The best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles
Virtually every restaurant in Los Angeles offers at least some vegan options, but with over 250 vegan specialty restaurants around the county, LA shines for the surprising spectrum of world cuisines in plant-based form. And if your image of vegan eateries is hippie-dippy earth-mother, fear not. Many of these spots are as fashion-forward as LA itself. Here are some standouts to get you started.
Sage Vegan Bistro
With two locations in the Echo Park and Culver City neighborhoods, Sage Vegan Bistro is a solid intro to LA’s vegan scene, offering a menu as diverse as LA itself.
Take a seat in the soaring, down-on-the-farm dining room and tuck into cauliflower "wings" served Buffalo- or barbecue-style, avocado stuffed with jackfruit "carnitas," Asian kelp noodles, tacos, pizzas, grain bowl and nut-based cheese in everything from eggplant parmigiana to mac ‘n’ cheese.
Brew tanks churn out popular pilsner to beers flavored with rosewater, hibiscus and habañero, plus house-brewed cola and boozy kombucha. And for dessert — coconut-based "ice cream" and a bakery case full of delectables.
Chef Tal Ronnen came to fame catering for celebrities from Ellen to Oprah. Crossroads was a landmark years before LA’s vegan dining explosion. In its chichi dining room, you’ll find specialties like hearts of palm "crab cakes" and "artichoke oysters" (crispy fried oyster mushrooms in artichoke leaves with bearnaise sauce and kelp caviar) and pasta preparations that you might not think could be vegan (Carbonara? Really? Yes, really).
Plant Food + Wine
Another celebrity chef and cookbook author, Matthew Kenney, is behind Plant Food + Wine on trendy Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice Beach. Chill in the olive-tree-shaded backyard garden, where the restaurant sources many of its herbs and greens – talk about locavore! – and enjoy delicious (though pricey) artisanal cheese platters, Caesar salad with sea beans, zucchini lasagna, spicy udon and desserts like coconut cream pie and tiramisu with espresso foam, all plated like works of art.
Nic’s on Beverly
Nic’s on Beverly is a notable newcomer. Avocado tempura tacos, crispy maitake mushrooms, salads like the "Chinois" and peach and heirloom tomato, and plates from pierogi to tagine – not to mention cocktails to rival any in town – have garnered oodles of kudos since opening in 2019.
It’s hard to imagine meat-and cream-heavy German cuisine going vegan, but Hinterhof in the Highland Park neighborhood pulls it off with plant-based renditions of big-as-your-head schnitzel, Berlin-style currywurst (pork sausage) and creamy spätzle (pasta).
You might think you’re in a fashionable boite (small restaurant/nightclub) in Berlin or Munich thanks to the minimalist dining room or the equally minimalist biergarten (beer garden). Not for nothing, the beer is vegan too, and Hinterhof serves a well-chosen list from the old country and ginormous pretzels to go with it.
Located in West Hollywood, Gracias Madre offers another cuisine that we didn’t think would translate into vegan – Mexican. Chefs transform sweet potatoes, mushrooms and cauliflower into complexly flavored fillings for tacos, tortas and quesadillas, or try the coliflor frito (fried cauliflower) or elote (grilled corn) with zingy Mexican condiments. If you’re on a date, go for the garden; there’s hardly a more romantic spot in town under twinkling stars.
Shojin is Japanese for Buddhist vegan cooking, but the deliciousness at this Culver City and Downtown LA restaurant defies such stark simplicity. Full-flavored, creative (and macrobiotic and gluten-free) dishes span shiso-leaf gyoza potstickers, kale Caesar salad Purple Treasure (miso-glazed eggplant on asparagus roll sushi) that staff torch at the table for succulent, caramelized goodness. The tasting menu looks expensive until you realize it’s for two.
Another Japanese staple, ramen, rarely gets veganized, but it’s all they do at Downtown LA’s Ramen Hood. The broth is a heady, creamy concoction of kelp, shiitake mushrooms, sunflower seeds and white miso, and they’ve invented a vegan hard-boiled "egg," complete with "yolk" that pops out. Get your ramen regular or spicy, with a side of banh mi poutine. Then browse the other stalls in Grand Central Market, Downtown’s iconic, century-old food hall.
Thai cooking is well represented in LA’s vegan scene. One of our foodie friends calls Bulan in Silver Lake one of LA’s best Thai restaurants, period. Veggie chicken finds its way into hot wings, saté and "inferno chicken" with Thai herbs, chili and veggies, while pak kee mao (drunken noodles) combine flat rice noodles with veggies, basil and jalapeño. (Note: some dishes contain egg but can be made without).
Satdha’s nondescript exterior belies the imaginative plant-based Thai cuisine within. Endive cups filled with "cashew tuna," redolent with coconut, ginger, lemongrass, peanuts and more; beet-dyed noodles; and "catfish" made from eggplant are just a few of the items on the menu.
Monty’s Good Burger
Neon sign? Check. Loud hip-hop beats? Check. Sizzling grill? Check. But there’s one big difference at the tiny Koreatown storefront Monty’s Good Burger — it’s 100 percent plant-based. From Impossible Burgers to soy-based shakes and Vegenaise-based dipping sauces for your tater tots. And Monty’s strives for sustainability, with organic ingredients sourced within 30 miles wherever possible.
Let’s not forget the most important part of the meal – dessert. LA’s got you covered there too. Donut Friend in Downtown LA and Highland Park does a dizzying number of outlandish (and all-plant-based) donuts like Strawberrylab (filled with strawberries, whipped cream and topped with chocolate glaze), Banana Kill (banana, peanut butter and vegan honey) and Bacon 182 (maple-glazed coconut "bacon"). Or go DIY: choose your own donut and sweet and savory filling and toppings.
Yoga-urt, in Echo Park, combines three favorite local trends: veganism, fro-yo and yoga. Yoga-urt blends its house-made almond milk into a rotating selection of soft-serve flavors from vanilla harmony to tantric tart and peanut butter prana. If that’s not LA in a fresh-baked, gluten-free waffle cone with sprinkles on top, we don’t know what is.