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Places to eat with a vegan

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I'm very excited about being back in LA for the holidays from NYC to see the family and eat some BBQ, chili dogs, and fish tacos, among other things. However, I'll likely be eating out a lot with my sister (also visiting from out of town), who is vegan. I've thought of a few places already where I'll be able to accommodate her and fulfill my need for adequate deliciousness, like House of Vege in Lomita or the Korean tofu place on Beverly in koreatown (can't remember what it's called), or the south Indian place on Sunset, but I'd like some more ideas besides these. I'd appreciate any suggestions.

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    ollie omnivore

    Veganism is a pernicious blight upon the planet. Its practicioners do not deserve the pleasure of a restaurant meal. To your beloved sister (who I'm sure is a wonderful person), I say, "Let her eat sprouts."

    1 Reply
    1. re: ollie omnivore

      Thanks for the input on veganism. However, while I do not follow a strict "vegan" diet, I can tell you my vegitarian diet has helped me maintain a 170lb weight loss, and given me huge amounts of energy! As for places to try when the fellow chowhounder comes into LA, perhaps you might try "Follow Your Heart" in Canoga Park . It has been a fixture in the West Valley for 2 decades! Food can be really healthy, but aamazingly tastey! Lots of Soups,Chili, Salads, and pasta dishes! Desserts are really good for health food too! Even my twin daughters chow down whan I take them there!

    2. m
      michael (mea culpa)

      She can get a pretty hefty plate of grilled veggies at Daily Grill while you consume real food. There's also The Newsroom in Beverly Hills which is ostensibly healthy but serves alcohol.

      1. Eric -- Just a warning. If the tofu place on Beverly you're thinking of is Tofu Cabin, it changed ownership, and went way downhill. Maybe BCD Tofu (various locations) instead?

        My favorite vegetarian is that So Indian on Sunset in Hwd which is called...I'm blanking. But maybe your vegan sis won't go for all that ghee...

        1. Urth Cafe on Melrose has delicious food, vegan or not!

          1. There's a wonderful scene in "Ninotchka". Garbo, the dour Soviet commissar is in a Paris cafe. She orders a plate of carrots and beets. The waiter's response: "Madame, this is a restaurant. NOT a MEADOW!"

            1. You should be able to do okay at most Chinese, Indian (watch the use of ghee, though), Greek, or Middle Eastern restaurants, which usually serve vegan-friendly dishes. Here are a few other places that you might want to consider (I haven't tried many of these, so I can't vouch for all of them, though):

              Vegan options:
              Newsroom Cafe (Santa Monica and Beverly Hills)
              Toi (Sunset or Wilshire)
              P.F. Chang's
              A Votre Sante in Brentwood
              Paru's (Sunset Blvd., Hollywood)
              Dasa Prakash (Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica)
              Sante (N. La Brea, Hollywood)
              Sushi Aki (Van Nuys, allegedly they serve vegan sushi items ?!)

              Real Food Daily in Santa Monica and Beverly Hills is a vegan restaurant. I've some really good meals here (the Thai seitan) and some so-so ones (the pizza). There are some great vegan Chinese restaurants specializing in imitation meat dishes, but they're a bit of a hike from central L.A. Au Lac in Fountain Valley is an exceptional restaurant with many Vietnamese selections as well (I love their Spicy Soy Lemongrass "Chicken," but where's the faux Pho? ;-)) Veggie Delight in Granada Hills is also great, especially their fried "shrimp" (with fake tails made from carrots) and the orange "chicken."

              To the vegan bashers out there (zora, ollie), lighten up! Vegan food does not always mean sprouts or steamed "veggies." A good, creative chef can do wonders without any animal products. I've enjoyed numerous tasty vegan meals (I personally make killer soy chorizo/tofu scrambler burritos that have won over many skeptics) as well as a few bland ones--about the same ratio as I've experienced in my episodes at "omnivore" restaurants. I'd love to see an episode of Iron Chef (the Japanese one of course, not the lousy U.S. version) where the chefs have to work exclusively with vegan ingredients.

              5 Replies
              1. re: chris g.

                Thanks for the list of places. I've done OK with chinese and indian places for dining with my vegan sibling, as well as japanese. Coming from a japanese household, even though it's a struggle for our mom to come up with vegan friendly meals, it's quite possible by substituting kombu (kelp) for dashi, and eating lots of mochi; and sushi is intrinsically vegan -- sushi refers to the rice, not the fish. So things like oshinko-makis, kappa-makis, or natto-makis are vegan, and some of my sister's favorite items.

                I'm also wondering whether the armenian places (like Zankou or Carousel) or the Persian places (in Westwood) may be suitable for vegans, with some hummus or baba type choices. Or is Chili John's vegie chili vegan? I guess I want to know whether some of the chowhound favorite spots in LA have at least some vegan options.

                1. re: Eric Eto

                  Zankou's falafels are vegan and pretty good--not overly greasy like they can be at some places. I've noticed vegan options on a lot of restaurants' menus, but unfortunately I haven't kept track of them. Some Italian restaurants can make vegan versions of their dishes if you specify that they prepare the dish without dairy (I had a girlfriend who was a vegetarian and was allergic to dairy and she did this all the time).

                  A while back I had a meal at Cafe Pinot downtown that was vegan (a vegetable timble of some sort), but I'm not sure if this is still on the menu. It was quite good. Also, Wabi Sabi on Abbot Kinney has some very good vegan options (particularly the excellent mushroom miso soup--big enough for a meal by itself) in addition to their excellent fish.

                  If I can remember any additional restaurants, I'll post them here.


                  1. re: Eric Eto

                    The L.A. Weekly's 2000 Best of L.A. issue mentioned Tacos Por Favor on Olympic in Santa Monica, which serves vegan potato/mushroom tacos.

                    1. re: Eric Eto

                      The House on Melrose always has a vegetarian entree on the menu. I don't know if it's always vegan, but I ordered it once and it was and it was very delicious( a winter vegetable stew in a hollowed out roasted red onion.) I'm sure if you let them know when you make a reservation, they'll be sure to accomodate your sister's diet.

                    2. re: chris g.

                      Being a vegetarian myself, I am always looking for good vegie places. My favorites are, Real Food Daily, A Votre Sante and Native Foods (great vegan rest.) in Westwood. Also, there is a great Japanese place called Genmai Sushi in van nuys and Sawtelle Kitchen (West LA) has vegetable croquette served with miso and rice.
                      Have Fun!

                    3. Hey Eric --

                      Don't forget about Venus of Venice (who is now in Mar Vista), great sweet potato fries with a bit of an overall southern flair. Also, I'd recommend the veggie buffet at the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. Have a good trip!

                      1. I have always like the Flowering Tree on 8253 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. The healthy selection is vegan, vegetarian, and not (chicken is the only meat served). Everything is cooked from scratch with a minimal amount of ingredients used. The butternut squash soup is amazing and cream-free. For my guilty pleasure, I love the nachos; the only ingredient that's fattening is the guacamole. The chips are baked, not fried. There are a wide variety of veggie burgers, mexican food, sandwiches, and smoothies on the menu as well.

                        Hollywood Trivia - When Jennifer Aniston first started losing weight and eating healthy about 5+ years ago, she came to the Flowering Tree for the smoothies and endorsed the restaurant in an LA Times article.

                        1. Probably too late with my response. But a great place I just tried was across from the Cerritos Mall called the Vegi Wokery. I can't remember the cross streets, but it's across the street from Sears and is in the same shopping center at Black Angus, Panda Wokery, and Burlington Coat Factory. I went with a bunch of friends who were all not vegans and we loved it. There was crispy chicken and a sweet and sour pork dish (both made of tofu) that were amazing. Hardly any people, reasonable prices, and great atmosphere.