The Best Vegan Restaurants In LA, According To Radhi Devlukia-Shetty

The ‘Joyfull’ cookbook author knows the city's plant-based cuisine better than most.
the cookbook author Radhi Devlukia-Shetty wears a grey suit and sits with her head resting in one hand

photo credit: Camryn Eakes

Although the cookbook author Radhi Devlukia-Shetty was raised vegetarian, she only went vegan ten years ago, which was right around the time she married her husband, fellow author and podcaster Jay Shetty. Now, with her new cookbook, Joyfull, Radhi says that since she's already "putting [plant-based cooking] into practice in our lives, I figured I might as well make it easier for people who need to put it into practice in their lives, too."

To help both vegans and the vegan-curious, Radhi has made a guide to her favorite plant-based LA restaurants, from "cheesy" Mexican street food to ramen topped with an "egg."


Lincoln Heights

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"We used to have this go-to vegan falafel place that shut down during the pandemic. I was so sad, because a lot of falafel places also serve kebabs and shawarma so I can't eat there. I've really been looking for a replacement. My friend ordered delivery from them one night, so I’ve tried their hummus and a falafel, and I was like, “I cannot wait to go to the actual restaurant and try everything.' The hummus was amazing. And you know what? You think you can't get hummus wrong, but hummus can go wrong. You can get hummus so wrong.”

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"The Thai curries are incredible. This is also one of the places I would order from for a lot of my meat-eating friends because they get the flavors spot on, and we love their mock meat and wings. Thai food is so flavorful that you don't miss the heaviness of meat that you would probably want in other cuisines. You have the rice, you have the richness of the coconut milk, all the incredible spices that they use. Much like Indian food, it's very vibrant in flavor."

photo credit: Jessie Clapp

"There’s this pop-up every week in Downtown LA that brings together vegan food trucks. I found Cena there. I had an event recently where I wanted to have some Mexican food, so I hired them. It was incredible. We had birria tacos. They serve the best quesadilla I've had in my life—it’s dangerously good. With vegan Mexican food, a lot of it can be mock meat-based, but Cena had mock meat, and they also made jackfruit tacos and mushroom tacos, all with such different flavors. It's taken us a while to get good vegan cheese. Bad vegan cheese can scar someone for life and make them never want it again. But I think a lot of these restaurants have really tried with the cheeses that melt, and with the textures of the fake meat proteins to make sure that it hits the spot in the same way. Cena made it a little bit greasy too. Sometimes you just want that indulgent feeling with food."

"Rahel has such dedicated customers that come because they really like the simplicity of the dishes. Ethiopian cuisine is a great option for vegetarians and vegans. There were beautiful greens, lentils, beans… it felt like a very balanced meal. You don't just have carbs, and it's not just vegetables. They had so much variety in textures and flavors."

"It is the best vegan Italian place that I have been to. The pizzas are wonderful. They do an arrabbiata: it's spicy and it's garlicky and it's just all the things you want it to be. But the best thing is their tiramisu. I had friends over yesterday and I ordered about 10 of them and I thought people would take a bite each, but everyone wanted a whole tiramisu. They get the cream so right. It's rich and indulgent. They get the right amount of coffee in there, too. It is a dream."

"I experienced Ramen Hood for the first time at Coachella. It was the only vegan vendor. I had it for lunch and dinner every day I was there. They get the flavor right. I love their spicy ramen, and then they also do this one with a vegan egg. I've actually never had an egg properly in my life, so I don't know whether it compares, but I really enjoyed the experience of it."

"Eating at Shojin was the first time I'd had Japanese food, because there were never vegan Japanese restaurants in England when I was growing up. I'd had Chinese before and I had Indochinese, which is really popular in London, but never Japanese food. Shojin has flavors and textures I’d not had before. They do really good sushi there. I really enjoy their vegan spicy tuna and crispy rice, which I think is made from tofu, but they flavor it really well. The pumpkin croquette as well—it's really sweet, but also spicy at the same time inside."

"My sister's seen Beyoncé there. I saw Usher there. was there the last time I was there. It's the vegan celebrity hotspot for sure, and it's got this American old school steakhouse feel. It is the safest place for any meat-eating vegan critic to go and be like, “You know what? It's not so bad. I do like vegan food.” It's very indulgent. You're not going there for a healthy night out. You're going there for the buttery pasta. You're going there for deep fried whatever you want. You're going there for really good meatballs, pizzas, all the mock meat, and impossible cigars."

"It’s probably one of the more beautiful, if not the most beautiful, restaurants in LA that is vegan. They really do try to make it a bit more upscale. You can dress up if you want to, but you don't have to if you don't want to. The way they present the dishes makes it feel really fun. When I took some of my friends there, they ordered the vegan sushi and said, “I can't believe how much this tastes like fish.” I really enjoy seeing those reactions to good vegan food that's been thought out and curated in that way."

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