Los Angeles was not named the number one vegan city in America by VegNews for nothing; the place is a playground of plant-based cuisine. You basically can’t trip without landing on a vegan cupcake, and with so many vegan restaurants everywhere, it’s difficult to know where to begin eating. As the VegNews food editor and a mom to two hungry twin toddlers, I have compiled my favorite family-friendly eats around this city I call home. I chose these specific restaurants for their delicious dishes and for having play spaces, high chairs, or activities for kids that make life a little easier for veg parents. Hope your kids love them as much as my girls.
1. Kitchen Mouse
The Silver Dollar kids special with vegan pancakes, avocado, tofu scramble, and mushroom sausage patties is the best brunch item on the menu. Your tots will love the enclosed play space that has a play kitchen and cookware, felt food, and childrens’ books.
2. Pitfire Pizza
The field mushroom pizza with the housemade cashew cheese is a family favorite. My girls, Chloe and Claire, love all-things-mushroom and the cremini and enoki mushrooms are always cooked perfectly. We adore The Steak Salad, which can be easily veganized with Field Roast sausage and cashew cheese. Ask for mini-clay for the table to sculpt while you and your kiddos are waiting for your ‘za to arrive.
3. Veggie Grill
The kids’ menu’s vegan chicken fingers, sweet potato fries, and mandarin oranges are must-eats. The housemade strawberry lemonade is not too sweet and my kids find it extremely refreshing on a hot summer day.
Chloe and Claire love this vegan frozen yogurt shop, specifically the Strawberry Serenity with fresh chopped strawberries. The kid-sized cup is perfect for little eaters, and if you snag a table in the back courtyard for a serene experience (or as serene as it can be with kids in tow), you’ll be a happy camper.
5. Hugo’s Restaurant
You’ll spot kids and an occasional celebrity at Hugo’s, which is a local chain of vegan-friendly restaurants. The veggie and black bean tacos are out of this world. Order the sticky buns for dessert (picture churro-like doughnuts). Pint-sized sippy cups, placemats that double as coloring pages, and a stack of crayons make it easy to dine out. For fast eats, Hugo’s Tacos in Atwater Village and Sherman Oaks are great for grab-and-go meals. Be sure to snag the vegan Frozato as your ice cream dessert!
6. Ike’s Place
This storied sandwich shop is the stuff of legends. In San Francisco, you’ll often see a line wrapped around the block, but in LA, it’s more relaxed. There’s even a kid’s menu with mini versions of the bigger sandwiches. Opt for the Dutch crunch bread, which is the best bread for sandwiches ever made. My personal favorite menu items are the vegan Pilgrim (with veg turkey slices, cranberry sauce, and a hint of Sriracha) and the Meatless Mike (veg meatballs packed inside with marinara sauce and a vegan cheese).
7. World Empanadas
This homey spot in Burbank has a handful of freshly baked vegan empanadas. My family and I always snag a mixed berries empanada for a sweet treat of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, with a hint of brown sugar. The soy chorizo and pinto beans and rice are my go-to items to order for the kids. The popular spot also features a mushroom and cashew cheese empanada. Word to the wise: immediately grab them when you see them because they often sell out quickly.
8. Yvonne’s Vegan Kitchen
Technically, you can’t go to this bakery (since it doesn’t have a brick and mortar), but Yvonne Ardestani makes the most insanely beautiful birthday cakes—including baby smash cakes for first birthdays. She can customize to your heart’s desire, including what types of sugar you want. Check out her Instagram for a sugary delight of unicorn cakes, ombre designs, and bite-sized chocolate-covered waffles.
Jennifer Chen is the Food Editor for VegNews Magazine.