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Unique, Offbeat yet still healthy and delicious

Coming in from NYC and staying with a non foodie. I love strange little cafes/hole in the walls with unique dishes but unfortunately everything I've found that fits the description serves greasy spoon fair or generally unhealthy foods and although it sounds yummy (donuts & french dips..oh my!), can't eat that right now. I don't eat red meat and am gluten free but I don't really want to make my friend suffer through vegan cuisine I know she will hate.

Any suggestions for places with unique menus and healthy options? I'm staying in downtown LA and traveling a lot to Venice but could really go anywhere.

PS- I could def splurge on some non healthy places as long as they are worth it ;)

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  1. Gjelina in Venice might work for both of you. Reservations are a must.
    http://www.gjelina.com/

    or Fig in Santa Monica. Creative farm to table cuisine. Many non meat dishes.
    http://figsantamonica.com/

    Or Lemonade for much more casual. Many locations including Venice and Downtown.
    http://www.lemonadela.com/

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    Gjelina
    1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

    Lemonade
    505 S Flower St, Los Angeles, CA 90071

    Lemonade
    1661 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90291

    1 Reply
    1. Maybe Axe in Venice.

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      Axe
      1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

      5 Replies
      1. re: mc michael

        Axe is still closed - they're going through pretty much a total redux from fire/smoke damage last year.

        1. re: bulavinaka

          They must be getting somewhat close to opening again as their website said: http://www.axerestaurant.com/news.html

          1. re: Servorg

            I ran into Joanna a few weeks ago and it sounds like they are making progress, But like almost all remodels/retros, they are running a behind. The front is still enclosed with plywood so that tells me the heavy lifting is still going on.

            1. re: mc michael

              Sorry - lots of folks in the neighborhood miss this place as well. The building was already in need of some retro-work as well so I think this is what is delaying Axe's reopening. Prior to the fire, the place was humming like clockwork. Much of the staff were from very reputable restos and seemed to really enjoy working there and together. There's no doubt that they all have moved on - they obviously have to make a living. But who knows - maybe some will return.

        2. For the (not so healthy) splurge I suggest Animal. The same two chef partners also have their new restaurant; Son of a Gun.

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          Animal
          435 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036

          Son of a Gun
          8370 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048

          1 Reply
          1. re: Servorg

            Given your "no red meat" situation then Son of a Gun would be much the better of the two choices.

          2. Pitfire Pizza in Culver City and Downtown do nice gluten free pizzas.
            http://www.pitfirepizza.com/

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            Pitfire Pizza
            108 W 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

            1. Lazy Ox Canteen or Spice Table (neither are *incredibly* healthy, but not as bad as doughnuts!). Gjelina is great as well. But note - all of these places are unique and have a lot of personality, but I wouldn't call them strange...

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              Gjelina
              1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, CA 90291, USA

              Lazy Ox Canteen
              241 S San Pedro St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

              The Spice Table
              114 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA