Step foot onto one of Los Angeles’ most celebrated and most vital arteries–Sunset Boulevard–and you’re stepping into both the history and the future of this booming city.
If you could travel back in time 150 years or so—decades before Norma Desmond made her famous staircase descent in the movie named after the iconic thoroughfare; before it became a hotbed of prostitution and crowded rock clubs—Sunset Blvd. divided orchards and vineyards that sat at the heart of what’s now Hollywood. These days, though, the 22-mile stretch of Sunset is taking on another designation: it’s the road to the city’s best vegan food spots.
There’s no shortage of vegan dining options in Los Angeles—and not surprisingly, much of it is positioned on Sunset Blvd. Stretching from Downtown LA all the way through to the Pacific Ocean, Sunset winds through the popular neighborhoods of Echo Park, Silver Lake, Los Feliz, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills.
According to Google Maps, at least 20 dedicated vegan or vegan -friendly restaurant options can be found on Sunset Blvd. Heading west from Downtown, Echo Park’s iconic Sage Organic Bistro is a dining must for vegans, but it also attracts nonvegans too with its scrumptious menu offerings like jackfruit tacos, the gluten-free bowl of soul, and of course, the nondairy ice creams (some contain honey) offered by the in-house ice cream shop KindKreme.
Just a few doors down, alongside its regular menu Masa of Echo Park Bakery and Cafe serves up scrumptious vegan deep-dish Chicago-style pizzas with veggie pepperoni and vegan cheese.
Venture across the street into Lassen’s, the health food store stocked with vegan snacks, chocolates, and more.
Cross over Alvarado Street heading west, and you immediately have two equally enticing choices: Elf, the Moroccan-inspired vegetarian café, or Mohawk Bend, where everything on the menu is vegan unless otherwise noted. The former movie theater boasts an inviting atmosphere and a delicious list of craft beers that go perfectly with its vegan pizzas and that addictive buffalo cauliflower appetizer. Sit outside in the front patio where your eyes might spot another vegan mecca of sorts, PETA’s Los Angeles headquarters, and the soon to be home of Cinnaholic, the vegan Cinnabon.
There’s a vegan donut shop a little down the road, Donut Farm, which sells creative flavors like salted caramel, green tea, and the traditional glazed from a punk-rock outfitted spot in a tiny strip mall.
If donuts are too dangerous for your waistline, stop into Moon Juice, another few doors down for cold-pressed vegan juices, smoothies, and snacks.
Samosa House Silver Lake serves up vegan Indian food just down the road from another LA vegan mainstay, MooShoes, the vegan footwear transplant from New York City, which frequently hosts vegan popups with yummy treats from food trucks like Plant Food for People. The popups are often connected to animal charities and other vegan causes, so be sure to check them out.
In the heart of Silver Lake is Flore Vegan, the longtime café famous for its generous portions and delicious made-from-scratch menu items including the broccoli kale burger and that ever-addictive Reuben.
The fresh juice and smoothies at Naturewell, just next door to Flore are all vegan, and so are the juices and smoothies across the street at Juice Served Here.
Veggie Grill, the popular vegan fast-food destination, has two Sunset Blvd. locations—one in Hollywood next to the ArcLight theater, and the other in West Hollywood, just east of the Sunset Strip.
While in West Hollywood, every vegan visits Vromage, the vegan cheese shop that makes truly cultured vegan cheeses from a variety of nuts. It’s a droolworthy experience that will convince even the most committed dairy eater that vegan cheese—good vegan cheese, that is—is totally legit.
There are dozens more spots suited for vegans too: Paru’s Indian, Vegan House, and My Vegan are popular vegan hotspots. You can get vegan waffles at The Waffle in Hollywood, or stuffed French Toast at Elderberries Threefold Café, a vegan, organic, gluten- and soy-free café that claims to be striving to “cultivate renewal in our local community in the economic, political, and cultural realms.”
According to PETA, Los Angeles is home to more vegan and veg-friendly spots than any other U.S. city. Not surprising, considering the size of the town. And for vegans living near Sunset Blvd., you’ll never have to venture much further, either.
image via Veggie Grill