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Southern California vegan restaurant guide

At Friends of Animals, we advocate a vegan diet as the most direct and life-affirming form of animal rights activism. Vegans often engage in lively discussion about how and why they made the change from animal derivatives to a pure vegetarian lifestyle. Incentives abound: We want to protect the environment, for it is home to us and all other animals. We want to be healthy and fit. We want to stop supporting the major industries that exploit other animals for profit.

As an exciting bonus, when we take animals off the menu we open doors to a whole new array of healthful and delicious foods. Simply put, vegan food tastes good.

Southern California offers a diverse range of vegetarian restaurants, with enough variety to ensure a satisfying meal to fit any price range. No matter what you’re looking for, Los Angeles and the surrounding areas have it all — from classic California cuisine, gourmet raw organic meals to Japanese and Thai fast food, home-style comfort foods or eclectic International feasts.

If you’re touring Hollywood, take a food break in West Hollywood at Real Food Daily, one of three locations. The all-vegan menu complements the relaxing and hip décor. Start out with refreshing homemade Kale ‘n’ Cuke lemonade, paired with a lively Caesar salad topped with wheat-free blue corn croutons and creamy dressing. The Quesadillas De City of Angels, stuffed with squashes, tapioca cheese and caramelized onions and the Sea Cake croquette with pesto sauce are highly recommended starters. You’ll love The Essence of Autumn Entree of stuffed portabella mushroom, savory rice, candied walnut Brussels sprouts and cauliflower mash.

Stop by Santa Monica to experience Planet Raw, the famed gourmet raw organic restaurant headed by celebrity Chef Juliano. Experience a virtual world tour of exquisite healthy food inspired by American, Indian, Italian Japanese, Mexican and Thai dishes. Choices such as the Bacon Western Double Burger, Macho Nachos, Lasagna, Sushi, Jalapeno Poppers and Chocolate-Strawberry Parfaits will forever change the way you think of raw cuisine.

Visit one of ten locations of Veggie Grill, the casual all-vegan mecca of diverse offerings. The All Hail Kale salad with Blackened Chickin’, the Grilled V-Burger with Sweet Potato Fries and the quinoa pasta Mac-n-Cheese are all divine.

And the next time someone asks “but what do you eat?” hand them this guide and treat them to lunch and a learning experience for which their taste buds — and the animals — will thank you. And so do we.

Many vegetarian dishes can be prepared vegan; be sure to inquire. Many restaurants deliver; call them for details. Please call restaurants before visiting to confirm hours, wheelchair access and methods of payment.

Friends of Animals has a new, all vegan cookbook, The Best of Vegan Cooking. Purchase this book online.

Download a FREE Vegan Restaurant Guide or to purchase a print copy for 50 ¢, please use our online store.