Veggie but not fake-meat/ raw stuff/ vegan
I'm looking for restaurants that have good veggie options beyond roasted vegetables. Closer to the Westside. To make this difficult, neither of us are into fake-meat/ raw stuff/ vegan food and we are both Indian-so eat enough of that at home. We both eat dairy and eggs.
To give you an idea of the places we've found and like (note that these are just entrees that are good to give an idea of what kind of food we're looking for)
Cobras & Matadors: Amazing veggie options
Houston's-great veggie burger
Pitfire Pizza (westwood)- great bean soup, burrata pizza, veggie sandwich and pumpkin pasta
Sushi Masu- Vegetarian sushi combo
Girasole (on larchmount)-amazing pastas and soups
Cholada (on the PCH) -many veggie options
El Chollo (santa monica)-it's a chain, but it works for us! Bean enchiladas/fajitas, etc.
Coral Tree (brentwood/century city mall)-good paninis
Just had a wonderful lunch at Obika Mozzarella Bar which is located in century city in the big westfield shopping mall.
lots and lots of vegetarian options as long as you like fresh imported cheese.
i thought the place was fabulous.
10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90067
Hope no one jumps on me for these suggestions, but thought I'd mention some oldies that haven't been mentioned yet...
--M Cafe--they serve fish too, which grosses me out, but I LOVE their veggie bowls (brown rice, veggies, choice of sauce). I get mine with no tofu because I despise all "fake meats," including tofu. But that comes on top if you want it. They also have great fresh salads, prepared grain and roasted veggie salads, etc. and good desserts. They do use dairy I believe, but have vegan options too which are suprisingly good. Locations in Beverly Hills, Melrose/La Brea, Culver City.
--Real Food Daily--I know it's overpriced and people don't like certain things there (lots of fake meat main dishes) but they do have the BEST vegan mashed potatoes with gravy, good fresh loaded salads, etc. They are an organic vegan restaurant, but I crave certain things from there constantly. Locations in Santa Monica and near Beverly Center on La Cienega.
--Native Foods--I haven't had great luck with this spot, but maybe I just order wrong because all of my vegetarian/vegan friends love it. Location I know of is in Westwood near UCLA.
--Healthyca--Newer place in North Hollywood (I know that's not on the west side, but maybe worth the drive. Not open weekends though). They serve fish too but this place has tons of veggie options and a quinoa salad that is out of this world. My co-workers order from them 3-4 times a week.
--Tender Greens--Haven't eaten here yet somehow, but have been hearing about it for years. Don't think it's anything super fancy, but probably would be nice for lunch or quick dinner. They serve meat too but I was happy to learn they offer roasted or grilled veggies as a substitute for meat in dishes (instead of the dreaded restaurant tofu). Locations in Culver City and Hollywood.
Leonor's--Vegetarian Mexican restaurant in North Hollywood. This place is a serious hole-in-the-wall but this would be another favorite of my veggie friends. They do have fake meats they'll stick in your food if you want them, but they have PLENTY of veggie-only fillings. Pretty creative for a vegetarian restaurant. I should mention they use vegan cheeses though. Still delicious, if you're in the area.
the Grilled Vegetable Tostada served at TLAPAZOLA in venice (rice, black beans, romaine lettuce, tomato, jack and ranchero cheese. topped with guacamole and sour cream) is, imho, definitely worth try.
they also have a number of vegetarian options in the starter section of their menu.
since you like the houston's veggie burger, you should give the veggie burger at the COUNTER a try.
same sort of style (vegetable patty, NOT fake meat).
much less formal place and much lower price.
this is now a chain.
i like the ones in santa monica and el segundo. (for some reason the one in marina del rey doesn't seem to cook the patty well. also, when i went to the one in marina del rey, the music was BLASTING and i'm too old to appreciate that volume)
dunno whether premade salads are your style, but if you are open to them the place to go is LEMONADE in venice.
this is a take-your-own-food-on-a-tray sort of place, so not appropriate for a romantic date night.
inventive salads. huge number of choices. reasonable prices.
to second and expand upon emme's recommendation of musha in santa monica:
this place offers a number of vegetarian options, but imho what makes this place stand out is their exceptional homemade tofu.
this tofu is not in any way chalky or gelatinous, the texture is more like a very fine ricotta cheese. the flavor is wonderful.
Musha is great, and does have a few reliably vegetarian options, but, as with most Japanese places, if you are vegetarian, please be very careful to ask about fish and fish derivatives. Many of their delicious vegetable snacks do contain fish-based dashi in the sauces or marinades, such as the rape leaf salad. You will sometimes get inconsistent answers, so I would ask multiple times, and try to ask the manager rather than your server.
I am a big fan of the takana meshi (Korean influenced stone bowl rice, with pickled green vegetables), but have gotten very inconsistent answers about whether it contains bonito -- I'm pretty sure it does, unless you ask them to make it without. Sometimes they will tell you that it doesn't contain fish in the first place, so you need to be very persistent and specific. I believe the somen noodles (served with garlic, oil, and saffron) should be suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and the soy chicken dish should be at least vegetarian.
(Note also that the pure tofu comes with katsuo (bonito) flakes served on the side, unless you ask for it without)
424 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Chichen Itza in downtown LA has a vegetarian menu.
They also have some great tamales on their regular menu, incl. one made with chaya, pumpkin seeds, egg and topped with a tomato salsa. This is like a mariachi band going to town in your mouth.
imho, a much better pizza option can be had at antica pizzeria in marina del rey.
this restaurant is more upscale than pitfire (tablecloths).
also, the pizza is neapolitan style: VERY thin crust, you will need to eat it with a fork and knife.
for small plates, but pricey go to gjelina in venice (beware there is no sign on the door) at this moment this restaurant is a hot spot; nevertheless much of their food is exceptional.
Yes, Gjelina has vegan options, but their "no modifications or substitutions" policy makes the vegan and vegetarian choices kind of limited -- they won't take cheese (or meat) off any of the pizzas, and several of the vegetable dishes aren't vegetarian (contain chicken stock). They will remove chese from any of the salads upon request. I'm not saying they shouldn't have this policy, but I wish they had mentioned it when we called and made sure they had vegan options.
The actual vegan options are pretty limited - you can sort of make a dinner out of them, but not a very filling one. I was disappointed after hearing so much hype about this place for months.
To me, the options at AOC are roughly equivalent, but a little better, and the markups on wine there don't seem as high, plus it's not as loud, and the service is better.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA
A Votre Sante on San Vicente has good non fake meat options.
Amici for pastas, as well as i Cugini.
Babalu on Montana (really like the grilled veggie salad and yam fries :)
Cafe Dana and Kreations Organic Cafe on Montana
Pizzicotto, Palmeri, Pecorino all on San Vicente
Greenleaf Chop Shop in Beverly Hills - design your own salad with great protein options as well as great fresh ingredients (herbed baked tofu, egg whites, edamame, cheeses), as well as soups
Eat Well on Santa Monica
Newsroom Cafe on Robertson
Musha in SaMo
Houston's for the veggie burger
26 beach restaurant in venice, will gladly sustitute tofu for meat in any of their delicious entree salads.
the two salads that i especially like are their tuscan salad (which normally doesn't come with a protein source, so i order a side of grilled tofu on the top.)
their pan fried goat cheese salad.
also, they make a mean veggie burger that comes with salad or fries. trust me on this, get the fries; as truly excellent as their entree salads are, surprisingly the side salad is meh. their fries, on the other hand, are, imho, sinfully good.
shamshiri grill, a persian restaurant, has a whole section of their menu devoted to persian vegetarian items.
in addition, most of their appetizers are vegetarian
my favorite entree is vegetarian gormeh sabzi.
as a side, i substitute vegetarian adas polo made with brown rice for the basmati rice that they normally serve.
1712 Westwood Blvd.
Westwood, CA 90024 Phone: (310) 474-1410
Other places you should try:
Mrs. Winston's, which has locations in Century City and Santa Monica. Best salad bar I've ever seen.
Clementine in Century City, which always has some great veggie salad/sandwich/soup options
Real Food Daily -- I know you said no vegan/fake meat, but I've had some tasty stuff there
M Cafe de Chaya -- which has both a Culver City and a Melrose location. They have some fake meat options, but plenty of tasty veggie options that don't include fake meat.
Not too familiar with the westside...but a few places I can think about on my side of town (Hollywood/Silverlake) are Cheebo, on Sunset and Gardner, lots of pasta, pizzas and salads, Lala's on Melrose, has meatless (cheese and onion, spinach and onion, etc) empanadas, as well as salads, veggie skewers, lots of rice dishes, and Elf in Echo Park, which is all vegan/vegetarian, and although I haven't been there yet, the menu, which is on their website, looks amazing!