October 20, 2020

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2020 Can’t Stop Los Angeles’ Restaurant Week. Here Are the Vegan Highlights.

Los Angeles’ annual end-of-summer restaurant week is needed to promote food business now more than...

Los Angeles’ annual end-of-summer restaurant week is needed to promote food business now more than ever. While customers often balk at the price of avocado toast or question why a pizza costs upward of $20, restaurant margins are razor-thin—and that’s accounting for a full indoor dining room during “normal” times. The Los Angeles vegan scene has weathered some losses during the pandemic, but many have forged ahead on tightrope-slim financials thanks to loyal patrons and general city-dwellers’ inability to cook for themselves. From September 1 to 18, over 100 Los Angeles restaurants are offering special lunch and dinner deals to attract business as part of dineL.A. Here are the vegan options you don’t want to miss. 

1. Laduree, Beverly Hills
It’s challenging to find an afternoon tea, and even more challenging to find a vegan option. This plant-based patisserie offers an exceptional afternoon tea service along with outstanding pastries and a la carte savory options. The adorable shop is offering a $30 lunch menu for takeout with a selection of a main, pastry, and tea or coffee. Options include a roasted vegetable croissant sandwich served with fries and salad, vanilla mille-feuille, passion raspberry tart, and more.

2. Nic’s on Beverly, Beverly Hills
This vegan hotspot is named after LA food and entertainment icon Nic Adler. The hip entrepreneur has helped propel the city’s vegan movement through his work with the annual Eat Drink Vegan food and beer festival, Coachella’s dining options, and the ever-expanding vegan In-n-Out doppelganger, Monty’s Good Burger. Nic’s namesake restaurant is offering a $30 lunch and $45 dinner prix-fixe menu for patio dining and take-out. Menu choices include Chinois Salad, Ricotta Gnudi, Khao Soi, and Butterscotch Pudding.

3. Cafe Gratitude, multiple locations
Los Angelinos can always rely on this affirmations-based vegan micro-chain to participate in Restaurant Week. The Larchmont, Arts District, and Santa Monica locations are all open for takeout and dine-in thanks to their unique and gorgeous outdoor patios. The company is offering a $30 three-course lunch menu as well as a $35 four-course dinner menu packed with a selection of the kitchen’s greatest hits—from the “Dazzling” Little Gem Caesar Salad to the “Humble” Indian-inspired bowl.

4. Bowlila, Santa Monica
For the love of chickpeas, this Mediterranean-inspired vegan takeaway counter makes up one of the many vegan-friendly establishments at Colony in Santa Monica. The $30 lunch and dinner deal includes an appetizer and entéee with items ranging from Argentinian Nachos with Beyond Meat chorizo, Island Jerk Avocado and Mango Salad, Sesame-Miso Glazed Tofu Steaks with Brussels sprouts, and Thai Red Curry Coconut Stew. This offer is only available for pick-up Monday to Friday.

5. Fresh on Sunset, West Hollywood
This Canadian transplant opened its plush, multi-story restaurant and cocktail lounge in the bustling neighborhood of West Hollywood last spring. The $35 dinner menu is available for takeout and delivery and provides a customer choice of a starter, main, and dessert. Our VegNews pick: fresh hummus followed by the Goddess Bowl and completed with a vegan Hostess cupcake by Karma Baker.

6. Flower Child, Santa Monica
Drop by this casual, wellness-centered chain for a nourishing yet flavorful meal. The $35 lunch and dinner menu for two includes a beverage, starter, two entrées, and two cookies (note: the cookies are not vegan). Plant-based options include an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, artichoke salad, Asian-inspired Glow Bowl, and a vegetable-leaning Mother Earth Bowl packed with glazed sweet potato, grains, avocado, portobello mushrooms, and broccoli pesto.

7. Gracias Madre, West Hollywood
This Mexican-themed sister restaurant of Cafe Gratitude is known for its atmosphere and celebrity sightings, and its expansive outdoor patio is open for dining. The $55 five-course dinner menu includes an alcoholic beverage, a “nibble,” starter, main course, and dessert. You can’t go wrong with Madre’s signature margarita, guacamole, little gem Caesar salad, enchilada, and gluten-free brownie.

8. Hugo’s, multiple locations
Hugo’s has been around for 40 years, appeasing the omnivore, flexitarian, and vegan crowds in Studio City and West Hollywood with its extensive family-friendly menus. Both locations are offering a $20 two-course lunch menu and a $35 three-course dinner menu (a drink is included in both). Vegan-friendly options include Kung Pao Cauliflower, Very Green Casserole, churros, and more.

9. Ms Chi Cafe, Culver City
Top Chef star Shirley Chung opened this vegan-friendly spot in 2018 with a menu that places vegan vegetable dumplings right alongside Jumbo Cheeseburger Potstickers. It’s a place for all Top Chef fans to geek out—carnivores and plant-based patrons alike. The simple dineL.A. lunch menu features these vegan dumplings with your choice of a beverage. For dinner, the restaurant is offering a $35 three-course, family-style menu that includes a vegan-friendly starter, main dish, rice, and dessert. The Sautéed Yu Choy Hearts with Chinese greens and roasted garlic is definitely worth a visit, and the vegan mochi doughnut is the perfect cap to this delightful meal. 

10. MidiCi The Neopolitan Pizza Company, Sherman Oaks
Fast-casual meets excellent Neopolitan pizza at this wood-fired nationwide pizza chain. The restaurant carries vegan cheese and tons of veggies, so you can look forward to more than a plain tomato pie. The $15 lunch option includes any classic pizza with two toppings and a soft drink; the $25 dinner option adds on an appetizer and dessert. The appetizer options aren’t vegan, but they do carry non-dairy sorbetto.

11. Trejo’s Tacos, Fairfax
Machete-man-turned-restaurateur Danny Trejo planted one of his taco spots inside the Original Farmers’ Market food hall just outside of The Grove. Stop by for a $15 two-taco lunch combo that includes chips, salsa, and a 16-ounce agua fresca.

12. Panda Inn, Pasadena
Bring a dining companion—this $35 dinner special only accommodates parties of two or more. Vegan options include mini vegetable dumplings to start and a choice of Sautéed Shan Yao with mushrooms or Baby Bok Choy an d shitake mushrooms. Trust us—this is nothing like Panda Express.

13. Plant Food + Wine, Venice
Celebrity chef Matthew Kenney’s flagship restaurant always shows up for Restaurant Week. Enjoy the $45 dine-in-only dinner menu on the softly lit back patio secluded just steps away from the celebrity sighting sidewalks of Abbot Kinney Boulevard. The menu features Kenney’s most popular and craveable dishes such as the kelp noodle cacio e pepe, hearty Mediterranean Bowl, and luxuriously smooth banana cream pie.

14. The Source Cafe, Manhattan Beach
Seeking some feel-good food? The menu at this gluten- and dairy-free cafe promises to nourish your body and your palate with its vibrant dishes. Vegan options are aplenty on both the $35 three-course lunch menu and the $45 three-course dinner menu (the latter includes a mocktail). We’re eying the vegan pizza topped with almond ricotta, pumpkin seed pesto, tomato, and arugula; the 3 Way Beets (raw, pickled, and roasted), and the reishi-infused South Bay Buzz cocktail.

15. Voodoo Doughnuts, Universal City
Stepping inside of a Voodoo Doughnut shop is like stepping inside a hot pink box of doughnuts—if that box happened to contain voodoo doll-shaped, jelly-filled doughnuts and a number of other drool-inducing colorful confections. The location within Universal City Walk displays its vegan doughnuts within a rotating, multi-tiered glass tower that is nothing short of mesmerizing. The shop’s dineL.A. deal includes a baker’s half-dozen for $15 or a baker’s dozen for $25.

16. [email protected], Manhattan Beach
Hotel restaurants always seem like a guest convenience rather than a local destination, but Zinc is an exception. The posh kitchen is offering a $20 lunch menu and a $35 dinner menu. Each course includes a vegan option. Opt for the Toasted Sesame Salad for your starter, the Thai Coconut Curry with tofu for your main, and sorbet for dessert.

Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and runner living in Orange County, CA.

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