I was born and raised 10 minutes from the Westwood area. Since middle school, it's been a popular hangout spot to find comforting food for the soul. How could anyone resist the crave-worthy classics like In-N-Out, Fat Sals, and Diddy Reese Cookies?

It's not until I started going to school in the heart of Westwood, the same place I had practically grown up, that I realized this place is a plant-based paradise. I'm always on the hunt for the next best vegan option. What was once the my favorite area to grab fried tempura, spicy tuna rolls, and animal-style burgers is now where I go when I'm craving felafel, tacos, or juicy Beyond Burgers — all vegan options, of course.

1. Veggie Grill

Yes, vegan fast food exists. Yes, it is better than you could ever imagine. Veggie Grill basically combines classic comfort foods from America's favorite fast food chains and veganizes them. Whether you want a juicy veggie burger, spicy fried wings, nachos, or an interesting salad, this place has got you covered.

It might be fake fast food, but the flavor is all REAL. The Beyond Burger is a vegan animal-style, In-N-Out cheeseburger. It's so spot on that it almost made me second guess taking another bite. Not tomention that the nachos left me speechless. This place is sure to please vegans and meat eaters alike. And animals, of course.


What could make veggie sushi even better? Making it the size of a giant burrito, of course. At NUSHII, you can enjoy a vegan sushi burrito or bowl by choosing the braised tofu or seasonal cauliflower protein instead of fish. You don't need to worry about making substitutions, because your personalized meal is made to order.

All of the vegan options will leave you wanting to come back to try another crave-worthy combo. Stuff your burrito with turnip-beet pickle and creamy sliced avocado. Or stack your bowl with crispy potato strings and daikon-carrot pickle. Don't forget to get saucy by topping it all off with their creative umami dressings.


If you eat hummus straight out of the jar with a spoon, gobble falafels two at a time, and could literally swim in tahini, then GO. TO. CAVA. I love this style of "good for you" fast food because you know exactly what you're getting. And trust me when I say that anything vegan you're getting from CAVA is going to be good.

Whether it's the Pita Wrap or the Grains and Greens bowl, you're going to be tempted to stand in line for another one. The only two vegan protein options are falafel and roasted veggies, but the toppings, spreads, and dressings make the experience overwhelming. I literally wanted everything. Their grains include an option of rice, lentils, or both, and you get up to three scoops of hummus. Sounds pretty satisfying to me.

4. Fresh Corn Grill

Fresh Corn is great place to grab lunch with a group of friends, whether they're vegan or not. They have a variety of Mexican dishes, vegan options, vegan salads, and a ton of roasted and baked sides.

The resturant combines a variety of different types of food, and I can guarantee that whatever you get will be fresh, flavorful, and show up fast. It's no wonder the restaurant is called Fresh Corn Grill, because their roasted corn is a must. Try the Fresh Corn Salad with tofu added, one of the veggie bowls, or get one of the tacos veganized. 

5. Le Pain Quotidian

This French chain restaurant is spreading vegan love with everything from creamy oatmeal to avocado toast to nutrient-dense salads. Everything at Le Pain is made to order, made with quality organic ingredients, and has a rustic touch. The restaurant is not entirely vegan, but does offer a variety of vegan options for breakfast and lunch that are labeled on the menu.

Want a savory breakfast? Try the avocado toast or tofu scramble. Something sweet? How about oats, chia pudding, or fresh baked bread with jam? Looking for lunch? How about vegan soup, salad, and a tartine? Wash it all down with an almond milk latte or refreshing green smoothie.

6. TLT Foods

TLT Foods offers a variety of vegan tacos, burritos, bowls, salads, and shareables for your whole vegan crew to enjoy. Some of the most interesting and tastiest vegan options include the Mr. Potato or Mrs. Sweet Potato Taco, Green Rice Bowl, and Cauliflower Ceviche. This restaurant makes authentic Latin food from across the globe accessible to vegans. So there's no need to get a burrito with no meat, cheese, or sour cream. After eating at TLT, you'll never consider a plate of beans and rice "vegan Mexican" again.

7. Nektar

Nektar embodies the classic juice and smoothie bowl bar that we've all fallen in love with. The smoothie bowls are light and refreshing, but you can load them up with topings like granola, fruits, and nut butter. 

If you're looking for something lighter but just as vibrant go for a smoothie or juice. This place is sure to please your sweet tooth and keep you energized throughout your day. 

8. Whole Foods

When you can't decide if you want sushi, soup, salad, or a sandwich, look no further than Whole Foods. They literally have everything!

My personal favorites are the hot options from the salad bar with a side salad made from the cold options toped with one of their insane oil-free dressings (they're life changing). You'll never eat at a restaurant again. They have traditional sushi as well as some colorful vegan rolls, and best of all there's Kombucha, vegan pastries, juices, and smoothies to accompany your meal.

9. Farmers Market

The Westwood farmers market is definitely worth walking through if you have time to spare on a Thursday afternoon. The farmers market offers some of the most natural, whole foods you'll find in the city.

The fruit is excellent, and one of the best parts about this farmers market is the endless dried fruit. I would load up bags of it to last me the week, and I obviously finished all of it on my walk to the hill. 

10. Shamshiri Grill

I may be a little biased when I say this, but Persian food is probably one of the best types of ethnic food in terms of flavor, variety, and nutrients. Usually Persian food is not "accidentally vegan." But this being LA, Persian restaurants have evolved to serve vegan/vegetarian options. Shamshiri Grill has an abundance of Persian vegan options and even a separate vegan menu.

They make a variety of their colorful stews without meat or poultry. Their vegetable kabob platters, colorful salads, and classic Persian crispy rice are all must trys. All of it is served with traditional Persian bread, some of which is made in house and accompanied by hummus upon request.

This whole list of vegan options just goes to show that sometimes the exact thing that you're looking for is closer to you than you think. Don't make assumptions. Expect the unexpected. Be open to the new. I can tell you from personal experience that once I started to pay attention all of the vegan options around me that I never noticed before, I started to see my home town in a completely different light.