Where to Eat Virtuously in the City of Angels
©Sean Pavone 2015
Photo By: Jeff Padrick ©Klug Studio Inc.
Photo By: Lisa Romerein ©2014 Lisa Romerein
Photo By: Clay Larsen ©Clay Larsen
Photo By: Nicholas Roberts ©www.nicholasnicholas.com
Beyond Green Juice
Much of the country mocks Los Angeles for being the land of kale smoothies. People think it's because the average Angeleno's first priority is physical appearance. It's not. In a city with an average of 292 blue-skied days per year, it's no wonder its residents are consumed with feeling good: It's hard not to be fit when the weather constantly beckons you outside. Sure, green juices are huge, but sunny LA's long-established health food scene goes well beyond liquid meals and granola. World-renowned chefs, local families and conscious-living specialists are cooking up fare that's just as bold as it is nutritious. Here are the top healthy restaurants in the City of Angels.
Photo via Sean Pavone/iStock
Plant Food + Wine
Vegan whiz kid Matthew Kenney is currently in the midst of a plant-based comeback, with new restaurants in New York City and Miami. His burgeoning empire started in Los Angeles at his sleek Abbot Kinney spot. Reminiscent of the Mediterranean coast, the crisp interior boasts a rustic fireplace and plenty of reclaimed stone. The back patio features cushioned seating underneath an olive-tree canopy. Old World coastal flavors and ingredients are incorporated into the food, but the technique is animal product-free avant-garde. The ever-evolving menu features new takes on classics, like cacio e pepe made with kelp noodles, snap peas, pea tendrils and dehydrated olives. Flora artisanal cheeses, such as almond ricotta and white truffle cashew-macadamia, are served on platters with pickles, mustard seeds and almond fennel crackers.
Photo courtesy of Erica Rae Brown
True Food Kitchen
Once upon a time, plant-based fare was reserved for granola-loving hippies. Chef to the stars Tal Ronnen is one of the vegan chefs at the forefront of changing that perception. He's best known for prepping Oprah Winfrey for her 21-day cleanse, and for catering Ellen DeGeneres and Portia De Rossi's wedding. Plebeians can sample his fare at his high-end WeHo hot spot. There, he offers Mediterranean small plates along with fine-dining ambiance. Start with sophisticated snacks like charred "ricotta" with apricot-thyme glaze on crostini, before moving on to creative hot plates such as artichoke oysters. The latter mimics a classic bivalve dish with fried oyster mushrooms presented on artichoke leaves, topped with yellow tomato bearnaise and kelp caviar. It's bohemian and modern.
Photo by Lisa Romerein, courtesy of Artisan Books. Copyright © 2015
Aussie chef Curtis Stone is not just a pretty face. The 25 seats at his Beverly Hills tasting-menu place are considered the most coveted in town. It is not your traditional health-food restaurant, though (and in fact, that's not how it’s even billed). You'll find foie gras and other fatty foods, but the portions are small. Veggies make up much of the meal. Each nine-course menu is built around one monthly seasonal ingredient and a bountiful array of market-fresh produce. In March, it was pistachio: The nut was infused into dishes ranging from peas and seaweed to lamb tartare. In January, carrots were featured throughout, in porridge with pumpkin seed and argan oil as well as bonito. In May, the menu starred garlic; in June, cherries. This is the place where health-minded folks go to "splurge" — if they can score a reservation.
Photo courtesy of Clay Larsen