10 Upscale Restaurants in L.A. Perfect for Vegan Holiday Dining
It seems like every week a new vegan fast food spot is coming onto the LA scene—great, keep those Impossible Burgers coming! But for those occasions that call for a luxury foodie moment, where can you find the ultimate vegan fine-dining experience? As you plan your fancy holiday dinner out—whether it’s date night for two or dinner with the in-laws—we’ve got you covered with these upscale culinary hot spots!
Plant Food + Wine
If you want thoughtful plant-based food from a seasoned vegan chef then head to Plant Food + Wine (PFW). Situated on the upper end of the popular Abbot Kinney strip in Venice, PFW delivers on all fronts. Entrées are modestly portioned, so make sure to start with some appetizers to share and the artisanal cheese sampler—a fun way to start the meal. If you can, sit outside on the back patio surrounded by the beautiful light-strung trees. Take in the elegant and minimalist ambiance as you enjoy this Venice oasis.
Culver City and DTLA
Tucked in a nondescript building off of Washington Blvd. is Shojin, a small high-end Japanese restaurant. Not only is the food delicious and made from scratch daily, each dish is a true work of art. From creative sushi rolls to other classic Japanese inspired dishes, you’ll be hard pressed to resist ordering one of everything on the menu. But to help guide you, the Sweet Orange “Chicken,” the Spicy “Tuna” on Crispy Rice, and the Shojin Dynamite Roll are all a must.
For that white tablecloth, classic fine-dining Hollywood glam experience, let Craig’s in West Hollywood wine and dine you. And don’t mind the paparazzi camped out outside; Craig’s is a hotbed for celebrities. On the menu you’ll find an entire section of exclusive vegan options. You can get your fix of classic Italian fare with the Vegan Chicken Parmigiana and Vegan Sausage Pizza, to name a few. They even have a vegan dessert menu offering ice cream (hand-made with rotating flavors—the good creamy kind, not sorbet, thank-vegan-God) and a decadent chocolate mousse. Make sure to peep the extensive wine list and splurge on a nice bottle to pair with your meal.
This is one of those restaurants where you take a vegan-food skeptic. Crossroads is perhaps the OG upscale vegan dining spot in LA, with a 100% plant-based menu made up of Mediterranean-Italian-American fusion. The vibe is cool with a splash of elegance, lots of comfortable booth seating, plus a bar. If you’re catching a nightcap here—which you definitely should for any occasion—they serve a late-night bar menu starting at 10 p.m. You’ll find a small selection with about 10 items, but it’s pretty inexpensive with all the essentials like Impossible Sliders and a Brownie Sundae.
Beauty & Essex
With beautiful decor and ambiance, this ultra chic restaurant is a must-visit to satiate your upscale dining desires. You’ll be happy to know that this Michelin-recommended restaurant has a separate vegan menu with many options … just as satisfying as the “beautiful people watching.” (They also have a separate gluten-free menu.) On the vegan menu you’ll find items like the Veggie Meatballs and Thai BBQ Roasted Mushrooms. If you opt for a cocktail (or three) with your meal it will set you back $17 a piece, but after an incredible dinner set in a restaurant like no other, it will be well worth it.
For upscale Mexican food served against impeccably tasteful décor and an ultra trendy vibe, visit Toca Madera. The dim lighting will get you in the mood for one of their craft cocktails to pair alongside any of the many vegan dishes. While Toca Madera is not an exclusively vegan restaurant, they do have a separate vegan menu. You will be in heaven with a plethora of dishes to choose from. Try the Vegan Ceviche, Chile Relleno, enchiladas, and more.
Santa Monica and West Hollywood
A steakhouse? Yes! BOA offers a separate vegan entrée section to please its plant-based connoisseurs. It’s a modest selection, but effective with three satisfying entrees to choose from. The Nidi Bolognese is prepared with an almond ricotta “cheese,” rich and delicious. A number of their sides are also vegan, but not labeled “V,” so just check with your server and they can help guide you.
We should commend Catch for its clear “V” labels. Despite being a seafood restaurant, it has gone the extra step to show veg eaters they’re welcome. Catch provides clear labels on each dish (V = vegan, GF = gluten-free, and DF = dairy-free) which takes the stress out of ordering for the dietary sensitive. They also have a “Signature Vegan” section with several items like their Buffalo Cauliflower served with a spicy vegan mayo, and a Sweet Potato Gnocchi. On top of some thoughtful veg options, the décor is lovely, very flower-forward with an outdoor patio that boasts stunning views of downtown LA and the Hollywood Hills.
Nic’s on Beverly
This plant-based restaurant gem opened June of 2019, and so far has been a hit with vegans and omnivores alike. While this spot leans a little more on the elevated casual side (nice, but not fine dining), you’ll appreciate the blend of Asian and American food options. According to the restaurant, some of their most popular dishes are the Detroit Style Wood-Fired Pizza, French Onion Soup and the Benedict. They also have an extensive all-vegan wine list and for special occasions they’ll create “animal spirit cocktail art” made with rice paper.
This is not in LA, but certainly worth mention if you’re seeking a nearby veg-friendly holiday getaway. The Four Seasons, The Biltmore Santa Barbara is a go-to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, and their Bella Vista restaurant will make your vegan fine-dining goals a reality. The restaurant recently launched a new menu with it’s plant-based offerings as the star of the show. The plant-based options were created in collaboration with vegan chef Leslie Durso, who also spent time at the resort educating and training staff. You can trust your food-preference needs will be well accommodated. If you go in December, you’ll also enjoy the beautiful and festive holiday decor throughout the beachfront resort.
Anna is a contributing author for a number of publications covering veg-friendly lifestyle, food, culture and travel. She also is the founder of PlantBasedPopUp, a fine-dining pop-up experience that hosts wine and food pairing dinners while also advocating more chefs and restaurants to add dedicated plant-based food items to their menus.
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