Just because you - or whomever you’re eating with today - has cut out meat doesn’t mean your next meal has to consist entirely of cashew cream and tempeh. The 18 spots on this list include fully vegan restaurants, vegetarian restaurants, and a couple of places that are just really into putting plants on plates. Rather than asking “Is this place good for a vegetarian restaurant?” we judged these spots in the same way we do all the places we eat: By asking “Does the food taste good?” And that means there’s something for everyone.
Kismet is the kind of restaurant you just want to hang out in, slowly working your way through the interesting and fresh Middle Eastern-inspired menu. The flaky bread with labneh and honey, and cucumbers with melon and rosewater labneh are must-orders, and also things we think about on a regular basis. There is some meat on the menu at Kismet, but if we didn’t put them on this list, we’d be neglecting some of the tastiest vegetarian food in town.
There are plenty of plant-based burger joints in LA, but Honeybee is the best of them all. This vegan spot next to the Los Feliz 3 theater serves both Impossible and Beyond burgers (we like the Impossible best) and it’s pretty close to In-N-Out - which is seriously high praise. The patty is perfectly crispy, and the vegan cheese could pass for the real thing. With a dairy free chocolate milkshake, and some sweet potato fries and tots (aka “Frots”) on the side, this is an excellent spot when you’re craving fast food, but stopped eating meat in 2007.
It’s no secret that Sqirl is among the best breakfast places in town, but it’s also extremely vegan- and vegetarian-friendly. In fact, most of their best stuff can be made vegan, including the crispy rice salad and the sorrel pesto bowl. We recommend coming with a couple other people and splitting it all - there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to experience all this excellent, vegetable-based stuff at the same time. Lines can get long on weekends starting around 10, so be sure to get here early, or else make up some excuse to be in Virgil Village instead of at work on a weekday morning.
Maybe you need to apologize to your vegan significant other for eating one too many steaks in front of them, and do penance by eating a lot of vegan cheese. Plant Food + Wine is the way to go. It’s down at the quiet end of Abbot Kinney (closer to the beach), with an all-white dining room that leads to a stunner of a patio. As for the food, it’s creative, but not so out there that a regular meat eater wouldn’t be able to find something to like.
Calling Kismet a restaurant might be kind of a stretch, considering it’s really a stall in Grand Central Market with some fairly epic lines. But it’s also one of our favorite places in the city... that just happens to be vegetarian. The falafel here is something we’d drive across town for, especially the tangy green sandwich stuffed with fennel and cauliflower. PSA: Order the beet and sumac soda even if you hate beets - we promise it’s completely refreshing and not at all dirt-tasting.
Highland Park’s Joy is by no means a vegetarian restaurant. But this Taiwanese spot does have some seriously great meatless options on the menu, and is worth a visit even if you can’t get the minced pork and rice. You can, however, order very good (and very vegan) versions of their mapo tofu, dan dan noodles, hot and sour soup, and thousand layer pancake - though we like the vegetarian pancake with cheese and egg more (order it with hot sauce and basil). They’ve also got a bunch of vegetarian deli sides you should check out. Next time you need something quick, excellent, and vegan, Joy is a great spot for it.
Part of the fun at Hasiba, a small hummisya on a quiet stretch of Pico, is attempting to make room for all the delicious little plates of food that arrive at your table in rapid succession. Don’t stop at the four types of hummus, either - the sandwiches, like the eggplant-stuffed Sabich on house-made pita, are great, and there’s shakshuka and tasty side salads, too. Everything here is vegetarian (and certified kosher), but even if you’re fully carnivorous, this is a place you should be checking out.
When you’re sick of hearing your meat-eating friends whine about how they don’t get enough protein when you pick the restaurant, take them to Botanica. They’ll find plenty of meat on the menu to shut them up, and you can focus on what this place does best: vegetables. Dishes change seasonally, but you should always start with the excellent crudites and one of the beet cocktails. This is also a solid brunch option, mostly because of the Botanica Bloody and the Turkish eggs with a fantastic garlicky yogurt. And yes, they also have bacon.
We’re not sure why so many breweries also have huge plant-based menus - but that’s OK with us. Modern Times’ Dankness Dojo feels more like a brewery than a restaurant, but there are plenty of booths where you can have a full meal of plant-based stuff. The menu can seem a little all over the place, but the food is still really solid - including great asada fries with chipotle crema, scallion pancakes, and a schnitzel sandwich made with a breaded Beyond patty and beer-braised onions. Any of those things will go well with the limited-release hazy IPAs they’re cranking out at this place.
A mini-Westside empire (with a location in Silver Lake as well), Samosa House is our go-to for a casual vegetarian lunch or dinner. Walk in, head to the counter, and ask for the three-item combo. You get naan, rice, and the choice of three constantly changing entrees. If the smoky cauliflower curry is present, do not pass go without it.
For those who eat fish, vegan sushi sounds about as exciting as cheese-less Cheetos. But Shojin’s veggie-only menu works, mostly because they don’t try to trick you into thinking your vegan baked scallop roll is actually a scallop. You’ll find yourself ordering multiple rounds of mushroom and tofu-centric rolls, and at some point, you’ll realize that vegan food isn’t just fried fake meats and vegetables.
Too often, vegan restaurants feel exactly like vegan restaurants. But Crossroads is having none of that. It actually feels kind of like a steakhouse that just happens to not serve any steak. This West Hollywood spot has quickly become a go-to for classy, patchouli-free vegan dining. Go for anything involving their “meatballs”, or the artichoke oysters. Their brunch is good, too.
If you’re vegan, it’s not easy to find a good boozy brunch place where you can get a meal that isn’t just a bunch of sides. Butcher’s Daughter has a fun brunch with things like spaghetti squash carbonara and a BLT with bacon that’s actually made from beans (and won’t make you question whether you just put cardboard in your mouth). This place is on Abbot Kinney, so there will be a crowd, but after a couple glasses of their Saucy Bubbles wine, nothing will bother you very much.
Yes, the menu names are laughable and the entire place can occasionally border on insufferable, but there’s a reason Cafe Gratitude has locations all over the city: The food is better than you’d think it would be. We tend to stick to the salads and juices, but if you’re into the whole black bean patties and kelp noodles thing, there are plenty of those options, too.
A vegan bistro/brewery in Echo Park sounds like a rejected setting for a Netflix pilot, but Sage Bistro is a real place, and the food here is good. They do great bar-style food like carnitas and buffalo wings, only the carnitas are actually jackfruit and the wings are actually cauliflower. There are locations in Culver City and Pasadena as well, and all three are filled with people having good low-key meals that happen to be vegan.
Elf Cafe is an Echo Park stalwart - they’ve been doing their vegetarian Mediterranean thing for more than ten years. There’s everything from a tahini avocado puree to a vegetarian bolognese, and most dishes can be made vegan. This is an excellent Eastside date spot, and you should definitely take advantage of the all-natural wine list. The word natural means the wine is better for you than regular wine, right?
Rahel is your vegan option along Fairfax’s Little Ethiopia strip, and it’s also one of the best restaurants on the entire street. Come for the yemitin shiro wat (a chickpea stew we’d travel across town for) and BYOB policy, stay for the daily 11am-3pm vegan buffet.
Double Zero is a vegan pizza spot in Venice, and while the pizzas aren’t going to fool anyone who loves cheese and meat, the crust is good enough that even your pepperoni-obsessed friend will be happy here. It’s wood-fired, and has a great crunch without being too dry. As far as toppings go, we like the simple margherita, with a great tomato sauce and some basil, but if you want something more exciting, the potato with roasted garlic and cashew cream is good, too. It’s a buzzy spot on Lincoln in Venice, and draws the sort of hip crowd you’d expect at an expensive vegan pizza place.