Have you ever dated a vegetarian and everything is going great until you both get hungry?
Have you found yourself on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to choosing a restaurant?
Nothing kills an appetite quicker than conflict.
People say a good relationship is based on compromise but who really wants to compromise?
Thankfully L.A. is filled with options where you can get great vegetarian and non-vegetarian cuisine all at the same spot.
Chef’s like Phillip Frankland Lee, Kenji Koyama and Josef Centeno have seamlessly upgraded the vegetable to entree status and no one seems to be complaining. In fact, it’s become sort of the norm in a number of establishments that aren’t limited to just vegan or vegetarian fare.
So if you’re dating a vegetarian but can’t pass up a good steak, short rib taquitos or fried chicken and waffles then take your sweetie to one of the below options where carnivores and vegetarians can coexist in harmony.
List starts after the jump in no particular order.
1. Necco in Westwood
Over on the westside there is a intimate Japanese tapas restaurant where the staff is friendly and the Chef is inventive, passionate and skilled in creating plates that delight his patrons. Though the food may look high-end the attitude is rooted in approachability. It’s also where I encountered one of the best roasted duck breast in all of Los Angeles. Beyond the duck, Chef Kenji also revived my fondness for soy through a Japanese pancake called okonomiyaki made entirely of organic tofu, edamame and about 10 other vegetables.
2. Pine & Crane
For the couple craving Taiwanese-Chinese food try Pine & Crane in Silver Lake. Produce is regularly sourced from the chef’s local family farm and changes frequently ranging from sweet potato leaves, baby bok choy to sweet pea shoots. Entrees like the vegan Dan Dan noodles can be enjoyed by all and the beef noodles are a home run for carnivores craving soup.
3. Masa of Echo Park
It’s difficult enough to track down a decent Chicago style deep dish pie here in L.A. but to find a vegan one? Impossible. Unless you find yourself at Echo Parks Masa, where they use Teese Mozzarella from Chicago Soydairy and cornmeal for the crust. Order up a vegan or regular deep dish just be prepared to wait close to 45 minutes, greatness takes time but it sure beats a flight to Chi-town. Pro tip: There is an option to give them a call to order it in advance and you might need it on a weekend because it gets crowded quickly.
4. The Daily Dose
Sarkis Vartanian knows how to work with his surroundings, he managed to turn an alley in the DTLA Arts District into a pretty and romantic spot. Driven by a responsible and healthy lifestyle The Daily Dose only incorporates ethically raised animals and local or organic produce into their dishes. Vegetarians will love The Farmer a burrata veggie sandwich and for the meatcentric they carry top notch deli meats. If you stop by for dinner “The Neon Blush” is the way to go vegetarian or not -it’s a well rounded sampler plate with a brie and leek omelette, Okinawa yams, heirloom pico de gallo, toast with pear jam and a arugula salad.
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5. Bar Amá
Located in the Historic Core of DTLA, Josef Centeno’s Bar Amá serves homestyle Tex Mex inspired by his childhood. The dishes are elevated by quality ingredients and his approach to the shells of items like the chalupa and puffy taco are a hit with all diners. Shrimp chalupas are topped with a mountain of tangy cabbage, short rib taquitos are surprisingly not greasy and squash blossoms are fried and drizzled with honey, showcasing Centeno’s flair for cooking vegetables. In fact a sizable portion of the dinner menu is dedicated to vegetables in season making Bar Amá a popular destination amongst vegans and vegetarians.
[RELATED: The 21 Best Places to Eat in Downtown L.A.]
6. Mohawk Bend
This Echo Park eatery prides itself on providing a menu for everyone. You can see vegan offerings along side gluten free and animal dishes. Sustainability and carefully sourced is important to Mohawk Bend so rest assured you’ll be eating responsibly. Favorites include a buffalo style cauliflower appetizer, fried chicken sandwich and thin crust pizzas. They also serve brunch on the weekends.
7. Un Solo Sol
This eclectic eatery located in Boyle Heights serves international eats with a focus on Latin American dishes that can be made vegetarian and vegan friendly. You’ll find crispy potato taquitos, vegan pazole, tofu saltado and pupusasa on the menu. They are just as delicious as the meat versions which are also available on the menu.
8. Toca Madera
Toca Madera located in the heart of West Hollywood provides an array of options for vegans and meat eaters. The restaurant pairs modern organic Mexican cuisine with fresh seasonal cocktails in a sexy up scale setting, making this a great date spot. Vegan ceviche is translated through a coconut citrus salad, tacos are made with cilantro grilled tofu and on weekends you can find a fried chipotle chicken and churro waffle two ways: one with chicken and another with “vegan” chicken.
9. Scratch Bar & Kitchen
Leave it to Top Chef alum Phillip Frankland Lee to reinvent his restaurant concept into something completely unheard of. At the Encino eatery guest can order one of their nightly tasting menus that range from $40,$80 to $120 a person depending on how much food you want. Each diner is able to create their own tasting experience through a personal assessment by Phillip and his team of chefs. Basically no matter what dietary restrictions a person might have the meal is completely catered to each and every diner individually. Service on a whole other level!
10. Palm Grove Ethiopian Restaurant
The injera bread is perfectly made, the flavors are exquisite and the portions are plentiful here at this Ethiopian spot. Platters are so big they make a perfect family style meal, and you can do it completely vegetarian if you want. For the meat eater who loves a bit of spice the Yawaze tibs is the way to go, it’s a beef dish sautéed with onions, garlic, spiced butter and awaze, a type of Ethiopian chili sauce. Ethiopian food is to be eaten with your hands so consider this a bonding experience.
At Guisados you get Mexican homestyle stews and braised meats wrapped inside a handmade corn tortilla. The Steak picado taco is a popular pick and the six taco sampler is perfect for those who can’t make up their minds. For vegetarians this place offers around five types of vegetable driven tacos they’re so tasty even meat eaters can’t resist.
12. Revolutionario: North African Tacos
French-Algerian chef Farid Zadi is best known for introducing Angelenos to the North African Taco at his Exposition Park eatery Revolutionario. Don’t expect carne asada to be on the menu Zadi’s unique and surprising taco combinations are a game changer with duck hash, cilantro yogurt chicken, smoked lamb among the meat options and roasted cauliflower, black eyed pea falafel and chard vegetables on the vegetarian side. If you and your date love finding hidden gems give this place a try.
13. Bäco Mercat
A little bit Mediterranean a little bit Spanish this DTLA eatery is known for their flatbread sandwich called the Bäco. There are about a dozen vegetable dishes that can be a main course and in every section of the menu there is at least one vegetarian option (there is a veggie Bäco!). Meat-lovers go for the Original Bäco stuffed with pork, beef carnitas and salbitxada. For veggie driven plates the squash blossoms starters and sugar snap peas pear salad make excellent choices.
Where are your favorite date spots for the vegetarian in your life? Let us know in the comments below!