The Economist says 2019 is the year of the vegan, claiming a quarter of American millennials identify as vegan or vegetarian.
There’s been a lot of talk of those plant-based burgers that look and taste like meat. You can get the Impossible Burger at Tony's Darts Away in Burbank, Burger King wants to sell an Impossible Whopper, and Fat Burger offers an Impossible patty. “The Impossible meat burgers and the sausages are a great way for people who haven't made it into trying vegan or vegetarian food, and it actually tastes good,” says Eater LA’s Mona Holmes.
California’s agriculture also makes it easy for the plant-based movement to thrive here. “We have the highest output of produce. And because we have easy access to these vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, it makes sense that the vegetarian or vegan movement would be here,” says Holmes. “It's easier to experiment when your spinach is grown 60 miles that way, and that you know your farmers. But I also do believe that Californians are more open to new things, no matter whether it's meat based or not.”
Some of Holmes’ favorite spots include:
Stuff I Eat - 114 N. Market Street, Inglewood, CA 90301
This health-centric vegan restaurant opened in 2008 during the recession, and offers 95% organic food. They promise no refined sugars, artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. Some of their offerings include a nut burger featuring a patty made of cashews, walnuts and wild rice; and a Lava Burrito with portobello mushrooms, broccoli, black beans, and more.
Monty’s Good Burger - 516 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020
This vegan spot offers artisanal burgers featuring the Impossible patty, tater tots, shoestring fries, and more. Monty’s aims to “do good” by paying staff a living wage, locally sourcing ingredients, and serving food on compostable materials.
Equelecuá Cuban Vegan Café - 1120 West Florence Ave, Inglewood, CA 90301
Equelecuá is the first ever all-Cuban vegan restaurant. They serve traditional Cuban dishes that include vegan versions of shredded “beef,” pulled “pork,” pan-seared “cod,” and more. Dessert includes rice pudding, and organic tropical-flavored cupcakes.
Hinterhof - 4939 York Blvd.Los Angeles, CA
This vegan biergarten in Highland Park offers a dozen German beers on tap, coffee, and traditional German food all day. Plus, their vegan sausages and bread are made on-site, and the dessert menu features vegan ice cream.
Nic’s - 8265 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
Nic Adler has been vegan for decades. He’s in charge of the food at Coachella, and has been bringing more and more vegan and vegetarian options there. His new restaurant is expected to open this summer.
-Written by Amy Ta, produced by Kathryn Barnes