The Veggie Grill

Last night we picked up Jane's mom at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport). She's visiting with us for a little over a week. En route home, we figured we'd stop for a quick bite to eat. You know, they just don't feed you on the airlines any longer, at least not on domestic flights.

I had been poking around the internet and found an interesting sounding restaurant, The Veggie Grill, near the airport. So off we went. Wow! This place is FANTASTIC! It's primarily a soup/salad/sandwich type of place. You walk in, look at the menu on the wall, walk up to the counter to place your order and they call your number when your food is ready. So, you know it's not haute cuisine. But let me tell you how really great it is...

It's so good that Jane's mom, who is not vegan, couldn't believe she wasn't eating chicken. We all shared our sandwiches. She had the Chickin' Marinara, I had the V-Burger, and Jane ordered the Island Getaway.

Veggie Grill Chickin Marinara

(Please excuse the poor quality photographs, we left our camera at home, so these images were taken using my phone.)

The Chickin’ Marinara Jane’s mom ordered actually reminded us of the chicken parmigiana we used to eat once upon a time when we lived in New York. (OK, we know it probably wouldn’t stand up next to the real thing, but we don’t eat the real thing any longer, and this was a more than reasonable facsimile!) The standard side is a side of cole slaw, which Jane’s mom said was good, but not remarkable (we neglected to ask if this was vegan, so we assumed they used real mayonnaise and passed on it).

Jane's Island Getaway sandwich was perhaps the least tasty of the three, but don't let that stop you from ordering it -- it was also delicious. It consists of coconut-milk battered tempeh with a glazed pineapple topping. Yum. Instead of the cole slaw, Jane ordered the steaming kale. As I mentioned previously, the three of us shared everything. I don't think Jane's mom really cared for the Kale that much. But she loved the pineapple topping.

Veggie Grill VBurgerI opted for the V-Burger to which I added a grilled portobello mushroom. And, instead of cole slaw, I opted for the sweetheart (sweet potato) fries. I would happily eat the burger again, but I don’t think the mushroom added anything to this meal. The sweetheart fries, were yummy, as expected.

The Chickin’ Marinara was really the winner though. It was tender and crispy and the marinara and peppers were just right. Jane’s mom heads out on an early flight and she and I joked around about hanging out at the airport when she leaves, long enough so that we can stop by Veggie Grill for lunch.

They have a location in Irvine, CA and this one in El Segundo, CA. If you’re in the area and aren’t looking for a sit down dinner with ambiance, this place is really worth checking out! They’re open from 11am to 10pm every day.

For additional restaurant reviews see our Vegan Resources page.


  1. I went to the Veggie Grill in Irvine a few weeks ago with my fellow vegan buddy. She got the island getaway with avocado added, and we LOVED it. She doesn’t like coconut, she always claims, but she (and I had a bite and agreed) loved it. I got the chop chop chef salad. it was really really good, i loved the dressing and the quinoa, and the mix of fake veggie meats in it.
    It was HUGE too, i had enough leftover for lunch the next day.

    We also shared an order of the sweetheart fries which were totally amazing, especially the spicing veganaise based dipping sauce they’re served with.
    also, all the items here are vegan as far as i know, the cole slaw didn’t even have mayo/veganaise in it I thought, it was just sort of an asian slaw with a light dressing.

    I know this place will easily become one of my favorite vegan restaurants (other faves are Vegi Wokery and Real Food Daily)

  2. You are very fortunate to live in such a vegan-friendly city. Here in the midwest (Iowa, specifically), my options when eating out are extremely limited, and I’m only a vegetarian! If you’re ever in Des Moines or Iowa City, I highly recommend Z’Maricks. They have rice and noodle bowls that are all vegetarian and some that are vegan. That place is my saving grace sometimes, but my husband and kids don’t care for it (all non-veg).

    I think one of the major roadblocks for me to go vegan (aside from my love of all things cheese) is that my family and I go out to eat once a week and I cannot find anything on the menu of “mainstream” restaurants that is vegan-friendly. So eat cheese or starve! Any suggestions on how or what to order and still have a filling meal?

  3. Oh, you beat me there! I’ve been dying to try Veggie Grill and am so excited that there’s one now closer to where I’m at than Irvine …not that I ever get out near the airport(if I can help it), but this place seems like a good reason to brave the 405 for sure 🙂 Any place that serves sweet potato fries as a side is doing something right in my book.

  4. Hi Emily – Yes, this would easily become one of our favorites if it were closer to our home. Thanks for the tip on the coleslaw. Next time we’ll be sure to ask, we were just all tired and hungry…

    FoodEater – I think our geographic areas overlap a bit, so Veggie Grill will be incorporated into our trips to the airport. We plan on dragging all our guests there when they get off the plane! As for Sweet Potato Fries, there’s a mainstream restaurant in La Canada, Dish, which serves sweet potato fries (and they have a veggie burger — we’re not sure if the bread is vegan so we skip the bun, and make sure to ask them to hold the thousand island dressing).

  5. Hi Becky,
    Sounds like you have a challenge on your hands. It’s probably very difficult being the only one in the family who eats a certain way. I have a few suggestions off the top of my head (I’ll give it some more thought over the next few days and see what Jane & I can come up with).
    Anyway, here’s a link to Happy Cows. They have a list of vegetarian restaurants around the globe. The link above has the specific listing for Iowa. Perhaps there are a few restaurants there you can get your family to try. (Zmariks is listed.)
    VegGuide also has a few listings in Iowa as well.
    If you are regulars at any particular restaurant, perhaps you can ask the owner if they can carry veggie burgers for you. Also, we’ve found we can have a lot of success at mexican restaurants. You need to ask if they use lard, but rice and bean dishes work great, and we typically get a veggie fajita… we make sure that they use oil to fry up the veggies. And of course, you have to specify no sour cream or cheese.
    Chinese restaurants can also work. You can order the bean curd (tofu), or veggie dishes. You need to tell your server you don’t want fish sauce in any of your dressings. Unless you’re familiar with the dishes, you need to be careful here. Often there will be ground pork, beef, or egg in some of the veggie dishes (go figure).
    If all else fails, you can have something (protein related) at home and then order a salad when you’re out. If the dressings all contain animal product, you can always ask for oil and vinegar.
    I hope that helps. As I mentioned, Jane and I will think about this some more over the next few days and see if we can come up with other suggestions for you.
    Perhaps some of our readers will have something to add…

  6. Becky — I forgot to suggest Indian food. Often they are familiar with the term “vegan” and can guide you to what is vegan or can be prepared as such…

    Anyway, check back in a few days… and, GOOD LUCK.

  7. I second the advice to eat at Indian restaurants. They have a vegetarian culture… Just make sure to say “no yogurt” as well as all the other things.

  8. Thanks for the advice on eating out; much appreciated.

    Lane – As far as the challenge of being the only vegetarian in the house, it’s not as bad as you might think. My husband is trying to lose weight and has somewhat jumped on the bandwagon with me. He’s even asked me not to bother cooking meat at home for him, but he has to have his once-a-week fix of meat so he saves it for when we go out. He loves Mexican food, but hates eating Chinese.

    My kids (ages 5 and 2) eat mostly grilled cheese, mac’n’cheese, spaghetti with marinara, and hot dogs. Maybe I’ll try tofu dogs and see if they notice the difference. They are also very good about eating fruit, but are picky about which veggies they’ll eat.

  9. Hi Becky,
    Glad we could be of some help. BTW, your husband sounds like a great guy.

    We haven’t tried it yet, but there is a mac and cheese recipe in Veganomicon which is supposed to be out of this world. This might work for your kids, but maybe not your husband. It doesn’t sound like it’ll result in any weight loss 😉

    We don’t have children ourselves, so we’re not up on the topic of raising vegan children, but if you’re thinking of going that way, here is a link to what Vegan Outreach has to say on the topic.

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