5 Vegan San Fernando Valley Restaurants Not to Miss
Where nothing is impossible.
- CategoryEat & Drink
- Written byJoshua Lurie
- AboveKrimsey’s Kitchen
Dough Girl Pizza
Getting pizza right is a challenge; getting vegan pizza right is even more of a rarity—and something Mar Diego seems to have mastered with her hip-hop-fueled eatery tucked in the central Valley. The chef’s story as a young ex-con who turned her life around and now mentors at-risk teens just ups the cool factor.
At Dough Girl, pies are made with the root vegetable cassava, arrowroot starch and shredded Daiya cheese, which melts like mozzarella and melds seamlessly with an array of toppings, including the fiery Hottie featuring sriracha sauce, jalapeños, cherry peppers, banana peppers and chili flakes.
Blow-Your-Mind Dish: Shroomz pizza sports three types of meaty mushrooms crisped to perfection: button, cremini and portobello. Zesty tomato sauce, molten Daiya cheese, and oregano complement the crispy, cracker-like crust.
16851 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys | doughgirl.pizza
Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen
Louisiana native Kristen “Krimsey” Ramsey specializes in Cajun comfort food at her North Hollywood restaurant, which incorporates Mardi Gras beads, Café du Monde coffee cans and a voodoo doll into the design. Kristen transforms classics like jambalaya, gumbo, and étouffée into vegan-style Southern masterpieces.
It’s all done with a sense of humor that leans into vegan stereotypes. She describes a plate of raw shredded carrots on the menu as “rabbit food … in case you came here expecting to eat only this.”
Blow-Your-Mind Dish: A New Orleans po’boy typically stars fried seafood and roast beef. Here the city’s iconic sandwich takes a new direction. The hearts-of-palm po’boy features tangy chunks with crisp, peppery coats on a soft toasted roll, plant-based mayo, shredded lettuce, tomato, punchy dill pickles and creamy Krimsey’s spicy veganaise sauce.
12900 Victory Blvd., North Hollywood | krimseys.com
Taking a fusion approach, this attractive eatery applies flavorful twists to Mediterranean and Latin dishes including textbook falafel and fried cauliflower slathered in spicy Buffalo sauce. Their most popular entrée: a dress-up of the Impossible Burger with house “bacon,” smoked gouda “cheese” and carmelized onions.
O’Cado is also a terrific place to experience some of the Boulevard’s most creative toasts, which go way beyond namesake avocado; consider butternut squash with fluffy “ricotta,” caramelized onions, tangy apple cider glaze and crunchy pepitas.
Blow-Your-Mind Dish: Chef Erin Mansour riffs on Baja fish tacos with her avocado versions, which feature creamy fried avocado strips that sport thin batter coats and achieve impressive crunch-on-crunch with onion-poppyseed coleslaw. Taco trios come on soft corn tortillas with cooling cilantro lime créma.
14568 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks | ocadola.com
SunCafe Organic was one of the Valley’s first vegan restaurants, and owners Rebecca Smith and Ron Russell (who’s also the chef) still thrive with their successful spins on multicultural cooking.
The freewheeling lunch and dinner menu draws a health-conscious industry crowd for hearty plates like mac and cheese served in a cast-iron skillet and grilled cheese sandwiches that pack “provolone,” pico de gallo, mushrooms and tempeh bacon. SunCafe is also popular for brunch, thanks to riffs like bagels with house cream cheese, tomatoes, capers, dill, and smoked carrots subbing for lox.
Blow-Your-Mind Dish: Jack Cakes with Lemon Basil Pasta features crispy jackfruit “crab cakes” folded with corn and red pepper. Three cakes grace a heaping pile of brown-rice pasta strands sautéed with lemon-garlic butter (made with emulsified coconut), cremini mushrooms and basil. Tangy capers, chives and cascading sour cream crafted with coconut and cashew round out the bowl.
10820 Ventura Blvd., Studio City | suncafe.com
Vinh Loi Tofu
Personable chef Kevin Tran’s soybean-fueled eatery dates to 2002 and remains a neighborhood favorite thanks to his potent plant-based Vietnamese food and house-made tofu products.
The glass-fronted space features lime green and orange walls lined with accolades and a counter full of savory and sweet Vietnamese snacks, but most people come for invigorating noodle dishes.
Blow-Your-Mind Dish: Ask for Kevin’s off-menu TKO Special, which packs serious punch. A craveworthy peanut and curry broth flavored with coconut milk and “all the meat” comes loaded with rice vermicelli, tofu versions of fried “ham,” chicken, and beef, plus seitan duck, puffy fried tofu cubes, broccoli, earthy shiitake mushrooms and mild enoki mushrooms. His chicken and ham tofu tear almost like meat; the beef and duck versions are firmer and share a remarkable resemblance to their namesakes. Sizable bowls come showered with crushed peanuts, scallions, onions, cilantro and sesame seeds.
18625 Sherman Way, Reseda | vinhloitofu.com
“Skilled technicians in our industry have been in extremely short supply for many years, but we have a waiting list of those who want to work here, because they’ve heard how they will be treated.”