The Best Restaurants for Healthy Dining in Los Angeles

From fast casual vegan to fine dining California cuisine

Sqirl Brown Rice Porridge | Photo: Sqirl


Los Angeles has been synonymous with the healthy Southern California lifestyle for generations. L.A. chefs have been at the forefront of the farm-to-table and plant-based culinary movements, featuring menus with locally sourced and organic ingredients. From fast casual vegan to California cuisine in a fine dining setting, here are some of L.A.’s best restaurants for healthy dining.

New Zealand Ora King Salmon at Akasha | Photo: Akasha

AKASHA



Akasha Richmond is a longtime champion of local ingredients and sustainability. Opened in 2008, her eponymous Culver City restaurant incorporates repurposed design elements and utilizes eco-friendly practices. Akasha’s New American and California farm-to-table cuisine is influenced by Richmond’s world travels. Small plate highlights include albacore tartare and Barely Roasted Pear with butternut squash, miticrema, honey, hazelnuts and fried herbs. Meat-free options include a Quinoa & Sunflower Seed Veggie Burger, and bowls like Red Quinoa Pilaf with Grilled Tofu, and Punjabi Mung Beans & Rice. Hearty “Big Plates” include star anise braised short ribs with ginger sweet potato puree and braised kale, Bali Seafood Curry, cornmeal-crusted Idaho trout, and New Zealand ora king salmon with Tahitian squash, braised kale, brown butter and sage pine nuts. Signature cocktails use fresh-pressed juices, house-made syrups and bitters with the seasonal produce from the kitchen. The wine list touts small boutique wines with a focus on organic, biodynamic and sustainable practices.

Café Gratitude | Photo: Café Gratitude, Twitter

Cafe Gratitude Larchmont



Café Gratitude has three locations in Los Angeles - Larchmont Village, Venice and the newest one in Downtown L.A. The restaurants feature 100% organic, plant-based dishes with names to suit every mood. Start with breakfast at Café Gratitude and feel “Fantastic” all morning with a cashew crêpe, fresh fruit, coconut yogurt, maple syrup and pecans. Colorful salads include the seasonal “Local” and the “Dazzling” Caesar with romaine lettuce, avocado, brazil nut parmesan, capers and oil-free cashew Caesar dressing. You’ll definitely be “Terrific” after dining on Pad Thai kelp noodles with Thai almond sauce, carrots, red bell pepper, shredded kale, chopped teriyaki almonds and sunflower sprouts. Café Gratitude is a favorite of celebrities like superstar music couple Beyoncé and Jay Z, who announced in December 2013 that they were both going vegan for 22 days and celebrated Jay Z’s 44th birthday with lunch at the Larchmont Village location.

Artichoke oysters | Photo: Crossroads Kitchen

Crossroads



With an elegant interior design and celebrity investors like Moby and Travis Barker, Crossroads Kitchen was a hit as soon as it opened in March 2013. The vision of chef-owner Tal Ronnen, Crossroads offers Mediterranean-inspired small dishes, salads, farm-to-glass cocktails and desserts in a luxurious setting with wing-backed chairs, handmade chandeliers and a stunning vintage glass bar. Executive chef Scot Jones oversees a vegan menu that changes daily, based on seasonal ingredients. The artichoke “oysters” are a must - artichoke leaves are topped with artichoke purée, crispy oyster mushrooms, yellow tomato béarnaise and kelp caviar. Another standout are the "crab cakes" with hearts of palm, Granny Smith apples, heirloom beets and horseradish aioli. “Comforting Classics” showcases plant-based versions of meat-and-cheese dishes like scallopini with marsala-glazed morel mushrooms and the wood-fired Bolognese lasagna. Cocktails match the Crossroads culinary philosophy, from classics like the Sazerac to a vegan take on a dessert cocktail, the Amaretto Sour with Disaronno Originale, apricot brandy, lemon and "egg whites."

Flautas de Camote at Gracias Madre | Photo: @southbay.foodie

Gracias Madre



Located on the western edge of Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, Gracias Madre features vegan Mexican cuisine in a gorgeous, sun-splashed space. Chef Chandra Gilbert serves meat- and dairy-free versions of Mexican favorites like the flautas de camote, made with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions, pico de gallo, guacamole, cashew nacho cheese and cilantro, served with black beans. For those who can’t decide, there’s El Plato: butternut squash, cashew nacho cheese, chorizo mushrooms, cilantro pesto, escabeche, rice, pico de gallo, black beans and house-made tortillas. Weekend brunch on the expansive outdoor patio is a popular destination, with highlights like the tofu ranchero scramble and the chimichanga with tempeh chorizo. Beverage director Jason Eisner curates an extensive menu of small batch mezcals and tequilas, organic wines and spirits, and cocktails prepared with seasonal ingredients and house-made syrups, bitters and tinctures. House Margaritas include playful variations like “The Big Lebowski”-inspired The Dude Abides, with mezcal, house-made almond milk horchata, and vanilla cinnamon agave.

Topanga Fresh, Inn of the Seventh Ray | Photo: Inn of the Seventh Ray

Inn of the Seventh Ray



The Inn of the Seventh Ray is nestled in the heart of Topanga Canyon, adjacent to Topanga Creek and surrounded by a forest of sycamore, oak and pine trees. The idyllic setting makes the Inn one of L.A.’s most romantic restaurants and a popular wedding location. The “evolving” California cuisine changes seasonally and often on a daily basis to reflect executive chef Gavin Humes’ inspiration as well as the availability of ingredients. All of the meat and fish are sustainable and naturally raised, and vegetables are sourced from local farmers. Depending on seasonal availability, the Inn may feature dishes like Watkins Ranch ribeye in a red wine-mustard sauce, pan-roasted quail in a truffle vinaigrette, and vegan scallops (royal trumpet mushrooms, braised leeks, English pea puree, sherry gastrique, crispy mushrooms). A prix fixe, six-course sampling of the chef's seasonal menu is available with optional wine pairing. Monday night Suppers at the Inn feature traditional and vegetarian options like wild boar ragu with house-made linguine, duck confit with white bean cassoulet, and Peruvian style vegetable stir fry.

Nori Burger, Kye's | Photo: @kyesmontana, Instagram

Kye’s



Kye’s opened on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica in November 2014. Named for owner Jeanne Cheng’s son, Kye’s features a globally-influenced menu of superfoods with vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, Paleo, raw and kid-sized options. The signature item is the KyeRito, a multicultural wrap offered in Breakfast, Classic Comfort, Asian-Inspired and Deli-Style categories. For breakfast, the Nori n’ Lox is made with local free range green eggs, smoked wild salmon, scallion aioli, dill, arugula, tomato, white rice/quinoa blend, wrapped in nori. Classic Comfort KyeRitos include the Nori Burger, made with grass-fed ground beef mixed with chard, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and brown rice, wrapped in nori. Besides the various KyeRitos, the menu features superfood beverages like mocktails, shakes and smoothies. Save room for treats like the vegan and gluten-free black bean brownies and the gluten-free kabocha squash squares, made with coconut milk, gluten-free flour mix, sucanat, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. While the KyeRitos are sold in a patent-pending “slip wrap” that’s ideal for to-go orders, Kye’s offers dine-in seating in a bright, family friendly interior that mixes reclaimed and modern design elements.

The M Chopped at M Cafe Beverly Hills | Photo: M Cafe, Twitter



Star-gazing doesn’t get much better than M Café, the “Contemporary Macrobiotic Cuisine”  concept from the Chaya restaurant group. Celebrities flock to the European-style cafes located in Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Freshly made, globally influenced items use high quality ingredients without any refined sugars, eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry. The signature M French Toast headlines breakfast: rustic pecan-cherry bread is dipped in a cinnamon and nutmeg-spiked batter then griddled, topped with crushed maple-glazed walnuts, and served with soy butter and organic maple syrup. Another hearty breakfast option is the breakfast enchilada - scrambled organic tofu, smoky tempeh bacon, avocado and chili beans are wrapped in a gluten-free brown rice tortilla and topped with melted soy cheese, red onion and fresh cilantro. Entree salads include the M Chopped, a macrobiotic take on the classic chopped salad. The Big Macro sandwich features a house-made whole grain brown rice and vegetable patty, special sauce, lettuce, soy mozzarella, tomato, pickles, onion and alfalfa sprouts on a toasted whole wheat bun. Japanese items include macro-noodle bowls, bento box and selected rolls.

Peri Peri Chicken Bowl, Native Foods | Photo: Native Foods, Instagram

Native Foods - Westwood



Native Foods Café takes pride in attracting non-vegans and vegans alike. Founded in 1994, the fast-casual vegan chain has locations in Westwood, throughout California and across the country. Dishes are made daily and the menu is updated seasonally. Native Foods carries its philosophy through to using biodegradable and recyclable packaging and building energy-efficient restaurants. “Stacked Salads” include the award-winning Ensalada Azteca, with fresh avocado, jicama and cucumber salsa atop quinoa, romaine, and mango lime vinaigrette, topped with raisins, toasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Earth Bowls are among the top sellers - the gluten-free Rockin’ Moroccan is made with tofu marinated in house Moroccan sauce with grilled veggies and quinoa, topped with raisins and toasted almonds. “Handholds” are also popular, like the Super Italian Meatball Sub - Native Sausage Seitan meatballs, marinara sauce, caramelized onions, roasted sweet peppers, pumpkin seed pesto, ranch dressing and Native Parmesan on a grilled baguette. The Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger is made with thinly sliced Native Original Seitan, melted cheddar, caramelized onions, and crispy Native Bacon on a wheat bun with BBQ sauce, ranch, romaine, carrots, onions and tomato, topped with battered dill pickle chips.

Mexico City Tacos | Photo: Real Food Daily, Facebook

Real Food Daily - Pasadena



Ann Gentry opened the first Real Food Daily in 1993 in Santa Monica, and since then has expanded to locations in West Hollywood and Pasadena. Gentry’s 100 percent organic plant-based menu - dubbed “gourmet whole food cuisine” has garnered critical praise and earned a loyal following. The RFD approach extends to its use of purified water, biodegradable to-go containers and participation in local compost programs. The “Real Food Meal” is a balanced selection of foods that represent the five elements of Eastern health philosophy: brown rice, beans, daily greens, land and sea vegetables, pressed salad, and a choice of one dressing or sauce. Mexico City Tacos features two crispy tacos, red chili beans, tempeh, peppers, melted cashew cheese, avocado, jicama slaw and Spanish rice. The Real Food Burger is made with lentil mushroom, caramelized onions, arugula, housemade pickled jalapeño and chipotle aioli on toasted ciabatta. "The works" adds avocado, tempeh bacon and melted cashew cheese. Seasonal specials include the Classic Comfort: herbed quinoa lentil loaf, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, golden gravy, sautéed broccolini and cranberry coulis.

Sqirl Brown Rice Porridge | Photo: Sqirl

Sqirl



Jessica Koslow has garnered local and national acclaim for the globally-inspired fare at her intimate Silver Lake breakfast and lunch spot. Locals eagerly queue for a coveted outdoor table or indoor communal seating. Koslow got her start making remarkable jams and preserves, and her devotion to local, sustainable and organic ingredients continues in the kitchen. Her culinary philosophy is epitomized in the ever-popular Sorrel Pesto Rice Bowl: Kokuho Rose Brown Rice, sorrel pesto, preserved Meyer lemon, lacto fermented hot sauce, black radish, French sheep feta and poached egg. Another savory breakfast item is the open face brioche toast with kale, tomatillo puree, lacto fermented hot sauce and fried egg. Lunch options include the gluten-free Green Goddess Salad with avocado, lemon, cucumbers, sorrel and hard boiled egg. The warm roast lamb sandwich offers confit tomato, arugula and saffron aioli on a baguette.

Cornmeal crusted tempeh sliders | Photo: SunCafe Organic, Facebook

SunCafe Organic



In July 2014, SunCafe Organic moved into a new location on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City. The restored 1920s ranch-style home offers SunCafe three times the space as their previous spot, including a multi-level patio with a variety of comfortable seating options. SunCafe features a rustic World Cuisine menu of vegan and raw dishes made with fresh, organic ingredients. Many dishes and desserts are gluten-free, or can be made so upon request. Lettuce tacos are a popular raw starter, made with SunChorizo, nacho cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, jalapeño, green onion and cashew sour cream. Another favorite is the cornmeal crusted tempeh sliders – avocado, pickled radish, arugula, chipotle mayo on a mini wheat roll. A standout pizzas is the Farmers Market, featuring the chef’s seasonal selection of local and organic ingredients. Hearty entrees include the farro risotto, made with roasted acorn squash and almond milk puree, topped with chanterelle mushrooms and fresh thyme.

Rustic Farm Bowl at Veggie Grill | Photo: Veggie Grill

The Veggie Grill



Based in Santa Monica, Veggie Grill is a burgeoning vegetarian chain with locations in California, Oregon and Washington. L.A. spots include The Original Farmers Market and the Dome Entertainment Center at ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood. To share, try starters like the Mondo Nachos - "chicasa" taco blend of veggie proteins, caramelized onions, mashed avocado, Veggie Grill cheese, jalapeños, soy cream and corn chips. Massive entree salads include the popular All Hail Kale with marinated kale, quinoa, red cabbage slaw, corn salsa, agave-roasted walnuts, and ginger-papaya vinaigrette. The B.T.L.A. features Smoky Tempeh bacon, sliced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro pesto tossed arugula and aioli mayo on grilled sourdough. For those avoiding bread, sandwiches can be ordered “kale style.” Bowls include the Rustic Farm Bowl: farro, grilled mushrooms, roasted yams, braised cannellini beans, broccoli pesto, roasted tomatoes, red pepper sauce, with an optional apple sage sausage ($3.25 extra).