Hungry? Nourish your inner health nut at four new plant-based eateries that manage to please vegans and omnivores alike.
By Heather Platt
Dining trends come and go, but healthy, delicious food never goes out of style. Fortunately, eating your vegetables has never been easier, thanks in part to a handful of new vegan restaurants in Los Angeles.
At Erven in Santa Monica—Los Angeles magazine’s top new restaurant of 2016 and a favorite of Los Angeles Times food critic Jonathan Gold—chef Nick Erven (formerly of Saint Martha) serves inventive dishes in an approachable yet stylish dining room and adjacent marketplace. Erven defies typical vegan-menu expectations with mouthwatering items like savory doughnut holes of sauerkraut and smoky applesauce, shared plates like masa fries with curried lentils and mains like a beer-battered tofu sandwich with slaw. Organic and biodynamic wines complement the cuisine. Dining room and marketplace: L, D (daily). 514-516 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica, 310.260.2255, ervenrestaurant.com
Matthew Kenney NM
Renowned plant-based chef, cookbook author, restaurateur and wellness entrepreneur Matthew Kenney has opened another outpost of his plant-based food empire, and this time it’s conveniently located inside Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills. At Matthew Kenney NM, on the store’s third floor, shoppers can take a break from browsing the racks to refuel with light and healthy dishes such as avocado toast, salads and a vegetable burger. (Kenney’s elegant Plant Food + Wine in Venice is well worth a visit, too.) L (daily). 9700 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310.550.5900, ext. 2314, neimanmarcus.com
Wild Living Foods
At their colorful downtown dining spot, Wild Living Foods, husband-and-wife team Richard Torres and Lizbeth Sanchez set out to share the power and healing qualities of eating “clean,” plant-based foods. With an extensive menu of vegetable-filled soups, sandwiches, “sushi” and more—all prepared at under 118 degrees with the intention of preserving the ingredients’ full nutritional value—they seem to have achieved their goal. The all-day fast-casual restaurant’s warm quinoa bowls and signature salads are go-tos for local lunchers. B, L, D (daily). 760 S. Main St., downtown, 213.266.8254, wildlivingfoods.com
Gratitude is a new concept from the team behind organic, plant-based Café Gratitude, which has three L.A. locations. Joining the already-existing Gratitude in Newport Beach, the upscale Beverly Hills restaurant—which was due to open soon after we went to press—will serve a menu similar to the cafés’, with seasonally driven fare like blackened tempeh Bolognese. In addition to mixing up cold-pressed-juice cocktails, the full bar program will offer classic drinks such as Moscow Mules, margaritas and traditional Old-Fashioneds. Now that’s something to be grateful for. 419 N. Cañon Drive, Beverly Hills, cafegratitude.com