.com/

          4. For good Veggie Indian, go to Woodlands pure in Artesia or in Chatsworth.

            UN fing believeable. The Friday night Buffet and Dosa Frenzy in Chatsworth is an amazingly yummy and affordable feast!

            1. Also note that the Thai temple is currently closed.

              1. There are some good Chinese vegetarian places in the San Gabriel Valley. Here's a list:

                Vegetarian Wok ( In Sunny Plaza)
                529 E Valley Blvd
                San Gabriel, CA

                Bean Sprout Cafe
                103 E Huntington Dr
                Arcadia, CA

                Happy Family Restaurant
                140 W. Valley Blvd. Ste 213
                San Gabriel, CA 91776-3787
                Phone: (626) 280-8589

                1 Reply
                1. re: crystaw

                  I definitely will put in my vote for Bean Sprout Cafe. They serve vegan/vegetarian Taiwanese dishes that are just absolutely delicious.

                2. There was supposedly a really nice Vegan(?) / Vegetarian restaurant that opened up in the San Fernando Valley (or NW from downtown LA area) that the LA Times and some Chowhounders talked about before within the last year...

                  Ahhh, the name escapes me. It was mentioned that it was mainly all made-from-scratch ingredients, etc. "American / Western"-style Vegan/Vegetarian food I believe. Anyone have an idea which place this might be?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: exilekiss

                    Aha!

                    I just answered my own question :) - The place I was thinking of was...

                    Madeleine's Bistro (Vegan)
                    http://www.madeleinebistro.com/

                    I just did a search on CH and saw a few comments. Anyone else been here? Thoughts? :)

                    1. re: exilekiss

                      i've been there.
                      won't be back.
                      the food, imho was "meh."
                      the prices were high.
                      the selection was small.
                      as background, i'm 'mostly' a vegetarian, and normally i'm willing to drive great distances to get good vegetarian food. this restaurant, to me, just was 'nothing with nothing.'

                      1. re: westsidegal

                        Thanks westsidegal.

                        Bummer on the restaurant. Hopefully more "nice Vegan/Vegetarian" restaurants open up in the future in our area.

                  2. By the way, a couple more vegetarian/vegan options are:

                    Papillion (they serve Filipino Vegan/Vegetarian dishes as well as Meat Dishes)
                    http://www.papillonvgcuisine.com/

                    I've also heard good things about Soul Vegetarian:
                    http://www.soulvegetarian.com/

                    Also, if you're willing to make the drive, check out Wat Thai Temple in Hacienda Heights. It's the largest Buddhist Temple in the West Coast and they serve a vegetarian/vegan meal.

                    http://www.watthaiusa.org/
                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/la_addic...

                    Here are also links to websites that specialize in searching for Vegetarian/Vegan Cuisine:

                    http://www.happycow.net/
                    http://www.vegguide.org/

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: pleasurepalate

                      I think the temple in Hacienda Heights you're referring to is Hsi Lai Temple.

                      1. re: crystaw

                        Yeah. wat Thai is in North Hollywood, right?

                        1. re: crystaw

                          Oooops, you're right. :( I think I was typing faster than my brain could process. The correct link to hsi lai temple is:

                          http://www.hsilai.org/

                          1. re: pleasurepalate

                            Hsi Lai sounds like an interesting possible spot if we go out in that direction. Do you know when/how often they offer food? I couldn't find the info on their website.

                            And I think Wat Thai is now closed, which is very sad.

                            Papillion sounds interesting. I'm occasionally in that area but with meat eaters, unfortunately.

                            Is Soul Vegetarian a restaurant or do they just make food for outside retail sales.

                            1. re: SusieGirl7

                              Hsi Lai serves lunch until 2 pm, I think. As for Papillion, they serve both meat and vegetarian/vegan options so you can still go with a group of meat eaters. :) As for Soul Vegetarian, I've never been there myself, but I know that it's an actual restaurant.

                      2. Euphoria Cafe in Santa Monica at the corner of Main and Strand
                        Great vegi raw food a few blocks from the beach

                        Palm Springs best health food store and Cafe food all in one is
                        Nature's RX, the food is great for the area, great vegi sandwiches and vegi breakfast
                        555 S Sunrise, Palm Springs, California (92264) (at Ramon)
                        Phone number: 760-346-5535
                        Organic Produce, Deli, Vitamins. Cafe Totonaca has international entrees, Juice all vegetarian & vegan (mostly organic). Open Mon-Fri 8:30am-8pm, Sat 8:30am-7:30pm, Sun 10am-5:30pm.

                        1. there is a native foods, great vegan food, in palm springs and palm desert:
                          http://www.nativefoods.com/

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: kiml

                            and in Westwood Village.

                            1. re: Diana

                              There's a Native Foods in Costa Mesa as well I think. They also opened Veggie Grill across from UCI and they have delicious sweet potato fries.