If you grew up vegan or vegetarian, you know how tough it can be to find a good food spot that has options for us herbivores. Even if you’re a carnivore, the struggle to find plant-based foods that are actually good is something that we can relate to. Luckily, I’ve been around town and back a few times and picked up some out-of-this-world vegan fare along the way. In Los Angeles, there’s something for everyone! Here are some of my top plant-based eatery picks.
Sage Vegan Bistro
Sage Vegan Bistro in Echo Park and Agoura Hills is to die for. The bright and buoyant organic food destination is dedicated to providing vegan comfort food, from buffalo cauliflower wings to bahn mi tacos. All of their cuisine is locally sourced and actually (truly!) tastes amazing. On the go? You might even catch their food truck roaming the streets of Los Angeles!
Not only is the food fantastic, but the eatery has a rich history: what started as an ice cream shop has expanded into a sit-down venue with a full menu thanks to the founder, Mollie Engelhart, who was the producer and director of the documentary May I Be Frank. Now, her dream of opening a plant-based restaurant has come true with a fun little hashtag: “#FEASTWITHOUTTHEBEAST”. What’s not to love?
It may be a fast-casual vegan restaurant chain that operates on the West Coast and a little bit of the Midwest, but it doesn’t change the quality of the food and the fact that Veggie Grill is absolutely, insanely good. Their highly craveable, chef-driven vegan and vegetarian dishes are wonderful. All of the plates are fresh and seasonal, which means the menu could offer loaded red yams (think nachos without the chips) for a few months and a Greek mezze salad or house veggie burger the next.
The menu offers what seems like everything, including the likes of hearty burgers, wraps, salads, grilled cookies, pudding parfaits, and so much more. Nutrients are packed in their wide variety of ancient grains, soy, and pea-based proteins, so you can get what your body needs—and your taste buds enjoy it in the process. The sides are *chef’s kiss*, from “sweetheart” sweet potato fries to steamin’ kale. There’s even a kids menu with meat-free chickin’ nuggets and mac-n-cheese. It makes sense why Veggie Grill has been previously voted the Best American Restaurant by the LA Times!
It’s no fun when you go for ice cream with friends only to discover there are no options for you once you get there. But at Yoga-urt, you can enjoy dessert without restrictions (or popping a Lactaid!). This cute and awesome shop has the best vegan soft-serve I’ve ever had — and it’s not just a baby scoop in a flimsy cup (which, if you opt for one instead of a cone, are compostable and eco-friendly by the way)! Their vegan ice creams are decadent, beautiful, decorated, and treated just like real ice cream.
The organic, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and kosher soft serve flavors are handcrafted fresh from scratch daily in Glendale and Echo Park. Yoga-urt hand-squeezes almond milk with all organic and dairy-free ingredients and added probiotics. From peanut butter to strawberry and even crazier flavors than that, everything is a healthier, more natural alternative to regular soft serve. They also serve organic smoothies, gelato, kombucha floats, banana splits, shakes, pie crusts, pints to go, cookies to make ice cream sammies out of, and much more. All of it is as creamy as you’d imagine; it truly is a vegan ice-dream.
Follow Your Heart
Follow Your Heart Market & Restaurant is a country-style market with health-conscious goods and a comfy vegetarian eatery with counter seats. Located on Sherman Way in Canoga Park, the hopping but low-key spot offers a full vegan menu (with limited dairy options) as well as a dedicated “no salt, no-oil, no-sugar” selection. They create their own veganaise — which is made with avocado oil — as well as the best vegan cheeses (like dairy-free feta crumbles), dairy-free yogurts, vegan eggs, and many other tasty and innovative plant-based alternatives.
Shop with the environment in mind in their fully-stocked bulk section with grains, flours, and freshly ground coffee. All you have to do is bring your own container and fill it right up. There’s even a cookbook, so you can take all the recipes home with you.
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