HappyCow is loading...

CLOSED: Real Food Daily

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 75 reviews )
Hours

Closed

Contact 310-451-7544
Find

514 Santa Monica Blvd (at 5th St), Santa Monica, California, USA, 90401

Long-time established Santa Monica vegan restaurant offering choices from starters, salads, sandwiches and daily soups to hot plates featuring beans, tofu, seitan, and/or tempeh. Also fresh juices, coffee drinks, alcoholic beverages, and desserts. Brunch menu is available on the weekend. Cozy space and very busy on weekends. Prices moderate to expensive. Other location in Southern California. LAST DAY April 27, 2016, other locations remain open. Open Mon-Fri 11:00am-10:00pm, Sat 10:00am-10:00pm, Sun 10:00am-9:00pm.

Category: Vegan, American, Organic, Juice bar, Beer/Wine, Take-out, Bakery, Catering

Reviews (75)

First Review by xtfrclqn

More Real Food, Please! - Edit

Our server, Emily, said we had chosen well. I opted for a caeser salad starter with a main course from their list of specials, jackfruit tacos. My wife got the Real Food Basic Three, where you can select three items from an extensive list of veggies (she selected Garlicky Greens), beans & Grains (she got Quinoa), and proteins (she loved the almond-based "Tuna" salad, saying "How do they do that?"). I could eat Garlicky Greens all day, almost put in a second order. The caeser was very good, and Bonnie said next time she'd order the tuna salad on top of the caeser. Jackfruit was OK, but then we have a favorite place back that makes outstanding jackfruit tacos (Shine Cafe in Morro Bay), hard to compete. It was Wine-Down Wednesday, half price on all wines, so I had the Malbec, which tastes even better at half price. We ate upstairs, away from the REALLY loud music, with a bit more room between tables, and we got excellent service from Emily. Overall, very good food, hope to make it back for brunch sometime.

Pros: Wide variety of vegan food, Tasty, Fully explained on the menu

Cons: Turn down the music!, Street parking can be difficult


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

So lucky to have this in town! - Edit

So many fond memories of trips to this place.
Smart staff, great atmosphere, intense menu, healthy as well as comfy options.

Pros: Location up from the beach, Amazing variety, Superb qualify


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Lived up to expectations! - Edit

I was so looking forward to going to RFD having read about it from the UK. The food didn't disappoint - it was delicious and huge portions. I was too full after my burrito to have any chocolate cake but bought some to enjoy later. It was fantastic!

Pros: Food delicious, Lots of choice

Cons: Service a bit slow


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

It's ok - Edit

It's great there are lots of choices in Santa Monica, maybe we were spoilt by the other places but we found this one to be average. Food was ok, portion size not great, service was really poor. It was kinda busy so maybe it's better at quieter times.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Try the Sea Cake! - Edit

I went for brunch on a Sunday morning and was seated quickly.

For a starter, I ordered the Sea Cake, which I was hesitant to get because I thought it may taste like a crab cake and even pre-vegan I couldn't stand that taste. But the waiter assured me that it would taste nothing like a crab cake, and he was right. What an excellent dish! The flavor of the Sea Cake was not at all fishy, it was highly delectable. It was accompanied by a spicy aioli sauce, which was amazing, and it sat atop a bed of arugula with pesto. It's the type of dish that you'd lick the bowl if you weren't in public.

I ordered the Weekender entree, which included pancakes (I upgraded to blueberry pancakes for $1.50 extra), scrambled tofu, hash browns, and tempeh bacon.

The blueberry pancakes were large, fluffy, buttery, and simply delicious. I would never guess that they're gluten-free.

The tofu scramble was very tasty. It was seasoned very well, but I'd request no tomatoes for my dish next time.

Hash browns were extremely disappointing. Like, seriously... How can you mess up hash browns? They were too hard (and I like crispy papas) and they were flavorless.

Tempeh Bacon had a great smoky flavor but was too hard.

The dessert case housed a massive array of vegan sweeties, but I was too full this time to try any.

I would definitely return for more Sea Cakes!

Pros: Amazing Sea Cake dish!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

First Burito, Best Burito - Edit

Being my first time in North America, I had never eaten a Burito before and this place had some great offers.
I do not think I will ever eat a burtio as good as this one. The place was nicely packed and people very friendly!
Not the cheapest place in town though.

Pros: Friendly Staff, Big Portions, Great selection

Cons: Very busy, Price


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great meal at RFD - Edit

I have Ann Gentry's book, Vegan Family Meals, so I definitely wanted to visit her restaurant when we were passing through Santa Monica.

My son had the Not-Chos and they were very delicious. The serving seemed generous and he really enjoyed them.

We had a very friendly waiter who recommended either the veggie burger (lentil and mushroom, I think) with the works or the club sandwich. I went for the burger. While it was good, the texture was softer than I would have liked and there was a spice that didn't work for me. I enjoyed it but would probably try the club or something else next time.

It's always so much fun to go to vegan restaurants because there are so many choices! RFD had so many items to choose from. I wish there was one closer to me so I could sample them all.

Pros: great menu, friendly staff, delicious food


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

A Vegan Classic - Edit

No matter if Fit Fathers is in Santa Monica or near the Beverly Center, Real Food Daily is always a must visit. In fact, we typically invite non-vegans here for meetings since the foods are so appetizing. The nachos for example are always a hit. Moreover, your children also have a range such as the kids vegan platter with Buckwheat soba noodles, black beans and steamed veggies. Smoothies and sweets are also available. Yum!

Pros: too much to choose from, smoothie bar, various locations

Cons: can get pricey


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Mmmmm...the desserts :-) - Edit

We went for the desserts and were not disappointed. The brownie sundae bowl was awesome and plenty for two people. The salted caramel cupcake was amazing. Be prepared for varying levels of service from overly chatty about the menu items to forgetting to bring water after several requests. I was excited to try the fauxstess cupcakes, but they didn't taste like I remembered the real thing, though it's been about 20 years since I've had one.

Pros: Amazing desserts, Great selection

Cons: Service varies


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Exellent! - Edit

Wish there was one in San Diego where i live now! When I lived in LA I would go to this place and pig out. Fun atmosphere, lots of fellow vegans, excellent, fresh, hearty, wholesome, creative food. What's not to like? With a tasty place like this, I wonder why in the world to people eat animals?!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great vegan choice - Edit

Real Food Daily was a great place for dinner. We were there late but still enjoyed a full meal. We had sea cake (croquettes) as appetizer - quite good, the real food burger with works - a generous meal, and the real food meal - somewhat uninteresting. The location downtown is convenient. Parking is not a problem, as the city garages are free up to two hours - so there is enough time if you just want dinner.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Yummy lunch! - Edit

This place was heaving..!! It took a while to get seated and be served but we didn't mind :) I had the tempeh/avocado burger/sandwich and it was lovely (see photo). There were several other things on the menu I wanted to try but sadly we could only visit once....we will return next time! :)


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Never disappoints.. - Edit

Every single time I go I try something new and am NEVER disappointed! Even when I've been hesitant to order a dish, it comes out and it's amazing!! This place has great service & a great atmosphere, I recommend RFD to anyone. I stop by every time I'm in Santa Monica!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Best Sandwich and Salad I ever had - Edit

This restaurant is awesome! We ordered the Nachos as starter, then I had the chef sandwich, it was the best sandwich I ever had. They also have very good homemade lemonade. The Tiramisu we had for dessert was also delicious. Staff is very friendly and helpful and they have a good choice of vines. I can recommend this place to anyone and I would definitely go there again, don't miss out on this.

Pros: Great Food, wide choice, Friendly and Helpful staff, Nice atmosphere


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The Best - Edit

This is by far my favorite vegan restaurant in the area. Friendly staff, great selection. We are always happy with our food. They are also very nice to our 3 year old and accommodating. Cannot recommend this place highly enough.

Pros: All Vegan, Delicious, Friendly Staff

Cons: Parking


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Excellent. - Edit

Nice!

It's an uncluttered setting - great for either a quick stop or a longer stay. The great range of menu items are interesting yet unpretentious and everything we tried tasted great. The kids liked it too - and they're fussy!

The cake display teases you while you eat and pays off well at the end. Our waitress was extremely pleasant too.

Nothing to dislike here. Do go.

Pros: Great food, All vegan, Clean and comfy setting


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

A New Go-To Place for me! - Edit

LOVE their tempeh bacon!
Two of my fav's:

SUPREME BURRITO- WET with CAESAR SALAD!

MEDITERRANEAN BOWL!

NOTE ON TAKE OUT: chefs have missed some key ingredient in 2 of 3 take-out orders. Mgmt has been helpful and credited me, but still frustrating so I would give advise (to myself and to you!) to double check order before walking out the door. Frustrating and disappointing to come home with no salad dressing or no feta :(

Pros: TEMPEH BACON

Cons: EXPENSIVE....but you are what you eat...


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Still fantastic - Edit

Enjoyed dinner and brunch at Real Food Daily last weekend during a California road trip. It had been quite awhile since I had eaten there (1-2 years?) as I live in AZ. They did not disappoint. The food was fantastic and flavorful and lived up to everything I remembered. It is nice to see consistency over time.

Pros: Food based on whole foods, Consistently excellent, Friendly staff

Cons: Parking


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Tasty Vegan Food - Edit

I had read first about this place on happycow many years back and have eaten here numerous times over the years. Was just here in Jun 2013, and here's my updated Real Food Daily review update.

I, with family and friends, have frequented this restaurant for years, and our experiences have been both good and so-so. The quality of the food is usually good though once in a while it's a hit-or-miss. If you stick to what you like, then you'll be okay.

For me the Mexican style food is always reliable and tasty--the guys in the kitchen are Mexican and Latin Americans. The nachos, tacos, enchiladas, and the burrito are yummy. The sandwiches are all right, too, like the reuben, the BLT, and the works burger.

The restaurant is often busy, and you probably would have to wait for a table on the weekends at meal time. However, once you've been seated, service is prompt.

Manu and Jeff are our preferred waiters. Cool guys.

Prices are more expensive than other veg restaurants around, but this is downtown Santa Monica.

Pros: fresh ingredients, yummy desserts

Cons: expensive, noisy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Really Good Food,Good Service,Interesting Menu - Edit

My wife and I had a wonderful lunch at Real Food Daily - our waiter was most helpful,the service was fast (it was lunch time and we were lucky to get a table)and the menu was extensive and allowed us many choices.
My wife had the Tac O' the Town - a Moroccan stew that she wanted gluten free so they served it over quinoa and I had the Mexico City Tacos both of which we ample servings and very tasty.
I had the home made ginger lemonade which was really tasty and refreshing with the added bonus of one free refill - great beverage.
We were so pleased with our meal we went back to the restaurant after a few hours for a cup of tea and a cupcake and cookie - unfortunately the desserts we tried weren't all that tasy but they were gluten free which sometimes can be a challenge.
We would definately return for meal as the food was great.

Pros: Large selection, Tasty food, prompt and friendly service

Cons: Gluten free desserts not that tasty


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Loving Brunch at RFD... - Edit

My wife and I have eaten brunch here quite a few times over the past 6 months. We both love The Weekender (tofu scramble, tempeh bacon, pancakes or french toast, and hash browns or fruit). Yes, it's a bit pricey (at $14.25), but it's the prefect amount of food for us before setting out for a day in Santa Monica.

Personally, I love the pancakes. They're the best vegan pancakes I've ever had and traditional pancakes are something I miss after going vegan. For me, it's the perfect "dessert" to the brunch. I tried the Cinnamon Bun, but was unimpressed. The pancakes, doused with maple syrup, are all I need...

Can't speak to the rest of the menu, as we found something we like and get it every time. I've recently had to go soy-free, though, so that'll be changing for me when we come. Might just have to eat nothing but pancakes and fruit... Nothing wrong with that...

If you're a coffee drinker, be aware that they only do espresso drinks. So, an Americano (espresso with hot water) is as close as you get to a traditional cup of coffee. It's a big mug, so be ready for a buzz...

Pros: Great brunch, Friendly staff

Cons: Need more GF, SF brunch dishes


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Lunch/Dinner Fair; Brunch Awful - Edit

I have had dinners here that have been OK, but the entrees have yet to be unique and lack imagination. This morning I tried Sunday brunch which is offered from 10am to 3pm. I ordered "The Weekender" plate for $14.25 (ouch) which consists of a tofu scramble that comes with bacon plus either french toast or pancakes plus either hash browns or fruit. The portions are small which is fine, but the scramble was microscopic, and the onions and tomato were almost non-existent. The hash browns consisted of a pre-formed square patty that was virtually a giant Tater tot, and was a bit oily and not cooked through. The pancakes, made with almond flour, were tasty but slightly undercooked and pasty. A side of ketchup comes with this meal... really, ketchup!? So for lunch/dinner I'll be generous and give RFD three stars, but for Sunday brunch I'd give it one star if I could

Note to self: stick with Golden Mean Cafe!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

RFD is a favorite! - Edit

The food at RFD is always great. I love the Salisbury Seitan and Pizza Ya Can Eat-za. Sometimes it can be a hassle to park, but the food makes it worth it.

I love that the restaurant has cookbooks, so I can make my favorites at home!

Pros: great vegan food

Cons: hard to park, expensive


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Wonderful vegan place - Edit

I adored this place. I wish they had a Real Food Daily in Sydney! I loved my pizza, so delicious. The drinks were amazing too. Very friendly staff and cute decor. My boyfriend loved his burrito. I would totally recommend this place to anyone. Lots of GF options too.

Pros: DELICIOUS FOOD, friendly staff, lots of choices


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Meh... - Edit

So I have been at RFD many times and each time, I find something lacking in the flavours. I can't quite describe what it is. The food is slightly on the bland side, the atmosphere is not great, the tables are quite pokey and uncomfortable. I can only describe the food as nice. I feel bad giving them a 3 because it's an all vegan restaurant, but I don't feel the passion in the cooking. The RFD bakery next door had some nice drinks.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great food! - Edit

This place is much better than the other Real Food Daily location. They barely seem like the same restaurant, in my opinion.

This place specializes in delicious comfort foods and great desserts. I highly recommend the "TV Dinner" which is meatloaf, mashed potatoes & gravy, and steamed veggies. It's amazing.

Prices aren't too bad, either, and it's near the pier and the promenade. Definitely worth checking out.

Pros: All-vegan, Delicious

Cons: None


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

RFD - Edit

real food daily is amazing went there for my first time last week and i did not regret it! i had there rfd burger special it was the best. it does take some time to receive your food when you don't call ahead for take-out. the one main reason i went was because bertanis doesn't have a veg menu and it was the closest thing to me. but ehen i got there and show how many poeple where there i knew it was going to be great and it was!htey have so much verity i just didn't know how to choose. if you get the change to go to real food daily go you will regret it i promise

Pros: great food, friendly staff, descent pricing

Cons: a little bit of a wait


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great Menu, Stuffy Atmosphere - Edit

Dined at this location twice. The food lived up to the hype. Worth raving about is the Sea Cake appetizer. It's a litte croquette from heaven...butternut squash, yam and sea vegetables, pesto with sweet chili aioli.

The atmosphere was a bit of a let down. We sat in the dining room on the main level for one meal and in one of the upstairs sections for the other. In both, the tables were too close to each other. There are a couple choice tables to be had, otherwise you're right on top of the table next to you. You can hear everything they're saying and vice versa. If you have to have tables close together, there are ways to arrange them to avoid this. Alternatively, RFD, you guys shouldn't wait until one section is full before opening another section. We got the last table in the main dining room and were packed in there like sardines while the entire upper level was empty. It may be a drag for waitstaff to have to walk the stairs, but your restaurant has a goofy layout so this is an obstacle you just have to overcome.

I also noticed a musty smell to the place, like it needed to be aired out. The glass wall in the main floor dining area doesn't help. It's like eating in a fishbowl and doesn't allow for any air circulation.

All these nit-picky things aside, the food is so incredible and the menu so impressive it's hands down 5 Cows in my book.


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

In vegan heaven - Edit

This made for one of the best dining experiances I've ever had. Everything on their menu looked delicious, I had a hard time making up my mind! The restaurant seats a lot, and has a nice atmosphere. The waitors were friendly and helpful, completing the experiance. I'd highly recommend making an effort to come here- you won't be sorry.

Pros: yummy food, great dessert!, lots of seating

Cons: parking may be difficult


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Decent - Edit

Cute atmosphere, great location, extensive menu, flavorful food. I brought a nonveg with me that equally enjoyed it. The service was satisfactory but overall it was a good place!

Pros: Waiter's knowledge of food, atmosphere, prices

Cons: hostess being unorganized, long wait time to be seated


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Best Vegan Fare in all of LA!!! - Edit

Okay, so RFD has 40-some reviews and they're all 4s and 5s (4s, seriously? Can't imagine anything less than a 5!) Obviously, my glowing review is unnecessary. But, I love this place so much that I just HAVE to rave about it. I first discovered this vegan haven (also a Kosher haven, for those concerned!) two years ago. I was just visiting LA at that point, and was so disappointed that I couldn't live right above it and eat there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - not that I could, anyway, since the prices in LA are unfortunately well beyond my budget. So, rather than repeat what everyone else has said, I will simply list my favs....

Best entrees:
* The specials almost never fail! Most recently, the Midnight Oasis blew me away... it's always worth it to give these rare treats a go =)
* El Bandito Rojo - vegan enchiladas!!! Need I say more?
* Seitan Salisbury - this is the most incredible seitan I've ever tasted - the seasoning/marination is PERFECT! I also love the gravy and it's a special treat for a vegan to be able to eat mashed potatoes in a restaurant!

Best sandwich:

* The Club!!!!! Oh... my... god is it good. I drool just thinking about it. If you're having trouble deciding between this and the Reuben (also quite tasty!), get the Club and add sauerkraut and the special "cheese" spread that comes on the Reuben and you've got yourself the most amazing sandwich known to man! This is also an excellent choice for non-vegans, who truly won't miss the meat and cheese.

Best desserts:

* Caramel Pecan Cheesecake - freaking awesome in every way!
* Moon Pie (get it when you can, because it's a rare special!) - coconut crust & coconut cream doused in the most amazing thick chocolate ever... mmmmmmmm.

Pros: Vegan & Kosher, Great service, Great location - walk to the beach after

Cons: Pricey, but that's just LA


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

this is our Cheers - Edit

My husband and I have gone here pretty much once per week since we started dating. I think I've eaten everything on the menu. While I really like everything, I could see someone objecting to the soft texture of the veggie burger. You can never go wrong with the specials though or the dessert

Pros: great food, friendly staff, dessert


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Tac-O The Town!!!!!!!!!! - Edit

Update: So we decided to go to RFD during our recent trip and the Tac-O' The Town blew us away - sooo good! I give RFD 5 cows for that dish alone. We also ordered the Salisbury Seitan, and while the mashed potatoes were amazing, I wouldn't order it again as the seitan was so-so. RFD is definitely one of my favorites.

Updated from previous review on Friday November 16, 2007:
I like this location better than the one in Beverly Hills. Overall the food was good and I must say, their potato salad is incredible!

2 Responses

By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Mostly fabulous food - Edit

I actually went here for both lunch and dinner on the one day I was in Santa Monica.

When we arrived for lunch, they were still serving Sunday brunch, so I ordered a tofu scramble. It was very good, but not the best tofu scramble I've had. One of my friends had the enchiladas, which were delicious. Another had a caesar salad, which was also great. And another had the club sandwich, which I didn't try, but he enjoyed a lot. All three were non-vegan and all three were very pleased with their meals. For dessert we had cheesecake, which was excellent.

Then I went back with two other people for dinner. I ordered the alfredo, which was incredible. The others agreed that it was delicious. My aunt had one of the specials, and the tofu wasn't well-flavored, so it tasted too much like soy. Other than that, the meals were very good.

For dessert we ordered the coconut tart. I am a huge fan of coconut, but I was really disappointed by the tart. It was mostly whipped cream, with a thin coconut cream layer. It didn't taste much like coconut. I wouldn't say that it didn't taste good, but I definitely wouldn't recommend buying it if you want something with coconut. It was a very mediocre dessert.

The service was mostly good, but when I was there for lunch one of my friends complained that it looked like there was soap in her water, and she was told it wasn't soap and wasn't offered a new water. The two people who drank out of it said it tasted funny, and so she ended up sharing a water with someone else.

Pros: Alfredo, other yummy food

Cons: crowded, pricey


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Great Desserts! - Edit

I took my friend to Real Food Daily for her birthday. We had a great time ordering multiple dishes to share.

The soup of the day was a variation on miso: instead of the traditional seaweed and scallions, it was garnished with plenty of shiitake mushrooms and napa cabbage. Light and refreshing!

We then had the Sea Cake, a sea vegetable croquette with butternut squash and yam. It was just lightly fried- crisp on the outside, but tender and soft on the inside. It was served with just enough pesto and chili aioli. The Nori Maki, a western take on veggie sushi, was hearty and satisfying.

For our main course, we shared a variety of Macrobiotic basics, which came with sauces of choice. This was nice, as the dressings and sauces (all house made) came in all different flavors and we could season our own food.

Then... dessert! Our meal was completed by two outstanding dishes. The Dream Chocolate Pudding was a thick, luscious, intensely chocolatey version of a traditional vegan soy-based pudding. We also had one of the best crisps I have ever tried: Apple and Fresh Figs, with walnut crumble instead of a crust. This was topped by a HUGE scoop of homemade hempmilk ice cream (for those who do not eat soy)!

My friend an I both enjoyed the experience!

Pros: Convenient Location, Extensive Menu, Great Desserts


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

The Little Sister - Edit

RFD in West Hollywood is amazing, so when I was in Santa Monica, I expected the same from this place. While the food is of the same standard, the setting lacks something and I feel the price tag, while worthy at the other location, left me feeling like I deserved more at this location.

The place is always busy, a testament to the good food, but for the real "Real Food Daily" experience, head over to West Hollywood (414 N La Cienega Blvd, 310-289-9910) and make an evening of it!

Pros: Great tasting food, Wide selection of menu options

Cons: Not as good as their sister branch


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Some great, some good, some room to improve - Edit

So much has been said about RFD that we can add little beyond agreement with the general consensus.

- Some dishes are truly great, and a few are among the best anywhere.

- Some dishes are really subpar, and shockingly overpriced considering that.

- Those in the middle are good but not extraordinary, and whether or not they merit their price tags is a matter of contention.

- Organic is awesome!

- Some of the servers are wonderful, though occasionally we've had unpolished service.

- The vibe can be a bit hectic at peak hours.

Our big complaint is that there's little to satisfy those with lower incomes, which limits its appeal for many. We'd like to be able to bring groups of friends, but many (e.g. our friends who are school teachers or artists) simply can't afford to fill up here, and we can't always foot the bill for a whole group, so we don't come nearly as often as we'd like for that reason.

We'd give it five cows for being organic, vegan, and sometimes excellent, but because of the inconsistent quality, which makes the prices sometimes outrageous, and because of the unfriendliness to low-income customers, we have to give it four.

Pros: A few extraordinarily great items, Organic! :-)

Cons: Several items mediocre & overpriced, Can be hectic, Lower-income friends can't afford to eat


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

A staple when in CA - Edit

I always make a special trip to RFD when visiting LA. I also love how it is close to 3rd St. Promenade. The new apple cake with caramel sauce is out of site. Tried the fettuccine alfredo and was not impressed--it was extremely bland. Probably the only thing I've ever ordered from RFD that I haven't been crazy over. We got the nacho appetizer and honestly it was so filling and delicious, it could easily be a meal.

Pros: Location, Food quality, Variety

Cons: Pricey, Alfredo was bland


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

I Love it! - Edit

Oh RFD. I would give you five stars if I was the only one who went to lunch there, but, I took my (omnivore) family to RFD for my birthday lunch because I went there once before, and LOVED it.

My mother and I had the special of the week, the "Fat Tuesday", which we both LOVED, but my mother did send it back because it was only warm. The waiter was super sweet about reheating it. I really don't care about temperature, but if you like your food steaming hot, like my Mom does, you might want to note that specification. My father had the Fettuccine Alfredo, and I had to convince him that it wasn't made with real cheese, he liked it that much! My brother had the supreme burrito which he devoured.

I'm not sure of the name of our waiter, but he was awesome! So patient with my brother, who is mentally handicapped. My brother tried to describe what he wanted to eat. The waiter was so unbelievably patient and kind as he listened to my brother. He suggested the Supreme Burrito, and my brother, who is now back in NY, still talks to my parents about how much he liked it.

In my mind, I give this place 5 stars. But despite how much my Dad liked his Alfredo, there was this random piece of plastic in it. But i must note, the waiter came over when my Dad asked what it was, because he thought it was some vegan anomaly, and apologized profusely, then comp'd the meal and gave my Dad a free dessert. So I'm pretty sure that was a random anomaly.
But, because of my Dad's indignation over the plastic found in his food, I will give RFD 4 stars out of 5. But believe me, if you're taking a vegan to that place, we'll love it!

But as a vegan, I give it 5 Stars!

Pros: Great staff!, Great food!

Cons: A bit pricey, Omnivores might be confused


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Truly amazing - Edit

Ate here with my girlfriend for the very first time last night and I cannot wait to go back. The selection was truly amazing and our meals were spectacular. I had the Salisbury Seitan with Mashed Potatoes and vegetables and my girlfriend had Rueben Tempeh with rice and black beans... and for desert a Coconut Creme Tart! It was all delicious! Great portions, great price, great vibe, super friendly staff. A must stop for all vegans!

Pros: Amazing food, Good Value, Friendly staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Can't believe I never reviewed this place! - Edit

I had the pleasure of eating here again last weekend with some friends. RFD was the very first all vegan restaurant I ever ate at in my life about 10 years ago if my mind is working properly. What impresses me the most is that it maintains the same quality and excellent experience each time I go as the very first. I prefer to sit upstairs on the original side. I often see veg celebs, like Hal Sparks, hiding out up there, too. I have convinced many a hold out that Veganasim was the way to go just by introducing them to the Nachos. A lot of my buddies get the Nachos as a main course. I've gone back to the basics in my RFD dining. There are great specials, but a bowl of grains and veggies covered with the oil free Ranchero Sauce is my way of life. Its refreshing to be able to get a healthy meal at a popular vegan restaurant when so many of them are hung up on trying to recreate unhealthy carnivore counterparts. The Santa Monica location is far friendlier and better quality of service and food than the West Hollywood location. I quit going to the West Hollywood RFD because of endless mishaps there. Never had a single problem at the Santa Monica location.

Pros: Basics, Ranchero Sauce, Nachos

Cons: parking


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Some really excellent dishes - Edit

This is one of my favorite veg places in West LA. As other reviewers have noted, there are some dishes that are not successes, and the prices are really quite high. But if you know what to order (I've found the staff less helpful than talking to the diners sitting nearby.), you will end up with really tasty food. Due to its popularity, you can end up with a long wait at peak times, and can feel crammed in like a (vegetarian) sardine. But the real draw here (aside from the occasion minor TV/film celebrity) is the wide variety of food--about as good as any veg restaurant in the world. I could eat here for a month, and never have to repeat a dish.

Pros: Food taste., Staff friendliness, Huge variety of dishes

Cons: Slightly overpriced, Large handful of unsuccessful dishes, Often overcrowded


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

These Nachos are Better than Your Nachos! - Edit

Best nachos I've ever had in my whole life. These vegan nachos destroy every and any nachos plate I've orderedin the past. The burrito with Fakn Bacon or whatever they call it was exceptional as well. Once in a while you might have a snobby waitress but who cares...My wife and I love this place. I love that there is a comic book store across the street too. I'm vegan and a nerd too!

Pros: Nachos, Nachos, Nachos

Cons: Semi Snobby Staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Same food as WeHo, but more crowded - Edit

We make it here about once a year with another veggie friend who lives closer to this location. While the food is tasty, I much prefer the WeHo location as it's less crowded. In any case, try the nachos, club sandwich and red potato salad. Yummy.

Pros: tasty vegan comfort food

Cons: crowded space


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Viva RFD - Edit

My wife and I were taken to RFD by friends who have eaten there a few times before, so we had some guidance as to what is good and what to stay away from. This was the first time I have seen a "TV Dinner" on a restaurant menu, and was tempted to try it just for that reason, but I gave it a miss. We ordered the nachos to share, which are officially an appetizer, but would also work fine for a whole meal. Then we stuck with the Mexican theme and got the el bandito rojo (enchiladas). I was definately impressed, since I hadn't had enchiladas since I went vegan 7 years ago. They had their own "cheezy sauce" inside, which hardly resembled cheese, but was tasty nonetheless. If you like Mexican food, you will definately be satisfied. After reading some of the other reviews, I'm glad I didn't order some of the other things. The only slightly negative aspect was that the place was crowded, so we were crammed into the small space upstairs, which lacks the pleasant atmosphere the downstairs section has.

Pros: large portions, quality organic ingredients

Cons: the upstairs section is a little tight


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Real Food Daily - Edit

Real Food Daily has so much to offer. From comfort foods like vegan nachos and club sandwiches to macrobiotic plates and fancy specials to delicious desserts, there is something for everyone. I've been a repeat customer for over 10 years!


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

sunday brunch - Edit

i went to check opening times to get lucky with real food daily's sunday brunch. during the time we were the place was getting busy and i think the brunch is a winner. there was a selection of four or five mains, but a larger selection of build your own brunch choices. the food was good but as always you yanks make the portions way too big, and as always i finished the lot.

Pros: staff, food , atmospere


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Real Good - Edit

I love Real Food Daily. The food is the next best in Los Angeles after Madeleine Bistro. And since I can only afford to eat at Madeleine Bistro once or twice a year, I go to Real Food Daily more often. Both the West Hollywood and Santa Monica locations consistently serve great food, and our waiters have been very friendly.

The restaurant has great weekly and salad specials. From the regular menu, the nachos (get them with seitan and jalapeno "cheese") are stupendous. I love to get their salads (so far I've enjoyed both the house salad and the farm chop) with the caesar dressing, which I can't get enough of. The house (tahini) dressing and the peanut sauce are also quite good. I love the El Bandito Rojo, which I get topped with the jalapeno "cheese." Also good are the mashed potatoes and gravy and the chai soy latte.
The desserts vary a bit more in quality, some (the chocolate hazelnut cake and the chocolate espresso truffle) are excellent, while others (the cupcake and the brownies with ice cream) are okay but not as great.

The great thing about RFD is that the menu is huge and everything is vegan. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I go there. It's thrilling to be asked "Would you like that with rice milk or soy milk?" when I order a chai. There are many menu items I haven't tried yet and I look forward to sampling them.

If I could change one thing about RFD it would be the prices. They are sadly typical of Los Angeles -- it is not uncommon to pay $14 or $15 for an entree. On the upside, at least you are getting a full meal when you plop down that kind of cash, which is not the case everywhere in this town (Madeleine Bistro, I'm looking at you). Still, RFD is one of the places that makes me glad to be in LA, and I recommend it highly.

Pros: delicious food, great selection, all vegan

Cons: pricey


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Amazing! - Edit

One of the best vegan restaurants I have ever been to! The food is actually really healthy. I had the real food meal and it came with a lot of tasty food. Started off with some fresh veggie juice, a curried yellow split pea soup, a few slices of hemp bread with the most amazing 5 spice carrot spread, the encourse with quinoa, salad from the sea, lentils, cole-slaw, steamed broccoli and carrots, and finished wih the best dessert I have ever had, a brownie with a scoop of vanilla soy ice cream. Their menu is huge and everything on it sounds so good! Service was a little slow, but they were extremely busy. The food makes up for it completely!

Pros: Organic, Huge Portions, Best Food!!!!!

Cons: Crowded


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

So good it Changes minds - Edit

I have now eaten here twice and have loved it in its entirety both times. The host at the door wore fabulous pink pants with matching cuff links which only added to the experience. The first time I went a girlfriend (a meat eating girlfriend) joined me after a night of dining at what she called a wonderful raw bar that opened her eyes to the delectability of raw beef. She so loved the ceasar salad wrap and chocolate cupcake that she kept asking the waiter if in fact it was truly vegan... of course the answer is a resounding but of course. Time number two pink pants at the door i went with a fellow vegetarian who thought it was over rated saying that plain soy dishes just weren't his thing. So I did the ordering Ruebens for each of us with extra saurkraut and thousand island please. Plus the truly divine chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting for dessert. He is now a RFD fan as well. Really you can't beat whole foods cooked to perfection.

Pros: Excellent cuisine, healthy, friendly staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Exceptional Vegan Restaurant ! - Edit

I live in the Los Angeles area and I used to eat at RFD two to three times a week. Just everything on the menu is fabulous ! The cashew cheese is super tasty, I suggest the nachos, and their quiche is amazing. For vegans, the caesar salad is a great replica of the original anchovy-based dressing. MY FAVORITE ITEM ON THE MENU IS *COCONUT CREME PIE* in fact I think it's my favorite food EVER !!! (Call ahead to see if it's available, they rotate the desserts.)

Pros: Great Taste, Awesome Staff, Great Ambiance

Cons: A Little Pricy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Very good! - Edit

I just had the vegetable miso soup today and it was excellent! The vegetables, napa cabbage, carrot, radish, shitake mushroom, onion, seaweed, were cooked just right and they add a delightful sweetness. My favorite is the vegetable loaf and gravy (TV dinner minus the mashed potato, and steamed vegetable since i think the mashed potato was kinda bland, if yukon gold is used then it would be great :-) ). I also tried the El Bandito Rojo combo and the enchiladas were quite tasty. The bread and spread is also good. I don't care too much for the Real Food Meal because the food is mostly steam. Can't wait to try other dishes next time i am in Santa Monica. The staff is quite accomodating and friendly too :-)

Pros: Good food , Friendly staff, Good portion

Cons: A little high in price


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Delicious Vegetarian - Edit

I love it when I can go into a restaurant and order any dish - because I am a vegetarian. At Real Food Daily i enjoyed every bite of the very generous portions - imaginative flavors and good variety. I'm going back more often! The Santa Monica restaurant is a nice environment - I could take a client there. The waiters were personable and attentive.

Pros: excellent Food, good value, friendly staff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Just OK - Edit

I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. My food here was pretty bland and unexciting, and the portions were very small. I didn't dislike it, it just wasn't all that great.

Pros: All Vegan

Cons: Small Portions, Pretty Bland


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

I liked it. - Edit

Went for brunch at the Hollywood location after the Bishnu Gosh Asana Championship and was very satisfied with the TV Dinner- "Meat"loaf with mashed potatoes and veggies and a fresh made juice. Only problem was that the potatoes were not hot and the veggies-carrots, broccolli and lotus root were not freshly cooked, looked like they were steamed then put in a cheesemelter to keep warm but they got dried out. I ate them anyway because I love my veggies. The wife had the scramble, the jalapeno sauce that comes with it was delish. I'll try it again the next time in LA.

Pros: organic

Cons: cold food


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

If in LA you MUST go here! - Edit

This is my favorite vegan restaurant. I've never been disappointed here. The food can seem pricey at times but it is so worth it. I like the SM location better than the West Hollywood location. Plus its near the beach so you can get your food or a snack to go and nosh at the beach. ;)

Pros: all vegan, mostly organic too!, yummmmy


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

i wouldn't want to eat here daily :( - Edit

i was recommend to this restaurant by a friend, but am afraid i wasn't very impressed. the crackers were ok... the soup i had (i recall it had carrots in it) was a little too lumpy and not that great.. i did like my juice they made me. and the desert was ok. two cows at best. sorry but i don't think i'll be returning.

Pros: good location

Cons: service was just ok, food wasn't that great


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

What a paradise - Edit

As a vegan stranded in southwestern Virginia, I had the chance to visit RFD when visiting a friend in Santa Monica. I was blown away by all the choices. I only had enough money for desert--I opted for the cheesecake. Where I'm from, vegan cheesecake is unheard of. I loved it. Amazing!

Pros: selection, healthy, location

Cons: long wait, pricey


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar

not so sure... - Edit

i had been DYING to go to RFD for years now but could never justify trying something new when we could go to vegan express instead. but, we finally went for my birthday. the nachos with taco mix are AMAZING. i selected the taco entree and expected soft shells.. i was a bit disappointed when they were hard, stale shells. not to mention the fact that it was basically nachos in a different form. my husband had salsbuiry sietan and it was great. the raspberry chocolate cake is good... but stay away from the cheesecake. it's the first time in nine years of being vegan that i've had a terrible vegan cheesecake. while i don't regret going, i don't know if i'd go back. i think i'll just prepare meals from the cookbook instead.

Pros: variety

Cons: nearly useless staff, too expensive


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Some gret stuff, worth a try - Edit

RFD can be it or miss, I agree, but I have received more hits than misses. I love their Thanksgiving themed food, the mashed yams are awesome! The nachos are awesome, the club sandwich is great, mashed potatoes are rad and so is the gravy. Of course, I can make all this at home for less money. Still, I bring friends here. The dining area is cramped. Wait staff can be a little too snobby and the bathroom is totally gross. Semi-pricey. I hate their lattes and mochas.

Pros: nachos, anything mashed

Cons: bathroom nasty, pricey, inconsistant


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Hit or Miss - Edit

The nachos and mashed potatoes are excellent, but anytime we've veered from the nachos the food has been pretty disgusting. The cupcakes are good but the cookies are really dry and they use carob instead of chocolate so you wont like them if you're not a carob fan. The rice was overcooked and the bbq salad was really horrible with slimy yucky tofu pieces in it. The restaurant is cramped and crowded and I'd avoid sitting upstairs. The waitstaff is a bit snobby.

Pros: nachos

Cons: food, cramped and crowded, waitstaff


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Reviewer Avatar

My very favorite vegetarian restaurant - Edit

Real Food Daily is the ultimate in vegetarian eating! I absolutely love this place. Although they have many great dishes, my favorite is the salisbury seitan served with mashed potatoes, gravy and salad. It's wonderful. They also have great vegan baked goods for desert and serve up a good brunch!

Pros: all vegan, great menu, good atmosphere

Cons: drink selection, tight fit with seating


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Food ranges from excellent to bad - Edit

In a restaurant where all the food is vegan and organic, I would think I'd have a lot of choices of delicious entrees. Unfortunately, every time I vary from the same 3 items, my meal is mediocre. I recommend the TV dinner, the Salsbury Seitan, and the Nachos. The TV dinner and Salsbury Seitan both come with vegan mashed potatoes which aren't bad. Occasionally there's a good special. Their desserts are hit or miss. I highly recommend their chocolate pudding, and when they have it, peach pie, made with fresh peaches. The banana pie is also pretty good. My omni partner and I find their carob mint cookies about 50% tasty, and 50% boring.

Definitely stay away from the BBQ tofu chop. It's mostly recooked frozen vegetables with cold barely BBQ'd tofu on top. Also, while I usually love cornbread, theres is the worst I've ever had: tasteless wet mixture containing a lot of rice. The hemp bread is good though. Caesar salad is so-so.

The wait staff is friendly and helpful. However, there's one waiter who doesn't write down orders, who often messes up something in the order.

Be advised that this place gets quite noisy when crowded, particularly upstairs. We find it so unpleasant, that we will only sit downstairs or get carryout. Also, there's a single one-seater restroom, and there's often a line.

Link to their menu: http://www.realfood.com/menu.htm

Pros: Vegan, Organic, Some very good dishes

Cons: Some bad dishes, Very Noisy!, Often a restroom line


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

great food - Edit

great food, a bit expensive and small portions though. seating is TERRIBLE. we are a large vegan family - there are 6 of us. we can never get seating there since it is so small.

Pros: wonderful food, healthy, clean

Cons: small, expensive


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

my partner loves it; I give it a B- - Edit

My partner likes comforting, plain food. I like flavor. He loves this restaurant, so when it's his choice, we go. There's creativity in the kitchen, but it's mostly displayed in the creation of vegan versions of boring food. The desserts are pretty good.

Pros: desserts, organic wine, happy partner

Cons: value, plainness, noise


By submitting this post you agree to HappyCow Terms

Link to this page from your site. .
Return to Santa Monica Vegetarian Restaurants & Health Food Store Listings
Business Owners, if you see an unfair review, read this.
Why was my review removed? - details
Reviews are not endorsed by HappyCow - review terms
Has CLOSED: Real Food Daily closed, shut down, moved, or changed? Please use the Update Form.
This page has been viewed 8401 times since Aug 2007.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×