As the second-largest city in the United States, Los Angeles has so much to offer when it comes to food. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the city is full of excellent vegetarian options, many of which are so good that even meat-eaters will find themselves choosing to dine there.
Of course, since the city is so big, narrowing down our list of recommendations to just five is no small task. But we also didn’t want to overwhelm you with options, so we kept the list small. We tried to include a variety of cuisines and restaurant types to make sure there’s something for everyone.
If you’re not already hungry, let’s get there by taking a look at the five best vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles. Keep in mind, these aren’t in any order. They’re just five great restaurants you should check out when it’s time for your next meal.
Jackfruit Cafe – West Los Angeles
One of the best things about eating vegetarian is the diversity of foods you get to try. There are so many different plants, and many of them can be prepared in a variety of different ways, leaving you with lots of meatless options.
A perfect example of this is the jackfruit. Grown in tropical climates, it’s a hearty fruit with a sweet flavor that’s not too dissimilar from tutti-fruitti jelly beans. But it’s also got a whole host of nutritional benefits that have turned it into one of the champions of the plant-based food movement. And when cooked, its flavor profile changes, allowing it to be used in an even wider variety of ways.
If this interests you, then you’ve got to check out the Jackfruit Cafe in West Los Angeles. As the name suggests, this restaurant features a whole array of dishes that put the jackfruit on center stage. You’ll find stuffed jackfruit, jackfruit topped mac and cheese, or a “pulled jackfruit” sandwich, all of which are excellent and worth eating over and over and over again.
Kismet – Los Feliz
Some national cuisines lend themselves better to vegetarian diets than others. A perfect example of this is Lebanese, Greek, Israeli, and Turkish food, otherwise known as “Middle Eastern Mediterranean.” Yes, these cultures eat meat. But they also have a wide range of other dishes that are entirely plant-based, and they are to die for.
In Los Feliz in East L.A., you will find Kismet, which offers a variety of Middle Eastern dishes that will get your mouth watering and keep you up at night dreaming.
For example, their flaky bread with labneh and honey is a starter that might just become the whole meal if you’re not careful. They also have some unique dishes that are fun takes on modern classics, the perfect example being broccoli toast instead of avocado. The jeweled crispy rice is another great choice, and there is a fun collection of salads on this menu that won’t disappoint.
We should note that there is meat on this menu, but it’s more than possible to go multiple times, never eat meat, and still have something new each visit. So, if you want to experience a new type of cuisine while also staying away from meat, be sure to check out Kismet.
The Butcher’s Daughter – Venice
With a name like that, it’s hard to imagine The Butcher’s Daughter being anything other than a meat fest. But that’s sort of the point. It’s a restaurant focused on making dishes that traditionally include meat but with plants only. They like to call themselves the “vegetable slaughterhouse.”
Another thing that we really like about this restaurant is that the menu is always changing. They use fresh, local ingredients and are always coming up with new ways of incorporating them into traditional dishes. For example, when we went, they were offering spaghetti squash carbonara and a bean-based BLT, both of which were to die for.
This place also makes it onto the list because it has an excellent cocktail menu that is also changing frequently, meaning you’ll never get bored. Oh, and did we mention this is a fantastic place for brunch, especially when you’re craving that greasy hangover meal?
All in all, you can’t go wrong with the Butcher’s Daughter, so check it out the next time you’re in Venice.
Annapurna – Culver City
No list of best vegetarian restaurants would be complete if we didn’t include at least one Indian spot. Since most of India doesn’t eat meat at all (and many also don’t consume milk or dairy), there is an endless list of dishes, all of which come with a unique spice profile that will have your taste buds dancing.
Annapurna, which is located in Culver City, specializes in dosas, which are crepes made with rice and lentil flour and then stuffed with your choice of spiced vegetables. They are a type of fast food in India but don’t let this moniker fool you; these things are killer.
If you’re not interested in a dosa, then Annapurna still has lots of options for you. Their lentil curries are a mainstay, as well as their chickpea and spinach curries. Overall, you really can’t go wrong. And since the entire menu is vegetarian, you can order up whatever you want and be confident it will be meat-free.
Elf Cafe – Echo Park
This list started with a Mediterranean restaurant, and now it’s going to finish with it. As we said, this type of cuisine really lends itself to vegetarian diets, especially if the head chefs have an interest in making it that way.
At Elf Cafe, there has always been a focus on creating delicious, Mediterranean-inspired vegetarian meals, but they also take things a bit further and offer quite a few vegan options, too. And many of their vegetarian dishes can be made vegan if you so desire.
One of the best things you can get at Elf Cafe is the tahini avocado puree, which tastes just about as amazing as it sounds. And there’s also the vegetarian bolognese, which offers a meatless variety of a classic pasta dish.
And as if this weren’t enough, Elf Cafe also offers a rather large list of “all natural” wines, many of which are grown right here in sunny California. Put all together, Elf Cafe is a wonderful spot for a romantic evening with a date or with a group of friends.
Gracias Madre West Hollywood
It’s been referred to as “Taylor Swift’s Favorite.” Located in the heart of Melrose Ave. West Hollywood, expect paparazzi on the streets and a high-paced atmosphere around dinner time. This cuisine is Mexican, so make sure you’re in the mood. “Gracias” is fully vegan, but perfect for any vegetarian. The craft cocktails are exceptional and you can expect a kick to each item., so if spice isn’t your thing, ask your server for modifications.
As you can see, there is no shortage of quality vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles. The list we’ve put together covers some of the musts in and around the city, but they are also quite spread out across the entire L.A. area. But you could just as easily stay in one or two neighborhoods and still find great vegetarian food.
One of the best things about living and visiting Los Angeles is the food, and if you happen to be a vegetarian or just want to try some things out that don’t include meat, then you’re in luck. The options are nearly endless. Vegan not Vegetarian? We got you covered! Here is a link to the 5 best Vegan restaurants.
So, now that you know some of the spots, there’s only one thing left to do: Eat!