It’s easy being green—and vegan—in Pasadena. Many local restaurants are happy to cater to diners who avoid all animal products. Some standouts specialize in vegan fare exclusively. And more and more “traditional” restaurants now feature a selection of vegan dishes on their everyday menus. These 15 eateries should be on your shortlist when a plant-based feast is calling.
Pasadena’s pioneering My Vegan Restaurant (633 S. Arroyo Pkwy. #3) has been delighting customers with their Thai-inspired Asian fare for over a decade. The Pad Thai is a customer favorite, and they use soy-based meat substitutes in dishes like Orange Chicken and Angry Pork. The lunch and dinner outpost can also accommodate gluten-free and soy-free dietary restrictions.
Pasadena is home to one of the three Sage Vegan Bistro (One Colorado, 41 Hugus Al.) locations in Greater Los Angeles. Open for weekday breakfast, weekend brunch and lunch and dinner daily, the globally influenced, plant-based restaurant is dedicated to using locally sourced organic produce. In the spirit of their hashtag #feastwithoutthebeast, dishes like the Cauliflower “Wings,” Taco Salad and the Bollywood Bowl riff on international favorites.
Green Earth Vegan Cuisine (37 S. Fair Oaks Ave.) specializes in vegan fusion cuisine. Find American, Italian, Chinese, Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese dishes on the family-run restaurant’s lunch and dinner menu. They even have a vegan twist on Canada’s signature poutine! Save room for decadent desserts like carrot cake, cheesecake and Thai banana rolls with ice cream.
Real Food Daily (899 E. Del Mar Blvd.) is another plant-based Los Angeles mini-chain with a Pasadena location. The broad menu includes breakfast all day, salads, burgers, pizzas, tacos, bowls and sandwiches. You can pair your meal with healthy drinks or indulge in beer, wine, hard kombucha and other alcoholic libations.
True Food Kitchen (168 W. Colorado Blvd.) is a national chain restaurant dedicated to seasonal, healthy, nutritious cuisine. The 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.
Granville (270 S. Lake Ave.) 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.
My Namaste Spiceland (270 N. Hill Ave.) is an Indian/British market and informal café with an all-vegetarian menu that includes loads of vegan options. The robust menu features Indian specialties from several regions as well as street food like pani puri. Vegan dosas, samosas and mango lassi are some tasty treats.
Daddy’s Chicken Shack (11 W. Dayton St.) may have earned a cult following for their buttermilk fried chicken sandwiches, but vegans have been equally delighted with their animal-free iteration. The Vegan Daddy is a coconut curry milk brined cauliflower sandwich that gets a flavorful punch from the toppings of sambal vegan mayo, napa slaw, cilantro and mint. If you’re gluten-free, the Vegan Daddy Nuggets are basically a deconstructed version of the sandwich that skips the bun.
When you’re craving guilt-free pizza pies, check Instagram to find out when and where The Pizza Plant (@thepizzaplantusa) truck will be in Pasadena on its weekly rotation. The 100-percent organic, plant-based gourmet pizzas are whimsical and creative, using ingredients like seasonal veggies, cashew cheese, plant-based sausage and shitake bacon. The menu also includes “plantwiches” and salads.
Delicatessen by Osawa (851 Cordova St.) is a fast-casual Japanese staple for lunch and dinner in the South Lake Avenue district. Vegans can order the vegan curry rice comprised of steamed vegetables and rice. Their daily assortment of fresh cold deli sides also typically includes some vegan items like beet salad, eggplant and tofu and ginger cucumber. It’s always best to confirm that the sides are indeed vegan, as some dressings contain fish sauce and eggs.
Taco lovers can get their fix at Trejos Cantina (37 S. El Molino Ave.). The trio of vegan taco options include cauliflower, mushroom asada and young jackfruit, which can also be done as burritos and bowls. Of course, the chips, salsa and guacamole are vegan approved! Wash it all down with a vegan date-sweetened horchata.
Vegans can find a variety of options at Tibet Nepal House (36 E. Holly St.), a restaurant dedicated to the Himalayan cuisine of Tibet, Nepal and India. From the potato pickle salad and vegetable samosas to the Ali Gobi curry and vegetable fried rice, you can have a truly transporting plant-based feast here.
If you’re looking for a place to watch a sporting event on television, Lucky Baldwin’s Pub (17 S. Raymond Ave.) is your spot. This crowd pleaser is known for their beer selection and casual gastropub fare. In addition to their meaty offerings, the British pub has a mushroom and lentil pie that can be served vegan as well as a veggie burger.
Of course, vegans can have a sweet tooth too! Bengees Ice Cream (901 E. Del Mar Blvd.) offers a rotating selection of a handful of different vegan ice cream flavors made with almond milk, coconut milk, raw cashews and agave sweetener. Be sure to snap a photo of your scoops in front of the “And then ice cream” neon sign.
Pop into Lark Cake Shop (1355 N. Hill Ave.) for a divine vegan cupcake. Their two vegan-friendly flavors include chocolate orange consisting of a vanilla yellow cake with orange filling that’s topped with orange marmalade and chocolate icing. The vegan Boston Banana is banana cake filled with banana and topped with chocolate icing. Yum!
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