As an enthusiastic health food blogger and green juice maker I am always on the lookout for new and wonderful food ventures. California, with West Hollywood and Venice Beach leading the way, has a reputation for being the mecca of yoga, meditation and all things green, mean and vegan. Having just returned back from LA I can tell you that it is all still true.
One of the culinary highlights of the trip was a visit to my new favorite restaurant, Cafe Gratitude in Venice. This superstar of a vegan restaurants has the look and feel of an established dining venue for ‘normal’ eaters, i.e non vegans. You know what I’m talking about. Some vegan/vegetarian eateries have wonderful food but are somewhat lacking in ambience and demographic reach. Nothing wrong with that but the truth is it may only entice the hardcore bunch. Not this place. Cafe Gratitude would fit perfectly into Hoxton, Shoreditch or Notting Hill as a hot and buzzy venue for deal makers and networkers combined. The building is light, modern, huge and airy – with a large outside terrace to boot. The staff were knowledgeable, the dishes generous and the green juices meaner than most. A lunch bar greets you as you walk in and would suit those having a lunch date with their iPhone or someone looking for a quick bite. Fresh juices to go was another hit and they shared the chiller with salad boxes and wraps for those hellbent on taking food back to the office. Saying that, with Google having just moved into an iconic building a few blocks away, bringing 6000 employees in tow, I can see this place expanding into delivery and take out for health conscious employees unable to leave their desks.
If it was up to me, however, I would urge anyone visiting to sit down and deliberate over the menu (it’s not easy to choose, it all sounds amazing) with a veg juice and a roving eye. Best to check out what the table next to you is eating as it is difficult to visualise the combos. Should you fancy a glass of organic wine or beer with your food then that is on the menu too. Just saying.
We had a starter of grilled asparagus, heirloom tomatoes, rocket and avocado with hempseed hollandaise (yes, people – no dairy in sight and yet it was so tasty). This was followed by our main course, an Indian Curry Bowl with sprouted probiotic brown rice and quinoa, red lentils, spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, coconut mint chutney and spicy tomato jam. It was unbelievably good – and filling. All around us we saw mouth-watering examples of menu staples being devoured by the locals. We washed it all down with a mean green juice and some filtered water.
Cafe Gratitude is located across the street from Moon Juice, one of the original juice bars in LA that now have several outlets throughout the city. And further down, on Abbott Kinney, there are several juice bars and vegan restaurants. These are my people and my type of food. If you are visiting in the area I would urge you to book a table at Cafe Gratitude or pick up a green juice from Moon Juice. Good stuff is happening on the other side of the world – little things can make a big difference…
Cafe Gratitude Venice
512 Rose Ave.
Venice, CA 90291
+1 (424) 231-8000
(they also have outlets in San Diego, Newport Beach and Downtown LA)
Moon Juice Venice
507 Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90291
(they also have juice bars in Silverlake and on Melrose Ave).