• vegan dining at sante la brea

    April 26th, 2010quarrygirlLA restaurants, sante la brea

    i seriously don’t eat at sante la brea enough. the small restaurant has an impressive amount of vegan options, and focuses on healthy “world cuisine” with a mix of mexican, middle-eastern, italian and asian dishes.

    i hit up sante recently with a few friends for some epic feasting, and we were not disappointed…

    walnut 'n shrooms pate: a psychedelic experience of sauteed mushrooms, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, roasted onions & garlic with fresh herbs. Served with grilled whole grain toast. $7

    the table started off with the walnut and shrooms pate, which the menu promised would be a “psychedelic experience.” while i wouldn’t go that far, i definitely loved the huge creamy hunk of mushrooms, walnuts, seeds, and roasted onions. it came with some soft slices of toasted wheat toast for the spreading, and everything was all around scrumptious.

    macro lover: tofu & hijiki seaweed sauteed with onions & garlic in a creamy ginger-tahini sauce. Served with grilled broccoli, carrots, zucchini, black beans, brown rice-quinoa mix, slaw & tahini dressing. $12

    for my main course, i went with the macro lover. sante is constantly changing up its menu, but this is one dish they always seem to keep around. and i’m glad, because this is one of my favorite things at the restaurant. the plate comes piled high with vegetables, black beans, brown rice, quinoa, and tofu in an incredibly rich and delicious ginger-tahini sauce. while the meal is simple, every component is extremely tasty and well-prepared.

    stir fry veggies: a light stir-fry with broccoli, carrots, zucchini, shredded cabbage, mushrooms & bean sprouts sauteed in our vegan ginger-tamari sauce over our brown rice-quinoa mix. Topped with toasted sesame seeds & fresh scallions. $10

    my husband ordered the stir fry veggies, which came with a choice of tofu, tempeh, or vegan chicken. he went with the tofu, which turned out to be thinly sliced squares of the smoked asian variety. i tried some of his well-presented dinner and it was awesome. the vegetables were fresh and crispy, and the sauce was light yet flavorful.

    other drool-worthy items at the table that i didn’t try were the spinach enchiladas…

    spinach enchiladas: corn tortillas stuffed with sauteed baby spinach & our vegan spinach cream sauce then topped with melted cheddar-jack cheese. Served with black beans, brown rice-quinoa mix & cilantro lime mixed greens. $12

    and awesome asparagus (i’d order this just for the name alone)…

    awesome asparagus: asparagus spears, mushrooms, onions, garlic & cilantro sauteed in our vegan ginger tamari cream sauce & served over our ginger house rice. $12

    when the meal was done, everyone agreed that the food was excellent….yet the dining experience still left something to be desired. the service was a bit slow, and as the sun went down it became almost too dark in the restaurant to see our plates. that being said, i will definitely return to sante for their colorful and delicious vegan cuisine. oh, and they also have a full vegan dessert menu with lots of healthy and even oil-free choices. i can’t wait to go back.

    sante la brea
    at 345 North La Brea Ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90036
    Monday – Friday 11am – 10pm
    Saturday 9am – 10pm
    Sunday 9am – 9pm


27 responses to “vegan dining at sante la brea” RSS icon

  • Yeah, the service here is really poor. Pity, as the food is excellent.

  • These dishes sound awesome. And a full vegan dessert menu? I must visit this place soon.

  • They treat me great! Then again, I’ve been eating there for about 8 years, so they know me…hehe.

    Recomendations – Spinach Zuchini wrap (or on risotto)..their tofu spinach sauce is so good. All of the wraps are really good, actually. Pasta Alfredo – again, tofu alfredo sauce is awesome. Baked samosa appetizer…Awesome samosa flavor without being fried. Sausage and peppers pizza…soooo goooood.

    I love Sante….they lost a lot of business when they were closed for remodeling & M Cafe opened …but, I’m glad they’ve hung in there.

  • I ate there years ago. I hope they improved after their appearance on “Kitchen Nightmares.”

  • this place is far better food wise than several other vegan establishments in the vicinity. I’d take Sante before RFD any day. maybe that says a lot or maybe not.

    there are some things that aren’t the most amazing thing ever, but so many of their dishes are really fantastic. and their desserts!? always solid.

    service is hit or miss, but not a deal breaker. if i’m in LA, i don’t mind waiting for good food. the two guys running the place are awesome and Sante doesn’t get nearly the respect it deserves.

    most underrated/under-respected vegan food in LA. damn i’m hungry!

  • i really wish i had the rest of that enchilada. it was so nummy!

    and two big thumbs up for the seabreezy drink.

  • Ah, memories… When I turned vegan back in 1993 or so, this was one of the first places I ever tried. (It was A Votre Sante back then…)

    Lot’s of yummy Dragontails since then!

  • I just can’t stomach going to a place owned by Gordon Ramsay. He is such an insufferable active vegan-hating foodie, I don’t want to give him a dime.

    Add to that, when it was A votre sante, a waiter told me a cheesecake was vegan, brought it, I ate half, then he came back and told me it wasn’t. That was the last time I ate there.

  • Ramsay doesn’t own it – he did a Kitchen Nightmares episode there and thus the restaurant has some menu and design elements left over.


  • really wasn’t all that impressed with this place. ate there once, took WAY too long over a busy weekday lunch with ONE other table there, and the food wasn’t much to be admired. i remember the servers being nice but not that attentive. no desire to go back.

  • I went a few years ago, before the Kitchen Nightmares episode.

    The food was terrible, and sadly, I’ve never been back.

    To be honest, seeing the Kitchen Nightmares episode doesn’t give me much confidence in the place, even if they’ve totally changed their ways.

    I’m scared to go back!!!

  • This food looks delicious!
    I really like the photos…
    Can’t wait to see your next post.

    Chef Chuck

  • This food looks delicious!
    I really like the photos…
    Can’t wait to see your next post for sure.

    Chef Chuck

  • Service is sloooooooow. The food won’t cause any vegan epiphanies, either, but it’s ok. I think I’d just rather go to M Cafe for their badass panini if I’m over that ways. It’s like how I’ll never go to RFD now, as long as Chili Addiction is next door.

  • They’ve always made just outstanding fresh healthy food for us! I haven’t been back in way too long, this post has inspired me to get back over there! I know the place has tons of added potential. The Kitchen Nightmares episode showed me the owner really cared about everything, but is too much of a softy. His sons that work there are really great people, too! I’m always pulling for the place! They have good beers, too.

  • @lex, they stopped serving tap beer… 🙁

  • Hey Quarrygirl, if you ever want to have a vegan psychedelic experience please contact me. My email is attached to this comment, and I have some good clean supplies. We could party. 🙂

  • Dawn (Manager, Sante La Brea)

    We can’t thank you enough for posting such a glowing review of Sante! I’ve been reading through the Comments, & I just wanted to take this opportunity to clarify a few things, I hope you don’t mind…

    First, we are aware that sometimes our service can be a bit slow, & we do apologize for that. There are some logistical issues that we are still working on (like moving our kitchen, for one) that, hopefully, once they’ve been fully implemented, will make this less of an issue.

    Also, if you visited the restaurant anytime before May of last year – & were dissatisfied – we hope you might be willing to give us another try. Sante has been under new management since May 2009, & we feel like we’re a better restaurant today because of it (better, but certainly not perfect!). And btw, Gordon Ramsey definitely does Not own Sante. Arthur & Sammy took over the restaurant (from their father, Dean) last year. Together, we are doing all that we can to improve Sante in every possible way. I don’t know if anyone saw it, but “Kitchen Nightmares” came back to film us for its “Revisited” episode, which aired a few weeks ago… You can watch it now on Hulu, if you’re interested.

    On a personal note, I’ve been vegan for 15 years (vegetarian for 19 years) – & I make Damn Sure that anything on our menu that claims to be “vegan” is Absolutely Vegan. And you can rest assured that ALL of our soups & desserts are Always Vegan. We actually re-designed our menu last year, attempting to make it even more vegan-friendly. (Which, admittedly, was a selfish venture on my part!)

    Finally, we sincerely appreciate everyone’s feedback & we’re SO grateful to all of our loyal customers who have kept us afloat during this horrible recession – we wouldn’t be here now without you! And that is NO joke… =)

    Thanks So Much!

    P.S. Yes, we no longer have beer on tap (sorry!), but we do have organic beer (& wine) available now…

  • Dawn, I’ll see ya on Thursday, thanks for the informative comment! Can you post your email or email me! Thanks!

  • btw, the Revisited Episode was great! Just watched it. Congrats!

  • Dawn (Manager, Sante La Brea)

    @lex – Thanks a lot! Here’s my email: dawn@santecuisine.com Look forward to seeing you Thursday! ; )

  • The food here is hit or miss. Sometimes it is really good and sometimes it isn’t (chefs are inconsistent). Prices are too high. Not all restaurants can charge RFD prices. Even RFD prices were low when they were just getting off the ground. They didn’t raise the prices to sky-high levels until they made it to the big leagues. Mom and pop places like Sante La Brea won’t get enough traffic to survive with such high prices unless their food is mind-blowing. Sadly their food isn’t.

  • I love Sante. My BF and I used to be regulars, but hadn’t been back in a long time because we moved to the valley. We went back in yesterday after more than a year away and the owner (the son of the original owner) recognized us right off the bat ~ especially my BF as he had been a regular long before we began dating. The service is slow, but the people are so spectacular and the food so great that I forgive it whole heartedly. I’d rather spend hours at Sante then even 10 minutes at RFD.

  • Hello,
    I also do like sante. In fact there are Home Cooking Recipes available for special days and holidays too, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and for Diwali in India. With these Easy Recipes, you can prepare desserts, snacks, main dishes, drinks, soups, and chocolates, and surprise your family and friends with your cooking skills. Even if you are not an expert cook.


  • My partner and I really like Sante, and I appreciate them even more now that Doomie’s is opening (close to Fountain and Vine) without ANY gluten-free entrees (!) as far as I could tell from Quarry Girl’s review. Oh, how I love the gluten-free version of the Sante Alfredo! SO nice of Sante to offer DELICIOUS gluten-free entrees such as this one, as well as several scrumptious gluten-free DESSERTS!

  • I, too, would choose Sante over RFD any day!

  • Their Facebook profile announced that they would be closing at the end of May 2011. Too bad.

Leave a reply