With its famous street food, authentic ethnic cuisine, and hip approach to health, the Los Angeles restaurant scene earns high praise as a can’t-miss foodie destination. There’s something for everyone, and all with a cool southern California vibe. Beth Maisano, catering manager at With Love LA puts it best: “We believe that LA catering is defined by the heart of the people and diverse culture of this beautiful city we live in.” Here are some trends that are defining the Los Angeles catering and restaurant scene.
Vegetarian and Vegan
People in the City of Angels make good use of those warm days and eternal sunshine by filling them with lots of time outdoors, exercise, and healthy meals. The New York Times says that plant-based eating has become so popular in southern California that all restaurants, even those who traditionally pandered to omnivores, have been forced to step up their game with vegan and vegetarian entrees. Caterers are serving more inventive vegetable options that are hearty enough to stand on their own and doing it with such success that sometimes the plant-based version is now more popular than the old standbys. Try out these LA caterers serving vegan and vegetarian options:
- Everyone’s favorite dishes at Kebab Daddy in Glendale are the creamy hummus and robust grilled Veggie Shish Kebabs.
- With cool flavors like Banana Crunch and Mango Tongue (with strawberries) vegan and gluten-free fruit and gelato bars from Enjoyer Vegan Bars are sweet without being junky.
- An easy crowd-pleaser, Cruzer Pizza (100% Vegan) turns beloved classics into vegan-friendly pies. Their popular Hawaiian Pizza is made with vegan ham, pineapple, and Daiya cheese.
- Hope Cafe and Catering in Pasadena offers six different hearty vegan and vegetarian entrees including Vegetarian Teriyaki Stir Fry, Vegetarian Lasagne and the Vegan Chicken Patty which is served with mushrooms and Chardonnay sauce.
Bowls, the brightly-colored, nutrient-packed one-pot wonders are a wildly popular Los Angeles catering trend. Zagat credits the gluten-free movement and emphasis on the importance of grains as the main drivers for the bowl craze. These days even high-end restaurants are adding grain bowls to their standard menus and caterers, in turn, are adding their own innovations to make theirs stand out in the herd. Here’s where to find bowls in the Los Angeles catering and restaurant scene:
- Bodhi Bowl’s menu is packed with “enlightened” combinations. Their popular Breakfast Bowl comes with your choice of grains, tofu scramble, black beans, avocado, seitan chorizo, salsa, and vegan cheese.
- Super Food for Super People in Culver City spices things up with their Zucchini Pesto Pasta (the “pasta” is actually zucchini), BBQ Eggplant Noodle and Veggie Fajita bowls.
- To jazz it up your own way, the Build-Your-Own Bowl from Bibibop Asian Grill Catering does the math, letting you choose between four choices of protein, two bases, up to three warm toppings, up to eight cold toppings, and up to four sauces.
Sushi Burritos & Poke
When it comes to fresh and healthy, nothing beats the sliced raw fish movement. Even so, Californians were a little hesitant to jump on the train. The LA Times observed that because the Big Island is just a hop across the Pacific, poke, the traditional Hawaiian dish of rice, sliced raw fish, sauce, and toppings, was always around Los Angeles food markets. People just didn’t try it because they were nervous about eating raw fish. That all changed when they discovered sushi and then bravely moved on to ceviche… and now, the city is teeming with poke spots and catering options. The savory Straight Outta Tofu Poke Bowl at Okipoki is layered with rice, sesame-peanut tofu, seaweed salad, mushrooms, bell peppers, and furikake. While Poke2Go offers classic Original Poke Bowls and gets creative with their Beet Poke Bowl with chopped beets, wasabi vinaigrette, white onions, sesame seeds, avocado and chili flakes. It’s a dish that combines three trends in one—a healthy vegetarian poke bowl.
When it comes to sushi, these days people are skipping the rolls and going big with sushi burritos. Jogasaki in Lomita serves up the Veggie Burrito Roll with seaweed salad, avocado, and cucumber wrapped in rice and soy paper and the Shrimp Fiesta Burrito Roll with crab meat, avocado, cucumber, and shrimp tempura and a choice of soy paper or tortilla wrap. Meanwhile, Nushii offers six sushi burritos including California Ahi Tuna Burrito and the Citrus Royale Salmon Burrito with salmon and chives, pickled turnips, pickled beets, chopped kale, citrus yuzu pepper sauce, and crispy potato strings in a seaweed or soy paper wrap.
Mexican & Latin American
Arguably some of the best authentic ethnic cuisine in Los Angeles is the wide variety of Mexican and Latin American – especially when it’s served from the city’s famous food trucks. Part of the charm of these mobile restaurants is the diversity they find in customers. Eater says that the best ones are just as likely to be driving through a high-priced neighborhood as they are to be parked on a construction site. No matter where they’re selling the packed food truck market determines how hard they have to work to make their business stand out, which is why some have turned to catering. José Albertini, partner at the top-rated “pan American” Cafe Alba, notes, “Our rich diversity and the food truck boom is what’s driving the catering business creatively. The amazing produce makes it easy to get inspired with seasonal ingredients and seasonal inspired décor.” Find your fill of Mexican and Latin American catering in Los Angeles at these spots:
- At Cafe Alba, customers crave the warm empanadas and rave about the chimichurri marinated chicken.
- TrukQuito cooks up simple but irresistible Chicken Tacos served with a choice of tortillas and salsas and their Cilantro Lime Salad.
- Pescado Mojado Seafood Grill keeps things extra fresh with fish and shrimp ceviche on the menu right next to the taco and burrito platters.
- If you’re looking for something new and different, try the Mexican sandwich called pambazo served from Mad Pambazos. Their Road Warrior catering package comes with a variety of different pambazos including chipotle chicken, al pastor bacon, and guajillo braised goat. Each sandwich is grilled, dipped in salsa and comes loaded with cabbage salad, pickled jalapenos, crema and Cotija cheese.
Get a taste of that sunny, healthy lifestyle with Los Angeles’ eclectic food offerings. You’ll understand what makes it such a happy place to be.
Looking for on-trend catering options in Los Angeles?