After living in LA, on and off, for over a year, you get to learn a lot about the ever-growing food scene. We’ve explored high and low and finally present to you a list of our top 10 favorite food spots/restaurants in Los Angeles, ranging from pizza to ice cream to fancy-schmancy restaurants. Every place on this list is either fully vegan, vegetarian, or simply has killer veg options.
We tag-teamed this article, so there’s sections written by Kim and sections written by Ryan. Let’s get to it!
[RYAN] LA is loaded with Thai restaurants, many of which specialize in vegan fare. Very seldom have I had bad Thai food, but don’t get me wrong, some places are more spectacular than others. To me, Bulan wins the title of best vegetarian Thai restaurant in LA.
Bulan is a cute, hut-like building with an adorable small patio and intimate interior on a corner in Silverlake near Intelligentsia Coffee. Upon entering, you immediately feel that it’s a family-run place, as there are many generations of Thai folks working there, from sweet, young waitresses, elderly cooks whipping around woks in the back, and even little kids sitting around, playing games on their iPhones.
All of that’s fairly common for a small Thai restaurant, but what separates Bulan from the other 50 vegan Thai spots in LA is their food. Their menu boasts several pages of authentic Thai food that focuses on heat, flavor, texture, and balance of the senses. Unlike other spots, Bulan doesn’t try to lure in Western eaters by adding burgers, wraps, and french fries to their menu; they keep it 100% Thai from curries, to noodle dishes, and warm sticky rice desserts.
The only thing you’ll find that isn’t vegan are a few dishes with egg-noodles or stir-fries with scrambled eggs, however, the majority of their menu is vegan and what’s not can often be made vegan. They also have an abundance of unique protein options from meaty fake chicken, faux pepper steak, and even mind-blowing vegan shrimp made from konjac protein.
I wish I could recommend one dish over another, but no matter what I’ve ate, I’ve always left Bulan on a Nirvana-like high. What I can say however is that if you go and you’re in the mood for something familiar, go for their Pad See-Ew, which contains tender wide rice noodles in a sweet & savory black soy sauce, and if you’re in the mood to take a step outside your comfort zone, go for there Khao Mok Gai, which features Thai-spiced yellow rice, vegan chicken fried on a wooden stick just like a drumstick, and a spicy sweet & sour sauce.
Oh, and save room for dessert, because their warm coconut jelly over sweet sticky rice gives mango & sticky rice a run for its money!
4114 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Doomie’s Home Cookin’
[KIM] It’s been a long night partying in Koreatown on a Friday night. It’s 1 AM, you’ve got the drunkies, and all you can think about is something hefty & juicy, but still has that good ol’ comfort feel that satisfies the soul. Doomie’s Home Cookin’ is here for you.
Located in the heart of Hollywood, Doomie’s is junk food heaven for vegans. It’s definitely a casual place to dine – tables lined up close to one another, chairs a little rickety, booths slightly ripped up, and off-yellow lighting. But that doesn’t stop it from serving up largely portioned food that just hits the spot. Plus, their menu is hilarious so be sure to read EVERYTHING. Dinner and a show, am I right? All in all, if you’re in it for the food, like I am, environment usually isn’t a big deal.
You can’t go wrong with their Western Burger, which is topped with fried onion rings, barbecue sauce, and bacon, served alongside long, crispy fries – unless you’re feeling adventurous, then you should go for their “Fun Fries,” which are decked out with different toppings & sauces. I highly recommend upgrading your meal with the Bacon Cheese Fun Fries! Man, vegans are living their best life with all these meats and dairy substitutes these days.
One thing that Doomie’s has that most places – I feel like – are too afraid to carry is vegan fried chicken. And I’m talking about fried chicken with that thick, crunchy batter, tender “meat” dripping in oil, and buttermilk flavors oozing all over your mouth, served alongside fries and mac ‘n cheese, topped with crushed up Ritz crackers. It’s like KFC all over again! Another personal favorite is their Shrimp Po Boy, served in a soft baguette, topped with fresh iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, sweet pickles, and tartar sauce. Definitely a fresher option on the menu, if you want something lighter on the palate. Order it with Animal Fries (y’know, like what In & Out has), which are fries topped with thousand island dressing, cheese, and onions. Trust.
Doomie’s Home Cookin’
1253 Vine St, # 9
Los Angeles, California 90038
[RYAN] Cocobella is the epitome of an ice cream shop: sweet aromas flowing out the doors, colorful interior, sweet staff members, and an abundance of soft, creamy frozen treats. Oh, and everything’s vegan and gluten-free.
Located right next door to Doomies of Hollywood is LA’s finest (and perhaps first) all vegan ice cream parlor. Their chill-y atmosphere welcomes you in from the intense LA heat, but the real fun starts when you walk up to the counter. Eyes widen in excitement at the sight of all their hand-made ice creams. Unknowing which flavor to commit to, you sample a few exquisite flavors like Black Sesame or Thai Tea, knowing you can always fall back on your favorites like Cookies ’N Cream or Mint Chip.
No matter what flavor you choose, it’s the base of any ice cream that propels it to new heights, and the folks at Cocobella have clearly put in ample work to create a base that’s velvety on the tongue, rich in mouth feel, and scoopable without being the slightest-bit hard.
Stop by next time you’re stuck in Hollywood and need an escape from the dizzying madness!
1253 Vine St #12
Los Angeles, CA 90038
[RYAN] Located in the massive San Gabriel Square shopping plaza in – you guessed it – San Gabriel, lies Vege Paradise, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant offering a whopping 150 menu items of traditional and Westernized Chinese dishes.
Upon entering Vege Paradise’s spacey, clean dining area with classy white clothed tables and traditional Chinese decor, you’re greeted with a large pot of refreshing green tea from one of their kind-hearted, elderly waitresses to sip on while you ponder what to choose off of their massive menu. Being that it’s a family-style restaurant, their portions are meant to be shared – or, you know, kept for those heavenly Chinese food leftovers.
While you may need 10 minutes of meditation to fully decipher what you want from their everlasting menu, it’s important to keep in mind what you’re craving before you start reading, as they carry traditional-leaning dishes such as Shark’s Fin Soup and a wide-array of hot pots as well as taste-bud engulfing Western Chinese classics like Sweet & Sour Chicken made from crispy white mushroom caps and Vege Kung Pao Shrimp. (All of which is vegan.)
For that nostalgic, Chinese food experience, Vege Paradise is your spot. You may have to park 1/4 mile away on the opposite side of this bustling plaza’s parking lot, but it’s well worth the aromatic bags of take-out you’ll be walking back with.
San Gabriel Square
140 W Valley Blvd #222
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Sage Vegan Bistro
[KIM] I could easily down their Mac ‘N Cheese Pizza all day, everyday. Tucked away in a tiny alleyway within the busy streets of Downtown Pasadena is Sage Vegan Bistro, one of the most upscale, yet casual, vegan restaurants I know.
Their specialty is American fare with a comforting vibe. With striking dishes such as the Cauliflower “Wings” Trio Platter served with Buffalo, Sweet & Sour, and Barbecue wings, and the California Avocado Pesto Burger served with a side of crispy fries, non-vegans will go head over heels for this place! Sage has three locations, one in Echo Park and one in Culver City (which is actually three times the size of Echo Park’s location), but personally, I enjoy Pasadena’s open environment, warm ambiance, and welcoming staff the most.
Walking into this spacious restaurant in the evening, you’re introduced by a dimly lit outdoor patio with strung lights and multi-colored tables and seats. Inside, there’s a fancy cocktail bar and a couple of bartenders carefully crafting each drink to perfection. The staff greets you with nothing but smiles and bright attitudes, followed by attentive service and a well understanding of the menu, making sure that all allergies are not to be worried about.
Now, I really love pizza. And I mean REALLYYYYY love pizza, and lemme tell ya, Sage has some of the best pizza I’ve ever had. Their crust is the true winner here – it’s not too heavy that it disguises any flavors, nor is it too soft that it becomes mush within seconds of chewing. May I recommend the Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza (as you can tell, I’m an advocate of these cauliflower wings) or the White Pizza, because when you’re vegan, white pizza is NOT an easy thing to find.
Sage is the perfect place to take someone, vegan or non-vegan, on a date. If you dine here after 5 PM, try something off their dinner menu. My favorite is the Orange Chicken, which is also made of cauliflower. It’s sweet, tangy, and serves up a nice crunch. Served alongside organic brown rice, you can’t go wrong with this simple meal.
Sage Vegan Bistro
Old Town Pasadena
41 Hugus Alley
Pasadena, CA 91103
[RYAN] This walk-up burger shop is a bit of an outsider in its home neighborhood of Chinatown. All around you see bright reds and yellows, neon signs, and old Chinese men playing checkers with their friends – all casual Chinatown experiences. That is until your eyes glide across the most American of American restaurants: an order-through-the-window burger joint.
Burgerlords didn’t stop at distinctiveness in appearance, as they bring ingenuity to their seemingly classic American fare by offering a vegan option for everything. What won me over however wasn’t their vegan burgers, which contain a unique mixture of beans, nuts, and seitan, it was their sides.
Burgerlords offers a vegan rendition of In-N-Out’s famous “Animal Fries,” which they deem as “Lord of the Fries,” featuring crispy shoestring fries stacked with melty American cheese, nostalgic thousand island sauce that’s dotted with sweet relish, and tastebud tantalizing grilled onions. Pro tips: 1. Ask for well done fries so they don’t get soggy and 2. Don’t forget to ask them for the vegan version!
Although, what I really want to talk about is Burgerlord’s vegan milkshakes, as they’re what keeps me coming back for more. These thick, creamy, and down-right irresistible milkshakes are made from a mixture of almond milk, soy milk, and – here’s the kicker – tahini. While it could be placebo playing with me, I believe tahini is the key ingredient that makes these milkshakes magical. They offer vanilla, coffee, chocolate, and seasonal flavors such as Cookies ’n’ Cream! If you’re looking for a vegan shake that’ll actually take you back to the sensation of slurping some Steak ’n’ Shake shake as a young kid in pursuit of a sugar rush, then look no further than Burgerlords.
The best part? They only cost $5 a pop. All those fancy vegan restaurants serving banana smoothies as $12 “milkshakes” should be ashamed.
943 N. Broadway St. #102
Los Angeles, CA 90012
[RYAN] Combine melt in your mouth donuts, emo music, and playing with your food and Donut Friend is what you get.
Located off of Highland Park’s poppin’ York Boulevard, nestled among hip coffee shops and new restaurants, you’ll find the softest raised vegan donuts in all of LA.
Wait. Let’s pause this segment for a quick rant: cake donuts are nothing more than wanna-be cupcakes. When I think donuts, I think about soft, lightly chewy raised, yeast donuts – not round cakes. Okay, I’ve spoken my peace.
Donut Friend understands the need in the marketplace for freshly fried, indulgent raised donuts. And they’ve got options aplenty, with the ability to customize any donut with decadent ice creams, sweet glazes & sauces, fresh fruit, unique fillings, and crunchy toppings. If you can’t decide what you want, they have a pastry case full of over 15 pre-made donuts, ranging from classics like Bavarian Cream to new configurations like their X-Ray Speculoos, which features sticky cookie butter sandwiched between a chocolate glazed donut, topped with large sea salt flakes.
Overall, Donut Friend has a chill vibe with alternative workers, appropriate prices, blasting throwback emo music, and clever dessert/band puns such as their “Strawberry So Far” and “Taking Back Sundae.”
Dark apparel, guilty sweets, and heavy music? I may as well start paying rent.
5107 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90065
Glendale Pho Co.
[KIM] First off, I’m quite critical when it comes to pho. Only because that’s something I grew up with and feel like is a large part of my culture, especially being that pho is the strongest connection Americans have to Vietnam, without stepping foot out of the country. Seriously though, ask any American what they know about Vietnamese culture and 9 out of 10 will mention pho.
Ever since Ryan and I have moved to LA, I’ve kinda made it a mission to go out and find the best and most authentic pho restaurants nearby without having to drive allllll the way down to Little Saigon in Orange County. Luckily, we live in an area full of Vietnamese food, but finding VEGAN pho options is such a task!
Not many places are able to nail the deep, beefy flavors of pho while still keeping it plant-based. This is where Glendale Pho Co. saves the day. Not only do they have large portions and fair prices, but sitting in this small modernized restaurant will make you feel like you’re in the suburbs of Vietnam. The bustling sounds of pots and pans in the kitchen, Vietnamese staff speaking their native tongue, and the lingering aromas of pho broth; mmm, takes me back.
The vegan pho is whipped up with a small variety of vegetables, mushrooms, and fried tofu, drowned in a piping hot beefy flavored veggie broth, along with vermicelli rice noodles cooked to perfection – not too mushy, not too chewy – and served alongside a traditional plate full of fresh beansprouts, lime wedges, Thai basil, and jalapeños. There are two sizes to this pho: Regular, which is really big, and Large, which is really really big! And it’s only a dollar upgrade!
Now the thing about Vietnamese cuisine is that they encourage you to use hella condiments. It’s not like French cuisine, where the use of condiments is an insult – ironic because Vietnamese food is built upon French culture. At the table, you’ll find a plethora of things to experiment with, including hoisin sauce, fish sauce, Sriracha, and chili paste. At this point, if you’re not familiar with pho, you’re probably thinking, “how the heck do I even eat this?!” There’s not a “correct” way of eating pho – it’s all personal preference.
I would start by tasting the broth – allow the flavors to dance on your tongue, then from there, adjust. Squeeze a lime wedge into the bowl, toss in a handful of beansprouts, all of the jalapeños, and some Thai basil leaves. Then create a few rings of hoisin sauce and a ring of Sriracha, and there you have it: the perfect bowl of pho!
Nothing warms my heart more than enjoying a hot bowl of pho while being in an environment where I feel like I’m at home with family.
Glendale Pho Co.
102 S Glendale Ave.
Glendale, CA 91205
[KIM] Check off what applies to you:
▢ I like thin crust pizza with a crunch
▢ Vegan pepperoni pizza is my shit
▢ I am fascinated by skateboarding culture
▢ I love hole-in-the-wall places
▢ I love mac & cheese on pizza as much as Kim
▢ I like cheap pizza by the slice
If you checked off at least one of those boxes, it’s time you give Pizzanista! a visit. Built on skateboarding culture, this tiny hole-in-the-wall pizza shop is the perfect hang out spot to grab a slice of fresh-out-the-oven pizza with a couple of beers and a couple of friends. Their thin, crispy crust is to die for, and to make it all the better, they don’t slack on the cheese or the toppings! That’s a win in my book.
Like I’ve said, Pizzanista! is a tiny pizza shop. At least, the one in Downtown LA’s Arts District is – which is my go-to spot. There’s usually a line out the door, but once you’re inside, you’ll notice that it’s pretty narrow with large coolers to the right filled with cold beverages including beer, beer, more beer, and some fancy sodas, along with a limited amount of seating a couple of feet away from the pizza display case and the counter where you order. There’s even a barstool-level countertop that bridges the wall between outside and inside, that way you can tell your friend to grab a seat in the sun while you enjoy your pie in the nice shade. To top it off, the entire staff looks like they’re in their early 20’s with cool style & tattoos, and they always seem to have a fun time working. It’s all good vibes here!
Come on a Sunday to try their special Macaroni & Cheese Pizza, which, if it isn’t obvious by the name, is macaroni & cheese ON A PIZZA. I don’t know about you, but that’s two of my favorite foods COMBINED. Come on a Tuesday to score yourself $2 vegan cheese or vegan pepperoni slices of pizza and come any other day and try their Seitan Meats Jesus, which is a vegan play on meaty pizza, topped with Daiya cheese, vegan pepperoni, vegan bacon, and vegan sausage. $4.20 for a giant slice has never been SOOO worth it.
Say you bring a friend, but that friend is anti-vegan food (why are they even your friend?!) – no worries, Pizzanista! also accommodates. They do a hell of a great job working with both diets. After all, it’s Los Angeles, where the vegan community is constantly growing in large masses. And you’re on a vegan blog, but that’s besides the point.
2019 E. 7th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Monty’s Good Burger
“Oh Monty, you’re the only burger who has my heart.” – Me
[RYAN] Almost 4 years of being vegan and I can confidently say that Monty’s Good Burger has the best. vegan. burger. ever. There’s nothing over the top about it, it’s simply one (or two) Impossible Patties on soft potato buns with Follow Your Heart Cheese and all the other burger staples: tomato, lettuce, pickles, grilled onions, and their “House Spread.”
It’s an all-American burger, done perfectly. When you need to fulfill that craving for the “perfect burger,” no bean, seitan, or ordinary soy patty will cut it. That’s why you need Monty’s.
Aside from meaty, juicy, and thoughtfully assembled burgers, they have the crispiest & freshest tater tots of all-time. They’re golden brown on the outside, moist on the inside, and when you dip them into one of their 5 house-made sauces, it’s complete childhood bliss.
Monty’s is brand new on the food scene, debuting just this year at Eat. Drink. Vegan. and Coachella without an actual storefront to call home. But that’s about to change because Monty’s is opening up their first brick & mortar restaurant in Koreatown on Saturday, August 11th (!!) along with a second location that’ll open late Summer/early Fall at Riverside Food Lab. They’ll be offering a simple, but appropriately nostalgic menu of cheeseburgers, tater tots, french fries, and milkshakes – all vegan, all the time.
The fun doesn’t stop there however, because Monty’s K-Town location will be open till 1 AM Thursdays – Saturdays. Hhheellloooo late-night drunk eats!
Monty’s Good Burger
516 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020