21 Ways to Eat Clean in LA This Year

By Lesley Balla  |  January 3, 2017
Credit: Mainland Poke

Whether you made a new year's resolution to eat healthy or not, good-for-you foods come in handy every now and then. This time of year — or pretty much always in Los Angeles — buzzwords like bone broth, macrobiotic and kombucha abound, all touting the benefits of eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fermented foods. It's not just a trend in LA; it's a way of life. Here are 21 ways to eat clean for the new year and beyond.

  • Credit: Dylan + Jeni

    New plant-based spots
    Going veg (vegan or vegetarian) is huge right now, both for fast-casual start-ups and top chefs turning to all or mostly plant-based menus. In the Fashion District, the new Wild Living Foods serves a diverse menu, from warm kelp noodle pasta to medicinal herb salads, in a colorful and stylish setting. You can now shop and eat avocado toast at Matthew Kenney NM, the chef’s innovative vegan cafe set in the super-chic Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills. And Josef Centeno showcases his love affair with even the most humble vegetables (turnips, anyone?) from local farms at Downtown's P.Y.T.

  • Credit: The Springs

    Superfood finds
    Load up on ingredients that are big on nutrients and antioxidants, like goji berries, blueberries, kale, oats and more, on the all-day menu at The Springs, the yoga and wellness center in the Arts District. Kye’s “kyrito,” salads and grains wrapped in collard leaves, are a mainstay for the grab-and-go set on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica. And the Beaming Cafes (Santa Monica, Brentwood and West Hollywood) serve everything from coconut ceviche to raw vegetable lasagna for healthy lunches and light dinners, but also superfood-packed smoothies and cold-pressed juices.

  • Credit: Veggie Grill

    Veggie burgers
    Who said a burger can’t be healthy? Crossroads is the only local restaurant serving the Impossible burger, a plant–based patty that made big waves in New York when David Chang served it at Nishi Momofuku. The taste, texture and sizzle on the grill are all very beeflike, as is how it “bleeds” at the bite. The Veggie Grill's Beyond burger is similar, in that it aims to look, cook and taste like fresh ground beef, and it’s even topped with grilled onions, a special sauce and American “cheese.” And Burgerlords, Chinatown’s only burger stand, has a housemade veggie patty made with grains and nuts that, when smothered with lettuce, tomato and vegan Thousand Island dressing, is a great non-meat option.

  • Credit: Mainland Poke

    There is nothing healthier than fresh fish, rice and vegetables in a bowl. The poke craze is reaching an all-time high with new small shops popping up around town, plus a big gamble on the expansion of newly formed chains. In addition to its original West Third Street location, Mainland now offers its customizable fish and rice bowls in Glendale and Marina del Rey, with a location in Santa Monica on the way. Sweetfin, the Dakota Weiss–driven California-meets-poke concept, will also see a growth spurt with new locations in Topanga and Larchmont Village, and three more in the works. Chef power-couple Brooke Williamson and Nick Roberts debuted their fast-casual Da Kikokiko in a Playa del Rey strip mall, offering poke bowls and more.

  • Credit: Belcampo

    Bone broth
    Big with the paleo set, bone broth has become the health elixir du jour, a nutrient-rich meat and vegetable stock that is fortifying if not entirely “healing.” Belcampo was one of the first to offer cups of broth to go — your new morning coffee? — at its Grand Central Market and two other locations. At hidden-gem Eko Eats near the Central Library, chef Judy Han makes one of the most soulful chicken broths in town; it’s used in the soul-affirming porridge, but can also be sipped on the side. And betting on broth’s popularity, Komodo chef Erwin Tjahyadi will open Bone Kettle, a Southeast Asian kitchen featuring dishes centered around various broths and proteins, in Old Town Pasadena this month.

  • Credit: Baroo/Jakob Layman

    Good grains
    Layered masterpieces made with quinoa, rice, bulgur, farro and other whole grains have become a mainstay around town. Although chef Kwang Uh has left Baroo for an extended sabbatical in Korea, chef-partner Matthew Kim will continue serving the seasonal, organic, fermented grain and vegetable bowls, including the bibim and norook. The brown rice bowl with sorrel at Sqirl is worth every Instagram photo that’s been posted. At the hippie-chic Flower Child in Santa Monica, things like the Mother Earth bowl combine ancient grains with a garden of vegetables, hemp seed and miso vinaigrette.

  • Credit: M Cafe de Chaya

    Macrobiotic menus
    The macrobiotic diet is one of the most balanced — rich in protein but without any refined sugars, eggs, dairy, red meat or poultry — which is why M Cafe on Melrose Avenue has been a mainstay for more than 10 years. You’ll find everything from matcha granola and tofu breakfast burritos to kelp coconut macromaki, a coconut wrap filled with kelp noodles, kale and other heart-healthy vegetables. For more than 30 years, Inaka chef Jay Abe has featured healthful Japanese fare like hijiki salads, nutrient-rich bowls and plates with brown rice and vegetables, and udon or soba hot pots. And with locations in Culver City and Downtown LA, Shojin is known for its gluten- and nut-free Japanese dishes, including sushi rolls filled with everything from pickled lotus root to tempura pumpkin.