Dear Leah Renee,
I know you’re based in Los Angeles, so I wanted to get some restaurant recommendations for when I visit. The healthier the better, it’s easy to find the grease! Cheers! ~Tanya, ND
Where do I begin?! There are sooo many fabulous eateries in LA! We are really lucky to have a plethora of healthy options in our backyard (well…if our backyard had a lot of traffic). I look for restaurants that focus on easy, clean foods using fresh ingredients and organic when possible. It’s so obvious when a restaurant focuses on offering a seasonal, local, organic menu because it’s something you can really taste. The dishes are aromatic and you leave their feeling vibrant, not stuffed and heavy. Here, in no particular order, are the places I frequent and would most highly recommend to others:
Type: Vegan, GF options
Why it’s special: not only is the food inventive and amazing (and organic), but the menu is HUGE! You have so many options that it’s almost a problem. A good problem to have! Jackfruit nachos. I drool. The ambience is awesome too. The outdoor area “beer garden” is super chill so on one of the 350 sunny days in LA you can enjoy it. Oh, and go get your vegan ice cream on because they offer an entire case of different “Kind Kreme” flavors! Locations in both Echo Park and Culver City.
The Jackfruit Nachos:
Type: Vegan, GF options
Why it’s special: Legendary. Creator Ann Gentry knows what’s up. I even have the RFD cookbook. It’s an experience. There are three locations in the LA area: Pasadena, La Cienega (WeHo), and Santa Monica (where I go). I love their “Basic” meals. You can choose a Basic 2, 3, 4, or I suppose more! It gives all sorts of options from different categories such as greens, veggies, sea veggies, beans/legumes, grains, and what kind of sauce. My husbands favorite are their enchiladas, especially suitable for the person who isn’t super into vegan foods. You’d never know!
Type: “Honest Food That Tastes Really Good”
Why it’s special: There’s something for everyone here! Whether you’re gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or omnivore, you will find yourself an amazing dish whatever you decide to order. The focus is on foods that are anti-inflammatory, organic, and seasonal. Farm fresh! The menu was developed by Andrew Weil, both a medical doctor and naturopath. Faves: the vegetable crudite, farmer’s market salad, grass-fed bison burger. Drink: Kale-Aid.
Type: Indian, Vegan
Why it’s special: Because it’s some of the best Indian food I ever had (OK, not as good as in South Africa, but that’s not nearby). I just went there tonight! It’s great because you can choose from a selection in the glass case rather than ordering the usual a-la-carte menu or buffet that most Indian restaurants offer (which gets really pricy!). My usual combo order: Brown rice, jackfruit, chana masala, and saag. I could eat it every day. Warning: there’s a sit down area but it’s not big on ambience. I usually get it to go. There’s Samosa House East and West, yet both on the same street. I go to the West one. Has a cool Indian market attached too.
Type: Vegan, GF options, raw options, 100% Organic
Why it’s special: Because you’re a grateful person! At least you will be by the time you leave. Each menu option is a descriptive word that’s inspiring, peaceful, grounding, or appreciative. It’s a delightful experience and the food to match. Get the guacamole app with both kinds of crackers, and I can’t help but get the “I Am Whole” Every.Single.Time. Their drinks are really good too. I got the “I Am Brave” once (ironically soon after this post) and once you have that you realize you were for even trying it!
Type: Fresh, Organic food with lots of variety
Why it’s special: I almost didn’t list this because I don’t want too many people to know about it. It’s so fresh, healthy and tasty. I truly can’t get enough of this place. Neither can Mr. Ask Leah Renee. It’s like healthy home cooked goodness. And as far as I’m concerned any place where you can order breakfast all day long is a winner in my book! If you’re feeling adventurous and extra healthy, the garlic kale soup is soooo gooood (picture above!). No matter what, make sure to order the sweet potatoes as one of your side dishes. You will thank me. You’re welcome.
Type: A total crowd pleaser offering meat, poultry, fish, gluten free (GF) options, vegan, and organic.
Why it’s special: Because you can order almost anything and it’ll be really good. I like this place so much that we had our wedding rehearsal dinner there. I love the Dragontail, which is a bowl of goodness. I recently had their kale salad and ate the entire thing plus the blackened salmon I added to it. Hungry girl. My husband and Dad like their burger a lot. Warning: parking can be a challenge.
Honorable mentions: Kreation Kafe, Cervateca, Green Peas, Shojin, Blue Plate, Urth Caffe, Veggie Grill, Native Foods Cafe, Whole Foods (for their salad bar section, not all locations are created equal!), Sugarfish, The Farm of Beverly Hills.
You will notice that most of these places are either only on the west side or have second locations further inland. I rarely venture east of the 405 freeway, which is another topic entirely. 🙂 There are many, many places that direction that I miss out on (like BLD and Primo).
What are your favorite eateries, LA or anywhere?! What did I miss?! Comment below!