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Jan 29, 2008 06:31 PM

Eating with a Vegetarian Recs?

We are entertaining my sister and her SO (in from Washington DC for the weekend) this Saturday night. Her SO is a vegetarian (no eggs but I think she eats cheese) and the rest of us aren't. I've perused the site for vegetarian options but feel like most of the recs are for mostly vegetarian places which doesn't leave a lot of options for those of us carnivores. I'd love some options for places that are good for both! (We're are looking for something on the Westside between Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica) One member of our party is not crazy about Indian or Ethiopian food, so those options are out. Thanks in advance!

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  1. I know that this is pretty much outta your way, but GRACE has an amazing assortment/options for vegetarian AND vegan diners...I would even be happy with their veggie/vegan menu if all animals fell off their plates.
    The chef really knowa his way around veggies...makes them elegant and substantial.
    Please, take a look at their menu on line and you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    2 Replies
    1. re: tatertotsrock

      Shamshiri Grill in westwood will please any carnivore.
      For the lone vegetarian they have veggie persian stews which are delicious. Meat can be added to the stew for the carnivore. Plus they can do a plate of hummus, eggplant, etc for the vegetarian.

      I have to admit the menu will be limited for the SO.

      1. re: FortyDeuce

        I think Shamshari's options will make most vegetarians happy, especially if they eat dairy. Definitely more so than Flame. In fact, I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it myself. Went there with my family when they were in town, and everyone liked it (from the most die-hard meat lovers to my sister, who's a vegetarian).

        I have never been able to get a totally straight answer about dairy; I think they mostly use oil, but there is apparently whey in some of the soups and stews unless you ask to have it omitted. Either way, this shouldn't be a problem for your sister's SO, since she eats dairy.

    2. Axe on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

      1. Speaking as a vegetarian, I can tell you that there are plenty of places in L.A. friendly to both veg and non-veg. One of my favorites is Chaya Venice, which really has something for everyone including a crispy tempeh dish that is, IMO, one of the very best vegetarian entrees available in L.A. County. (Hate to say it because I love Grace in principle, but it beats Grace's tempeh dish hands down.)

        You can also always go with Mexican (Lula on Main St. has great meaty and meatless options) or Italian (any of the Drago places for fancy eating, or Fritto Misto or Mama D's for more home-style fare).

        1. If Japanese is an option, Musha (I think the Santa Monica one is supposed to have better vegetarian options than the So Bay one) has some great vegetarian and vegan-ish stuff, and also has some very good meat options. You'd definitely want to make reservations (early) if you go there. I could recommend some Chinese places with good veg and non-veg options (Mei Long Village comes to mind), but that's a little out of the way for you location-wise.

          +2 (or whatever) on Grace... I have been pretty happy with the vegan stuff they've done for me, and omnivorous friends / family have enjoyed it as well. La Cachette also gets pretty good press; I personally wasn't blown away, but you could search for it. I have always enjoyed Angeli Caffe on Melrose, though it's a little further inland. Inn of the 7th Ray if you can get up to Topanga. And I second the suggestion for Chaya as well - the tempeh dish is, indeed, delicious.

          Most high-end restaurants will do something good for a vegetarian or vegan if you call in advance.

          And don't totally write off vegetarian-only restaurants, I slightly object to the idea that a vegetarian restaurant doesn't "leave a lot of options" for the "carnivores"; I'm assuming you are not actually true carnivores, and it's only one meal. Obviously you want to have a good eating experience, but I think there are vegetarian restaurants where you could have a good eating experience without meat. Ok - I'll get off my soapbox. :>

          If you didn't read through it already, this thread might have a few ideas, though most are about purely vegetarian restaurants.

          4 Replies
          1. re: will47

            I wasn't knocking purely vegetarian restaurants- except for the fact that they use a lot of nuts in their food- of which I am allergic to. I've walked into a vegetarian restaurant and had my skin break out in hives. I actually love vegetarian food- when I can cook it myself so I know exactly what went into it!

            Thanks for the recs! I had looked at Chaya and actually at the tempeh dish. I've been to Grace but didn't remember seeing a lot of vegetarian options- guess I'll be considering it! Though, Musha and Chaya are both a lot closer.

            1. re: PrettyPlaty

              you should also consider "a vote sante" on the brentwood/SM border.

              A Votre Sante
              13016 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I think AVS is nice for a low-key breakfast or lunch, but its bare-bones decor doesn't really make it the ideal spot for a nice Saturday night dinner with out-of-town friends.

                1. re: nick_r

                  thanks for noticing that - i completely missed the "saturday night" aspect!

                  in that case, i vote for josie as DMojo suggested. you can never go wrong with that's one of the few i'm going to miss when i go back to NY.

                  my only other thought would be inn of the seventh ray, but it's farther away than the OP requested.

          2. Josie in Santa Monica might be a good option for you. The food is delicious, always! I think there are many vegetarian appetizer options. Also, the main dishes (including all of the meat entrees) come with fabulous sides and you can order any of them on their own and in any combination. I have eaten here with a vegetarian who had a vegetarian appetizer and then some side dishes and was very satisfied, and not upset that they had to settle for side dishes, in a negative way. The chefs are always happy to cook for vegetarians, so if for some reason the waiter seems unsure make sure to speak with someone in the kitchen.