L.A. is such a vast and spread out city that I had to write 3 blog posts about all the food I ate! Every neighborhood has its own distinct food scene. And of course the vegetarian options were amazing and plentiful. Check out my L.A. Part 3: L.A.’s famous neighborhood eats blog post featuring Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Downtown, and Culver City!
Downtown L.A. has a burgeoning food scene and I was happy to witness it at Cento, a small lunch counter style Italian restaurant featuring a small menu of rotating Italian pastas made in front of you by a sassy chef. They have a different appetizer each day as well. We had the burrata with toast and it melts in your mouth. They have 3 daily pasta options and 1 of them is vegetarian. The gnocchi in a spicy tomato sauce was sophisticated while being simple and endearing. The sauce had a perfect blend of flavors with ricotta served on top. I didn’t think it needed the ricotta and just loved the sauce by itself. This is a pricier lunch spot, but it is well worth it for the high-quality, handmade pasta.
Chicago has an amazing ramen scene but we are missing an udon scene! I am coming to like udon more than ramen and was so excited to try a restaurant exclusively known for their hand-pulled udon. Unfortunately, you cannot make a reservation and it’s a small, narrow spot so be prepared to wait outside. But when you finally get in, you will feel like it’s your birthday. This spot is definitely veg-friendly and the server was very accommodating.
We had some soothing green tea to start our meal with a perfect eggplant appetizer. They have an extensive udon list with innovative styles of udon I’ve never seen before. I love mushrooms so I ordered the mushroom udon and it was incredible. The broth was flavorful, the mushrooms were toothsome, and the udon noodles were fresh. This is by far one of the best meals I had in L.A..
West Hollywood is one of those neighborhoods you have to check out once when in L.A. because it’s ridiculous. Being a secret fan of Vanderpump Rules, I had to check out the new and “hip” cocktail bar from Lisa Vanderpump, Tom Sandoval, and Tom Schwartz. Pretty much everyone else who was there was a Vanderpump fan girl taking pics in front of the iconic TomTom photo.
Since Sandoval is such a mixologist, I thought that they might have some decent cocktails. And they did have decent cocktails! I had their Matcha cocktail, which had matcha, gin, ginger liqueur, and kombucha – it had me written all over it! It was earthy and I didn’t really taste the ginger but I was pleased with the robust matcha flavor. They had many other interesting looking cocktails on the menu but I didn’t want to drink too much for the sake of Vanderpump Rules so we called it a night.
Just like I am a Vanderpump Rules fan, I am a David Chang fan too. He doesn’t have any restaurants in Chicago (hint, hint) so I was eager to try one of his restaurants and Majordomo sounded quite intriguing. It’s an industrial, hip space with a delightful heated patio (still not warm enough for me). The menu has innovative small plates featuring vegetables, seafood, and meat. This was definitely not a veg-friendly restaurant but we were able to find some options. They also have great sake!
We started with the Broken Tofu, which was by far my favorite dish. It was silken tofu made with yuzu with smoked roe on top for a salty texture. The tofu was incredible by itself though. The Cultured Butter and Honey with the bread was amazing. The bread was “bing”, a flat Chinese wheat-flour based bread and the honey/cultured butter with it were a match made in heaven. It was a savory-sweet delight.
The Smoked Cabbage was as described – seamlessly smoked and crispy in brown butter with macadamia nuts for a fun texture. This had the most robust flavors of everything we ate. If you eat seafood, then get the Marinated Black Cod with bok choy and satsuma (blood orange). It was subtle and extremely well-marinated. Yes, this spot is pricy, but come here for a special occasion and be wowed! This spot can definitely be more veg-friendly and I don’t recommend it if you’re vegan but it’s fine for pescatarians and vegetarians.
Culver City is basically between the heart of L.A. and the airport so this was a perfect spot for a light, yet intriguing Scandinavian lunch! With a name like Destroyer, what’s not to love?! The interior is minimal and white with their menu written on the wall. We sat on their delightful patio because L.A. is so nice and warm when the sun comes out. Their pastries looked beautiful but we had a flight to catch so we had their Squash soup and Rice Porridge.
Both of these dishes were absolutely gorgeous to look at. The squash soup was so comforting with dill, mini-flowers, and bread chunks on the bottom adding a crunchy texture. Their Rice Porridge was another visual symphony, with diverse textures and subtle flavors. It wasn’t super flavorful but the burnt onion was the best part of it with the butter oozing out of it surrounded by caramelized broccoli and kale. I recommend this spot for an off the beaten path experience in the sunshine.
- That’s it for my long list of veggie-friendly L.A. spots. L.A.’s food scene is extremely diverse, unique, and with pockets of affordability. To the next time! Time to fly back to the cold! Click here for my other travel posts!