Flatbreads from Make Out Everyday.
Almond milk matcha latte from Alfred's.
Moon Juice in Venice, CA.
Cosmic provisions from Moon Juice.
The Pangea Bowl from Backyard Bowls.
Out back at Gjusta.
"I Am Whole" bowl from Cafe Gratitude.
The farmer's market bowl at Sweet Fin.
The vermicelli bowl from Croft Alley.
Strawberry ice cream topped with goji at Kippy's.
The salmon bowl at Forage.
Mexi lunch at Gracias Madre.
LA is my home away from home. I think I’m a Cali girl at heart (I was born in Santa Monica) and something always draws me back – maybe it’s the warm weather, beach vibes, healthy eats and good friends and family 🙂 I’ve made it a tradition to spend the last two December’s in LA, bouncing between my sister’s house on the east side and my cousin’s house on the west side. The major perk of this is I’ve covered nearly every inch of terrain (and memorized every song on the top 40 while stuck in traffic)! There are so many amazing places to eat in LA – like my other city guides this list is focused mostly on the healthy spots I go to time and time again. Take a peek below and let me know your favs in the comments!
BREAKFAST + BRUNCH
Sqirl // Silver Lake – Sqirl became somewhat of a phenomenon for their toast and jam, which doesn’t make this spot sound friendly for non-gluten eaters, but the cafe has quite an accommodating menu for us gfs + vegans (everything is labeled)! Be prepared for long brunch lines (you order at the front then grab a seat) or go on an off time during the week, if you can. I’m digging the Kokuho Rose Brown Rice Bowl with sorrel pesto, preserved meyer lemon, lacto fermented hot sauce, black radish, french sheep feta and a poached egg (or greens and avo in the vegan version) and any of their seasonal specials.
Backyard Bowls // West Hollywood – Backyard Bowls is the spot to get your acai fix in LA. The menu is big (to the point where it’s kinda overwhelming) but just know that you can’t really go wrong here. I like the Pangea Bowl – but warning – servings are BIG, so be prepared to grab a friend and dig into a bowl together. You can also ask for unsweetened acai if that’s your jam.
Gjusta // Venice – Gjusta is brought to you by the beloved owners of Gjelina and is somewhat of an ace of all trades. It’s kind of magical how much happens here – from the bakery, to the coffee bar, smoked fishes, salads, etc.. Get a little of this, a little of that (kale salad, salmon, herbal tea) and hang out in the back garden and catch up with friends. Trust me, it’ll be the best kale salad and the best smoked salmon you’ve had in recent memory.
Forage // Silver Lake – Also great for lunch/dinner or to go, Forage takes advantages of the seasons with a constantly rotating menu. Think farm-to-table, with plenty of veggie options, grilled fish and fresh meat options – plus, my favorite, their popular salmon bowl, which can be made gf upon request. Be warned: Forage is only open Tues – Sat (at least once a trip I show up on a Sunday or Monday only to realize they are closed).
GO TO LUNCH + CASUAL DINNER SPOTS
Cafe Gratitude // Multiple Locations – Cafe Gratitude is full of delicious food for vegan or non-vegan foodies alike. Your meal here will start with your waiter asking if you’d like to hear the question of the day, which will probably be along the lines of “what are you grateful for today?” You can choose to answer, or not, no pressure 🙂 I’m truly amazed at how much care goes into creating the food – everything from the sourcing of ingredients from their organic farm, to the sprouting of their grains in probiotics. This is usually my first stop off the plane – everything is great especially the grain bowls (‘I Am Whole’ is my fav).
Gracias Madre // West Hollywood – Gracias Madre is Cafe Gratitude’s younger, fun Mexican sister. This is the place you can take someone who truly needs convincing that vegan food is good. It’s perfect for dinner with friends – the vibe is fun and doesn’t have the hippie vibe of some of the other vegan spots in LA. Order the cauliflower appetizer and any of the bowls. Also has great cocktails.
Rawvolution // Santa Monica – An OG on the LA scene, this raw spot is a must visit. I love eating raw food when I go out since it’s usually not something you can always make easily at home (not all of us have dehydrators and juicers). Go hungry and order the superfood soup (coconut water, cucumber watercress, avocado, nori, superfood powder, spices), Enlightenment salad (kale, baby greens, sauerkraut, tomatoes, tabouli, olives, avocado, hemp seeds, carrots, sesame seeds, scallions, nori, superfood powder, flax oil) and nachos (walnut taco meat, guacamole, salsa, seed cheese, cashew mayo, blue corn chips). You’ll leave feeling like you just did your body a serious favor.
Make Out Everyday // Culver City – Brought to you by raw food expert Matthew Kenney, this casual spot in Culver City is a plant-based cafe. I keep going back for the flatbreads – there are three of them:avocado (mint, radish, lemon + sprouts), fennel (baba ganoush, mint, lemon + capers), and pizza (sundried marinara, pistachio pesto + macadamia ricotta). Everything else is good too – they have an extensive smoothie and juice menu (but be warned – not all juices are always in stock) and they have some awesome latte potions spiked with superfoods like he shou wo, tocos, ashwaganda and reishi. Hang out here with friends (or your laptop)!
Sage Vegan Bistro // Culver City, Echo Park + Pasadena – This awesome casual vegan spot has a strong spot in my rotation. I love the Culver City location (they have a cool beer garden attached) and have lots of comfort foods you don’t normally find made gluten-free (like mac + cheese). My fam and I like to sneak in for a mid-afternoon plate of nachos or jackfruit street tacos or goatless greek salad.. the list goes on.
Sweetfin Poke // Santa Monica – Poke (a fish-and-rice bowl) is all the rage in LA right now and this spot is hopping at lunch time. Their entire menu is gf which makes me love it even more. You can opt to build your own bowl orpick from one of their many pre-made combos. I love their farmer’s market bowl which is super refreshing – many of the ingredients were just plucked from the gorgeous farmer’s market just down the road. The spicy tuna is also a fav.
Croft Alley // West Hollywood – Tucked away (in an alley), you could walk by this spot a thousand times without noticing it, but you shouldn’t. Best known for it’s psychedelic chlorophyll housemade yogurt, Croft Alley also has an assortment of salads, sandwiches and noodles. I go for the vermicelli noodles and tuna salad (served in lettuce wraps). A hidden gem!!
Elf // Silver Lake – Really cute vegetarian spot in Silver Lake that’s great for dinner or dates. It’s cozy and small so make sure to make a reservation before heading over. Great veg-based dishes and a number of gf items – just ask your waiter.
Gjelina // Venice – This trendy spot lives up to the hype. Their menu is packed with small plates – lots of vegetables and salads (and also amazing pizza for those who can do that type of thing). This is definitely not “health food” but it’s super delicious. Some of my favorite dishes are the thumbelina carrots (my version here), charred brussel sprouts, wood roasted cauliflower and the hawaiian kampachi crudo.
Crossroads // West Hollywood – I would make a trip to this super inventive vegan restaurant just for the gf flatbreads alone. They are amazing – get them with the trio of hummus! You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu – the artichoke oysters are kind of famous here as are the “crab cakes”. Like most vegan spots in LA, you won’t find solely a vegan crowd here – it’s anyone from the West Hollywood locals to athletes and celebrities.
JUICE & COFFEE BARS
Moon Juice // Venice + Silver Lake – Amanda Chantal Bacon has created the most magical space and filled it with healing juices, elixirs and what she refers to as “cosmic provisions”, which consist of raw crackers, nut snacks, sweets and cheeses. After hopping off the flight, I get myself to Moon Juice to pick up a Gracious Green juice, a quinton hypertonic, and packet of lypo-spheric vitamin c + b complex. Jet lag and germy plane air be gone! On other days, I’m raiding their shelves of fermented green seed crisps, herb rosemary cheese crackers, chocolate chaga donuts, brain dusts, bath salts (can you eat bath salts…this makes it sound like you can)… I trust anything that Amanda puts on these carefully curated and tested shelves.
Juice Served Here // Multiple Locations – Although Moon Juice has my heart, Juice Served Here has some fun combos and more locations throughout LA. Some of the spots have a “bar” that you can sit at, order your juice and enjoy it while studying the bright menu plastered across the wall.
Beverly Hills Juice // West Hollywood – BHJ has been around since 1975 giving it OG status. Simple, delicious combos and a focus on quality, organic ingredients make it amazing. Go for the Green Genie and Banana Manna it. Don’t ask, just trust. Make sure to bring some cash with you as it’s cash only.
Alfred Coffee // West Hollywood + Silver Lake – Famous for their “but first, coffee” slogan, Alfred has really good stumptown coffee, matcha lattes, local pastries (some gf!) and also a fridge stocked with juice. Fun spot to grab a latte from in Silver Lake before strolling over to the farmer’s market.
Naturewell // Silver Lake – Nothing fancy, this nondescript wellness bar has awesome smoothies and a bulk section for you to stock up on snacks when you’re in town. I love their coconut kale smoothie (no agave); they also have great acai bowls.
Kippy’s! // Venice – Ice cream made from only coconut and raw honey, I crave Kippy’s daily when I’m in LA. Luckily when I’m staying on the West Side, I’m a short drive away (and have been known to sneak out of the house on a Kippy’s run). It’s also across the street from a Whole Foods so a grocery trip is a good excuse to go 🙂 Try the flavors before choosing one or two – I love the strawberry. Top it with goji berries and any other superfoods in the topping bar and call it a day.
MARKETS & FLEAS
Hands down, LA has the best produce. The below are four of my favorite markets and I bounce between them depending on the day of the week. The Santa Monica one is a great one to check out if you are going to a single market – look for the best dates ever, the best eggs from Lily’s (if you’re making breakfast in your Airbnb), and the BEST avocados you’ve ever eaten.
I also have been known to follow Dave’s Korean stand from market to market and stock up on his unique tempeh (made from fermented brown rice + black beans instead of the usual soy – unlike anything you have ever tasted, seriously), spicy daikon, spicy cucumbers and fermented veggie broth. Everyone I know in LA is addicted to this stuff – in fact Rob at the stand once told me that he has a mother come every week and ship 3 boxes of tempeh to her daughter now living in Texas (it can be unrefrigerated for a couple of days). I always grab a few boxes before heading on the plane!
All the markets are incredible and you will be amazed by how beautiful and bountiful the produce is, even if you’re visiting in December. (Note: always check times and location before visiting the below!)
Santa Monica Farmer’s Market – WEDS / SAT
Hollywood Farmer’s Market – SUNDAY
Silverlake Farmer’s Market – TUES Afternoon / SAT MORN
Venice Farmer’s Market – FRIDAY morn
Erewhon’s // West Hollywood – Erewhon’s was first described to me by a dear friend as “Whole Foods on crack”. It’s pretty much true. They have amazing prepared food (raw, vegan, gf options), a smoothie bar, an extensive supplement section with hard to find doctor-only brands like Metagenics, organic produce and a great bulk section. Stop in for lunch and sit on the wooden benches outside before heading to a massage across the street at The Now.
Between bites, make sure to get out there and hike whether it’s Runyon Canyon, Temescal Canyon or any of the trails around the Hollywood sign. Or rent a bike or stop into Love Yoga in Venice. Find time to relax at The Now or one of the many Korean spas. Take a trip out to Joshua Tree and visit Integratron for a sound bath.. or if you have a few more days trek out to Ojai or Palm Springs!
Have a great trip and let me know your fav spots below! xo