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Photograph: Courtesy Botanica/Alan Gastelum

Here’s where to find L.A.’s best healthy restaurants (that actually taste good)

Sometimes L.A. lives up to its reputation. Lean into wellness with these healthy restaurants that make eating clean fun.

By Stephanie Breijo
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On the grander map of American dining, Los Angeles gets an unfair rap. Look, we’re not all yogis, professional dieters and wellness nuts—but we certainly appreciate the option of healthy restaurants when it feels like we’ve overloaded on the best tacos, burgers and pizza in town. Thankfully, L.A. is a dynamic city, and for all of our “cheat day eats” (whatever those are), we also have restaurants serving healthful, produce-forward cuisine, whether it’s entirely vegan or vegetarian, or a menu everyone can enjoy. Our stellar weather means we’re gifted gorgeous fruits and vegetables year-round, and L.A. chefs know exactly how to use them. Here’s where to find the most creative, delicious healthy restaurants—no formal dieting required.

We’re feeling better already at these healthy restaurants

Bondi Harvest Aussie Cafe in Santa Monica
Photograph: Courtest Yelp/Dave H.

Bondi Harvest

Restaurants Cafés Santa Monica

By now the Australian invasion has marched its way across Los Angeles, taking no prisoners and converting cappuccino fans to flat-white enthusiasts. And while we’re smitten with just about every Aussie café’s coffee and day-long menu of fresh, light bites, Bondi Harvest has all the health-minded, sunshiny basics covered: smoothies, verdant breakfast burritos, salads, tartines, ancient-grain bowls and more—and all just blocks from the beach. Their pancakes sneak in squash and their porridge involves quinoa, but it’s not all whole grains and produce; the beef is grass-fed, the chicken is free-range and the fish is fresh from the market and simply grilled. Perfect pre- or post-beach fuel.

Fruit cake at Botanica in Silver Lake
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Regina B.

Botanica

Restaurants Californian Silver Lake

Part market and bottle shop, part charming California café, Botanica is the restaurant that’s got it all: local produce, biodynamic wines, freshly-baked bread, jarred Middle Eastern spices and other pantry pro picks, not to mention a menu of artful small plates and mains spotlighting sunchokes, seared Brussels sprouts, chicories, za’atar-rubbed chicken and more. The cassoulet vert is a brightly herbaceous affair, with heirloom beans in a garlicky pistou with fresh greens, while meatier dishes such as the chicken congee or the lamb come packed with flavor and protein without being too heavy.

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The Butcher's Daughter vegetarian restaurant in Venice
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Lindsey R.

The Butcher’s Daughter

Restaurants Vegetarian Venice

Maybe it’s all those hanging plants, but one step inside the Butcher’s Daughter and we just feel healthier. The vibe is breezy from morning to night in Abbot Kinney’s “vegetable slaughterhouse,” where the entirely vegetarian menu changes daily—but you can always rest assured there’ll be some form of avocado toast, stone-oven pizzas, and veggies in the form of meat. (Cauliflower T-bone “steak,” anyone?) We recommend stopping by for the cold-pressed juices alone, with a whole selection made from heritage fruits and vegetables (and, if you can believe it, there are even “cold-pressed cocktails”). Snag a seat on the patio and watch the Venice action as you sip biodynamic wines—then grab a bottle and some pantry goods to-go on your way out.

Pesto kelp noodles at Cafe Gratitude
Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

Cafe Gratitude

Restaurants Organic Beverly Hills

Cafe Gratitude is famous for its style of affirmation-based ordering, which means your server might insist that you say, “I am ravishing” instead of “I would like to order the ravioli, which is for some reason listed on the menu as ‘ravishing.’” If they do, that’s OK, because the food is solid and worth that moment of awkwardness. Just think of all the vegan goods you’ll soon be enjoying: flavorful kelp noodles tossed with vegetables; Indian curry bowls; grilled yam with tahini and house hot sauce. At the Beverly Hills location, there’s even a full bar—meaning that those cold-pressed juices and activated charcoal concoctions can even have booze in them. (Because hey, who wants to be entirely healthy?) 

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Crossroads

Restaurants Vegan Melrose

Vegan restaurants might feel de rigueur in L.A. now, but when Tal Ronnen opened Crossroads in 2013, it was one of the first truly upscale restaurants of its kind. Chef to first-name–big celebrities like Oprah and Ellen, Ronnen’s cooking is a cut above: “Oysters” are made out of artichoke purée and crispy oyster mushrooms, topped with yellow-tomato béarnaise and kelp “caviar”; maiitake mushrooms sometimes masquerade as Buffalo wings at the bar; and the almond-ricotta lasagna (that lasagna!) could fool even the most ardent dairy fan. Ideal for a romantic dinner or a cheery brunch, this is a clear pick for vegans, but also for curious omnivores.

Turmeric egg at Honey Hi cafe in Los Angeles Echo Park
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Gia T.

Honey Hi

Restaurants American Echo Park

You’ve probably seen the turmeric-dyed poached eggs all over Instagram, but this darling café makes so much more than those. Honey Hi is the kind of place where your pancakes might involve nutrient-dense flours and your grass-fed lamb sandwich might be buried under preserved lemon and five types of herbs, but you’d never think twice about it because it’s all so delicious—not to mention beautiful. It’s almost like this spot tricks you into eating healthfully, and that’s just fine by us. Just be sure to get there early: This spot closes at 4pm every day.

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Jewel cafe in Silver Lake  vegan and vegetarian food restaurant
Photograph: Courtesy Jewel

Jewel

Restaurants Silver Lake

Looking for lacto-fermented veggies, cold-pressed juice and a vegan-friendly menu without any pretension? Silver Lake’s Jewel is tucked away, a casual, tiny café with a surprisingly lengthy menu. It’s not entirely vegan or gluten-free, but chances are you’ll find much on the menu that’s one or both of these things. There are savory grain bowls studded with poached eggs and green garlic; vegan doughnuts baked fresh; toasts topped with a rainbow of seasonal veggies; almond-ricotta pizzas on activated-charcoal crusts; rice bowls topped with beet sashimi; golden-milk lattes and more.

Photograph: Courtesy Kismet

Kismet

Restaurants Mediterranean Los Feliz

This Mideast-meets-California option in Los Feliz is packed to the gills with excellent shareables and snacks—and we do mean shareables. The menu is designed to be ordered family-style, which is a good thing; with all that fried cauliflower, shakshuka, tender lamb, and every vegetable served with some sort of luscious sauce, you’re going to want to order it all. Sara Kramer and Sarah Hymanson even make the “salad-y” section of their menu appealing, pairing items like marinated feta with roasted beets, and Persian cucumbers with rose-water labneh. Almost everything is sourced from a local, organic and/or sustainable farmer, while the natural-wine list is comprised of small-batch producers. Looking for a bite Downtown? Their sibling spot in Grand Central Market, Kismet Falafel (formerly Madcapra), serves wraps and salads that are just as wholesome and craveable.

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Sousage and polenta at Little Pine
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Little Pine

Restaurants Vegan Silver Lake

Moby’s international claim to fame might be his music, but in Silver Lake, it’s all about his vegan bistro. Little Pine is cute and charming in daylight and romantic and romantic in the evening—and, by the by, it’s run almost entirely by women. Executive chef Laura Louise Oates plates familiar, accessible fare that’s so flavorful, omnivores rarely miss the meat and dairy: arancini with cashew pesto; fluffy, berry-scattered French toast at brunch; mac and “cheese” with toasted breadcrumbs; and “shepherdess pie” with lentils and tempeh, for example. What’s more, 100 percent of the restaurant’s profit aids animal rights organizations, and there’s nothing not to love about that.

Little Prince in Santa Monica
Photograph: Courtesy Little Prince/Andrew Noel and Tegan Butler

Little Prince

Restaurants American Santa Monica

Sure, this is the home of the massive, absolutely-not-healthful oven-roasted cinnamon rolls of our dreams, but Alma chef Ari Taymor didn’t overwhelm the Little Prince menu with extravagant bites. In fact, his Santa Monica spot is full of farmers’ market finds woven into flower-adorned salads, colorful desserts and, one of our favorite dishes on the Westside, a mountain of coconut chips, fresh herbs and Japanese sweet potatoes on a bed of Indonesian-spiced coconut yogurt. This is a spot perfect for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans alike—and if you do like meat, don’t skip the patty melt.

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Looking to try your own hand at healthy eating?

farmers' market
Photograph: Courtesy Caroline Attwood

The best farmers’ markets in L.A.

Restaurants

Without a doubt, Los Angeles has eternal bragging rights when it comes to its phenomenal farmers’ markets. Check out our picks for the best farmers’ markets on the Westside, Eastside and in the Valleys, then grab your reusable bag and start shopping.

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