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Ambitious Kitchen’s Guide to Los Angeles

Ambitious Kitchen’s guide to Los Angeles, California — everything from hiking to healthy and even indulgent delicious eats. You’ll love all of these fun picks!

graphic of ak healthy guide to los angeles

A few months ago I went on a girl’s trip to LA to hang with my besties for a few glorious days. We spent our time hiking our hearts out, hanging on in our backyard Venice bungalow and eating delicious, mostly plant based food. I can honestly say that I’m obsessed. The food scene was amazing, especially when it came to healthy options.

Below you’ll find some of my (mostly) healthy recommendations, favorite places and things to do. I have another trip scheduled out to LA in just a few weeks so if you have other recommendations for me, leave a comment. I plan on updating this in early October.

P.S. If you are headed to LA, make sure you rent a car. Everything is pretty far away from each other and there’s not a great public transportation system.

Alright let’s do this thing…

brunch menu with sunglasses on top

Breakfast/Brunch

fried chicken on a plate

cheddar biscuit on a wooden board

MB Post: Honestly one of my favorite breakfast spots. Make sure you get the chicken and the cheddar biscuits with honey butter! Indulgent, so come hungry and make you sure make reservations ahead of time.

two girls sitting on a patio

eggs, bacon, greens, and falafel on a plate

monique drinking an iced latte

Bondi Harvest: I am so unbelievably obsessed with this place. Everything we got was delicious, especially their grain bowls. I also highly recommend getting the smoothie with kombucha and a lavender or turmeric latte. FABULOUS!

Kreation Juice: Honestly just LOVE this place. Organic cold pressed juices that are absolutely delicious and refreshing. I also really love their chicken curry wrap that’s in lettuce. YUM.

Gjusta: This is on my plan for the next time I’m in LA. Everyone recommended it, so once I try it, I will report back.

juicebot juice dispenser

monique holding a cup of juice

JuiceBot: An organic juice vending machine invented by one of my college friends! So delicious, healthy and the perfect post-hike refresher or hangover cure. Located outside of Kippy’s Ice Cream in Venice.

green pancakes topped with bananas and walnuts on a plate

The Butcher’s Daughter: Another cute, very LA hip spot with delicious eats. I ordered the gluten free matcha pancakes and my friend got a delicious breakfast sandwich.

toast with peanut butter, berries, and pecans

Botania: Another one that’s on my list that I’m super excited to try. My friend Sarah had it when she was last in LA and loved it. It’s also on my list when I go back!

Honey Hi: I’ve seen Honey Hi pop up all over my Instagram feed and really wanted to try it but couldn’t get over to it on my very last day. They have everything from mushroom hot chocolate to delicious looking thai green curry bowls. I’m super excited to try it next time I’m here.

Lunch

cauliflower and crunchy chickpeas on top of kale on a plate

salad with radishes and avocado on a plate

green iced cream sandwich on a plate

Sun Cafe: The menu was SO good at this vegan restaurant. We tried their mac and cheese, vegan lettuce wraps, a crispy chickpea kale salad and of course, got a delicious cashew based vegan ice cream pistachio sandwich. Everyone was raving about their sweet kale shake too!

sandwich on a plate with a salad

Cafe Gratitude: This place was on my list for years. It’s so good and refreshing and pretty much a quintessential LA spot to visit. I love all of their bowls, especially the one with curry. And if you’re feeling under the weather, don’t forget to grab a wellness shot!

Great White: We stopped here after one of our long hikes and I got their blue smoothie bowl. They also have a selection of yummy salads.

Dinner

kale pizza on a plate

pasta with sausage pieces on a plate

Bestia: You definitely need a reservation here! Such wonderful Italian food. We got the tomato salad which came with cherries and burrata (such a unique combo!). Next you must definitely get the Njuda pizza. Finally get the Cavatelli alla Norcina… and end the evening with the fabulous chocolate budino tart.

bowl of ramen

Cassia: Wow. Wow. Wow. Great for a group and those most unique fusion of asian cuisine. You must get the spicy wontons, cauliflower, chickpea curry and the laksa for sure. The laksa (pictured above) was probably my favorite!

Bavel LA: Absolutely delish, good vibes and great for a group. It was a little meat heavy for me, but the dips were FANTASTIC. Oh and don’t even get me started on the incredible pita bread.

Gracia Madre: Omgsh this place was truly amazing and completely vegan. Inside you’ll find good vibes and the perfect dinner lit ambiance. We went for a late dinner, noshed on margaritas, cauliflower, ‘crab’ cakes, sweet potato flautas and a fabulous chopped salad that YOU MUST GET. It was too dark for me to take a good picture!

in-n-out burgers and fries

In and Out: Of course this is on my list. We don’t have it in the midwest, so this was basically a must for me. SO FREAKING GOOD.

Gjelina: This is Gjusta’s sister restaurant, and it’s absolutely delish. I loved getting veggie forward dishes that change seasonally. If you can, sit on their back patio! It’s gorgeous.

Republique:I really wanted to go to Republique for a while, but again, we didn’t get a chance to make it there. So many people rave over it and next time, I’m definitely investigating the hype!

Treat Yoself

monique holding a bowl of ice cream

Kippy’s Ice Cream: Such good dairy free coconut based ice cream! I LOVED the chocolate chunk.

blueberry donut with a green latte in the background

Sidecar Doughnuts: LITERALLY the best donuts I’ve ever had! You must go and try their huckleberry donut. The inside is like a muffin. So incredible, my donut lovers.

Things to do

two lemonades on a table

Bungalow: This is a cute spot to grab a drink and hang out. Also, a great spot to go out at night for good vibes!

Roosterfish: The cutest bar with delicious drinks in Venice.

monique holding an iced coffee

Go shopping at Abbott Kinney: This street in Venice is full of the cutest spots! I got these pants on sale for $25.

Griffith Observatory: You can see all of LA on in this place. Just a fun adventure. Afterwards you can head up on hike Griffith park, and even hike to the Hollywood sign.

Hike up in Topanga: so beautiful and there’s plenty of trails.

Santa Monica Pier: always busy, so it’s best to go during the week day! Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel.

Erewhon Market: This place is full of natural foods and generally is just fun to browse. Definitely overpriced, but if you’re a food lover, you’ll adore getting lost in the aisles.

Get Active

three girls hiking

Los Liones Trail: My favorite place we hiked. It was incredibly hard during the sunny day and mostly uphill, but awaiting you are beautiful views.

Rent bikes: You can rent bikes at various locations in Venice and bike along the path from Santa Monica to as far as Manhattan Beach (maybe further!). So much fun.

Other popular hiking trails to explore:

Fryman Canyon

Reservoir Trail

Anywhere in Topanga

Runyon Canyon

three girls sitting on a patio

two blonde girls on a sidewalk

I hope you enjoyed my guide to Los Angeles! If you have any recommendations for my next trip, I’d love to hear it — everything from restaurants to things to do!

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