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Food

22 Healthy L.A. Restaurants to Try If You’re Sticking to a New Year’s Resolution

January 13, 2016 by Karin E. Baker

If you’re like most Angelenos, eating healthy is near the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions. Thankfully, we live in a city with a myriad of restaurants to help you eat healthfully.

The concept of healthy has different definitions for everyone — you’ll find plenty of people espousing the Paleo diet, while many others insist that veganism/raw food/ vegetarianism/gluten-free is the way to go.

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We here at We Like L.A. want to help you stick to your goals by suggesting not only healthy but delicious spots that won’t derail your and eating and nutritional goals for 2016.

[RELATED10 Super Fun Ways to Get Fit in L.A. Without Joining a Gym]

Below you’ll find inspiration for places where you can indulge a little, along with places to go if you’re just aiming for clean, organic chow.

List starts after the jump in no particular order.

1. Baroo

Boasting a chef trained in Michelin-starred restaurants, Baroo is an East Hollywood hole-in-the-wall located at one of Hollywood’s more rundown intersections. Named for the bowl that Buddhist monks use for their meals for their entire lives, Baroo’s food is local, experimental, sustainable, and organic. Fermenting and pickling jars abound and the food is artfully prepared and served. Housemade kombucha comes in flavors like elderflower or rose and passionfruit. You’ll want try try such dishes as handmade pasta with spicy faux-oxtail ragu, noorook (mixed grains with roasted koji beet cream, kombu dashi, seeds, macadamias, fingerlime, and a rose onion pickle, or kimchi fried rice with pineapple jalapeño salsa, gremolata and a sous vide egg. To get an extra dose of probiotics order up the pickle sampler it’s what they do best.

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2. Akasha

Located in Downtown Culver City,  Akasha offers healthy farm-to-table comfort cuisine made with organic produce sourced from local farms. Owner and Chef Akasha Richmond creates dishes inspired by her travels, with a particularly strong Asian influence. Some of the best choices here include nutrient-dense ginger-chicken bone broth, persimmon salad, and Punjabi mung beans and rice with tomato chutney and raita. Cocktail fans will want to try Akasha’s alcoholic libations made with fresh-pressed juices, syrups and bitters from seasonal produce.

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3. SunCafe Organic

This Studio City vegetarian spot is known for its sweet kale shake — word has it it’s LA’s best smoothie. Mostly vegan, SunCafe also has numerous raw food options. You’ll want to try the raw Lettuce Leaf Tacos (stuffed with SunChorizo, cashew cheese, pico de gallo, chipotle aioli, and cilantro), the Portobello Sandwich, and the Kale Colossus salad.

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4. Au Lac

Au Lac began in Fountain Valley in 1997 after its owner overcame cancer with the help of a plant-based diet, and its second location opened in Downtown LA a year ago. Putting a spin on traditional Vietnamese cuisine, this vegan eatery also features innovative raw dishes and is popular with vegans and carnivores alike. Among the best, health-giving dishes made by Chef Ito are Humanese soup (cilantro-flax broth, coconut, avocado and tamari), curried rice, and crimini pesto mushrooms stuffed with Thai basil, pine nuts, bell pepper, and sprouts. Indulge in the organic wines and cocktails or keep it simple with their delicious water filtered by reverse osmosis.

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5. Gracias Madre

Located in West Hollywood, Gracias Madre is a beautiful vegan Mexican restaurant from the people behind Café Gratitude. Among the most noteworthy items are coconut ceviche tostadas, gorditas made with a potato-masa cake, a quesadilla filled with butternut squash and caramelized onions, and mushroom and mole tacos. The cocktail menu highlights small-batch tequilas and mezcals, are made with house made bitters and shrubs, and include such drinks as a Mexican variation on the White Russian, The Dude Abides, made with almond milk horchata, mezcal, and vanilla cinnamon agave.

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6. Elf Cafe

One of the first restaurants to offer a kale salad worth eating, Elf Cafe, located in Echo Park, has been wowing Angelenos for nearly ten years. This vegetarian restaurant with lots of vegan and gluten-free options is open for dinner and Sunday brunch. Chef David Martinez, formerly of Soho House, offers tantalizing veggie-centric dishes with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. The menu is ever changing due to using seasonal produce, but the kofta with saffron couscous and Moroccan vegetable tagine seem to be a constant, much-loved options.

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8. M Cafe

Offering contemporary macrobiotic cuisine, M Cafe has three beautiful locations on Melrose Avenue and in Beverly Hills and Brentwood. Refraining from the use of refined sugars, eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry, M Cafe boasts innovative offerings like a breakfast enchilada (a brown rice tortilla filled with scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, pinto beans, avocado, and soy cheese), the M Chopped Salad with herb-baked tofu and tempeh bacon crumbles, and seasonally inspired sushi bento boxes.

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9. The Springs

Located in the Downtown Arts District, The Springs is a raw vegan restaurant and organic juice bar. There’s also a wellness center where you can take a yoga class before or after your super healthy meal. Top choices include the Nacho Salad with cashew sour cream, spicy “tuna” roll, or the Tea Leaf Salad, composed of tea leaves, kale, romaine, chili-lime vinaigrette, pumpkin seeds, sesame, cashews, cherry tomatoes cilantro, sprouts, and avocado.

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[RELATED15 Spots For the Best Vegan Food in Los Angeles]

10. The Gadarene Swine

The Gadarene Swine in Studio City offers creative, elevated takes on the vegetable in a fine-dining atmosphere where Chef Phillip Frankland Lee of Scratch Bar prepares produce in simple yet original ways. Something as simple as rounds of sourdough topped with crushed tomato oil, olive-stuffed olives and mushrooms with burnt sweet potato explode with flavor. The peanut butter and jelly tastes like no PB&J you’ve ever experienced: fresh PB is topped with crushed prunes, arugula, sliced onions, and pickled vegetables. Try these innovations a la carte or put yourself in Chef Lee’s hands with one of his tasting menus.

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11. LifeFood Organic

This live and raw food restaurant/juice bar began in Hollywood’s Cahuenga Corridor and opened a second location in Santa Monica in 2014. A true oasis of health, LifeFood’s most popular options include raw pizza, gluten-free desserts made without refined sugars, kelp noodles with pesto, the vitamin B energy elixir, and made-to-order juices.

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12. Pine and Crane

Located in Silver Lake, Pine & Crane offers affordable Taiwanese-Chinese cuisine in a fast-casual setting of gorgeous simplicity. Obtaining many of its vegetables from their family’s Asian vegetable farm, Pine & Crane’s hallmarks are seasonality, high quality, small plates, and numerous vegan options. Try the Taiwanese sticky rice, the dan dan noodles, the three cup jidori chicken, and the sautéed celtuce and mushrooms.

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13. Follow Your Heart

This Canoga Park stalwart has been serving vegetarian food since 1970, when it was owned by Johnny Weissmuller, a movie actor famed for playing Tarzan in the 1930s. This cafe and market still retain a bit of a hippie vibe, which only lends to its charm. Famous for creating Veganaise, Follow Your Heart offers straightforward vegetarian dishes like the classic avocado, tomato and sprouts sandwich, nutburgers, and wok-fried vegetables with brown rice, along with fantastic tempeh tacos, vegan “huevos” rancheros, and salads with your choice of 13 different house made vegan dressings.

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14. Crossroads

This West Hollywood fine-dining hotspot is a vegan place with lots of appeal to carnivores, thanks to creative, flavor-packed dishes like artichoke oysters (artichoke leaves topped with artichoke puree, crispy oyster mushrooms, yellow tomato bearnaise, and kelp caviar), Bloomsdale Spinach Salad (topped with crispy smoked mushrooms, crumbled almond ricotta, crispy shallots, and warm black garlic vinaigrette), and “calimari” made with hearts of palm.

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We couldn't be more excited to share with you our latest creation, the Crossroads SEAFOOD TOWER! Available for a limited-engagement, now through mid-September only, our tower spotlights some of our favorite ingredients including the star of the dish – Lobster Mushrooms grown in Southern Oregon. The two-level tower showcases a platter of precious ingredients such as the Hearts of Palms used for our Calamari. Recognized as the Peach Palm, we sought this particular palm located in Costa Rica where it is cultivated with sustainable practices in mind. FRESH HEARTS OF PALM CALAMARI🌴 CASINO STYLE SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS ARTICHOKE OYSTER MUSHROOM ROCKEFELLER LOBSTER MUSHROOM COCKTAIL🍄 HEARTS OF PALM SALAD louie style SMOKED CARROT LOX kelp caviar, almond-milk Crème fresh SHIITAKE OYSTER STYLE SHOOTER choice of vodka or tequila HOUSE COCKTAIL SAUCE HOUSE TARTAR SAUCE HOUSE MIGNONETTE PARKER-HOUSE ROLLS🔪 Thursday- Saturdays only

A photo posted by Crossroads Kitchen (@crossroadskitchen) on

15. Beaming

Cleanses can be hard to stick to, as most require consuming only juice. Beaming, however, is unique: it’s the only eatery in Southern California offering cleanses in which food is a major component. Avoid feeling deprived at this superfood cafe that offers salads and soups with cleansing properties, along with protein-dense smoothies, nutrient-packed juices and superfood elixirs. Everything here is made in house (even the nut milks), and is vegan, low in sugar and free of gluten, dairy and preservatives. Beaming has three locations in LA: West Hollywood, Brentwood and Santa Monica.

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The Pikey

This healthy British gastropub serves fresh organic produce in a lively atmosphere. Yes, there’s meat too but it’s free-range, local, and organic too. On your quest to eat healthfully, stay away from the thrice-cooked chips and order a dish like the sautéed broccoli rabe with chili and fennel, the vegan curry, or the roasted beet with tzitziki, feta, and pistachio granola.

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16. Rawvolution

Raw, vegan, and organic, with an extensive menu, Rawvolution is located in Santa Monica. The kitchen is presided over by Matt Amsden, regarded as one the world’s premier raw-food chefs. Rawvolution serves breakfast, Mexican food, sushi, soups, salads, juice, organic wine, gruit beers and much more. Favorites include coconut jerky with cashew mayo dipping sauce, the tiger rolls, and the Enlightenment Salad with kale, nori, avocado, hemp seeds, tabouli, and olives. They also make beautiful chocolate truffles in-house infused with rose, filled with almond butter and cocoa.

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17. Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine

One of the most popular Ethiopian restaurants in Los Angeles is vegan. Owner and Chef Rahel Woldmedhin founded Messob back in 1985, still one of LA’s top Ethiopian places to eat. She left to open her vegan eatery in 2000, to positive reviews that now rival her first restaurant. Try the Millennium Special, a ten-item combo that includes pumpkin stew, tomato mixed with injera, dessert and much more, or the beloved, inexpensive lunch buffet.

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18. Sage Organic Vegan Bistro

Sage has three locations — Echo Park, Pasadena, and Culver City — all offering organic, plant-based cuisine with produce that’s locally sourced. Chef Mollie Engelhart grew up vegan so she knows how to a thing or two about whipping up delicious fare like the flavorful fare like jackfruit nachos and bhan mi. The Soul Bowl made with black beans, sweet potato, kale, quinoa, a mac and cheese ball, and a biscuit is a fan favorite.

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The Vegan Nachos with jackfruit "taco meat" AMAZING 🙌 #vegan #echopark #sage

A photo posted by We Like L.A. (@welikela) on

19. Sqirl

Serving breakfast till its 4:00pm closing time, Silver Lake hotspot Sqirl began as a wildly creative preserves shop, then segued into a restaurant. Though you can get a few meat items, Sqirl offers lots of choice vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. Try the pesto rice bowl, the green eggs and jam tartine (creamed spinach, onion jam, toad in a hole, and arugula), or the burnt brioche toast topped with ricotta and seasonal jam.

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20. True Food Kitchen

Offering an anti-inflammatory diet via its vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes and juices, True Food Kitchen offers three LA-area locations, in Santa Monica, Pasadena, and El Segundo. Some of the most-loved items here are the bison burger, the spaghetti squash casserole, red chili shrimp with sesame noodles, and the panang curry with tofu.

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Do I have to share these? Edamame Dumplings with Daikon Radish & White Truffle Oil. #vegetarian #simpleingredients

A photo posted by True Food Kitchen (@true_food_kitchen) on

21. The Tuning Fork

The Tuning Fork, located in Studio City, is a gastropub offering sustainable wines, craft beers, and food for carnivores and vegans alike. Resist the pulled pork and go for the ratatouille, the warm spinach salad with butternut squash and white balsamic maple vinaigrette, or the cauliflower flatbread.

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22. Shojin

A sushi restaurant with no fish? Shojin more than makes up for the absence of fish with their innovative takes on Japanese food. The vegan and macrobiotic menu appeals to all sorts of eaters. Menu highlights include Pirates of the Crunchy (fried tempeh and gluten-free tempura flakes with spicy mayo and dynamite sauce on a cucumber, shisho, and avocado roll), BBQ seitan, and crispy rice topped with spicy tofu. Find Shojin in Downtown Los Angeles and Culver City.

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Honorable mentions (aka, more healthy options)

A Votre Sante

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Cafe Gratitude

EVO Kitchen

Flore Vegan

Hugo’s

locali

Paru’s

Seed Kitchen

Urth Caffe

Native Foods

Golden Mean

What are your favorite healthy spots to eat at in L.A.? Let us know in the comments below!

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