If you’re hungry and involved in an omnivorous relationship, I know how you feel. Picking a date night restaurant can be a hard decision, to begin with, but when you have a plant-based foodie and a hungry meat-lover trying to agree on one restaurant—things can get messy. I know from experience.
To paint a clear picture of my every day for you, here are some typical lines you’d hear from our date night dinner table:
“But, do they have meat here? I’m craving a steak.”
“What even IS tofu?”
“Vegan bacon does not sound legal.”
“Does that burger place have veggie burgers?”
“Jackfruit tastes JUST like meat – you won’t be able to tell the difference.”
“Is there anything besides a kale salad or side of fries that I can eat here?”
Whether you’ve said one of these lines or have heard one from your significant other, I feel your pain and am here to help! I decided to make it my mission to find the best date night restaurants in Los Angeles for meat-eating and veggie-lovers alike.
If you want to venture away from your usual brunch scene…
(Photo taken by @zinque)
Take your tastebuds on a trip to France when you visit this quaint, artisanal spot on Abbot Kinney. Known for their buttery croissants and crafted lattes, Zinque may appear only as a coffee shop to the passerby. What may surprise you is the array of delicious breakfast entrees this bistro offers to the omnivorous crowd. If you’re plant-based and looking for something simple yet flavorful, the Soft Scramble is prepared just right (cue Goldilocks). Slow-cooked with Parmesan and fresh herbs, this dish has everything you’ll need to start the day off perfectly.
Tip: Never forget to ask for avocado. If you’re a meat lover, be sure to add prosciutto to this dish for that extra boost of salty goodness.
(Photo taken by @zinque)
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and hungry, go for my favorite item on the menu (the regulars will agree) – Le Bowl. Not only does this dish have eight protein add-on choices for the carnivores, but if packs a punch of flavor with its eclectic mix of sriracha, cilantro, and comté cheese.
Tip: Substitute cauliflower rice for brown rice and get a frittata on top for extra protein. You can thank me later.
If you’re the day date type…
2. The Larder at Burton Way
The Larder at Burton Way uses only fresh and organic produce in an effort to support local farmers. With multiple locations around LA, this is a delicious and convenient go-to lunch option for locals and visitors alike. The Burton Way location is the one I frequent whenever my boyfriend and I are in the neighborhood, due to the awesome variety of meal options and the fact that I can trick him into eating here without meat on his plate. Shh!
Do you ever wake up and crave a good old-fashioned BLT? No? Is it just me? Well, whenever I get a hankering for some bacon, I go to The Larder and create my own CLT (cheese, lettuce, tomato) and it magically cures my craving. I recommend the Oregon cheddar on sourdough, but the cheese and bread choices are up to your taste buds.
Tip: Add avocado and ask for it heated up. I guarantee you’ll forget what that B even stood for.
My boyfriend’s favorites are the sides. The top contenders? Curried Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and Sauteed Broccoli—oh my. He can make a full meal out of the sides here and ask no questions.
Tip: If you’re meat-eating significant other doesn’t want to kick their meat craving like you, the sandwich menu here is a gold mine.
If you’re feeling cozy & romantic…
Whether you eat meat or not, it’s easy to feel good about dining at Pace. Similar to The Larder, not only does this date night restaurant support local farms and have organic produce, their meats are all antibiotic and hormone free. Not to mention, the warm and welcoming decor and lighting match the feeling their food gives you. Their soups change daily, are always vegan, and I’ve never tried one that I haven’t loved.
If you’re feeling a plant-based pasta, go for the Tortellini di Zucca e Ricotta. This savory yet sweet entree is served with a sage white wine cream sauce and can double for a dessert. Last time I was at Pace, I may or may not have asked for a second order of this pasta for takeout before we got our check—it’s that good. In more of a pizza mood? I recommend the Hera’s Pie, which comes with pesto, mushrooms, Flora Bella arugula, fresh tomato & Fontina cheese.
Tip: Add pancetta to half of the pie and your meat-eating partner will be singing on their way out. I’ve seen it happen.
If you want a no-apologies cheat meal…
4. Post & Beam
(Photo taken by @wordofmouthla)
As their website mentions, “Post & Beam is designed to make you feel at home” and it does just that. This is by far our favorite date night restaurant to visit when we’re looking to indulge. From the Mac N’ Cheese with herbed breadcrumbs to the Homemade Corn Bread with whipped honey butter, you just can’t go wrong here.
My personal favorite is the Vegan Crab Cakes. I can feel the carnivores cringing already, but don’t be alarmed! These crab cakes are made with artichokes instead of the usual shellfish and once you take a bite of one dipped in black-eyed pea hummus, you’ll wonder how they disappeared so fast.
(Photo taken by @digitalforager)
As for dessert? I need a moment of silence for this one. The P&B Sweet Potato Pie will change your meat-eating and/or plant-based life. With vanilla bean whipped cream and salted caramel swirling in a dance of decadence on top, your only wish will be that you had saved more room in your stomach during dinner. As the website states, “people fly into town for these babies”.
Tip: Don’t skip dessert here. Ever.
While these four restaurants are my personal favorites for a date night in LA, I encourage you to continue the search in your neighborhood. Always remember: a menu may seem like it favors carnivores, but restaurants don’t always advertise their veggie options. Don’t be afraid to ask! Now, go grab your meat-loving partner and start your search.
Want to add a little adventure to your takeout? Read this post about hidden gems in some of the most popular cuisines.