restaurant

4 plant-based places to eat in LA

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        I talked about Backyard Bowls in my last post because it was my go-to place while I was staying in Santa Monica, but I wanted to add additional places where I enjoyed the food in LA. As I've been pretty busy (that explains also the lack of activity here), there may be "best-vegan-restaurants-in-LA" missing because these are the ones I got a chance to go to in between photo shoots and castings and they were all located close to my neighborhood, so don't hesitate to give me other names for next time.

        Also please note that except the first and last ones, the pictures in this article aren't from me because I didn't always take some when I ate at these places (whether it was because I was too busy enjoying the food and my friends' company or because the light wasn't good enough).

 

  • Cafe Gratitude - Venice

        I discovered this place thanks to my amazing roommate Samantha as she was mentioning to me her favorite places to order food in the neighborhood.  She warned me "it's VERY healthy" haha, as we both know that sometimes the places we like are too healthy for our friends.

The particularity about this place is that the waiters are asking you the question of the day that is about your dreams/happiness/feelings... -you don't have to answer- and each item on the menu has a positive affirmation (example "you are whole", "you are humble"). Some find it positive and warm, some find it cheesy. In that case, you can always order delivery ;)!

If you like "VERY healthy" food and a "yogi" atmosphere, this place is for you. My favorites are the Macro Bowl and their Beer-Battered Young Coconut (tastes exactly like fried calamari, I was shocked). I also loved their November Pumpkin pie! And for their drinks, my favorite was the Grace smoothie (coconut based and verrrry creamy).

 

Cafe Gratitude website (they have many different locations in LA)

Pictures from their Instagram:

 

  • Veggie Grill - Santa Monica

        This one is for all those who think vegan eaters = healthy eaters! We actually eat junk food too, and it can be super tasty! Veggie Grill is the best vegan junk food place that I've tried yet and I'm torn between wanting them to open a restaurant in NYC because it would be great or wishing they never do because I would put on 10kg right away (nothing bad with gaining weight if you're happy guys ;), just that my personal goal is to stay fit)! I love that they use Beyond Burger from Beyond Meat for their hamburgers and that they aren't too expensive at all!

My fave: the classic VG Beyond Burger!

 

Veggie Grill website (they also have many locations in LA)

Pictures from their Instagram:

 

  • True Food Kitchen - Santa Monica

        This one isn't an entire vegan place but they had such great quality vegetables that I had to put it here. It's great to go with people who eat differently (healthy/less healthy, plant-based/not plant-based) because they have a great option for everything! I loved their Charred Cauliflower and their Ancient Grains Bowl! My friend who isn't vegan had one of their pizza and loved it! I would definitely go back often as you really feel the quality of the ingredients.

 

True Food Kitchen website

Pictures from their Instagram:

 

  • Sage Bistro - Culver City

        Different people had messaged me about this restaurant but I only had one occasion to go with my friend Brian and l had a great experience.

I ordered the Bollywood Bowl (have you noticed I love bowls?) and there were so many different flavors, the quantity was perfect (aka very filling haha, it was served with flatbread too). I also had one of their smoothies (don't remember which one, just that there were dates in it) and it was also so satisfying. I wish I could have been several times to test everything on their menu but I'll have to wait next time I come to LA :).

 

Sage Bistro website

Pictures from their Instagram:

 

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Healthy Fast food: Backyard Bowls

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       There is plenty of healthy plant based food in LA so I knew it would be a satisfying discovery for each meal coming here, but I was also sure that I'd go back to Backyard Bowls. I discovered it 2 years ago when I was staying for the first time in LA, and I would walk more than 1h back and forth just to go to their place in WeHo!! Haha, yes I like to walk, but I also love their food. Is it an extraordinary culinary experience? Probably not. But it is exactly the way I conceive food: healthy, abundant, plant based and simple but still with lots of flavors.

They have several locations and the pictures in this article are from their Santa Monica location which is the area I am staying.

 

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       The Menu

       Is simple: smoothie bowls (acai, pitaya, green bowls), smoothies, porridge bowls, toasts and grain bowls. That's it. The bases of a plant-based diet. I told you I like to eat a "high carb low fat" kinda diet and I feel like that's what I can easily get without thinking about it too much at Backyard Bowls because the carbs are in the center of everything (and carbs are definitely life). And you have quantity on your plate (actually in your bowl) which is also one of my criteria when I go to a restaurant: how much food will I have on my plate?

The other thing I like is that when you eat in, you get a proper bowl, a proper spoon: no plastic and no waste. It's something I was missing when I tried to have acai bowls in New York. Maybe the next improvement would be to also give a proper cup for the water fountain but I know it's not always easy to organize it.

Finally, it's fast food: you order at the counter and wait for your food that you can eat in or take away. It's really nice to know that you have healthy and yummy options when you are in a hurry.

 

       What Do I personally order?

       I generally go for a large (yes large, and the portion is huge! but we know as plant-based eaters that we tend to eat a lot more in quantities, especially on HCLF) Island bowl, which is my favorite of their smoothie bowls: there is mango in it, which is one of my favorite fruits, and coconut milk! It's a simple tropical bowl and I love how they aren't cheap on the granola compared to other places! It's very hot in LA so I love how a smoothie bowl cools me from the inside.

I was also very curious to test their grain bowls because macro bowls are really my favourite way to eat, and I am always more attracted to savory meals than sweets. So I built my own: green rice, hummus, hot sauce, cauliflower + chickpeas, sweet potato puree, shaved carrot, avocado, shallots and pickled beets, sprouts, micro greens and toasted almonds. And it was delicious! Like, really delicious! I really felt like I am going to make efforts to cook the same way at home because it is accessible and it is a way to eat that I would like to share.

 

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Santa Monica Neighborhood

Santa Monica Neighborhood

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Backyard Bowls

Website. They have many locations so check if there's one close to you!

 

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Food in Paris - Sol Semilla

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When it comes to testing new restaurants, it's always hard for me to just do a search and read the ratings on the internet, because often it doesn't correspond to what I will actually like. I prefer to have a friend's recommendation since they know my taste better and I know from their own taste if what they like will also please me. Thankfully I have a great roommate in Paris who shares my love for healthy food, and she is the one who told me about Sol Semilla. This restaurant is not only entirely vegan but also organic and focuses on superfood from Amazonia, where the chef is from. The concept is simple, there are a few choices on the menu; soups and raw plates, but the most popular and great to discover this cuisine is the daily plate, changed every day and cooked with local and in season ingredients.

The plate has everything you need to be healthy: raw vegetables, cooked vegetables, grains, and legumes. But the way it is cooked and the different textures are beyond satisfying! I was really amazed by how much flavor every bite had, very sophisticated and comforting at the same time. Eating at Sol Semilla made me want to learn how to cook better to be able to share these flavors. Their desserts are great if you don't like too sweet foods and are sensitive to subtle flavors. Some of them reminded me of baby food (in a good way!), but I didn't test the cakes yet. I also tried 2 of their drinks as I went there 2 times, a plant-based milk with herbs which was subtly sweet, and one with raw cacao and chili, which was both boosting and comforting.

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The restaurant becomes quickly very busy as it is pretty popular, but the staff is very friendly and the atmosphere of the place is really pleasant and cosy (there even is a cat !) so I didn't mind to wait a little more in between the main course and the dessert. To be honest, I don't think Sol Semilla is the best place to bring someone who isn't used to eat healthy and plant based as it really pushes down that way, but for all those who already walk this path it definitely is a place to go. I will go back for sure, glad to add it to my favorite restaurants list. The address is 23 rue des Vinaigriers in the 10th arrondissement, super close to the Canal St Martin.