• toi > vegan thai

    August 23rd, 2011quarrygirlLA restaurants, toi

    if you’re anything like me, you’re over it: fucking LA restaurants with the word “vegan” in their name, that regurgitate the same tired menu of fake thai food and fake vegan food, which is usually neither. you know who i’m talking about—the “vegan thai” places that sell westernized items like soy nuggets, “cowboy” burgers, quesadillas, and “tropical pancakes”…much of which contains dairy and/or eggs! i’d say they make up for like 60% of the vegan restaurants in los angeles, and it’s RIDICULOUS. the food is both uninspired and untrustworthy. do you realize that this shit makes a HUGE impression on vegetarians and omnivores? some people i know think vegan food IS vegan thai, and that’s just beyond depressing. anyways, enough of my rant. if you want actual good thai food that happens to be vegan-friendly, go to toi.

    we’ve blogged about the sunset eatery before, and every time we return we’re reminded of how awesome it is. the place has a scruffy rock n roll vibe with band posters hung up allover the dining area and graffiti completely covering the walls in the bathroom. my favorite seat in the house is the john lennon table in the back corner, located under two massive posters of the ex-beatle.

    although toi is an omnivorous restaurant, they have a vegetarian section of the menu which includes lots of veganizable dishes. no need to worry about fish sauce when ordering from that section, and staff are knowledgeable and quite happy to omit eggs on request. over the weekend we hit up toi for dinner for the first time in years, and completely fell in love with it again. as usual, we started with an order of the vegetarian saigon spring rolls. they’re pretty pricey at just under ten bucks, but i think they’re worth it.

    vegetarian saigon spring rolls: cold vietnamese spring rolls with basil & tofu $9.95

    these little rolls are served cold and are absolutely delectable, with the perfect balance of fresh basil and mint. they come with two sweet dipping sauces, but if you ask your waiter you can also get a complete carousel of heat…

    best hot sauce ever

    toi so knows how to make me happy! 4 pots of spiciness including a sriracha type sauce, a chili paste, ground chili flakes, and pickle jalapeno peppers. i’ve eaten at a lot of restaurants in my life, and i can say without a doubt that toi has BY FAR the best hot sauce set up. full stop.

    toi's special brown rice. $3

    i also got an order of combination vegetables (which i forgot to photograph!) and a side of “special” brown rice. the rice at toi is amazing—it’s a dark purplish brown with chewy texture and nutty flavor, an ideal base for all that hot sauce.

    vegi pad thai (no egg): thai noodles with mixed veggeis, tofu, beansprouts, w/ peanuts on the side. $9.95

    my husband always gets the same thing when we dine at toi: the vegi pad thai with no egg. you really can’t go wrong with this dish, as it’s easily the best pad thai i’ve ever eaten. crispy vegetables and thin soft noodles all fried up in a rich and flavorful peanutty sauce. perfection!

    not only are the food and atmosphere amazing at toi, but the service is quick and friendly. our dishes were on our table in under ten minutes, and the portions were massive. toi is open from 11am until 4am everyday, they serve booze, and even offer free delivery. seriously, what’s not to like about this place?

    i’ll take toi over crappy vegan thai any day. thank you very much.

    75051/2 W. Sunset Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90046
    11am – 4am

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36 responses to “toi > vegan thai” RSS icon

  • It astounds me when I see people eating crap food in California Vegan, just a couple of blocks away from Toi. PEOPLE: GET IT INTO YOUR HEADS – VEGAN THAI FOOD IS HORRIBLE.

    Go to Toi or Boulan instead for a much more inspired offering.

  • I am so sick of vegan thai too! Fuck those places. I’ll eat at Bulan though because at least they disclose which items aren’t vegan.

  • Whoa, this place looks rad! I’d never heard of it! Thanks for the tip as always QG!

  • word is bond.

    toi is great and open late!

  • YES! Thank you for saying this. That
    overly processed faux meat is almost as
    irresponsible as meat itself. It’s sometimes
    hard to find an actual vegetable in those places.
    BTW, Veggie Grill on Sunset…. you’re not too far behind. [I understand that last comment might touch a nerve ;)]

    and Toi is quite special.

  • I went there during my vegan tour of L.A. and Joe Jonas was at the table next to us lol. Food was great and loved the decor!

  • We do get Bulan delivered a lot, it’s pretty much the only one we get food from because their menu is actually different from the rest and they often add new things.

  • +1 on Bulan. But I don’t think they count as vegan thai, because they’re vegetarian!

  • I was just there late Saturday night with a friend. It was the first place I’d ever had yellow curry, which is now a favorite (with the brown rice, of course). My friend also got the veggie pad thai (no egg). And the leftovers heat up nicely the next day.

    I really should go to Toi more often than I do.

  • Even if they do have vegan food, I would never recommend Toi. “Seriously, what’s not to like about this place?” It’s always insanely loud inside, their “rock n roll” gimmick is really lame, and most important of all the food kinda sucks. I’m surprised the review is so positive. Oh well.

  • I know it’s “far” – but Wheel of Life in Irvine has the best vegan pad thai, IMO. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it. …also, their satay and “tofu stuffed tofu” are INSANE.


  • I’ve loved Toi ever since I was taking a class across the street. (which was about 10 years ago.) I agree about their rice–I personally add a dash of oil and a side of cashews. Yum! Add that to their Pumpkin, Eggplant, Tofu dish and you’ve got perfection.

    Another advantage Toi has over many of the dishes at the “Thai vegan” places (beyond the big ones you’ve stated) is that the food is much less processed which is a huge win for me.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Looks good

  • Nice pictures, btw…. what kind of camera/lens are you using. I especially like the bathroom shot. very cool

  • Toi, Toi, Toi…

    Used to eat their food frequently when I worked at a nearby recording studio. Good food, but be prepared for some mega-douchery if you order take-out (way worse than most Hollywood restaurants). I put up with that attitude one too many times. Finally spoiled it for me. Haven’t been back since.

  • So glad to see that they are still around.
    It was a regular dinner destination when I live in the city of (fallen?) angles…

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    Re the ubiquitous LA Thai vegan places, I understand peoples’ dissatisfaction with them (it’s strange how prolific those chains are in this city, can’t drive down a main street in town without passing by one of these restaurants.) However, as someone who doesn’t cook often, I’m still kind of glad they’re there as a fall-back option. I’m a huge enormous green curry fan, so I just order that dish and it’s a quick/easy lunch while out and about.

  • As cool as Toi is, I’m always suspicious of non-vegan thai places.

    Leaving out the fish sauce is rarely a real option at these places, although servers tell you otherwise. Most sauces at thai restaurants are pre-mixed and if the fish sauce is in there, you’re not getting it out. If you call these places ahead of time and tell them you’re allergic to fish you’ll usually get a different answer than you get from a server in the restaurant.

    That said, Toi may be able to make a sauce on the spot.

    I tend to only eat at vegan thai places, and only eat seitan, tempeh or tofu when I’m there. And loads of french fries. 🙂

  • That Pad Thai looks amazing, I went to California Vegan and hated it! Ill have to try this place next time

  • Joe Jonas eats at Toi??? This is awesome news!

    I am always trying to figure out what type of rice that is so I can buy some myself. Any idea what it’s called?

  • I’m generally with you, but think Cal Vegan smokes Toi.

  • The rice is called: “Looks exactly the same on the way out as on the way in rice”. trust me.

  • “As cool as Toi is, I’m always suspicious of non-vegan thai places.”

    You mean like the ones with “Vegan” in the names? I know, right?

  • Its called Black Rice. If you live in Los Angeles, you can easily find it at any market in Korea Town.

  • It’s also called Forbidden Rice.

  • I think most Thai curry paste comes pre-mixed with fish sauce. So even if you ask for no fish sauce, it is already in the curry paste/powder at non-vegetarian restaurants. My husband definitely felt he tasted fish sauce when we ordered vegetarian dishes at Toi.

  • your photography is usually very good, but these pics are spectacular!
    nice shootin. and new macro lens?

  • @chad and @jeffro: thanks! they were taken with an iphone and tweaked in an app called instagram. looks like i can put the 5D mk ii on ebay! HA!

  • I know people are knocking vegan restraunts not having vegetables and all but for the most part i’m ok w/ that. Eating out is a treat for me and I don’t want to buy a plate of steamed vegetable. I can make that at home.
    I rarely buy faux meats and I never fry things at home so getting those things when I eat out is a nice treat and change from my everyday healthy.

  • wow. that’s ridiculous. you can trade that 5D for a lot of tofu!

  • love toi! especially at midnight when there is no where else to eat. I must add that the service there, even in the middle of the night is always top notch!

  • We used to go to Toi all.the.time. We had friends from the OC who loved it and they would only eat there when they were in town. I forget why we stopped, but it’s been 10 years or more. It was either doucheytude, too many f’ed up orders, or the quality went downhill.

  • Bulan can not and should not be tied in to these overnight and crappy vegan restaurants. Bulan is in a class all by itself.

  • Gotta agree with Jason. I don’t really trust non-vegan joints for the same reasons. Kinda fishy.

    Yes, Toi food is tasty and the serving sizes are really decent.
    But, I wish you would have addressed one really important point:

    Does Toi use a *separate* batch of woks and utensils, just for us?


  • That happens so rarely, you shouldn’t expect it to be mentioned in every single restaurant review. Assume that they don’t unless it’s mentioned.

  • I feel like this is an important issue. If vegans stand by their principles and speak up more, maybe just a few of the restaurants will make adjustments. Yeah, I agree that we should assume normal cooking practices, but that does not preclude me from speaking up.

    I have to believe that some of the restaurant managers and owners are sincerely considering these reviews, AND our comments.

    Yeah, you can call me a dreamer.

    But, please try to refrain from telling me what I “should” do.

    Seems like you were trying to defend the reviewer. It’s just
    not needed, in my opinion. If she raves about something, it’s OK to enter into a dialogue, and to raise other points.

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