CLOSED: California Vegan

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 12 reviews )



12113 Santa Monica Blvd Ste 207 (at Bundy), West Los Angeles, California, USA, 90025

West LA vegan restaurant. New owners since 2008. Extensive menu including Thai food and American food. Parking provided. Note: Some items contain egg, dairy, and/or honey. jan 2013 REPORTED SHUT DOWN, PHONE NOT WORKING - REMOVED.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, American, Thai, Fast food, Delivery, Take-out, Wine

12 Reviews

First Review by Mimi710

Nice Space Okay Vegan Food - Edit

I had first read about this place on happycow, and here's my California Vegan review.

I've been here with family and friends numerous times over the past years from since when this California Vegan first opened (and had previously been under a different ownership prior to 2010).

The quality of the food have been mixed - sometimes fair, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. The menu is very similar to the other Thai vegan restaurants in the Greater LA area: veg Thai curry, soups, noodle, stir fry, plus Western quick foods like veg burgers, wraps, and pancake.

The interior decor is nice, simple, comfortable. Location is the 2nd floor with large windows overlooking the busy streets. It's a good place to meet with people over some vegan food.

Pros: convenient location, has parking lot, varied menu

Cons: inconsistency

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The worst tofu pad thai i've ever had - Edit

On occasion, i'll stop by california vegan for lunch and have been doing so for the past 3 years. Throughout that time, ive seen their prices progressively get higher all the while their food has just been getting crappier.

My friends all agree that I have a high tolerance for bad pad thai but even I couldnt eat california vegans tofu pad thai. I ordered it as take out and was absolutely disappointed when I took my first bite. The noodles were tasteless and the tofu was awful, it looked as though they just cut up a block of tofu straight out of the box, stuck it on the grill for a few seconds, and tossed it on the noodles. It was soggy and had no flavor.

After todays experience I doubt ill be coming back anytime soon if ever again. I dont think 10.95 is worthwhile for crappy noodles :/

Pros: Good parking

Cons: Bad service, High prices, Bland food

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Sadly, not 100% vegan, and declining in quality - Edit

With true regret, we must add our voices to the choir of folks who loved California Vegan a few years ago but have watched it slide downhill more recently and are alarmed to discover they are not completely vegan.

First of all, we feel it's misleading and unethical for a place called "California Vegan" to sell food that includes eggs, dairy, and honey - and especially egregious if it isn't clearly marked as such. As vegans (and not only vegans but also those with lactose intolerance, egg allergies, and other special dietary needs and preferences), when we go to an establishment that presents itself to the world (via its name) as a vegan restaurant, we automatically assume that we can relax our normal practices of asking about the ingredients of every single thing we order. For many of us that's one of the joys of dining at (ostensibly) vegan restaurants, but for some of us (e.g. those with severe allergies and lactose intolerance) it's not a luxury but a medical imperative. For these reasons, the deceptive misuse of the word vegan in the name of such establishments must be opposed, and at the very least the current owners should examine all their ingredient lists carefully and provide very clear warnings on the menu (and wherever else appropriate) to make sure that their customers understand which items are truly vegan and which are not.

As for the quality of the food, some of our past favorites have lost their former glory, or at least the quality has become inconsistent.

For all these reasons, we sadly can't recommend California Vegan at all until these issues are resolved. It would certainly be preferable to eating in a completely non-vegetarian place, but veg*ns would be much better served at one of the other nearby veg places such as Golden Mean Cafe, Native Foods, or Real Food Daily.

Pros: At least a few good veg Thai dishes, Parking lot

Cons: NOT ALL VEGAN, Declining/inconsistent quality, Not organic or health-conscious

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pretty good - Edit

went before new owners I think. Food was good, though I didn't like the texture of the fake meat. Nice atmosphere though.

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Indifferent - Edit

I'm updating my review from a visit a few years back. I used to love their BLT, but it has since changed with the change in ownership. I had the newer version at a different location; I was not crazy about the new BLT, if fact, I wouldn't go out of my way to get it again. If you're from out of town, I would probably skip this place; LA has far greater Vegan restaurants than this one. [And I don't think it's ethical for them to call themselves "California Vegan" if they are not in fact fully Vegan. That's deceptive, as I assumed everything there was Vegan.

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Higher Prices- Same avg food- Not all vegan - Edit

Was a bit disappointed to find that they've raised their prices since I was last there a month or so ago. Since they've changed ownership, I've had very mixed experienced here and while tonight wasn't bad, it was really average.
I thought their prices were already as high as what was reasonable for the area, and while prices have gone up everywhere, it seemed like they've overdone their increases. They're doing things like charging $1 extra to get your tofu fried instead of soft in a mixed vegetable dish as well.
There was some controversy over the mock meats in these Thai "vegan" places some time ago and considering that some of their desserts are labeled with honey in them I'd be surprised if their mock meats are all vegan. When I pointed to one of the packaged desserts they offered which contained eggs and dairy (last month) and told the woman at the register what I read, she just smiled and said, "...yes, have eggs".
Too bad this is the closest Thai place to Santa Monica, I'll be driving a little further in the future.

Pros: Closest Thai to SM

Cons: Pricey, mediocre food, maybe not vegan

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Sometimes good but not always - Edit

I've eaten at Calfornia Vegan many times, and generally, I like it all right. But my most recent visit (today) was a disappointment.

Why? Because the fresh spring rolls we ordered were NOT fresh. It was served WARM! (oddly enough, a first) because the kitchen had heated it up. The lettuce inside became soggy because of the heat. I suspect the kitchen had made the rolls earlier or the day before and refriegerated them. And that's why they had to heat them up before serving them. A big No-No because the rolls are supposed to be served fresh and at room temperature.

And the California chow mein we got (flat rice noodles instead of yellow noodles) was tasty but too saucy and thus salty. Made me really thirsty afterwards.

My friend got got a pad thai lunch special, and he had asked for no sprouts and peanuts / substitute broccoli instead and was charged extra $2 without being told so by the waitress. It seems to be the customary policy for the Thai vegetarian restaurant around LA to charge extra anytime one asks for a substitue. Would have been nice if the waitstaff tells you that upon ordering.

On the plus side, my friend liked his pad thai. And I liked the "lek tom yum" soup, which was very tasty. It's thin rice noolde, fried tofu cubes, and bean sprouts in a soup.

Suggestions: If ordering any of the fresh rolls, ask your waitstaff if they can make it fresh for you. And if you don't want salty noodles, let them know. Otherwise, food is generally okay, and lunch specials (without substitutions) is a bargain. Soups are good.

Pros: nice ambiance, good lunch specials, has parking

Cons: un-fresh rolls, salty noodles

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Disappointing. - Edit

I ate here for lunch today and was very disappointed with my experience. The food was mediocre at best and the service was worse. I ordered a vegetable wrap. When I asked the waitress what it had in it, she pointed to the menu where it said, all wraps served with alfalfa sprouts, tomato, romaine lettuce, salsa, and vegenaise. I was confused because the other wraps (all priced the same at $6.95) contained those items plus a protein. So I asked if I could add avocado (an extra $1) and ordered grilled tofu added as well. Then the waitress came back and said that the chef had made a mistake and put in grilled potato instead, but that I would get the grilled tofu on the side. When my wrap came, it was stuffed with lettuce, did not have any sprouts or salsa in it and had very little avocado and tomato. I ate half of it, but when my grilled tofu still had not arrived, I complained that the wrap didn't contain what was listed in the menu and that the tofu was never served either. The waitress went away and then came back and told me that the chef said she did put in the alfalfa sprouts and salsa! As if I was lying! I opened up the wrap and showed her that those ingredients were not in there. Finally, she took my plate back and returned several minutes later with what looked like the exact same thing. I was not pleased. I opened up the wrap again to show her that it still did not have alfalfa sprouts or salsa in it and then noticed about a teaspoon of sprouts hidden under the lettuce leaves. I asked about the salsa and she pointed to the tomatoes that were chopped small. Apparently if you cut the tomatoes smaller, that makes them salsa. To add insult to injury, the waitress also informed us that we were charged extra for the added potato-- even though I hadn't even ordered it! I won't eat there again.

Pros: clean, not crowded

Cons: mediocre food, parking limited, poor service

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One of my favoritees - Edit

We ordered to-go. I got the orange chicken dinner and my boyfriend got a wrap with fries. The dinner was a great value. It came with a spring roll, a large cup of soup, salad w/ dressing, fried rice, and the orange chicken. It was way too much food. The orange chicken was also a bit too sweet for my liking. I agree with the previous reviewer: the chicken could have used some vegetables big-time.
My boyfriend's wrap was very large, fresh, and good. His fries were cold and rubbery by the time we got back to the hotel, however. He should have gotten a dinner meal! The restaurant itself had a really lovely layout and looked out over Santa Monica Blvd.

Pros: Great selection, Nice decor and view, Great value

Cons: So-so service, Not healthy

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soso - Edit

There are a lot of good reviews here, which is surprising to me. The food and service is OK. I'd definitely skip this place if you are in town touristing for A Votre Santa / Real Food Daily / Native Foods which are all close by.

If you're warn out on the above places and are in the mood for some Thai, then by all means. I just get freaked out when Thai places serve pancakes :)

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excellent - Edit

love this place - great food in an area that really needs a place like this. very friendly and family friendly. only thing is i wish they had bigger portions.

Pros: great food, nice

Cons: small portions

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pretty good - Edit

It's not as good as Real Food Daily or Native Foods but the menu is huge - so much to choose from and ALL vegan. The orange "chicken" is good at the first few bites but then gets boring - the dish should come with vegetables - I was stealing veggies from my friends plates so I didn't have tofu overload. But there is lots to choose from and it is reasonably priced. Great place to bring non vegans.

Pros: location, reasonably priced, lots to choose from

Cons: some items not that good

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earthville 22 Feb 2013 - For the benefit of anyone who might skim this review page without reading the reviews closely: This review was posted several years ago, when it may have been the case that California Vegan was "all vegan" but now (as of July 2010) that is no longer the case. They have been selling items with honey, dairy, and even egg.  

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