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Looking for a great vegan restaurant...

cheesecake17 Jul 14, 2009 10:19 AM

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 RE: cheesecake17 Jul 14, 2009 10:37 AM


    1. c
      candee RE: cheesecake17 Jul 14, 2009 03:43 PM

      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
        Das Ubergeek RE: candee Jul 14, 2009 04:21 PM

        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
          westsidegal RE: Das Ubergeek Jul 14, 2009 04:43 PM

          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. t
        travelingmansoul RE: cheesecake17 Jul 14, 2009 05:50 PM

        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
          westsidegal RE: travelingmansoul Jul 14, 2009 11:52 PM

          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. Tom P RE: cheesecake17 Jul 14, 2009 07:31 PM

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



          Raw and vegan:


          1. c
            cheesecake17 RE: cheesecake17 Jul 15, 2009 06:48 AM

            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
              Das Ubergeek RE: cheesecake17 Jul 15, 2009 07:43 AM

              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
                cheesecake17 RE: Das Ubergeek Jul 15, 2009 07:48 AM

                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
                  Das Ubergeek RE: cheesecake17 Jul 15, 2009 08:54 AM

                  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
                    cheesecake17 RE: Das Ubergeek Jul 15, 2009 09:00 AM

                    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
                      Das Ubergeek RE: cheesecake17 Jul 15, 2009 09:55 AM

                      Urth Caffe on Main Street between Pico and Ocean Park.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek
                        cheesecake17 RE: Das Ubergeek Jul 15, 2009 11:27 AM

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

            2. l
              LizL RE: cheesecake17 Jul 15, 2009 12:36 PM

              One of my favorite macrobiotic places is:
              Inaka Natural Foods Restaurant
              Very casual, yummy - Japanesey

              131 S La Brea Ave
              Los Angeles, CA 90036-2909

              (323) 936-9353‎

              1. Das Ubergeek RE: cheesecake17 Jul 15, 2009 01:33 PM

                Folks, PLEASE read the original post! "...it needs to be ALL VEGAN, not just vegan-friendly." (emphasis mine).

                A macrobiotic restaurant is NOT VEGAN. People following a macrobiotic diet eat fish. Fish is not vegan. M Cafe de Chaya = not vegan. Inaka Natural Foods = not vegan.

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