Moby grew up on what he calls "the standard suburban diet" — Burger King, pizza, Coke, Baskin Robbins. He ditched the junk food and went vegan almost 30 years ago, well before the singer-songwriter-producer-DJ reached international success with his 1999 electronic-pop album, Play.
Moby's restaurant, Little Pine, opens today in Silver Lake, the culmination of his decades of animal-free eating. Little Pine combines the artist's love of organic farming, veganism, architecture and design into one physical space. Though he previously opened TeaNY, a cafe on New York's Lower East Side, this is Moby's first venture into full restaurant ownership. Chef Kristyne Starling will run Little Pine's kitchen.
A New York City native, Moby moved to Los Angeles in 2010, a city he calls "the vegan capital of the world," both because of its breadth of options and the fact that vegan restaurants are also frequented by non-vegans.
"Almost every city has at least a few really good vegan restaurants, but no other city has as many remarkable vegan restaurants" as L.A., he says.
Here are 11 of Moby's favorite vegan restaurants in L.A., starting with his own.
"I mean, I'm biased, as it's my restaurant, but even if I had objectivity I'd still love it." Little Pine serves Mediterranean-themed breakfast, lunch and dinner in a space that looks sort of like a futuristic Alpine lodge, filled with plywood, ceramic tile, concrete and Carrara marble. 2870 Rowena Ave., Silver Lake; littlepinerestaurant.com.
"One of my favorite Silver Lake vegan restaurants, I go at least once a week for their Flore burrito." This being L.A., the menu includes several Mexican dishes, from jicama tacos to Southwestern seitan quesadillas. 3818 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; (323) 953-0611, florevegan.com.
"I think there are three Sages at this point, and they're all different and wonderful. The pizza at the Culver City location is amazing." Sage also serves a wide variety of vegan "ice cream," which gets its creamy base from cruelty-free sources: coconut, almond and cashew milk. 4130 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City; (424) 228-5835, sageveganbistro.com.
"Rapidly becoming L.A.’s most ubiquitous vegan restaurant, as they now have four L.A. locations. Always busy, and deservedly so, as the food is organic and great." Here's how to make Cafe Gratitude's excellent vegan Caesar salad. Locations in downtown, Santa Monica and Venice; cafegratitude.com.
"L.A.’s fanciest vegan restaurant. Great for dates and checking out celebrity vegans like Paul McCartney and Bill Clinton." This trendy, upscale joint — with great cocktails — is also one of the best restaurants in West Hollywood. 8284 Melrose Ave., Beverly Grove; (323) 782-9245, crossroadskitchen.com.
Real Food Daily
"One of L.A.’s first vegan restaurants, and still one of my favorites. Their vegan lasagna is wonderful." You can even get Real Food Daily's vegan offerings at LAX. Locations in Santa Monica, Pasadena, West Hollywood and LAX's Terminal Four; realfood.com.
"A brand-new restaurant in Studio City with some of the best vegan food in L.A." 3711 Cahuenga Blvd., Studio City; (818) 754-1149, vegetablela.com.
"Chef Ito might never speak, but his approach to food is warm and inspiring." 710 W. First St. downtown; (213) 617-2533, aulac.com.
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"A Studio City vegan restaurant with one of the best outdoor spaces in the city." 10820 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 308-7420, suncafe.com.
"A tiny vegan pizza place in Los Feliz that's on my speed dial for weekly vegan pizza delivery." Last year, we named Cruzer's the best vegan pizza in L.A. 4449 Prospect Ave, Los Feliz; (323) 666-0600; cruzerpizza.com.
"Really hearty and interesting vegan food in Studio City." 11266 Ventura Blvd., Studio City; (818) 508-5500, thegadareneswine.com.