Food & Drink

Top Vegan & Plant-based Hotspots

January 16, 2023 | Posted in Food

If you're vegan, semi-vegetarian, flexitarian, or undecided, the plant-based foodways in Southern California shines in Pasadena's foodscape. From innovative new culinary creations to the longstanding vegan staples in South Asian cuisine, take a closer look at these essential vegan restaurants and eateries that won't alienate omnivores.

My Vegan Pasadena

Located along Arroyo Parkway (Historic Route 66), My Vegan is a longstanding staple in Pasadena. This nondescript Thai restaurant is tucked away in a strip mall, casually serving up some of the best tasting plant-based Pad Thai and soups known Angelenos. The RIPP (Rest In Peace Porky) is another must-try dish of tangy plant-based "short ribs," along with a menu that boasts a fragrant selection of soup based dishes and curries.

Sage Plant Based Bistro & Brewery

Nestled in Old Pasadena's Hugus Alley, Sage Vegan Bistro is a dog-friendly establishment that proves plant-based dishes can be filled with flavor. Enjoy the rustic farmhouse vibes inside, or opt to sit in the beautiful One Colorado Courtyard patio seating to savor the expansive menu items. This was the first restaurant to join the City of Pasadena's Zero Waste Partner Program. The restaurant group collects all their pre-consumer food scraps and sends them to their own Regenerative Organic Farm for composting. There's also a great selection of their homemade vegan ice cream and donuts, if you leave room for dessert.

Real Food Daily Pasadena

One of the true OGs of vegan cuisine, Real Food Daily is a locally owned mini-chain with locations throughout Greater Los Angeles. The 100% plant-based, organic restaurant is kosher and has a fabulous Pasadena location in the South Lake Ave Shopping District.

Roots & Rye

Located adjacent to Real Food Daily, Roots & Rye is a fun vegan spot that celebrates fresh, organic fruit through customizable acai bowls and toasts. Add overnight oats, granola, nuts, shaved coconut, almond butter, and more. Enjoy as a meal, a snack, or a dessert!

True Food Kitchen Pasadena

An eco-chic national chain serving healthy and nutritious cuisine, True Food Kitchen menu is coded with "(v)" so it's easy to home in on what's vegan-friendly—from soups and salads to pizzas, bowls and burgers. They can also adapt dishes to suit diets like keto and paleo. The Pasadena location is situated in Old Pasadena, with an expansive outdoor patio and modern interior dining space.

Granville Pasadena

Granville also denotes vegan items on their menus, making it a great spot for groups with mixed dietary preferences. Think lemon couscous, homemade chili, butter lettuce cups, beet salad, vegan burgers, poblano quinoa and farro mushroom risotto. Opt to sit in the open-air rooftop dining area while sipping on cocktails (or mocktails) under the Pasadena sky.

Naughty Vegan Panda

Along Old Pasadena's Union Street, Naughty Vegan Panda is a 100% plant-based Asian fusion eatery. A collaboration between pop-ups My Vegan Panda and Naughty Boy Sushi, this brick and mortar spot serves crab cakes, fried kimchi pickles, teriyaki chicken fries, and sushi - all made from plants. Anime lovers will enjoy the names of their dishes, like the Naruto Roll or the One Punch Combo Plate.

Father Nature Lavish Bistro

Located in Old Pasadena, Father Nature is a second-generation family restaurant making Mediterranean food in Pasadena since 1984. There are gluten-free and vegan options clearly marked on the menu. Try the veggie and hummus wraps, eggplant pressed wraps with garlic aioli, falafel salads, an very popular lentil soup, and more.

Himalayan Cafe

Located in Old Pasadena, Himalayan Cafe comes from Nepal-born chef Chudamani Adhikari. Nepalese cooking is his soul food and meat is scarce in Nepal, thus the vegan dishes are rich in flavor and serve as tummy-warming comfort food. Menu items are clearly marked vegan, gluten-free, or vegetarian. Try the eggplant, the chana masala, or the veggie momo dumplings.

Daisy Mint

If you're craving Thai food, Daisy Mint is a cute lunch and dinner spot along Colorado Boulevard. Inside, the brick lined walls are decorated with ornate vintage frames and chandeliers. Plant-based options include delicious staples like the Panang Curry Pumpkin, Spicy Eggplant, Fried Tofu, Summer Rolls, Mushroom Tom Yum, and more.

Annapurna Grill

From head chef Suresh Albin, who hails from Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu, Annapurna began as a vegetarian establishment in Culver City. It's Pasadena location also serves carnivores, though its menu is largely vegetarian. Enjoy everything from the Onion & Spinach Pakora and Garlic Naan to Bhindi Masala and Stuffed Eggplant Curry. To share, get the family dosa for a delicious photo op.

HiroNori Craft Ramen

HiroNori is a popular California ramen chain, known for its scratch made noodles, cut every morning. The Vegan Ramen on their menu is definitely something to write home about, made with sesame miso broth, tofu, baby kale, and soy meat.

Tibet Nepal House

Step into Tibet Nepal House for a Himalayan food with vegan menu items clearly marked on the menus. Discover the difference between Indian food and Nepalese and Tibetan food with the a wide selection of veggie curries and a side of samosas.