The word "vegan" is slowly but surely graduating from health industry buzzword to linchpin of the L.A. dining scene. Even some who skirt around their veggies and swear they can't live without meat have started to ditch their carnivorous comfort zones to pilot plant-based cuisine.
Not just another fad diet, veganism dates back to about 3 million years. There was quite the resurgence in 500 BCE when Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, as well as some of the more health-conscious folk of the day, promoted kindness toward all animals and advised against eating meat. Fast forward about 2,000 years and veganism started forming with stances against meat and dairy centering on the ethics of animal husbandry.
Today, thousands of products, services, and restaurants available are making the transition to this more environmentally conscious and ethical lifestyle doable. Arguments against plant-based foods have, at this point, been debunked with the advent of modern food science – so yes, you can get enough protein, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 on a vegan diet. And no, you won't throw your hormones out of whack by eating tofu. Where once, plant-based options were inaccessible and plagued by misinformation, now they're abundant and can be healthy – especially in L.A.
We've rounded up five new plant-based restaurants helping Angelenos to hop on veganism and follow in the footsteps of Benedict Cumberbatch, Zac Efron, Madonna, Joaquin Phoenix, and Natalie Portman (plus the 79 million other vegans in the world). Keep scrolling for more details on these L.A. vegan joints all foodies will leave feeling full and satisfied.
De Buena Planta
Serving up vegetarian and gluten-free Mexican-inspired eats, De Buena Planta opened its first location on Abbot Kinney in Venice. Now, owner Heather Tierney is saving east-side Angelenos the trip with a new location in Silver Lake. Hidden away just off of Sunset and past its unassuming wooden door, you'll discover a 5,000-square-foot space bursting with color and Cal-Mex summer vibes. Go for the outdoor oasis and Impossible chorizo nachos, then stay for the speakeasy-style bar that's open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
De Buena Planta, 2815 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 90026; (323) 426-9023
Hot Tongue Pizza
Anyone else feel like Silver Lake won the vegan restaurant lottery this year? Plant-based pizzeria Hot Tongue just debuted its first shop on Glendale Boulevard near the Whole Foods and Astro Diner. We know what you're thinking – does L.A. really need another vegan pizza? Yes, yes it does. And what we're loving about Hot Tongue is that, unlike some local pizzerias, its vegan cheeses and organic dough are all made in-house. The Sicilian is something to drool over and ironically, it's just as high-maintenance as L.A. is – it takes three days to prepare and features almond-based ricotta, fresh basil, garlic, marinara sauce, and a pinch of pesto.
Hot Tongue Pizza, 2590 Glendale Blvd., L.A., 90039; (323) 741-0180
Like many eateries today, Mr. Charlie's popularity is in part due to the internet. Not long ago, when Lizzo reviewed this vegan spot's Frowny Meal on TikTok, 4 million people watched then dubbed it the "vegan McDonald's." Located on La Brea Avenue, Mr. Charlie's whips up vegan iterations of fast-food staples with the aim of getting people to eat more plant-based food. Other than the delish, dopamine-inducing grub, another reason to check out this anti-McDonald's: Its employees are all from the Los Angeles Dream Center, an organization that provides free resources for drug addicts; convicts; and victims of disaster, domestic violence, and trafficking.
Mr. Charlie's, 612 North La Brea Ave., L.A., 90036; (323) 424-4795
Plant Power Fast Food
Popular vegan fast-food joint Plant Power Fast Food has just opened its first location in L.A. after the success of its 10 other brick-and-mortars throughout the West Coast. The S.D.-based restaurant first began offering vegan renditions of iconic favorites about six years ago and has since expanded to Las Vegas, Sacramento, and now Hollywood. Think comfort food favorites like burgers, wings, tenders, nuggets, breakfast classics, and much more.
Plant Power Fast Food, 776 Vine St., L.A., 90038; (323) 471-1550
The Gray Zebra
Taking over now-closed vegan restaurant Gegen, The Gray Zebra is fueling East Hollywood foodies with a selection of plant-based burgers, burritos, sandwiches, and shakes. The vegan and woman-owned eatery's owner, Nabiha Basathia, was once a plant-based consultant and lucky for us, decided to share her love for food and community with the world. With a menu curated by Alison Cruddas, former owner and head chef of Bodhi Bowl, this spot is sure to earn its stripes.
The Gray Zebra, 5101 Sunset Blvd., L.A., 90027; (424) 401-5101