• Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Los Angeles 2010


    This week we brought you a list of the 5 best vegan restaurants in Los Angeles, an update on last year’s list. But if a 100% vegan eatery isn’t on the cards for whatever reason, LA has a superb selection of vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants, some of which rival or exceed the offerings available at vegan-only establishments. From a 60s-era hippie health-food store to a modern hipster hangout, LA has it all. Check out our top five vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurants and please let us know in the comments if you think any don’t deserve the list, or you have a favorite that should be on it.


    This tiny restaurant without any signage on a busy section of Sunset Blvd. in Echo Park is quite the find. With seating for only a handful of people, and usual wait times an hour or more, there has to be something cool about Elf. And, indeed, there is. While vegetarian, many dishes are either vegan or vegan optional with everything prepared from scratch in the open kitchen. Being strictly word of mouth (I mean, a restaurant with no sign outside that doesn’t advertise anywhere has to be, right?) yet so busy shows that there’s something very special inside.

    Roasted Flatbread Shawarma made with Crispy Oyster Mushrooms at Elf

    The menu is relatively diminutive, yet highly inventive. Some of the food items have been there for a while, and others rotate in and out as the chefs see fit. The atmosphere is dark, and romantic until, that is, the place fills up then it gets incredibly loud and busy and the tables are very close together so one can sometimes feel cramped. Also, they have a BYO policy so you can bring your own wine and pay a small ($4) corkage fee, which always works out to be a fraction of the price you’d pay for the normal 100%+ mark-up on restaurant wine.

    Hummus King

    UPDATE: hummus king in thee valley has closed down, but they are offering catering and free delivery until they hopefully re-open in silverlake!

    I don’t know much about Kosher restaurant certification other than it’s difficult and expensive to get and involves visits from Rabbis etc. I’d imagine, though, that the certification is easier if there’s not meat served in an establishment, so I’m really pleased that Hummus King is 100% OU Kosher and 100% vegetarian (which means basically vegan except for some optional toppings).

    Vegan Shwarama Sandwich at Hummus King

    Hummus king has a few things going for it, principally the BEST hummus in the 818, probably the BEST falafel (my personal favorite is the crazily spicy “fire ball” falafel) and the best meaty vegan shawarma available. The generous portion sizes, incredible value and beyond polite service make Hummus King one of my favorite places to visit. Whether you’re up for a full-on dine in meal or you just want to grab a stuffed pita to go, Hummus King has you covered. Don’t let the bright fluorescent lights and plastic seats fool you: what lies beneath the low-rent exterior is some of the best vegan food you’ll ever eat.

    And, if you’re strictly Kosher, why not try Hummus King? Be cruelty free – it won’t hurt (you or the animals).


    I’ve been to Cru a bunch of times, always enjoyed the food and atmosphere but for me it really defies classification. It’s a raw restaurant that serves some cooked food. It’s a vegan restaurant that serves honey (therefore proudly titling itself “vegetarian”). It’s also a small space that never really seems crowded, even though it’s frequently full with long hour plus waits on the outside. One good thing is that Cru seems to be dropping honey as an ingredient in many of its dishes, which is a great thing. Of all non-vegan ingredients, honey is perhaps the easiest to substitute and I’m looking forward to being able to eat more and more of the menu as time goes on.

    Raw Lasagna Portobello at Cru

    The menu is pretty diverse, but seems to contain the same narrow list of root ingredients, so if you order a few things you may end up with strikingly similar appearing and tasting dishes. Normally that would be instant disqualification from a “best of” list, but because those base ingredients are so damn good everything works out to be excellent. You can taste the quality of the ingredients and the care that went into preparing them. I typically stick to the raw dishes for a change, but the cooked items are superb. Cru won’t disappoint you, but be careful for hidden honey.

    Samosa House

    We’ve had a hot and cold relationship with Samosa House in the past, but their inclusion on this list is proof positive that our earlier misgivings are all resolved. Located on the Western end of Culver City, Samosa House is an Indian vegetarian paradise. They not only serve the crispiest, tastiest samosas this side of Bangalore, but have a 20-item prepared food section that rotates regularly and is mostly vegan.

    Vegetarian Dinner Combo at Samosa House

    For only $7.99 you can fill up on rice, roti and three selections from the prepared food section, and occasionally there are some special extras like a burger or bhelpuri that’s been specially created by the chef. Although this is prepared food served at the back of a grocery store, don’t let that fool you, as the quality you’ll get meets or exceeds what most Indian restaurants in LA can offer, and for a fraction of the price.

    One word of warning, the lines can get long at the counter, especially after 7pm so go early to avoid the rush. Your food will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and heats up just fine in the microwave. Great food, great deal and some of the nicest people anywhere wait for you at Samosa House.

    Follow Your Heart

    It’s a pure coincidence that the last two entries on this list are both supermarkets as well as restaurants. You can fill up on groceries as well as yummy food on one visit, which is a good thing in my book, especially at Follow Your Heart, an amazing vegetarian oasis, established in 1970 in Canoga Park, which has LA’s premier (= only) vegetarian grocery store with a TON of vegan products (some of which can’t be purchased anywhere else). Not only that, it has a cosy restaurant and patio where some of LA’s finest vegan food is waiting for you.

    Vegan Reuben with Cottage-Style Tofu at Follow Your Heart

    Don’t miss the Reuben Sandwich (make sure you ask for extra 1,000 island dressing), as a human being has to try this out at least once in their life! There are many, many dishes with home made fake meats, and vegan entrees such as breakfast burritos, benedicts etc. Follow Your Heart does a SUPER job with the restaurant food and you pretty much can’t go wrong. If you’re averse to honey (hopefully you are, bees are cool), the buns have honey in them, so be sure to order your delicious burger on VEGAN bread.

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16 responses to “Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Los Angeles 2010” RSS icon

  • gotta get to follow your heart! what’s wrong with me!?!?

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Have only been to FYH on this list, must try the other places!!

  • if you like Samosa House, you should try India Sweets & Spices, also in Culver City. It’s all vegan and vegetarian and the prices and food are amazing!

  • i went to elf for the first time last week, it was awesome!!

    i so need to revisit hummus king.

  • Though I haven’t been to Hummus King or Elf (just had Samosa House today, ha!), I’d add Fatty’s to my list 🙂 Otherwise, yayyy FYH!

  • The only reason I’m excited I now live in NoHo is that Hummus King is around the corner. Great list!

  • are the crispy oyster mushrooms always on the elf menu? i’ve never seen them there before but i haven’t been in a while.

  • Finally, a list that i can concur with. Elf is great went to Hummus King last week…uuummm good. Who does not love the best Jack Fruit from Somosa House. Yes QG you finally got it right. Now i can forgive you for Cruzer’s making the list.

  • cru is bland and overpriced for what it is.
    it’s kindof a crime that they get a mention and sunpower doesn’t! (i think s.p. is all vegan but i didn’t see it on any of your lists).
    raw food should be colorful and inventive and filling and full of craaazy taste sensations. like, mindblowingly fantastic…like sunpower’s kelp noodles, pizzas, CORN SOUP (!!!) and cookie dough pie. holllly shit.
    sorry but cru has its ass handed to ’em by sunpower.

  • These lists have been great! Thanks for doing them. I’ve been to most of the places, but now I’ve got others I’ll make the time for. I hope you also cover the top five vegan-friendly restaurants that also cater to omnivores… that way M Cafe de Chaya gets some kudos (assuming that they’d make the list).

  • “I hope you also cover the top five vegan-friendly restaurants that also cater to omnivores.”

    That would be interesting to see. A list of mixed-company, everyone-is-happy restaurants.

  • I was excited to try Samosa House, I live pretty close, so last night we checked it out- and it was a REALLY frustrating experience. Trying to order was like a really annoying, confusing Who’s On First- the lady serving us didn’t know what we were asking, the signs weren’t really clear, (or there weren’t any on certain things,) and the woman at the register would say the complete opposite of the other woman. When I would ask if a certain thing is vegan, the woman helping us gave a very confusing non-answer and made us wait to ask the other lady – who then told me “Everything is vegan.” Well I’m looking at a sign that says “contains dairy,” so no, it’s not. Obviously the naan isn’t vegan because the third option listed for bread, the roti, says “vegan” next to it. One lady says the samosas aren’t vegan (?!) and the other tells me, again, “No dairy, everything is vegan.” WHAT?! AHHH!!!
    By the time we left we were SO frustrated, and unsure about what we ordered, it was really not making me want to go back again.

  • Follow Your Heart is our family hangout and place the kids like to go to celebrate. Yes, the vegan reuben is addictive, but too many of those, and you’ll get a meat-eater’s gut. When you want to eat healthy at FYH, order 1/2 Italian salad, substitute avos for the cheese, and a chili potato, which is a baked potato with FYH chili. Hold the sour cream or any oil. Filling, satisfying, healthy.

  • i understand all of these places making the list except for samosa house…bawarchi does the same thing in culver city but way better!

  • Love Hummus King – the menu is expanding but have always had a tasty meal and great service!

    Follow Your Heart is near me – blech. Wheat meat and such is for the birds; textures and flavors also leave something to be desired.

    My Vegan House has been left off here. In Hollywood on Wilcox north of Hollywood Blvd is great – great flavors and prices! Worth a drive.

  • We don’t eat out as much as we used to, but we get to Samosa House at least once a week. 😀

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