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Jun 13, 2008 01:31 PM

Veg and Drinker Friendly on the Westside

A friend of mine and I are going to a 9:45 movie at the Laemmle Monica and plan on having dinner beforehand. She wants healthy vegetarian food and wine or cocktails. She does not want Italian or anything very expensive (more than $20 for a main dish), so these are some choices I'm considering:

Kay N Dave's--I know it's not a Chowhound favorite. I was there seven or eight years ago and didn't find it memorable, but it seems to have a lot of healthy vegetarian options, and some of the things sound okay. Also, is one location better than the other?

California Vegan--I haven't been there recently either but I think I recall they have organic wine? Is that okay for dinner?

Shamshiri Grill--I like their vegetarian menu, and I know they have wine.

Does anyone have any thoughts or strong feelings about the above possibilities? Or any other suggestions? As points of reference, other reasonably priced favorites of ours are Rahel, Bulan Thai, Fraiche (only ordering veg of course), The Park, M Cafe de Chaya, and Indo Cafe.

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  1. do you specifically dislike RFD? if not, although they recently raised prices, they still meet your price criterion. they are very close to the theater as well. i am not sure if the sm location serves alcohol- i know they do in w. hollywood.

    Real Food Daily
    514 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bugg Superstar

      I like RFD, but unless something has changed they do not serve alcohol.

      1. re: Bugg Superstar

        I was going to mention RFD, but I don't think they serve wine/drinks. My sis is a vegan, and this is one of he favorites, but she is a vegan, and not a vegetarian, which should open a lot more possibilities for the OP...

        The Orchid on Broadway used to have great curries but I think they went through an ownership change recently and I haven't been since 2006 - don't know if they're still good.

        It appears that the OP is willing to drive a fair distance for dinner prior to the movie - I'm against that personally unless they're starting out from those areas, but would Venice be reasonable? If so, I like Axe on Abbot Kinney in Venice. They offer a lot of vegetarian choices and have a good wine list as well. Much of their menu has items you won't find just about anywhere else, and they take great pride in sourcing as much local organic as possible... I think it's still complementary valet on weekends as well.

        1. re: bulavinaka

          Axe is great. Also, Fritto Misto is less expensive and has many vegetarian options.

          Fritto Misto
          601 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401

          1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

          1. re: ElissaInPlaya

            Yes, as a matter of fact my first recommendation was Fritto Misto but she said definitively she's not in the mood for Italian. Axe is a great idea, as a matter of fact.

          2. re: bulavinaka

            Well, I'd rather not drive too much, but the Promenade area is rather difficult. Also, I'm coming from the Marina and my friend from Hollywood, so I'm trying to be flexible...

        2. M Cafe did just open in Culver City too, but not very cocktaily. How 'bout Akasha?


          2 Replies
          1. re: AquaW

            I was hoping to be a little closer to Santa Monica than Culver City, which certainly does have some good options: Akasha, Fraiche, M Cafe, and even Tender Greens. Does Santa Monica have anything like any of those places? I just can't think of anything.

            1. re: Epicure

              Hi.. How 'bout Literati 2 (on Wilshire blvd, bordering Brentwood and Santa Monica). That's pushing the $20 entree budget a bit, but as her friend, you could always subsidize any overages :-). There's also Border Grill, the Broadway Deli, and La Serenata...

          2. Nook Bistro has options for both, particularly a nice brown rice, tofu and veggie bowl.

            Violet too is just as good.

            Jack Spratt's Grille is also an option on Pico, but lesser dishes that are as healthy for veggies.

            Hugo's in WeHo would be a good option if you're coming from the east.

            A Votre Sante is BYOB


            6 Replies
            1. re: Emme

              You know I've never been to Jack Sprat's or A Votre Sante because I heard the food tasted "too healthy," but could you let me know what you like in those places? Even if we don't go tonight, I know I will want to check them out upon your recommendation.

              1. re: Epicure

                a votre sante:

                turkey chili
                grilled veggie salad with salmon*
                blackened salmon salad*
                southwest salad with salmon*
                mediterranean tuna salad
                sante garden salad
                mediterranean platter
                stir-fried veggies with chicken

                no gluten for me, so i can't vouch for any of the pastas, sandwiches or wraps.

                if you order salmon there, ask them to please, please, please not overcook it - they tend to dry it out otherwise.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Wow, thanks for these recommendations! What's the ambiance like there? Is it conducive to not-rushing/relaxing with a bottle of wine?

                  1. re: Epicure

                    no problem. i know a lot of hounds don't like the food there, but when i lived in BH i used to go to that location a lot [before it closed], and when i lived in WEHO, sante la brea was one of my local go-tos. so of course, when i moved to brentwood...

                    it's funny, i used to go there for dinner every once in a while, and i recall it being nice & cozy. dim lights, candles, subdued...definitely a nice, mellow place to relax over a meal. but the last time i was there [in march, just before i moved back to NY], it was completely different. it felt really cramped, as though they had crammed some extra tables into the space, the lights were very bright, and it was hot as hell in there. i don't know if it was a fluke & they were having an off night with the ambience, or if that's what it's always like now.

                    anyone else care to weigh in with recent experiences...?

                2. re: Epicure

                  For breakfast, I like a lot of the egg white specials. They also have blue and yellow corn pancakes, as well as an oat bran one. Also, apparently the oat bran, brown rice, oatmeal cereal thing is pretty tasty.

                  Blackened Tofu Feast w/ chicken instead
                  Grilled Veggie Salad
                  Lemon Garlic Chicken
                  Mom likes mediterranean platter

                3. re: Emme

                  Nook would be my top choice, as it so often is. Very convenient too, as it is in the minimall on the south side of Santa Monica Blvd. at Barry, a block east of Barrington. Besides the obvious vegie choices, they also have good soups, salads, and a super mac'n'cheese. Nice bar and wine selection, too. Only problem is I doubt very much you can get in without a reservation at prime time on any night, especially a Friday.

                4. Buddha's Belly.

                  It's a block from the movie theater, has a full bar, plenty of veg entrees, and is inexpensive.

                  1. I think Kay and Dave's is awful. I had a boss who always wanted to eat there. It drove me nuts. That place is so bland.