Written by Raw Manda
VINH LOI TOFU
According to Vinh Loi Tofu owner Kevin Tran, aka “The Iron Monk,” you don’t need meat to be strong, and he backs up this belief with his Ironman status. His enthusiasm for veganism is also evident in the wide-range of offerings on the menu. What’s more impressive is the option to forgo the menu and allow the restaurant to custom tailor a dish specific to your personal taste. Vinh Loi Tofu achieves authentic flavors in their popular soups and dishes. A meal here is definitely worth making the trip to the San Fernando Valley.
CAFE GRATITUDE LARCHMONT
The mission at Café Gratitude is to honor the earth and our bodies by using the finest organic ingredients. Serving both raw and cooked foods, this popular vegan spot gives diners a truly unique experience. Be ready to feel an instant connection to the food the moment you read the menu. The dishes are thoughtfully named after self-affirmations that will shape your perspective on food. Standout dishes include "I am Humble" Indian curry bowl and “I am Liberated,” made with marinated kelp noodles, heirloom cherry tomatoes, local black and green olives, wild arugula, basil hempseed pesto, cashew ricotta and Brazil nut parmesan.
Many people expect top notch Mexican fare in California and Gracias Madre is the place to bring someone with that agenda. The stunning decor makes the dining experience special. Step out into the lively courtyard and enjoy your meal outdoors. The guacamole is exemplary, so be sure to order some for the table. Make reservations in advance, it’s a very popular spot in West Hollywood.
If you’re with someone who is skeptical about plant-based food, try introducing them to vegan dessert first. Kippy’s creates their dairy-free ice cream by combining raw and organic coconut cream, fresh fruit and unheated honey. Most of the options include honey, so for vegans that don’t consume it, they do always offer at least one date-sweetened ice cream option.
This cozy raw café is located on the charming strip off of Main Street in Santa Monica. The menu is as varied as it is satisfying. Rawvolution pushes raw vegan cuisine in a new direction and impresses customers with innovative techniques. Leave it to Rawvolution to have an Enlightenment Salad that will make you feel like you are rewarding your body with every bite. Try any of the burgers with their flavorful onion bread or notable rolls. Share a slice of cake with a few friends; the raw desserts are not only stunning but also absolutely delicious.
Magic happens at Satdtha Plant-Based Thai Kitchen in Santa Monica. Forget the words “plant-based” – diners can only focus on how remarkable the cuisine is, vegan or not. The always-packed, stylishly decorated restaurant knows how to deliver some of the best Thai food in L.A. No experience is complete without the Tom Kha soup, so make sure to start there. Pad Thai and beet dyed noodles are always crowd favorites. Fans of curry should order the Green Curry, although you can’t go wrong with any of their curry options. Leave room for dessert; the tapioca pudding is a unique treat that’s sure to blow you away.
SAGE ORGANIC VEGAN BISTRO
Sage connects people to plant-based cuisine using locally sourced ingredients to create comforting flavors. This bistro reminds us that great food experiences can be achieved with compassion. Vegans and non-vegans alike are sure to be intrigued by a number of dishes on the menu. Make sure to stop by this neighborhood gem in Echo Park before you check out a show at one of the nearby music venues. Don’t forget to grab the buffalo cauliflower "hot wings" for an appetizer; you will not be disappointed.
This casual restaurant is just blocks from the Venice Beach boardwalk. Communal tables bring diners together, many of whom drop in after a trip to the beach. Enjoy a satisfying macrobiotic bowl, tempeh burger or any of the Japanese-influenced dishes. If you’re looking to dive into a raw vegan meal, try out the raw kelp noodle salad “Pad Thai Style,” made with kelp noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, scallions, cucumbers and almonds in a chili sauce. The portions are generous and who isn’t a fan of that? Don’t forget to snap a picture of the classic Venice sign that is just steps away from the restaurant!