The Best Bowls In L.A. (That You Eat, Not Smoke)
We Angelenos love our bowls—and we're not just talking about the "medicinal" ones. There's something about scooping spoonfuls of hearty veggies, grain, and protein into our bellies out of a single vessel. These one-pot wonders are some of our favorites around town.
The Beverly Hills location of Cabbage Patch is always busy on weekdays during lunch, and rightfully so. There are plenty of healthful options on the menu, but our favorite includes their bowls, which are spiked with Southeast Asian flavor. Pick a soy-marinated protein (tofu, chicken, or salmon), which will be mounted on top of brown rice, shredded seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs, and toasted peanuts tossed with a sesame lime dressing. It's the perfect light springtime lunch.
Cabbage Patch is located at 214 S Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, (310) 550-8655
Bloom is one of the city's best kept little secrets if you're into whole foods and juicing. They serve fresh-pressed juice at an affordable price of $6.50, a steal compared to most places that charge over $10 for organic produce. Sip on The Cleanser (apple, lemon, spinach, and ginger) while you nosh on one of their many bowls, such as the well-spiced Moroccan chicken and couscous with veggies, dates, raisins, almonds, and cilantro. If you're feeling naughty, their pastries are pretty darn tasty, too.
Bloom is located at 5544 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 934-6900
Fresh, vibrant freekah salad with feta, cucumber, and pomegranate seeds at Sqirl (Photo by Krista Simmons/LAist)
Jessica Koslow's Silver Lake cafe has become one of our favorite spots to grab breakfast. The lacto-fermented salsa verde on the brioche toasts at Squirl are absolutely fantastic, but it's the breakfast bowls that keep us coming back. The unique sweet and savory Kokuho rice porridges are hearty and comforting, and are topped with local produce like cherry tomatoes, preserved lemon, feta, and sorrel pesto.
Sqirl is located at 720 N Virgil Ave #4, Silverlake, (323)284-8147
Since moving his Culver City restaurant to Chinatown, Roy Choi has kept a lot of the classics, like our personal favorite, the hen house, made with marinated grilled chicken, fried egg, Chinese broccoli, sour cream sambal, Thai basil, toasted sesame and red jalapeño. He's also added daily specials and more bowls, which is fitting for the chef, who is known for making some of the best stoner food around. Other faves include the kimchi spam bowl and the Sriracha chocolate bar.
Chego is located at 727 N Broadway, Los Angeles, (323) 380-8680
Photo courtesy of Cafe Gratitude on Facebook
Cafe Gratitude gets a lot of guff for their thankful hippie attitudes, but the food is actually really good. There are a variety of plant-based bowls on the menu, but a few of our favorites are the "I Am Trusting," three-grain tempeh scramble with seasonal veggies, and the "I Am Whole," a macrobiotic bowl with sea vegetables, braised Garnet yams, adzuki beans, sautéed kale, house-made kimchi, sea whip and black sesame seed gomasio with your choice of local brown rice or quinoa and garlic-tahini sauce.
Cafe Gratitude is located at 639 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 580-6383
We're all about meals in bowls, piled high with veggies, rice and protein. Native Foods' bowls are some of the best, our favorites of which are the Soul Bowl, made with Southern fried "chicken" with hearty red beans and brown rice, steamed veggies, and kale dressed with ranch and BBQ sauce and served with homemade cornbread. (While we do love real fried chicken, their seitan and tempeh are made in-house, and make for an excellent meat-free treat.) Their classic deli reuben, garden pizza, and peanut butter parfait are also up there.
Native Foods has locations in Culver City, Santa Monica, and L.A. proper, with more on the way shortly.
Photo courtesy of Cecconi's
You might know this West Hollywood restaurant for its fresh Italian tapas, handmade pastas and excellent cocktail program, but they actually have a fantastic brunch too. And it's possible to sit down for a meal with friends while doing right for your body with their breakfast bowls, which include chia seeds, flax seeds, raw cacao nibs, goji berries, amaranth, blueberries, and almond milk. It'll be hard to resist the bloody mary cocktail carts rolling by, but sometimes the hair of the dog isn't what you need to make life more manageable.
Cecconi's is located at 8764 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood, (310) 432-2000
Though Karen Hatfield's La Brea Avenue bakery is widely known for their fabulous pastries (the babka roll is a personal obsession), they also have wonderful bowls like Yucatan Bowl made with chicken tinga, black beans, corn tortillas, and a fried egg. Also, a delicious one is the Jerusalem Bowl, made with warm wheat berries, lentils and barley, zahtar chicken, roasted green chilies, and two fried eggs. Chase that with a Stumptown cold brew and you're good to go.
Sycamore Kitchen is located at 143 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, (323) 939-0151