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Jul 14, 2009 10:19 AM

Looking for a great vegan restaurant...

We'll be in LA and Santa Monica for a week in August, and are looking for a great vegan place to go for lunch or dinner. It doesn't have to be fancy, but it needs to be all vegan, not just vegan-friendly. Any cuisine, except for Indian works for us. Thanks!

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    1. Servorg gave you a good link. I'll just add that my two vegan faves are Real Food Daily (I prefer the La Cienega location)and MCafe De Chaya. M is generally more healthy w/ a macro slant (being macro, they do serv some fish items) and delicious desserts. Much of the food there is on display in a deli case so you can see what you're getting. They offer a great macro burger and North Carolina "BBQ" sandwich. The M chocolate layer cake is the best vegan cake I've had (and they offer it daily). Real Food Daily is more of a restaurant (as opposed to M's cafe/deli/bistro feel). RFD offers a more complex cuisine using tofu, nuts, and seitan in various offerings (I love the salsbury seitan). It has a much broader and more creative menu (imho). But both are good. I eat at each place at least once a week.

      2 Replies
      1. re: candee

        The OP said it needs to be all-vegan. M Cafe de Chaya, while very good, is not all-vegan.

        I will throw out there Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana. 100% vegan, a nice sit-down place, white tablecloths, organic wines and beers, and not afraid of flavour. The things I've had from Native Foods and Real Food Daily have been very unflavourful, as though they're avoiding seasonings in order to make sure you know it's really good for you.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          fwiw, to my palate, madeline bistro is lacking in flavor (not lacking in grease, though AND very far from where cheescake17 is staying), while, to me native foods is very flavorful (and much more geographically desireable.) i ate lunch today at native foods and had their scorpion burger. have to admit, thoug, that my favorite item there is their rockin morrocan bowl.

          my top recommendation, though, is not geographically desireable:
          shojin (vegan and organic japanese food).

          to me, shojin is a must-go vegan restaurant in LA that serves a number of amazing dishes.

          here is the website:

          the last time i was there, though, they didn't have a liquor license. don't know the current situation.

      2. Vinh Loi Tofu in Reseda is really good

        Real Food Daily is good too....Santa Monica

        Nook has a nice tofu bowl dish in WLA

        Leaf in Culver CIty - raw but good

        avoid Julianos Raw on Broadway - in Santa Monica - overpriced; ok tasting for vegan and pretensious...average to poor servcie also

        1 Reply
        1. re: travelingmansoul

          nook is in NO way a vegan restaurant. platters of meat and chicken and fish along with their attendant aromas will be surrounding you at nook.
          cheesecake17 specifically requested a completely vegan restaurant.

        2. These are both excellent. If you choose only one, go to Cru.


          Raw and vegan:

          1. Thanks everyone! Real Food Daily sounds interesting, kind of like Candle Cafe in NYC. Is it a nice atmosphere for a Saturday night dinner?

            6 Replies
            1. re: cheesecake17

              The one in Santa Monica is kind of the usual rough-hewn tables, garis^H^H^H^H^Hbrightly painted, with batik and other art on the walls. It's been two or three years so they may have redecorated, but it's an informal setting, not a white-tablecloths-and-linen-napkins place.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Thanks! That's kind of what I was looking for- a waiter service place- nice but not too stuffy. What do you recommend? And is it really far from the beach area? We're staying at Loews.

                1. re: cheesecake17

                  RFD is waiter service* but it's very California casual. It's on Santa Monica Blvd. between 5th and 6th Streets, so it's probably a 15 minute stroll from Loews, which is about 7-8 blocks away. Santa Monica is a very, VERY walkable city.

                  * Just a guess -- you're from New York? "Waiter service" gave it away, since that's what I called it growing up.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Yup- we're from NYC! Can't get enough of California though, it'll be our third trip in three years. Can you recommend a good coffee/dessert place? Doesn't need to be vegan...

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      Urth Caffe on Main Street between Pico and Ocean Park.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        Thanks! We were there last time we were in LA.. didn't see any celebrities though..