Recommendations for vegetarian-friendly spots to take visitors

I have a somewhat complex situation coming up in June. I’m hosting several of my extended family from New Hampshire the week before my sister’s wedding. I love taking east-coasters who have never been to LA or CA for great food experiences they won’t have anywhere else. I normally don’t need help in going so but this is a special situation:

I’ll be hosting a group of 3, 2 of whom are vegetarians (adults). The third person is a teenager, and there’s also will be a 4-month old baby.

I’ll then be hosting a group of 7, at least 2 vegetarians but they will eat seafood. There’s also 3 kids in this group ranging from 3-10, and will need recommendations that accept reservations.

I live in El Sereno/border Alhambra/SouthPas/East LA/Lincoln Park. I’m sure I’ll take them several places across LA so I’m open to recommendations anywhere.

I’d like to take them for good, real Mexican, but my go to spots are Guisados or kind of holes in the wall that probably won’t work for a strict vegetarian. I thought maybe Loteria Grill, but wasn’t sure if anyone had better/additional ideas.

I thought perhaps Thai might be good for this particular group.

Any other suggestions to give them a good LA food experience within these parameters?

There ARE meat-eaters in the group so I don’t want to cater totally to the veggies, so as long as it’s a place with a good mix, or with seafood, it will work.

TIA!

I would say that Pine & Crane in SIlver Lake might fit the bill for you. The caveat being that it’s a bit small, and the parking is terrible on Saturdays due to its proximity to the farmer’s market.

Pine & Crane
1521 GRIFFITH PARK BLVD.
LOS ANGELES, CA 90026
(323) 668-1128
WEDNESDAY - MONDAY 12PM-10PM, CLOSED TUESDAYS
http://www.pineandcrane.com/menu/

I’ll see if I can think of any other restaurants that would please carnivores and vegetarians alike.

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Hi @Linda_Beth,

Welcome to FTC! :slight_smile:

You might consider:

  • Gjelina - I wrote up some thoughts a while back (link here). Wonderful food.

  • Gjusta - The sister restaurant to Gjelina, it’s far more casual, can get crowded, but for the small group (3) that could work since it’s limited seating. But so amazing food (pics and thoughts here).

  • Kismet - Newly opened (definitely make reservations beforehand). Interesting dishes, farmers market driven California cuisine through the lens of Israel, Yemen and beyond (link here).

  • Inaba - Tempura specialist. You can order individual pieces of delicious, made-to-order crispy Tempura. It has a wide variety of veggies, seafood and meat. :slight_smile: (link here)

Hope this helps!

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Gjusta
Gjelina
Mozza
Bizarra Capital

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PYT

Spring

Sea Harbour

Revolutionario

Babita

Broken Spanish

Connie & Ted’s

Lost at Sea

Newport Seafood

626 Lobster

Vege Paradise

Chang’an Restaurant

Sqirl

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+1 for PYT.

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Baco Mercat has great vegetable dishes.

Oaxacan menus are usually good for vegetarians.

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In your hood…

Mariscos Los Lechugas…for Mexican seafood.

Mariscos Jalisco…ditto

The Lincoln Heights Elote/Esquite/Corn On Cob Guy.

El Huarachito…does a good chilaquiles.

Echo Park Blue Corn Quesdilla Cart…you can do squash blossoms or corn fungus.

Tacos Quetzalcoatl does the best vegetarian tacos in LA. Guerrilla Tacos always has at least one veg option, usually the sweet potato.

Pine and Crane is very vegetarian friendly, don’t forget to get a plate of greens and some of the cold marinated veggies. Or you can hit up Happy Family in Monterey Park.

You gotta hit up Mae Tings Coconut Cakes at LAX-C on the weekends. Those warm coconut cakes are one of my favorite things to eat. Here’s a tip: the son who works there is very knowledgeable in Thai food and Thai restaurants and will steer you in the right direction.

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If you are heading down to Anaheim/OC for Disneyland you gotta hit up Kareem’s in Anaheim’s Little Arabia

Yes, great ideas. I have enjoyed Gjelina in the past, and Inaba has been on my list so good reminder for that as well.

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none of these are near you but,

AYARA THAI CUISINE in westchester will make dishes to order that omit the fish sauce used in so many thai dishes. they also include tofu as one of the protein sources that can be chosen for all their stir-fry dishes

for the mexican,
GRACIAS MADRE in west hollywood doesn’t add lard to everything as so many other mexican restaurants do.

for persian,
SHAMSHIRI GRILL would be my choice, they offer a TON of vegetarian menu items

for italien, NOT high end but very serviceable
C & O CUCINA
approachable dishes that work for kids and adults, terrific garlic knots, good salads, good prices. a dedicated parking lot. will take reservations.
C&O CUCINA is my go-to spot for parties like yours. i’ve used it for graduations, wedding groups, etc.
they have been able to accommodate every kind of large mixed bag group i’ve thrown at them.

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No lard, no meat, no fish, no cheese. Vegan.

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@Chowseeker1999 at Gjusta they now have a person making seating arrangements so it is actually really convenient because people cannot simply save seats. They also take your dishes away so people aren’t just mingling and taking up space. Last time we went, seating was a breeze.

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Gracias Madre is a particularly good time when the bar is busy. Crossroads is the high end option.

I like All-India Cafe as a casual spot in West LA. I think they have a branch in Pasadena? Not sure what Indian food is like on the East Coast.

+1 on Newport Seafood, Sqirl (so very L.A.), Connie & Ted’s, Gjusta, and Sea Harbour.

I like Javan (in WLA) better than Shamshiri Grill.

Since people are throwing out places on the westside, I think something like FuRaiBo or Takuma are good (both are relatively inexpensive). And walking along Sawtelle might be fun for your family.

Erven is very tasty (vegan), and the food shouldn’t too strange for the less adventurous. It ain’t cheap, though. Lunch is also more affordable than dinner (and it’s a totally diff menu). You could take them on a stroll through Santa Monica and the beach beforehand.

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+1 for Revolutionario listed above

+1 also for Oaxacan food - Rocio’s, specifically, is fantastic and great for vegetarians and omnivores alike.

Guisados actually works well for vegetarians - the calabacitas, hongos, and quesadillas are great - though I haven’t specifically asked about their use of lard, for fear of crossing another off of the list of places I can go with my veggie family members.

Mexicali will make any of their dishes vegetarian, with a pile of grilled veggies instead of meat, and the salsas/garlic sauce are good enough that it works pretty well.

Coni’Seafood, BS Taqueria, and La Cabañita are also fun pescatarian-friendly options for a sit-down dinner.

Din Tai Fung and Hui Tou Xiang, among others, would also make for cool and do-able vegetarian LA dinners.

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Guisados says “our vegetarian options are not vegan,” so it seems unlikely they’re not vegetarian.

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In addition to everyone’s great recommendations above, check out Necco Japanese Tapas if you’re in the west side (Westwood, specifically). It’s a bit small for a bit group, but the menu has good options for vegetarians, pescetarians, and omnivores alike. There are easy lunch options, and the dinner menu has a few more options.

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cacao mexicatessan in eagle rock has great vegetarian options. i eat veggie there all the time even though their shrimp burrito is SO GOOD. the panko fried avocado burrito or taco is always a hit.

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I prefer Javan, too, but personally wouldn’t take vegetarians out for Persian food. I’m sure home cooking is a different story, but the menus at Persian restaurants seem very meat-centric to me. There are veggie versions of the stews, but they tend to be the same as the meat versions, just minus the meat. I’ve also noticed my vegetarian friends tend to order non-Persian items like hummus and falafel. I can’t help thinking a middle eastern place like Marouch or Hummus Bar would be a better choice for vegetarians.

Also, while the Indian food is pretty good back East, I would suggest trying Samosa House West on Washington. I also had an absolutely delicious vegetarian dum biryani at Zafran Pot the other day.

Another great choice would be an Ethiopian place like Awash or Meals by Genet.

Thai and Mexican are top notch in this city, but your vegetarian companions should be prepared to follow a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy at those places, as fish sauce and lard, respectively, are standard ingredients.

Good call. I had a delightful dinner at Necco the other night. Don’t sleep on the salads – super fresh and delicious. Like you say, though, seating is limited, so make a reservation for any group.

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