In a few years time, maybe Los Angeles will be called The City of Vegans instead of The City of Angels. The offerings it has for vegan, gluten-free, raw, organic, low salt, low sugar and often combinations of all of those are plentiful and most restaurants have several vegan options but there are a surprising amount of exclusively vegan restaurants and unlike what I’ve observed in London – these restaurants are celebrated by both vegans and non-vegans, completely free of any stigma and one of those, is Lotus Vegan.
THE VENUE: Down on Lankershim Blvd, in Northern Hollywood (NoHo for the locals) sits the LA comedy club. Opposite the popular venue is an unassuming venue with a green veranda that could easily be mistaken for a massage parlour if not for the ‘free delivery’ sign. This is Lotus Vegan, the atmospheric Thai based vegan restaurant, which only seats about 30 people, including some outside seating.
THE MENU: The menu is fantastic, and if anything there’s just too much choice. For example, there are 3 choices of iced tea alone and the lunch menu is two solid pages of Wraps, Burgers, Noodles, Soup, Rice and Breakfast. You’d think that a menu this large wouldn’t yield good results but in this case, that’s definitely wrong.
THE CREW: Walking into the Lotus Vegan, you could have entered someone’s front room and that doesn’t end when it comes to the service. The staff are all incredibly friendly and are happy to talk about the menu and advise popular options, although the server couldn’t hide their shock when she recommended two of their burgers and I asked for them both, with a side…
THE BREW: A huge selection of drinks are available here, although the ‘Thai’ iced drinks are *super* sweet, so make sure you know that before you order, although they were happy to change one of ours when we made the mistake! Mostly, the drinks are fruit juices, teas & smoothies but there’s also some water and sodas.
THE FOOD: The wait time can be a little longer than what you’d expect, sometimes 20-25minutes but that’s really to be expected with a menu that large. When it arrived the food was fantastic. I have to recommend a ‘Cowboy Burger’ – a succulent soy patty that’s somewhere between chicken and pork in texture with a delicious garlic sauce, unlike other burgers I’ve had that try to imitate meat – there wasn’t a bad aftertaste. The salad on the bun was fresh and everything tasted like it was high-quality, I first tried the burger almost 9 months ago and I’m still yet to try one that can even touch it in terms of taste.
We also tried the Hash Brown Breakfast which wasn’t as good (hashbrowns are different in the US, they’re grilled shredded potato) but the flavours were still great and the Orange Chicken which was beautifully seasoned with the perfect bite. The portions were super generous and the Orange Chicken could definitely be shared with a side.
The Desserts here, are also supposed to be phenomenal, although we never left enough room to try many of them, apart from the raw chocolate cheesecake. I can only imagine what some of the other desserts taste like because this was phenomenal.
Over the few months I spent in LA, we kept returning here. The food was consistently great and the staff were always more than helpful. Although the food is relatively cheap, please remember to tip your server – in the US tips make up a huge part of their wage and even with a (standard) 20% tip the food is still very well priced.
THE VERDICT: “If you’re ever in North Hollywood you have to try this place. It’s unassuming, humble front is the polar opposite of its fantastic food. The best tasting vegan [Cowboy] burger I’ve ever had!”
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