raw and vegan at better life cuisine11
one plus side of our little “going raw for a week” experiment was, we got to try some restaurants that we normally wouldn’t. better life cuisine in santa monica came to us highly recommended by some close friends, as well as several commenters on the blog. the place is entirely raw and vegan, with an impressive menu full of salads, smoothies, wraps and entrees. even after hearing such high praise for better life, i must say it completely exceeded my expectations!
to start with we ordered the tuna sushi rolls, which were excellent…
these aren’t listed specifically on the menu, however there is a picture of them on the front. i asked our server about them, and even though they aren’t advertised, better life makes both “tuna” and “salmon” nori rolls. while i can’t speak to the salmon rolls, i can tell you i would definitely order the tuna ones again. they were rich and creamy—filled with vegetables and a delicious nutty mock meat mixture. let’s just say they were gone in under a minute.
in the mood to feast hardcore, we also got a second appetizer—the 2 salad combo. this consisted of 2 salads from better life’s deli case. while there were MANY appetizing options, we went with the egg salad and avocado kale.
both dishes were exquisite–full of flavor and delicately prepared. the kale was fresh and deliciously marinated, and the “egg” salad was nothing short of magic. long strips of crunchy vegetables in a yellowish, creamy sauce. it was surprisingly similar to the real thing, but without being heavy and overwhelming.
our first entree was the fiesta platter, a mix of raw vegan versions of tuna, salmon, fried beans, guacamole, bruschetta, and pico de gallo. this thing absolutely floored me—it was wonderful. the mock meats were light and fluffy, the vegetables were crisp, and the sauces were creamy.
this is the perfect dish if you wanna go all out—it was extremely filling, and the plate was just overflowing with tasty food. even if you aren’t into the raw thing, i am willing to bet you would LOVE the fiesta platter. the mock tuna and salmon are some kind of nut-based concoction and they give cooked faux meat a run for its money.
we also got an order of bruschetta, which did not disappoint. while a small bruschetta serving came with the fiesta platter, i am glad we got a full portion as well—because it was straight up addictive. soft raw crackers covered in creamy pesto and juicy vegetables, it was a party in my mouth.
like all the food we tried from better life, the bruschetta was exceptional in its own right, and didn’t feel like a raw “compromise.” it was luscious, complex, and flavorful…better than any cooked bruschetta i can remember. i mean, just LOOK at that picture!
the ambiance at better life is super casual, yet very comfortable. there’s a to-go deli case and a counter, yet there is also waiter service and you don’t feel rushed when eating your meal. the place is small, but in a good way—it’s intimate and cozy, not over-crammed. better life shares an interior wall with a yoga studio, but you’d never know it (unlike nite moon cafe, where the yoga-ness is all up in your face). and on top of it being a lovely place to dine, the staff at better life are as friendly and sweet as can be.
better life is relatively new, so i highly encourage you to go support them. the food is amazing, and it’s all pure raw and vegan goodness. talk about a win/win! check out their full menu here:
better life cuisineTags: raw, santa monica, westside
717 broadway ave.
santa monica, ca 90401
I must go here. Thanks for posting the menu, I was wondering what the food was like!
Sean and I went in there one day, but the menu didn’t excite us so we left.
The pictures have made me think I should give it another chance!
That looks lovely.
I haven’t been to any of the vegan places in Santa Monica yet, I must start trying them out.
Thanks for the review and photos!!
Wow everything looks so fantastic, and your photographs are beautiful too!
I don’t even like raw food, and these pictures have me
Raw food gourmet is really good, but it makes me constipated –waaay too many nuts, seeds and avocados.
I am with Tara .I went there and the menu left me feeling Meh and uninspired .
This review makes me want to re-think the place. Thanks:)
That looks yummy and we will have to check it out. I went to http://www.planetearthecocafe.com/about.html
last week and had their mock sushi rolls and coconut cream pie. It was sooo good!! The sushi was made of cauliflower “rice” and marinated vegetables. It was a bit on the pricey side as all raw food is, but will return soon. Good luck on your raw food adventure!!!!
Wait you forgot dessert!!!! I had 2 when I went, hahaha. I love this place, thanks for showing me what to try next! Yum!
My husband and I go here all the time. When we first looked at the menu we, too, were uninspired, but we decided to try it anyway and we are so glad we did! We LOVE the food and the folks who work there are great. The owner and his wife are there during the day, and then her little brother and some other folks work there at night. Super friendly and wonderful. Also, their desserts are TO DIE FOR! Chocolate Vanilla Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Banana Pie, Cinnamon Rolls, Almond Crunch Balls…The list goes on and they’re all AMAZING! Our only complaint about the place is that the yoga people have a tendency to walk out of the studio and come eat barefoot. Other than that, we love Better Life! Go support!
This is by far the best raw place for the buck in that area. Just a block away from Juliano’s, it is WAY cheaper & I bet the food is just as good or better. The lasanga is amazing and the cheese is different than any other I have had at raw places. We were there nearly one year ago and the prices were amazing. It wasn’t dripping with “hipness” and was just a down to earth raw eatery in an awesome area. It is my favorite food memory from the west coast.