Los Angeles Food Guide

plant-based gluten-free vegan waffles plant food and wine

I was thinking back, trying to remember the first time I went to LA. I think it was for a solo birthday trip in my 20’s. I booked a slightly questionable AirBnB two blocks from the beach in Venice and spent my days walking around Abbot Kinney, sitting on the beach, and eating all of the delicious vegan food west of the 405. I’ve been hooked ever since and have been back numerous times to take culinary classes at Pure Food and Wine, attend Create & Cultivate conferences, or just hang out and pretend like I live there.

LA has always been a little ahead of the curb when it comes to health, wellness and plant-forward food. As the welless scene has only been getting bigger, better and more trendy, so have the cafes and restaurants serving delicious vegan, plant-based and farm-to-table food. These are some of my favorites!

Juice, Smoothies and Coffee

Moon Juice – Great spot for juice and a superfood latte. I usually start most of my mornings at their Venice location for a matcha latte with Beauty Dust. You can turn any one of their juices into a smoothie by adding banana or avocado.

Pressed Juice – Always a fan favorite. We have one in Seattle so I’m familiar with their juices. They have the largest selection of non-fruit based green juices and of course their delicious almond-date based soft-serve “freeze”.

Kreation – One of my favorite juice spots – they have so many to choose from! It’s like the “salad bar” of juice bars. They have a huge menu so best grab one and step to the side. Their Abbot Kinney location has a full menu and restaurant, however I’ve never actually eaten there. It looks good though, there is something for everyone {including meat eaters} on their menu.

Sunlife Organics – One of my favorite juice and smoothie spots. Everything is organic and is packed with straight up, good-for-you ingredients. Everything can be customized, but if you’re one to get overwhelmed by options, they have a great selection of smoothies to choose from. I love I usually go for the smoothies, but they also have smoothie bowls and coffee.

Erewhon Market – Words cannot express how much I love Erewhon. It is the mecca of grocery stores and health food stores – it’s my happy place. The best way I can describe it is that they have a high standard for the kind of food and ingredients that they sell. For example, none of their product has canola oil in it, all of their seafood in their prepared sushi is sustainably sourced, their juices and smoothies are all cold-pressed in house. They even have a list of ingredients {like refined sugar and flour} that are not found in their stores. I genuinely respect what they are trying to do and it shows. Their take-away food is nutritious and delicious and they have a generous assortment of healthy packaged foods. They have a full juice, smoothie and coffee bar and make all of their non-dairy milks in house, even the coconut milk. C

Paramount Coffee Project – Australian based company, they are the brain child of three prominent “coffee guys” in Australia – Jin Ng of Paramount House, Mark Dundon of Seven Seeds and Russell Beard of Reuben Hills. I haven’t been to their LA location, but I have been to their Surry Hills location in Australia once. For a latte. Definitely top 5 lattes I’ve ever had.

Bulletproof Coffee – When in doubt Bulletproof has a shop between Venice and Santa Monica. Their coffee is great and it’s free of toxins and sourced sustainably.

Breadblok – Great house-made non-dairy milks that make their lattes sooo yummy. They also use ippodo matcha which has always been one of my favorites.

New Deli – They have a robust menu of coffee, teas, espresso drinks, superfood lattes and cacao drinks all well sourced for fair-trade, biodynamic and/or organic suppliers. Their iced chagaccino is the perfect afternoon pick me up on a hot day.

Cha Cha Matcha – If you like matcha this is your place. Even though they have every possible matcha drink you could imagine, I usually go for a simple latte or americano style iced.

M & Love Cafe – Technically this in Manhattan Beach, but if you’re staying around Venice it’s worth the 15-20 minute drive down. They have a wonderful assortment of dairy-free lattes, juices and smoothies make their own dairy-free milks.

Breakfast, Lunch and/or Dinner

Breadblok – Gluten-free bakery with the best gluten-free buckwheat sourdough. They have a mix of vegan and non-vegan items and house-made dairy-free milks that are perfection in espresso drinks {my favorite is the almond}. Highly recommend the scones and the banana bread.

New Deli – Four words: gluten-free vegan bagels. Trust me they are absolutely worth it! New Deli is a sustainable and plant-based bodega style shop. Everything is sourced from like minded businesses with a priority on fair-trade, organic, and biodynamic products. They have everything from household products to personal hygiene to frozen foods, pantry staples, snacks, bear and wine. They also have other sandwiches and a full coffee bar.

Cafe Gratitude – A long time favorite of mine since 2012 when I attended their Kindred Spirit retreat in Maui. Their story and business model resonates so deeply with me. They support local farmers, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and foster a strong sense of community among their staff and diners. Not to mention, they have some of the best plant-based vegan food around – everything is made in-house and is not short of flavor. I have two of their cookbooks that are probably 10 years old at this point and I still pull recipes from them. My top three recommendations – brunch (don’t miss the “I Am Content” cast-iron chickpea Quiche), the “I Am Whole” macrobiotic bowl and definitely dessert, especially if it’s chocolate or ice cream based.

Plant Food and Wine – One of Matthew Kenney’s many restaurants. I discovered his food when I lived in Manhattan and he still owned Pure Food and Wine which has since closed due to “financial problems”. Both can be described as more elevated vegan restaurants with Pure Food and Wine being completely raw. Plant Food and Wine is not 100% raw, but they are vegan and do have raw dishes on their menu. I’ve always enjoyed Kenney’s food because it takes a traditional approach to plant-food. For example, the chocolate is not simply coconut oil and raw cacao mixed together, rather cacao, cacao butter and coconut sugar that has been melted down and tempered, just like chocolate is traditionally made. Definitely more pricey, but worth it if you want to “treat yourself”.

Butcher’s Daughter – Another one that I first experienced in NYC and still a favorite. Their space on Abbot Kinney reminds me of a greenhouse – I could easily spend a whole day there. I typically get their Spicy Kale Caesar Salad for lunch and their Carbonara with spaghetti squash noodles for dinner. Really hits that comfort food spot.

Botanica – I’ve been here twice for dinner and both times the food was impeccable. They are a true farm-to-table restaurant, not associated with one specific set of dietary guidelines, that use “all-local vegetables, fruits and dairy; a rainbow of grains and legumes; spices and vinegar’s from across the world; lots and lots of California olive oil, coconut oil, organic grapeseed oil and organic local butter; wild Pacific seafood; and occasionally a bit of sustainable raised meat.” I still have yet to try brunch and apparently they have a great patio out back that is perfect on a nice sunny day.

Malibu Farms {Cafe and Restaurant} – I have only been to their cafe on the pier. I stopped their on my way to Ojai for an early breakfast. It wasn’t anything crazy – two eggs, sunny side up, with a bounty of vegetables, and it was perfect. On their about page you can read all about their owner, how they started and exactly where they source from. They another one of California’s true farm-to-table establishments. The best part about Malibu Farms, food aside, is the location. The cafe is at the end of a long pier and feels like it’s in the middle of the ocean, and the restaurant tables look out over the Pacific; talked about an epic sunset view.

Gracia’s Madre – Cafe Gratitude’s Mexican sister restaurant so same standards when it comes to ingredients and quality. It is the best Mexican food that I’ve had. Period. The restaurant was born out of a desire to both: offer organic Mexican food to the communities that they serve as well as honor the mothers who work in the kitchens of Mexico and often live without their husbands and children who work in California. Everything is made in house and is full of flavor. They are 100% plant-based and vegan, but I promise carnivores and omnivores will enjoy it too.

Honey Hi – I discovered this real-food cafe on Instagram and have since been several times. Everything is good – seriously. They value how the food is sourced and prepared rather than what philosophy or dogma it falls into. They make their own gluten-free sourdough and nut-milks, serve only grass-fed and local meats, and don’t use refined sugar, food additives or other ingredients that don’t promote well-being. For breakfast, I typically indulge in a toast, and usually opt for “that grain bowl” {I know – basic} for lunch. Their homemade bone broths are like a hug in a cup on a cold day and their Merman smoothie is refreshing and, deceptively healthy, on a hot summer day.

Beaming Organic Superfood Cafe – My first experience with Beaming Organic was at their La Jolla location. I fell in love with their soups and smoothies. Come to find out they have locations all over California.

Erewhon Market – They have a robust menu of delicious take-away food ranging from sushi to pizza with tons of vegetarian, vegan and paleo options. {See above for more}.

Bondi Harvest – Aussie inspired cafe focused on locally sourced ingredients, seasonal cooking and healthy eating. Get the falafel!

Great White – Great interiors and a mix of food for all types of eaters. If you’re going for breakfast, definitely try the smoothie bowl! They top it with their own granola that’s delicious.

M & Love Cafe – Technically this in Manhattan Beach, but if you’re staying around Venice it’s worth the 15-20 minute drive down. 100% plant-based and gluten-free with the most {along with New Deli} delicious gluten-free bagels {my personal favorite is the house-made cashew cheese with cucumber}. They also have grab-and-go options, a full smoothie and juice menu, and a mouthwatering selection of sweet treats and donuts {!!}. If it’s nice out, take everything to go and walk down the beach for a picnic by the water.


Sweet Laurel Bakery – I haven’t actually been to their location in the Palisades, but I have had their cakes. They sell them by the slice in Erewhon and I also have their cookbook. All of their baked goods are all grain-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free and most of them are gluten-free and/or paleo. If you can, try to snag a slice of their seasonal flavor in the fall – it’s a Pumpkin Spice cake that is to die for.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream – My first experience with Van Leewen was in New York. Even though they use raw cane sugar in their ice cream, it doesn’t change the fact that their dairy-free flavors are phenomenal. They have a truck that is usually parked on Abbot Kinney.

Pressed Juicery – I’m addicted to their Freeze’s and stop by their Abbot Kinney location at least once a trip for one. It’s the definition of guilt-free soft serve – everything is sweetened with dates!

plant food and wine vegan coconut banana cream pie
Coconut Banana Cream Pie at Plant Food and Wine

On My Radar

Squirl – lots of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options and homemade almond milk.

Dune – Eastern Mediterranean menu, organic, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.

Destroyer – dying to try their brunch.

Gjusta – apparently everyone except me goes to Gjusta. California deli, bakery, and cafe that sources almost all of their produce, meat and seafood from local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and co-ops.

Forage – farm-to-table, locally sourced restaurant in Silver Lake. Something for everyone on the menu.

Ostrich Farm – classic American restaurant using mostly locally sourced ingredients.

Little Pine – vegetable forward vegan restaurant.

Intelligentsia Coffee – I walk by it all the time on Abbot Kinney and there is always a line out the door.

Sightglass Coffee – this just looks like some really good coffee.

Laveta Coffee – not only does this place look super chic, but the food and lattes look divine.

The Anchor – well-sourced {sustainably} seafood right by the beach.

Sestina – plant-based pasta bar. Need I say more?

Chez Tex – this looks like a great spot for a glass of wine and dinner.



March 29, 2019



  1. Reply


    August 23, 2019

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I love reading and learning from them. Great work!

    • Reply


      August 26, 2019

      Thanks Sharon. So happy that you like it!


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