My Favorite Vegan Spots in LA

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This past weekend, I spent another weekend in Los Angeles dining on the best vegan and gluten-free food LA has to offer. I am from the South Bay area of LA which is only about 2 1/2 hours from San Diego (where I currently live) so I frequently take weekend trips to visit my family and friends. I always feel so fortunate to not only to be so close to home but to also get to have a huge variety of dining options for when I’m in town. I’ve rounded up my favorite spots for plant-based eating in LA. Be sure to let me know what your favorite vegan-friendly restaurants are in the comments!

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro

Sage 2

Sage Organic Vegan Bistro is one of my absolute favorite places to eat and I almost always make a trip there when I’m in town. They offer the highest quality of vegan food and over 80% of their menu is gluten-free which is so nice for anyone gluten-intolerant like myself. The glorious waffle sundae pictured above may not look very vegan friendly nor gluten-free but you best believe it is! I got mine topped with their Kind Kreme Clean Green and Chocolate Ice Cream plus fresh berries and bananas. It was truly the best brunch I have ever had. And yes, ice cream for breakfast is totally acceptable in my book :)

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When I’m not indulging in waffle sundaes at Sage, I opt for the exceptional gluten-free pizza. The thin crust made from buckwheat flour is definitely the best gluten-free pizza crust I’ve ever had. The pizzas I’ve tried include the Heirloom Tomato Garlic (pictured above), Caprese (pictured behind the Heirloom pizza), and the Red Pepper Pizza. Some of the vegan cheeses they offer are cashew alfredo cheese sauce, Follow Your Heart Mozzarella cheese, and Daiya shredded cheese. My favorite so far has been the Heirloom Tomato Garlic Pizza because it has both cashew and Follow Your Heart cheese.

Sage 4My boyfriend and I are huge fans of the Kind Kreme which is located within Sage. They have an amazing array of vegan coconut milk and cashew based ice creams. My favorite flavors are the Chocolate Nib, Clean Green, and Pumpkin Pie. They also have heavenly milkshakes which is what we usually end up ordering. On my last visit, I got my vanilla milkshake made with Oatmeal Raisin ice cream while my boyfriend got his with the Vanilla Maca Mate ice cream. Both were extremely delicious!

Cafe Gratitude

Cafe Gratitude 1At home, I always cook with whole foods, plant-based ingredients and avoid processed foods. So when I want to continue that healthy way of eating while in LA, I always choose to dine at Cafe Gratitude. On my visit this past weekend, I got the “I Am Whole” macrobiotic bowl which was filled with sea veggies, pickled cabbage, steamed kale, mashed sweet potatoes, avocado, and sprouts all tossed in a garlic-tahini sauce. I felt so well nourished and completely rejuvenated after eating this meal.

Cafe Gratitude 2While I got the macro bowl, my boyfriend got his favorite meal which is the “I Am Transformed” butternut squash tacos. If you love Mexican food, Cafe Gratitude is a great spot to go since they have plenty of options featuring beans and house made salsa. Another great Mexican inspired dish they offer is “I Am Bonita” which has a blend of rice and quinoa, black beans and is tossed in cashew nacho cheese and topped with avocado.

Cafe Gratitude 3For dessert, we feasted on the decadent gluten-free brownie sundae. It came with their homemade cashew ice cream, chocolate sauce and cashew whipped cream. This is one of my favorite desserts I have ever had their so be sure to order it! The other amazing desserts I’ve had there include the “I Am Lovely” seasonal gluten-free cobbler which I had on birthday last August and the “I Am Irresistible” chocolate coconut cream pie.

Babycakes NYC

Babycakes 1

Babycakes NYC

Babycakes NYC is absolutely a must for anyone with a sweet tooth! Babycakes is an entirely vegan and gluten-free bakery that started in New York and later opened an LA location since the NYC bakery proved so successful. They offer every baked treat you could ever desire: brownies, cupcakes, doughnuts, cookies, cinnamon rolls and so much more! I took forever to decide what to order when I first visited since I had never had so many options before!

Babycakes 2

After an eternity of staring at the assortment of delicious looking treats, I decided on a red velvet cupcake that was so good you would never know it wasn’t full of dairy and refined sugars! My boyfriend got a salted caramel cupcake which he loved so much that he’s proceeded to order it every time we go. I am also a big fan of the Babycakes NYC cookbooks so check those out if you aren’t in the LA or NYC area so you can whip up these delightful sweets at home.

Babycakes 3

While there are so many more great vegan places to eat in LA, those are just my top three favorites! They are also great for non-vegans; my boyfriend absolutely loves all three of those places just as much as I do even though he’s not vegan! Other plant-based restaurants we’ve really liked include Real Food Daily as well as M Café and The Green Temple which aren’t completely vegan but have plenty of options so check those out as well if you are in town! Any other great spots I missed? Let me know in the comments!

9 Comments on My Favorite Vegan Spots in LA

  1. Emily@puppiesandpeanutbutter
    April 14, 2014 at 8:57 pm (4 years ago)

    Love this round up! I had never even heard of baby cakes but now I must go before I leave for Baltimore! And I LOVE cafe gratitude so much…I’m going to miss it so much!!! Also (as always) love your photos, so gorgeous :) <3

    • Karissa Bowers
      April 14, 2014 at 9:26 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks so much Emily :) You’ll just have to come back to visit often so you don’t miss Cafe Gratitude’s delicious food! Yes, do try Babycakes before you go to Baltimore! If they have the Black and White cookies when you go, get them! They are so amazing and so are the Thin Mints!

  2. Tedi
    April 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm (4 years ago)

    Hey Karissa! Great post. I love how you described how you feel after eating the macro bowl at Cafe Gratitude…as you said you just feel so well nourished when you’re done!!

    Can’t remember if we already talked about it but if you haven’t been to Gracias Madre in WeHo yet you have to go!! So good. Jealous you live in such a great area for veg food!

    • Karissa Bowers
      April 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Tedi for the suggestion! I did see your Gracias Madre review on your LA blog post and have been dying to go since I saw how amazing the food looked! Especially that mocha cheesecake! I think next time I’m in LA I will definitely check it out :)

  3. Ashley @ Blissful Basil
    April 16, 2014 at 10:00 am (4 years ago)

    Love this round-up and can’t wait for my next trip to California to try some of these delicious spots! Even halfway across the country, I keep hearing about Cafe Gratitude! It’s awesome that there are such a variety of vegan restaurants in LA — hopefully the vegan love will make its way to Chicago, too!

    • Karissa Bowers
      April 16, 2014 at 1:53 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Ashley! Definitely hit up Cafe Gratitude when you’re in California and don’t forget to try one of their amazing desserts :)

  4. Yasmin
    April 17, 2014 at 5:26 am (4 years ago)

    Ahhh this makes me want to go back to LA! Thank you for sharing love

  5. Catherine
    May 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm (4 years ago)

    I just found your blog and it’s beautiful! I went to college in LA, and I’m going back for memorial day. I hope I can convince by bf to go to some of these places! :)

    • Karissa Bowers
      May 4, 2014 at 2:01 pm (4 years ago)

      Thank you Catherine! I hope you get the chance to check out one of these places as well! Since you say your boyfriend is going with you, I would definitely recommend Sage! My boyfriend (who isn’t vegan) absolutely loves Sage and his faves are the jackfruit nachos and the mole burrito! They have a ton of menu items that any omnivore would love! Have a great time in LA :)


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