As we all know, ‘going vegan’ has become a new trendy lifestyle change for many Los Angeles residents. Whether they are trying to eat ‘clean’, or watched a gruesome documentary about butchering animals, or are simply trying to keep up with the trends, becoming vegan is easier than ever in LA with the abundance of vegan restaurants scattering the city. Although a vegan diet can be difficult for some people to adapt to, many of these restaurants manage to pull off all your favorite ‘meat-based’ dishes with strictly plant-based ingredients. Not only will these dishes leave you in absolute awe, but they may also even have you questioning why the vegan version tastes better than the original. With many vegan restaurants in LA nowadays, I have compiled a list of my top three favorites which all provide a very safe environment that ensures each dish is made with 100% plant-based ingredients. Whether you are vegan or not, these restaurants will surprise and impress you with their authentic tasting plant-based dishes.
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Sage Vegan Bistro located in Echo Park (as well as a few other locations) has become an LA classic for both vegans and non-vegans. This bistro manages to recreate classic comfort foods such as macaroni and cheese, cheeseburgers with fries, and homemade chili with completely vegan ingredients. These plant-based versions of meat, cheese, and dairy are made to taste the same – if not better – than the real thing. Although there is no denying that my favorite childhood mac ‘n cheese is delicious, Sage has created a mac made with vegan cheese that is so impressive, it may even take the gold. Besides the mac, Sage has an extensive menu that includes appetizers served at generous sizes, sections for both pizza and tacos, a separate list of large entrees, and of course desserts. This bistro never fails to leave me in awe with their creative and delicious vegan plates.
Located on Melrose in West Hollywood is one of my new favorite vegan restaurants. Gracias Madre serves authentic Mexican dishes made with completely plant-based and organic ingredients. As someone who loves Mexican food, I was excited to see more creative vegan meals that are outside typical nachos served without cheese. From vegan tacos to burritos to cheese-covered nachos, this restaurant manages to make every Mexican dish with plant-based ingredients and an authentic flare. After my first time dining at Gracias Madre, I was so impressed with the ceviche that I’ve ordered it every visit since. Besides the food, this restaurant also has an extensive bar and drink menu that includes wines, beers, and cocktails. Gracias Madre is perfect for a casual lunch as well as a classy dinner with friends that will keep you satisfied until the late-night with both food and drinks.
Follow Your Heart is both a market and cafe that sells and serves vegan food and products. This cafe provides a very relaxed yet safe environment to ensure guests are eating fresh, plant-based and organic foods. After walking through the market and seeing the hundreds of products that are made to be completely vegan, you can take a seat at the cafe and order a plant-based meal made from in-store ingredients. This cafe has at least one dish on the menu from almost every food genre, pretty much guaranteeing that every guest will find something to enjoy. Upon my most recent visit to Follow Your Heart, I ordered the spinach lasagna. This dish was stacked with baked vegetables in between layers of exquisite cheeses and flavorful sauces. Not only was this meal hearty and delicious, it was also entirely vegan! The Follow Your Heart Cafe is a hidden gem that continuously provides quality, plant-based dishes to satisfy any and all of your cravings.