512 Rose Ave., Venice
Everything on the menu is an affirmation, so if you can stifle the giggles at names like "I Am Connected"—which is actually an amazing zucchini cilantro hummus—you'll find that the vegan food here is delicious, even for those who normally refuse to go meat and dairy-free. There are picks for every sensibility, from coffee milkshakes (made with almond milk), to cashew cheese topped corn tacos to Indian curried lentils. There are three locations—Hancock Park, Venice, and the Arts District—and the Café Gratitude team also has a Mexican iteration in Hollywood called Gracias Madre.
Cerveteca (Closed) (Closed)
523 Rose Ave., Venice
One of the first things you'll likely notice is that the stools here aren't particularly comfortable—we're guessing this was an intentional decision, otherwise everyone would stick around for even longer. Despite the packed scene (you'll get intimate with your neighbor), this is one of our favorites in Venice, thanks to the California-Mexican menu and the frequent happy hours. There are also locations downtown and in Culver City.
218 Main St., Venice
Right on the border of Venice and Santa Monica, this all-day restaurant and wine bar is a new West Side fave. In the morning you'll find Superba pastries and Canyon coffee, solid offerings like kale salad, cobb salad, and a nice selection of sandwiches at lunch, and for dinner, slightly more ambitious variations including grass-fed beef tartar and wild mushrooms with egg yolk. The menu, designed and executed by chef Ash Ghassemzadah, is a celebration of local, seasonal ingredients. With a small but welcoming dining room, the space transitions easily from a casual grab-and-go coffee and lunch spot to a more refined dinner destination (perfect for a date night). The small but expertly curated wine list is a big selling point, too.
1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
Taking over the neighborhood spot that was, for twenty-four years, Joe’s Restaurant, Felix is a very honorable successor: the just-opened dinner desitination is warm and vibrant, bringing Chef Evan Funke’s elevated spin on modern Italian fare to the neighborhood. Of course, much like many of its Abbot Kinney neighbors, Felix is already a foodie destination, drawing crowds from all over the city—definitely make a reservation, and be prepared to do it weeks in advance. And don’t miss their hand-rolled pasta, which is seriously genuine perfection.
1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
It’s been several years, but Gjelina—a restaurant that ushered in a new sort of veggie-centric California cuisine—is as mobbed as ever. The crowds make a lot of sense: Everything is always excellent, from the aforementioned vegetable sides to the whisper-thin jalapeño and smoked mozzarella pizza. Come when it opens so you can snag a table on the patio out back. (If the lines are too long, grab something to go at GTA, its takeaway spot next door.)
1604 Pacific Ave., Venice
Another solid addition to Venice’s ever-increasing, Australian-style café offering, Great White serves up health-focused food all day long.
Kreation Kafe Abbot Kinney
1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
Kreation Juicebars are expanding rapidly, but the brand has just three locations of its sit-down restaurant concept (
1305 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
Given this new Venice Izakaya is the brainchild of Travis Lett, the restauranteur behind west side institutions Gjelina and Gjusta, we know it's bound to be a hit–and likely just as mobbed. Open to walk-ins only (no reservations), it's serving up incredible Japanese dishes from ramen to miso-heavy vegetables.
Night + Market Sahm
2533 Lincoln Blvd., Venice
Thirtysomething chef Kris Yenbamroong learned how to cook in Bangkok and in the kitchen of his parents’ long-standing Thai mainstay Talésai. The Venice location is Yenbamroong's third (“sahm” means three in Thai) in LA and is aesthetically very similar to the tropical explosion that is the Silver Lake restaurant (with the addition of a massive fish tank). The communal tables are low-slung and crowded with plastic tablecloths—the perfect, slightly trippy setting to dig into some spicy, flavor-packed Thai street food. We’re partial to pad thai, grilled fatty pork collar, and crab fried rice. The wine list is all organic and biodynamic labels and the beer options vast.
Plant Food + Wine
1009 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice
When the long-standing Axe shut its doors, a lot of West Siders were pretty bummed—but then chef Matthew Kenney, a force in the plant-based movement, swooped in to take over the space, turning the upstairs into a plant-based cooking academy. The place still has a light, low-key vibe, with exceptional outdoor seating; the difference is the menu is now completely vegan. Kenney’s restaurants across the country all do things with veggies and nuts that you don’t see anywhere else. They’re known for their aged-nut-cheese plate, fantastic salads, and the (amazing) curried cauliflower tacos.
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