Everywhere I Ate/Drank In LA, Rated & Reviewed

cali-1

I just got back from a short trip to LA, where I met up with my family and hung out with some friends. I had a fantastic time, and the food was a big contributor to that. Below is a list of the restaurants/cafes I visited, separated by those that are 100% vegan and those that are not. I also starred my absolute favorite ones.

Here’s an overview list (in the order that I write about them, so that you can pick/choose which ones you want to learn more about):

  • 100% Vegan:
    • Sage Vegan Bistro*
    • Shojin
    • Gracias Madre
    • Cafe Gratitude
    • Veggie Grill
    • Thai Vegan*
  • Not 100% Vegan:
    • Inaka*
    • Pearl’s Finest Teas
    • Urth Caffe
    • True Food Kitchen*
    • Moishe’s
    • Nektar Juice Bar
    • Venice Ale House
    • Chandni
    • The Counter

100% VEGAN:

Sage Vegan Bistro* (Culver City)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Relaxed, warm, casual
  • DRANK:
    • Americano (It came on a little plate with a side cup of almond milk. ADORBS!)
  • ATE:
    • Brazilian bowl (Came with kale, rice, quinoa, black beans, plantain, guacamole, pico de gallo, leeks, crimini mushrooms, and raw hot sauce. THEIR HOT SAUCE IS SO GOOD.)
  • NOTES: I love the atmosphere here and the food was really good. Next time I want to try their cauliflower wings. The people next to us got it and it looked/smelled amazing.
  • OVERALL RATING: 9/10
  • Website: www.sageveganbistro.com/

15675923_10154705871531083_2493909963630918813_o

Shojin (Culver City)

  • ATMPOSHERE: Nicer, good for dates, dark
  • DRANK:
    • Water
  • ATE:
    • Crispy shiso gyoza (YUM)
    • Stuffed shiitake mushrooms (was my fave dish)
    • Black volcano 2.0 roll (They torched it at the table, which was a super cool experience)
  • NOTES: Really good meal, but the portions are small and pricey. When we left we were still a bit hungry.
  • OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10
  • Website: theshojin.com/

la-vegan-2

Gracias Madre (West Hollywood)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Trendy, POPPIN, dark (I came at night)
  • DRANK:
    • Mezcal mule
  • ATE:
    • Nachos
  • NOTES: So we tried to come here for dinner, but the place was completely booked for the entire night. We instead sat at the bar and had apps/drinks while we decided what to do. PSA: Their happy hour deals are amazing: $6 apps/drinks from 3-6. We got there right around 5:40, which was enough time to order 2 drinks each, as well as a plate of nachos. The mezcal mule was a bit sweet, but I liked it. My mom got their purista, which I actually liked better. It’s less sweet and is more like a margarita. Also the nachos were delicious (duh). Must come back here for a full meal ASAP!!
  • OVERALL RATING: 9/10
  • Website: http://graciasmadreweho.com/

Cafe Gratitude (Larchmont)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Casual, bright
  • DRANK:
    • Sauvignon blanc (really good)
  • ATE:
    • Resolved plate (Southern soul food bowl. Came with rice, jerk tempeh, collard greens, yams, and a biscuit. I couldn’t eat the biscuit because it had cashews, but the restaurant kindly switched it out for a slice of a baguette.)
  • NOTES: I kind of had higher expectations for this place since I’ve heard so many good things about it. The food was good but didn’t knock me out of my seat. However, their menu is quite large so I would love to go back and try their other items. I also had a bit (well, a lot) of my brother’s milkshake called ‘cool,’ and that, I must say, was really freaking good.
  • OVERALL RATING: 7/10
  • Website: cafegratitude.com/

15626474_10154705874661083_3216197649530994862_o.jpg

Veggie Grill (West Hollywood)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Casual, quick
  • DRANK:
    • Water
  • ATE:
    • Buffalo Wings (super spicy, addicting, and scarily similar to chicken)
    • Seoul bowl with veggie steak (flavorful, spicy, and healthy)
  • NOTES: I was expecting to feel gross and oily after eating here, but I was pleasantly surprised by how healthy it is despite it being a fast-food joint. I had bites of everyone else’s food (the beyond meat burger, Mediterranean supergreens salad, and Sonoran bowl) and they were all really good too!
  • OVERALL RATING: 8/10
  • Website: www.veggiegrill.com/

Thai Vegan* (Santa Monica)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Casual, hole-in-the-wall
  • DRANK:
    • Water
  • ATE:
    • Tom yum soup
    • Side of steamed veggies
    • Side of white rice
  • NOTES: We found this place on a whim, and it exceeded our expectations. It’s counter service, so the food comes quick, and it really hit the spot. The tom-yum soup had SO much flavor and a good amount of heat, and the steamed veggies made me feel so healthy and clean.
  • OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10
  • Website: thaiveganism.com/

15731821_10154705871621083_3334607039101892564_o.jpg

NOT 100% VEGAN:

Inaka* (Fairfax)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Open, bright, modern
  • DRANK:
    • Water
  • ATE:
    • Baked mochi (Loved it; better than a lot of baked mochis I’ve had. Dip it in the soy sauce for more flavor!)
    • Inaka plate (Very traditional Japanese meal; it had a lot of nostalgic flavors for a Japanese person like watashi)
  • NOTES: This was one of my favorite restaurants that we ate at. Go if you want clean, good food! I also think it’s BYOB so bring a bottle (or two) of wine to share with your friends!
  • OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10
  • Website: www.inakanaturalfoods.com/

Pearl’s Finest Teas (Fairfax Ave)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Trendy, bright, PINK
  • DRANK:
    • Matcha espresso latte with hemp milk
  • ATE:
    • Nada
  • NOTES: Best matcha latte I’ve ever had… I don’t think I’ve ever actually had espresso and matcha in one drink before so that was new. It cost me $7 so that might also be a first. The drink was considerably sweet, so it’s not super healthy or anything, but definitely worth going.  I LOVE the look of the cafe, and the employees are really nice! I need to go back so I can try their boba.
  • OVERALL RATING: 8/10
  • Website: pearlsfinestteas.com/

Urth Caffe (Santa Monica)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Cute, open (lots of outdoor seating), a bit crowded
  • DRANK:
    • Hot matcha latte with almond milk and boba
  • ATE:
    • Nada
  • NOTES: I’ve been to this cafe before, so it wasn’t a first, but their boba is some of the best out there.
  • OVERALL RATING: 9/10
  • Website: urthcaffe.com/

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

True Food Kitchen* (Santa Monica)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Big, bright, family-friendly
  • DRANK:
    • Water
  • ATE:
    • Kale guacamole
    • Butternut squash pizza
    • Ancient grains bowl
  • NOTES: Everything was amazing. Who ever thought to put kale in guac?? Trust me, it works. The pizza had lots of complex flavors to it and the crust was one of the best I’ve ever had. We told our waiter that my mom and I were splitting everything, so the kitchen divided up the ancient grains bowl in two for us so that we didn’t have to do it ourselves, which I thought was really nice. All their items are clearly marked as vegan, GF, or vegetarian, so it’s really easy to order.
  • OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10
  • Website: www.truefoodkitchen.com/

Moishe’s Restaurant (The Grove Farmer’s Market)

  • ATMOSPHERE: N/A? It’s part of an outdoor farmer’s market, so I guess… open?
  • DRANK:
    • Nannimo (nothing in Japanese)
  • ATE:
    • Vegetarian plate with tabbouleh, stuffed grape leaves (dolmades), hummus, potato salad, fattoush, and a side of pita bread
  • NOTES: This was the only place I could find in the farmer’s market that had vegan food. The portions are large, the food is pretty good, and they let you pick 5 sides which is pretty cool. However, after a while it starts to get really acidic with all the veggies and seasoning/dressing they use. I would suggest getting falafel as one of the sides to offset the acidity.
  • OVERALL RATING: 6/10
  • Website: www.moishes-la.com/

15676033_10154705873906083_5507062010914656204_o.jpg

Nektar Juice Bar (Santa Monica)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Casual, bright
  • DRANK:
    • Water
  • ATE:
    • Acai banana berry bowl
  • NOTES: I checked the ingredients of the granola to make sure it was vegan, which it was, so I was really happy about that (although I’m not sure the staff knew the definition of vegan because when I asked if the granola was vegan, the girl behind the counter went, “No, but we have a gluten-free option”… vegan ≠ gluten free! Urgh!!). My brother got the pitaya bowl, which was SUPER bright and pretty, so I recommend that one too! Oh and make sure to ask for almond butter on top of whatever bowl you get!
  • Website: www.nekterjuicebar.com/

Venice Ale House (Venice)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Small, hipster, testosterone-heavy
  • DRANK:
    • Harpbucha and a beer I don’t remember the name of
  • ATE:
    • The frozen blueberries in the cocktail, if that counts
  • NOTES: We came here because we wanted to go somewhere with kombucha cocktails. It did not disappoint! There are a lot of different beers on tap and a pretty big food menu as well. They even have vegan cheese! Lol. The bartender was super cool and it was a chill atmosphere. Not a ‘girl’s night out’ type of place though… lots of men.
  • Website: www.venicealehouse.com/

Chandni (Santa Monica)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Casual, family-friendly
  • DRANK:
    • Nothing, sadly. Ordered a beer, got carded, then realized I had left my ID at the hotel so I couldn’t drink anything… :'(
  • ATE:
    • Samosa
    • Bartha curry
    • Basmati rice
    • Roti
  • NOTES: We came here on Christmas as this was one of the few places that was open (and actually had seats). Although this is a vegetarian restaurant, a good amount of their dishes include cream and/or cheese, so just watch out for that. On the plus side, the wait staff is really good about letting you know about the inclusion of dairy/nuts in the dishes in advance, so that’s nice.
    • Also, P.S. most naan at Indian restaurants is not vegan… it contains either milk or butter. I didn’t learn that until I was a few months into being vegan, so just FYI.
  • Website: www.chandnivegrestaurant.com/

Sorry, no photos… I forgot. Oops.

The Counter (LAX terminal 7)

  • ATMOSPHERE: Crowded, casual
  • DRANK:
    • Nothing
  • ATE:
    • Asian veggie burger salad
  • NOTES: I begrudgingly tried this place after I was told by the people at the nearby Mexican place that “everything is cooked in chicken broth.” (WHYYYY) However, this place was surprisingly vegan friendly and the food was good for airport food. My salad came with a large vegan burger on a bed of lettuce and alfalfa sprouts, topped with a slice of grilled pineapple.
  • Website: www.thecounterburger.com/

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

*One of my favorites

I have a lot more eating to do– both at the places I already visited, and at the places I didn’t get a chance to hit. Guess I’ll just have to go back again soon!

15676488_10154705874911083_3001674661654008636_o

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s