Does anyone know of any vegetarian restaurants or restaurants that have vegetarian food that is inventive, and tastes really good? I'm looking for more than salads and pasta primavera type options. Live in Studio City, but will travel to other LA areas to try a great new restaurant.
M Cafe De Chaya on Melrose near La Brea - it's macrobiotic but plenty of interesting and very tasty veggie options
Two raw places I've liked: leaf in culver city (very casual) and jade cafe in silver lake (a bit more expensive). both have a number of creative things. try the indian wrap at leaf. A lot of people also like Juliano's raw
Then of course there are the great indian veggie places like India Sweets and Spices (on Venice blvd and also in Los Feliz)
the best food, but the worst dining room, is native foods in westwood.
i also like The Spot in Hermosa beach.
there is some great Thai vegetarian food available at Ayara Thai in westchester (order from the 'wok' portion of the menue and ask that they use tofu as the protein)
Happy Family in Monterey park is not to be missed for vegetarian chinese.
similar to Happy Family, toward the south of Torrance, is House of Vege on PCH near crenshaw.
for ethiopian, Rahel, on fairfax south of olympic, is completely vegan AND they have the BEST injera. be sure to order the shiro, and get some awazay on the side.
the only sort of decent vegetarian food i've had in your neck of the woods has been caribbian at Ginja Lions on ventura near vineland.
i'm told that Madeline's in Tarzana is amazing, but haven't tried it yet.
Native Foods has very tasty food, but i agree that the seating and parking situation is pretty awful. they do a good take-out business though (something i used a lot when i was in the area).
Madeline Bistro in Tarzana is awesome. The food is very high-end and the space is nice and comfortable (except for those occasions when the owners kids run around the restaurant...literally).
I can't recommend Hugo's as I had a very bad experience there recently. Too bad, because I did like the place and went often, but now I will never go back.
Still meaning to try leaf and vegan plate, but the parking situation for vegan plate is a REAL turnoff.
As a vegetarian myself who lived in Studio City...here are my recs:
1) Leonor's Veg Mexican (Studio City) - Cheap and good
2) Vegan Express (Studio City/Universal Studios)
3) Kung Pao Bistro (Everything in their menu can be made with fake meats)
5) California Vegan (Hollywood) - Thai!
THere are SOOO Many more. Check out vegparadise.com for the complete list. Its a great resource and, like you, I was always in serach for more than boiled veggies, salad and pasta.