The best plant-based and vegan-friendly upscale restaurants in LA
[UPDATED: JUNE 2023] We've all seen the rampant ramp-up of vegan fast food. From Monty’s to Plant Power to Doomie's — there are tons of great options. But an upscale dining experience with plant-centric options can be harder to come by. So in Los Angeles — one of the meccas of plant-based eating— where can you go for some of the best upscale vegan dining options LA has to offer? This guide lays out BOTH some of the best 100% vegan restaurants AND mixed-menu inclusive dining that have solid plant-based options.
Plant Food + Wine
Venice [BUT just announced, May 2023, they are closing the Venice location and MOVING TO BEVERLY HILLS! Details to follow!]
This is a 100% plant-based restaurant with indoor seating and a beautiful outdoor patio to relax and dine. It's a perfect place for a holiday dinner, celebration, date night, entertain a foodie...or simply enjoy when you are just in the mood for some thoughtful plant-based cuisine. Their obsession with quality food made from scratch has now seeped into their wine program. They have private-label wines by Plant Food + Wine’s chef, owner and restaurateur Matthew Kenney, which is now served across all of its New York and California restaurants. The wines are all natural and vegan, so make sure to try a few as you dine. (Curious about what makes wine not vegan? Check out this piece that explains.)
Culver City and DTLA
In an unsuspecting building off of Washington Blvd. in West LA you'll find Shojin. An intimate setting that serves made-from-scratch veganized Japanese dishes. The decore might not scream "fine dining," but the carefully composed food curation does. You'll find fancy and complex sushi rolls and other familiar Japanese-inspired dishes. For a unique, elevated experience, this will hit all the right tasting notes.
Crossroads is one of the original upscale plant-based dining outfits in Los Angeles. A trendy scene meets Mediterranean-Italian-American fusion with a diverse menu where surely any eater will find something to love. The vibe is cool with a splash of elegance, lots of comfortable booth seating, plus a bar. They also serve a late-night bar menu starting at 10 p.m. — so you’re catching a nightcap you'll find a good amount of eats to choose from. They also have private event spaces perfect for a large dining party or event be it for the holidays, a birthday or other occasion.
Nic’s on Beverly
While this restaurant leans a little more on the elevated casual side (nice, but not fine dining perse), it's a plant-based restaurant gem that opened in June of 2019, and so far has been a hit. You’ll find a diverse menu and a mashup of Asian and American dishes. They have a stellar and creative cocktail list, and beyond dinner, brunch is a must-try as well. Plus, the lush outdoor patio helps to round out your dining experience.
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Certainly worth including here as this all-vegan hotspot does incredible Mexican-inspired eats. A great place for hosting parties or an event too. They whip up a number of mean cocktails, and the scene is upbeat and trendy with Mexican fare that you won't be able to get enough of—and you'll want to do family style so you can try a little of everything.
(Also, a few additional 100% vegan restaurants to mention here, again, not fine-dining, but nice enough for a night out, are Au Lac, Viatnemaes-inspired cuisine in DTLA and Fountain Valley. And also Little Pine in Silver Lake which some people like.)
Beauty & ESSEX
Many people might be surprised to learn that this beautiful upscale hotspot has a lot of delicious vegan options—and its own separate vegan menu. With sophisticated décor and impeccable style, the ambiance will make you feel like royalty as you sip on an expertly made cocktail. Make sure you dress to impress. A must-try dish is the Thai BBQ mushroom with features oyster and shiitake mushrooms atop a crispy rice cake with broccolini slaw.
Craig’s is known for its classic, old-school Hollywood glam vibe where celebrities often dine. They have meat and veggie options, with a separate vegan section with all the Italian classics. It's a perfect spot if you're looking for some high-class comfort Italian food and good wine. They also make a rich and creamy vegan ice cream, Craig's, which is made in-house available for purchase by the pint.
For upscale Mexican food served against impeccably tasteful décor and an ultra-trendy vibe, visit Toca Madera. The dim lighting will get you in the mood for one of their craft cocktails to pair alongside any of the many vegan dishes. While Toca Madera is not an exclusively vegan restaurant, they do have a separate vegan menu. You will be in heaven with a plethora of dishes to choose from. Try the Vegan Ceviche, Chile Relleno, enchiladas, and more.
Santa Monica and West Hollywood
A steakhouse? Yes! BOA offers a separate vegan entrée section to please its plant-based connoisseurs. It’s a modest selection, but effective with three satisfying entrees to choose from. The Nidi Bolognese is prepared with an almond ricotta “cheese,” rich and delicious. A number of their sides are also vegan, but not labeled “V,” so just check with your server and they can help guide you.
You can also find my Instagram Guide which includes these restaurants with more photos -- and you can save and easily reference for later:
A version of this blog originally appeared as an article I wrote for VegOut LA.