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!
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…
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.
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: 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.
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. When I went for lunch I got the vegan kale salad. It’s basically just cute vibes all around.
Botanica: FINALLY went here for brunch and am now obsessed. Got the best tahini toast, but also recommend the chicken dish, turkish eggs and smoked fish. Delicious!
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.
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!
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. Also, this vegan chickpea sammie was amazing. 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.
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.
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 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!
Kippy’s Ice Cream: Such good dairy free coconut based ice cream! I LOVED the chocolate chunk.
Sidecar Doughnuts: LITERALLY the best donuts in LA. I know because I’ve tried most of them. You must go and try their huckleberry donut. The inside is like a buttery muffin. So incredible, my donut lovers!
Things to do
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.
Go shopping at Abbott Kinney: This street in Venice is full of the cutest spots! I got these pants on sale for $25.
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.
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:
Anywhere in Topanga