A Vegetarian’s Guide to the Food Scene of Westwood and Beyond

Coming to UCLA as a vegetarian I was not too concerned with the food options available to me. What I wasn’t expecting was the variety of restaurants that offered vegetarian options. These places cover a multitude of cuisines and cultures, giving a picky vegetarian like me the opportunity to diversify my diet.  Westwood Village has a lot to offer, but outside the limits of our college town, the West LA vegetarian cuisine is calling your name! 

To get more opinions from fellow Bruins, I asked my plant-based Instagram followers to give me some recommendations of restaurants in Westwood or in the surrounding area that they love. They also listed their favorite dishes! Here’s what they had to say: 

In Westwood … 

Cava is the perfect place for a quick bite! If you love Mediterranean cuisine you will love Cava. They give you the opportunity to create your own pita wrap, grain bowl, greens bowl, or greens and grain bowl. Their ingredients are super fresh and all the toppings take your meal to the next level. 

Recommendations: Falafel Bowl

Elysee 

This bakery is a Westwood classic! Their pastries are absolutely delicious, and they also offer a variety of other options. From omelets to sandwiches, there are a lot of items available for vegetarians! This cafe will transport you to the streets of Paris and is the perfect place to meet your friends for a study date or just for a delicious bite. 

Recommendations: Healthy Elysee, Chocolate Croissant, Crème Brûlée

Olivia Cervantes Llamas

This juice bar is the definition of health! This place has smoothie bowls, juices, and other specialty items. You can also get some gluten-free loaves and salads! With locations throughout LA, the Westwood location is a real blessing. It is the perfect place to get a delicious acai bowl on a hot day, or bring your school work to study.  

Recommendations: the Jungle Amaze Bowl, Modify Juice, and Happy Juice 

Lazy Daisy Cafe

The Lazy Daisy Cafe is new to Westwood and is already making a great impression among students! This cute cafe is aesthetically pleasing and has a lot to offer. Their menu is sure to impress vegetarians and meat-eaters! If you and your friends want to go out for a casual brunch check out the Lasy Daisy Cafe. 

Recommendations: Huevos Rancheros, Tofu Scramble, Veggie Burger, and Tofu Bruschetta 

Mr.Noodle 

Need to satisfy your noodle cravings? Check out Mr.Noodle, this restaurant offers a variety of different kinds of Asian cuisine. Their food is always hot and is perfect for those nights where you are too busy studying to cook. A lot of their noodles can be made vegetarian by having tofu instead of meat! 

Recommendations: Pad See Ew with Tofu, Spring Rolls, Pad Thai with Tofu, and Pad Kee Mau with Tofu (my personal favorite)

Native Foods 

This restaurant was one of the most frequently recommended by my Instagram followers. For those vegans that find comfort in foods like nachos, burgers, and classic American dishes this is worth checking out. If you are a big fan of Veggie Grill, you will fall in love with Native Foods. You will get so lost in the flavor you will forget it is all vegan! 

Recommendations: Jalapeño Burger, Cauliflower Po Boy, Orange Cauliflower, Nachos 

Tocaya 

Another frequently recommended restaurant is Tocaya. This gourmet Mexican place is amazing for when you have gotten tired of Chipotle. Their burritos and bowls offer a huge punch of flavor. There are a variety of options for vegetarians so you will never get bored! 

Recommendations: Fajita Del Ray Bowl, Baja Tacos,  Burrito Mexicano 

… And Beyond 

The Butcher’s Daughter 

Olivia Cervantes Llamas

This vegetarian restaurant is all that! Its Venice location is super popular amongst vegetarian Bruins. The Butcher’s Daughter is an amazing place for fresh bites. This is the perfect spot for brunch with your friends or to take your parents when they come down to visit. They even have a sister restaurant across the street called De Buena Planta. 

Recommendations: Mexican Cacao Elixer Latte, Coconut Yogurt, Basil BLT with Vegan Bacon, Acai Bowl, Avocado Toast 

Crossroads 

This all-vegan restaurant was recommended over and over by vegetarian UCLA students! They have so many items to chose from, and you would not even guess that it is completely vegan! This place is a little more upscale, so check it out with your friends when you are celebrating a special occasion.    

Recommendations: Chicken and Waffles, Spicy Vodka Pasta, Mushroom Pizza, Cesar Kale Salad, Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms

Gracias Madre 

Olivia Cervantes Llamas

There is a reason that Gracias Madre was the most popular recommendation that I received. This all-vegetarian Mexican restaurant on Melrose is totally worth it. It is a little expensive for a student budget, so check it out when you want to splurge. The menu has so much to offer and you will be coming back for more. I took my out-of-town best friend, and everything was perfect! Plus the waiters are knowledgeable about the menu and attentive. 

Recommendations: Jackfruit Wet Burrito, Bowl Uno, Potato Flautas, Chips and Guacamole, Coliflor Starter, Gorditas, Agua Fresca

Monty’s Good Burger 

This burger place is perfect for vegetarians who love the taste of meat! Their burger options are simple but they are amazing. They have a variety of different fries to choose from and a lot of shakes to try. 

Recommendations: Max’d out Tots, Cheese Burger, Cherry Soda 

Westwood’s vegetarian food scene does not disappoint, you will find everything from New American to Mexican to satisfy your appetite. And for the days when you want to explore the rest of West LA, my Bruin Instagram followers have your back! Check out these places and do not be scared to try something new! 

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