California (Southern): Los Angeles and the Surrounding Cities

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Last Updated September 2020! If there was a capital of diet trends, it would probably be Southern California. Plant-based, keto, paleo, you name it and there will be multiple restaurants and even local restaurant chains in SoCal catering to it.

That’s why we’ve been able to create this extensive guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops in Southern California that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!), that’s divided into local restaurants (first) and chains (second).

Local Southern California Restaurants Recommended for Dairy-Free Eats

The proximity of this region to Mexico means that you will find countless taco shops and trendy fast casual spots serving overstuffed burritos. Japanese cuisine is also quite popular – from teriyaki bowls to sushi (and even sushi burritos!). And when you’re ready to cool off, head to a smoothie shop. Pretty much all of them serve dairy-free milk alternatives and fresh pressed juices, with citrus and other fruit from the region.

And don’t be shy with your special diet requests in SoCal. This is the land of “no cheese, substitute this dressing, and add guacamole.” If a server shoots you an annoyed look, don’t worry, they’re obviously new to the area. But to help ensure that doesn’t happen, try the restaurants below. According to the restaurants themselves and other diners, they tend to be very accommodating toward dairy-free needs. We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city, and then by the restaurant or shop name.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Agoura Hills

  • Sage Vegan Bistro ⭐️ – Before you hit the hustle and bustle of L.A., you can stop at this popular dining spot. It was recommended to us by reader Tiffany. “Sage has a wide variety of foods, some Mexican inspired, and a hearty drink/juice/smoothie menu, too. Their buffalo cauliflower and jackfruit tacos are soo tasty. They also serve a nice brunch.”

Anaheim

  • Fire + Ice – Janet recommended this restaurant for dairy-free lunch, dinner, and brunch options. It’s a Mongolian BBQ type place, but they offer a global array of flavors. Since you pick your own ingredients, it makes it easy to order without dairy and choose the right sauces. Janet said, “If the grill has already been used or is being used for things that shouldn’t be anywhere near my food, they take mine to the back and cook it in a separate pan and deliver it to my table.”
  • Thuyen Vien Vietnamese ⭐️ – Most Vietnamese food is naturally dairy-free, but this restaurant guarantees it with their all-vegan menu. They specialize in plant-rich dishes and mock meats, but also offer some popular desserts, like dairy-free cheesecake and flan. This is a tofu and soy-heavy restaurant.
  • True Seasons Organic Kitchen – This fusion restaurant serves Asian-inspired meals that are naturally dairy free, with a focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Their produce is always local, their meats are raised without antibiotics and hormones, and their seafood is wild caught. Dairy is used in some of their bubble teas and desserts, but they offer dairy-free smoothies, coconut boba tea, and vegan organic gelato and popsicles. The menu also includes labeled items for gluten-free and vegan diners. The Chef at True Seasons even reached out to us to share this Nopales Cactus Salad Recipe.

Anaheim – Disney

  • PCH Grill – Disney characters and dairy-free pancakes – what more could you want from the Magic Kingdom?! This breakfast and dinner spot is located in the Paradise Pier Hotel at the Disneyland Resort. Christine recommended their brunch, and said the chef was very friendly and accommodating. “He made me gluten-free pancakes (also dairy-free) and a fruit salad without the dressing. He also walked through the buffet line with me telling me what did and didn’t have dairy in it, he even went so far as to check if I could eat eggs or not. We did mention the food allergy (as we always do) when we made our reservation.”
  • Storytellers Café – Janet, an Anaheim local, recommended this in-character restaurant, which is located in the Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland Resort. “They will always either have something or make me something with no trouble. (Mention a dietary restriction and you will find a chef coming to your table. Great service!) And it is always good. I have kids and their all you can eat buffet goes over well with them.”
  • Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen – They offer dietary menus, including one for dairy-free. At last check, it included the French Quarter Salad, Pasta Jambalaya ordered without butter, Jazz Kitchen Burger ordered with no cheese, and the plant-based Impossible Burger.
  • Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express – Christine also recommended this fast casual spot. “In Downtown Disney, California Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen Express is very dairy-free friendly. The breading on their food is dairy-free, the fries are dairy-free, even the beignets are dairy-free. Their special mayo is dairy-free too. We had a lovely meal there and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.” But be sure to verify on your visit!

Brea

  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain is very friendly to special diets. They offer Daiya vegan cheese alternative, use vegan dough, offer a vegan, gluten-free pizza crust, and have Beyond Meat crumbles. You can also choose organic tomato sauce, housemade marinara sauce, or housemade roasted garlic sauce, and top it with any non-cheese toppings for “just dairy free.” At last check, everything on their menu was dairy-free, except the dairy cheeses, ranch dressings, caesar dressing, basil pesto sauce, and meatballs. But confirm in store before ordering!

Burbank

  • Western Bagel – Every bagel they make is dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free (at last check), and it’s quite a selection. They’re also egg free (except for the egg bagel), since they don’t use an egg wash. They offer standard schmeers, but do have peanut butter, jelly, and some sandwich options for dairy-free customers.

Claremont

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.

Corona

  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Costa Mesa

  • Confetti Italian Ice – Emily recommended this cool spot. “They have a wide selection of ices (similar to sorbet), and nearly all of them are dairy-free.” Their ice cream, or “custard,” is dairy-based, but they also swirl creamy dairy-free Dole whip.

Culver City

  • Go Get Em Tiger – This Los Angeles coffee shop chain has a location in Culver City, where you can also enjoy their drinks made with dairy-free oat milk or housemade almond-macadamia milk. This location has a nice little breakfast and lunch menu, with vegan options like overnight oats, chickpea frittatas, avocado toast, and caesar salad. Many more items can be made dairy free.
  • Rising Hearts Bakery ⭐️ – This is a dedicated gluten-free, dairy-free, and peanut-free bakery, and everything they make is also egg-free and vegan. They do use almond flour and other nuts. Their menu is filled with everything you could hope for at a bakery, from bread loaves and bagels to cookies and cupcakes. They also take custom orders and are happy to bake a cake for your special occasion.
  • Sage Vegan Bistro ⭐️ – Their brewery might be located at their L.A. restaurant, but you can enjoy those brews in their Culver City beer garden. They have plenty of outdoor seating, a great drink menu, and serve plant-based breakfast, lunch, dinner, and desserts, with something for everyone.
  • Van Leeuwen ⭐️ – This popular localized ice cream chain sells their pints in grocery stores, but they also have scoop shops. They churn both classic dairy ice cream and a huge array of dairy-free flavors, which are made with cashew and coconut milk or oat milk. They can also make you a vegan ice cream sandwich with chocolate chip cookies, blend a dairy-free milkshake, or craft a sundae with vegan whipped cream, hot fudge, and various other toppings.

Dana Point

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.

Duarte

  • One Veg World ⭐️ – This vegan fast food spot has a sizable selection of breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, salads, burritos, appetizers, and even desserts.

El Segundo

  • Van Leeuwen ⭐️ – This popular localized ice cream chain sells their pints in grocery stores, but they also have scoop shops. They churn both classic dairy ice cream and a huge array of dairy-free flavors, which are made with cashew and coconut milk or oat milk. They can also make you a vegan ice cream sandwich with chocolate chip cookies, blend a dairy-free milkshake, or craft a sundae with vegan whipped cream, hot fudge, and various other toppings.

Fountain Valley

  • Plant Power Fast Food ⭐️ – As the name implies, this is a plant-based, completely vegan, quick-serve restaurant. The menu has many options for burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, small bites, drinks, and even desserts. The latter includes dairy-free soft serve ice cream, milkshakes, kombucha floats, chocolate chip cookies, and cheesecakes. They also have a full breakfast menu with burritos, sandwiches, and “egg” muffins. All burgers can be ordered with their gluten-free bun (extra charge) or a lettuce wrap (free!). They also have an Allergen Guide to identify items without gluten, soy, peanuts, or tree nuts.
  • Sensitive Sweets ⭐️ – Everything they bake is free of dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, tree nuts, and sesame. And that includes fresh breads, muffins, donuts, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and more. They rotate in seasonal items, have unique specialties (like cookie dough truffles and popular organic gummy bears), and also create fun and beautiful custom cakes. If you fall in love with this place on your visit, but don’t live in the area, they ship throughout the U.S.!

Glendale

  • Yoga-urt ⭐️- This purely vegan and organic frozen yogurt shop crafts several flavors with an almond and/or cashew milk base, and cultures them with dairy-free live and active probiotics. They have over 25 rotating soft serve flavors that you can order it in a cup or a gluten-free, vegan waffle cone, with or without toppings. They also serve a full menu of smoothies and shakes, offer ice cream sandwiches made with leftover nut pulp from their frozen yogurt, and serve frozen yogurt pies, banana splits, and popsicles.

Hermosa Beach

  • Paciugo Gelato Caffè – They’re based in Texas, but have one outpost in this state, with lots of dairy-free options. See our Paciugo Gelato Dairy-Free Guide for more details.
  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.

Hollywood

  • M Cafe ⭐️ – The macrobiotic diet is alive and well at this contemporary restaurant. Everything they serve is prepared without red meat, poultry, refined sugars, dairy products, or eggs. Their casual menu is filled with plants and is mostly vegan, but includes seafood options. It offers a little something for everyone with breakfasts, noodle bowls, grain bowls, salads, burgers, sandwiches, sushi, and more. But if your still craving something sweet, just check out their pastry case.
  • Voodoo Doughnut – This unique doughnut chain out of Oregon offers several vegan doughnut flavors daily, which can include maple bars, cream filled, apple fritters, and other creative raised and iced varieties. They also bake a vegan cake doughnut, and can make almost any donut vegan if you order ahead. However, they don’t offer any gluten-free donuts.

Huntington Beach

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.
  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Laguna Beach

  • Dolce Gelato ⭐️ – They serve dairy-free and vegan flavors daily, including several sorbettos and up to four creamy almond milk-based gelatos.
  • The Stand Natural Foods ⭐️ – Erica emailed this vegan restaurant recommendation to us. “My daughter is severely allergic to milk products and this is one of our favorite places to go. They serve sandwiches, salads, burritos, tacos, tamales, baked goods, and our favorite treats — fresh fruit soft serve or smoothies.” Dining is outdoor or take out only, even in normal times, but this is California! You can take your food down to the beach.
  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Laguna Niguel

  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Long Beach

  • Plant Power Fast Food ⭐️ – As the name implies, this is a plant-based, completely vegan, quick-serve restaurant. The menu has many options for burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, small bites, drinks, and even desserts. The latter includes dairy-free soft serve ice cream, milkshakes, kombucha floats, chocolate chip cookies, and cheesecakes. They also have a full breakfast menu with burritos, sandwiches, and “egg” muffins. All burgers can be ordered with their gluten-free bun (extra charge) or a lettuce wrap (free!). They also have an Allergen Guide to identify items without gluten, soy, peanuts, or tree nuts.
  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Los Angeles

  • Araya’s Place ⭐️ – The Northwest’s original vegan Thai food restaurant was founded in 1987 in Seattle, but they now have a location in Los Angeles too. Their menu includes the whole array of Thai favorites, but made with tofu and mock meats, and without any fish sauce or sneaky dairy. They serve a la carte dishes for lunch and dinner, a lunch buffet, and of course, dairy-free desserts.
  • Brite Spot Diner – This is one of the city’s oldest restaurants, serving classic American favorites for breakfast and lunch, with a few modern spins. They serve a few vegan menu items, but also offer alternatives like vegan ranch dressing and dairy-free cheese, to make even more options accessible. They’re also open late night.
  • by Chloe ⭐️ – You’ll find many locations of this plant-based restaurant in the Northeast, but they’re just taking hold in the west. They serve a healthy vegan array of burgers, sandwiches, salads, pastas, and smoothies, with pancakes on the weekend. They’re open for lunch, dinner, and dessert, which includes house-made ice cream (also sold by the pint), cookies, cupcakes, and other pastries. Their first location is in the Silver Lake 365 Whole Foods Market. They had other locations in the works, until 2020 hit …
  • Café Gratitude ⭐️ – This all vegan restaurant takes a farm-to-fork approach and uses purely organic ingredients. Their menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner have a fresh, healthy spin, and use house-made cheeses and other sauces. They have ample raw food options, and of course a good selection of vegan, organic wine and beer. Food allergy menus are also available for garlic, onion, soy, gluten, and tree nuts.
  • Crossroads ⭐️ – For an upscale atmosphere with an innovative plant-based menu, make a reservation at this vegan restaurant. They serve brunch, lunch, and dinner, and have a full cocktail and wine bar. Their dishes are made for sharing and change with the seasons, but they’re always creative and distinctly Californian. Gluten-free diners will find many options, which are clearly labeled on the menu.
  • Cruzer Pizza ⭐️ – There’s no need to worry about stray dairy shreds getting on your dairy-free pizza at Cruzer. This is a purely vegan pizzeria serving pies topped with vegetables, mock meats, and Daiya cheese alternative. They also offer calzones and gluten-free crust as an option.
  • Electric Karma ⭐️ – This popular Indian restaurant labels dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan options right on their menu, and there are many. They let you “choose your own protein” and have saag aloo, dal, masala, and many other favorites.
  • Erin McKenna’s Bakery ⭐️ – Craving a sweet treat? This bakery is completely vegan and gluten-free, and they don’t use any soy. Their daily menu includes a pretty selection of cupcakes, muffins, donuts, cookies, crumb cakes, and more. They also swirl dairy-free soft serve. And yes, they take custom cake orders!
  • Go Get Em Tiger – Dairy is taken seriously at this modern coffee shop. But they also offer oat milk and housemade dairy-free almond-macadamia milk (sweetened with dates!) for their coffee drinks. The owners also dabble in vegan baking, often making vegan muffins. And they have various breakfast and lunch items at most of their locations. They have several shops in Los Angeles.
  • Hugo’s Tacos – Their recipes were passed down through family members or were inspired by times in Mexico. But they only use the freshest ingredients found here in the U.S. and have a wide menu to choose from. It’s clearly labelled for vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free needs, and most items can be made dairy-free. For dessert, they offer Frozato. It’s a dairy-free housemade soft serve ice cream, available in chocolate, vanilla, or swirl!
  • Munchies – This candy shop is Kehilla Kosher certified, and they offer tons of dairy-free kosher parve chocolates, candies, nuts, gift baskets, and even wine – both retail and wholesale. I’ve heard that they also scoop parve ice cream, dish up non-dairy soft serve, and pour dairy-free beverages. They have two shops in L.A.
  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.
  • Rahel Ethiopian Vegan Cuisine ⭐️ – The name says it all. They are a completely vegan restaurant serving authentic vegan cuisine, with one exception – vegan cheesecake for dessert!
  • Real Food Daily ⭐️ – The menus at their Pasadena location are very similar to their founding location in Los Angeles. Everything is vegan, with a focus on fresh, organic, and diverse flavors for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
  • Sage Vegan Bistro ⭐️ – This hip restaurant now has four locations, but this is their flagship spot. Located in the Echo Park neighborhood, it houses their brewery and has a lively feel. Their menus are vibrant, plant-rich, enticing, and have a very broad range of options. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. They also have a boisterous kids menu!
  • Shojin ⭐️ – This refined vegan Japanese restaurant has two locations: one near Culver City and one in downtown. Their popular menu covers all of your sushi and ramen favorites, but with vegetables, tofu, and mock meats instead of fish and meat.
  • The Chocolate Girl – This is a kosher chocolate shop that offers many kosher parve confections.  Their handmade dairy-free array includes truffles, creams, chocolate shapes, candies, and some very popular chocolate pretzels.
  • The Vegan Joint ⭐️ – They claim their focus is Thai food, but their menu includes classic American breakfasts, burgers, sandwiches, wraps, soups, Mexican food, and various Asian plates. They have three L.A. locations – one near Culver City, one downtown, and one in the Woodland Hills neighborhood.
  • Van Leeuwen ⭐️ – This popular localized ice cream chain sells their pints in grocery stores, but they also have scoop shops. They churn both classic dairy ice cream and a huge array of dairy-free flavors, which are made with cashew and coconut milk or oat milk. They can also make you a vegan ice cream sandwich with chocolate chip cookies, blend a dairy-free milkshake, or craft a sundae with vegan whipped cream, hot fudge, and various other toppings.
  • Vromage ⭐️ – Leave it to Southern California to produce the first vegan cheese shop. They use various nuts and seeds to craft a range of cheesy products, like Asiago, Brie, Camembert, Goat, Pepperjack, Truffle Cream, and Feta. They also sell dips and other creamy foods to go, and have a small menu of freshly prepared pizzas, sandwiches and salads.
  • Western Bagel – Every bagel they make is dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free (at last check), and it’s quite a selection. They’re also egg free (except for the egg bagel), since they don’t use an egg wash. They offer standard schmeers, but do have peanut butter, jelly, and some sandwich options for dairy-free customers. There are a few locations around the city.
  • Yoga-urt ⭐️- This purely vegan and organic frozen yogurt shop crafts several flavors with an almond and/or cashew milk base, and cultures them with dairy-free live and active probiotics. They have over 25 rotating soft serve flavors that you can order it in a cup or a gluten-free, vegan waffle cone, with or without toppings. They also serve a full menu of smoothies and shakes, offer ice cream sandwiches made with leftover nut pulp from their frozen yogurt, and serve frozen yogurt pies, banana splits, and popsicles. Their Los Angeles location is in the Echo Park neighborhood.
  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Mammoth Lakes

  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Mission Viejo

  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Monrovia

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.

Morro Bay

  • Shine Cafe ⭐️ – This little midday cafe is located inside the Sunshine Health Foods store. It looks like their menu has transitioned to be completely vegan (it used to be vegetarian). They serve healthy breakfast and lunch dishes, along with smoothies.

Murrieta

  • Snackin’ Free ⭐️ – This is a paleo restaurant, cafe, and bakery that’s dedicated gluten, grain, dairy, soy and peanut free. They have a complete line of bakery items from breads and tortillas to cookies, cupcakes and even crackers. They also make our own line of dressings and barbecue sauces. Additionally they serve house made soups, salads, sandwiches and pizzas. Everything is made fresh and without any yeast, processed sugars, or artificial dyes.

Newport Beach

  • Gracias Madre ⭐️ – Unlike their West Hollywood location, this restaurant is only open for dinner. It also has a more “classic” menu of bowls, tacos, enchiladas, and other Mexican-inspired dishes. But it’s still completely vegan, with a focus on local, organic, and sustainably sourced ingredients. They have allergy menus available for gluten, tree nuts, garlic, onion, cilantro, soy, corn, and avocado (welcome to Southern California!).
  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Pacific Palisades

  • Sweet Laurel Bakery ⭐️ – This purely paleo bake shop uses only the best organic, whole ingredients to create their grain-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free baked goods. Their specialties include cakes and vegan cookies, but they offer muffins and other treats, too. They also have keto and raw options, and make everything without gums or stabilizers.

Pasadena

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.
  • Real Food Daily ⭐️ – This organic, plant-based restaurant made headlines when it emerged in 1993. At that time, it wasn’t common to serve exclusively vegan cuisine. But they helped make it stick with their popular brunch, lunch, and dinner menus. Their food is fresh, local, and healthy, but it isn’t without indulgence. They serve everything from Asian bowls to alfredo, veggie burgers to grilled cheese, and smoothies to milkshakes.
  • Sage Vegan Bistro ⭐️ – Like all of their locations, this old town spot serves their craft beer, has a great bar, shaded outdoor seating, and a broad menu for all day dining. They offer a great vegan brunch, and serve tacos, burritos, pizzas, and more from midday into the night.
  • The Pizza Plant ⭐️ – This all-vegan pizzeria is so good, they now ship nationwide and have their own pizzas in Whole Foods regionally. But you can still go to their restaurant in Pasadena where it all started. Their pizzas are on the pricey side, and aren’t huge, but the consensus is “so worth it.” They offer artisan thin crust, pan-style thick crust, and gluten-free crust, along with various sauces, plant-based house “meats,” and other toppings that range from roasted eggplant to avocado to hemp seeds. They make their own cheese alternatives, which include cashew mozzarella, ricotta, and nacho cheese, along with pecan parmesan and a nut-free sunflower mozzarella.

Redlands

  • Plant Power Fast Food ⭐️ – As the name implies, this is a plant-based, completely vegan, quick-serve restaurant. The menu has many options for burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, small bites, drinks, and even desserts. The latter includes dairy-free soft serve ice cream, milkshakes, kombucha floats, chocolate chip cookies, and cheesecakes. They also have a full breakfast menu with burritos, sandwiches, and “egg” muffins. All burgers can be ordered with their gluten-free bun (extra charge) or a lettuce wrap (free!). They also have an Allergen Guide to identify items without gluten, soy, peanuts, or tree nuts.

Riverside

  • Plant Power Fast Food ⭐️ – As the name implies, this is a plant-based, completely vegan, quick-serve restaurant. The menu has many options for burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, small bites, drinks, and even desserts. The latter includes dairy-free soft serve ice cream, milkshakes, kombucha floats, chocolate chip cookies, and cheesecakes. They also have a full breakfast menu with burritos, sandwiches, and “egg” muffins. All burgers can be ordered with their gluten-free bun (extra charge) or a lettuce wrap (free!). They also have an Allergen Guide to identify items without gluten, soy, peanuts, or tree nuts.

San Clemente

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.
  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

San Diego – See our San Diego Restaurant & Travel Guide for listings.

San Luis Obispo

  • Bliss Cafe ⭐️ – Lisa emailed this recommendation to us. “This is a casual vegan food, juice, and smoothie bar, serving up veggie- and bean-based entrees (they seem to stay away from meat “alternatives”) and raw desserts.” Their cuisine leans toward Mexican and American with burgers, burritos, scrambles, and tacos. But they also serve desserts and have a small store of foods.

Santa Barbara

  • McConnell’s Fine Ice Creams – The 70-year-old, Santa Barbara-based family business churns classic dairy ice cream, but they also make creamy vegan flavors with a proprietary blend of 100% micronized pea protein. They claim the result is a neutral flavor base (no almond or coconut aftertaste!) with a super smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The dairy-free flavors available by the scoop or pint can include Dark Chocolate Chip, Toasted Coconut Almond Chip, Cookies & Cream, Turkish Coffee, or Eureka Lemon & Marionberries. But please note that they do make dairy versions of these flavors, too. They have two shop locations in Santa Barbara.

Santa Monica

  • Erin McKenna’s Bakery ⭐️ – This sweet bakery is completely vegan and gluten-free, and they don’t use any soy. Their daily menu includes a pretty selection of cupcakes, muffins, donuts, cookies, crumb cakes, and more. They also swirl dairy-free soft serve. And yes, they take custom cake orders!
  • Frozen Fruit Co ⭐️ – Every flavor at this frozen dessert shop is plant based, sweetened solely with fruit, and contains minimal ingredients. For example, their chocolate is made with just coconut milk, cocoa, and dates. They also serve specialty flavors during the week and have a menu of healthy fruit soft serve bowls.

Seal Beach

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.

Sherman Oaks

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.

Studio City

  • Hugo’s Tacos – You might come here for dessert, but wish that you’d ordered lunch or dinner. Their menu includes vegan and dairy-free options for tacos, tamales, taquitos, burritos, and more. But of course, their dairy-free Frozato soft serve is worth the trip. It’s housemade and comes in chocolate, vanilla, or swirl.
  • SunCafe ⭐️ – This 100% plant-based, dairy-free restaurant makes almost everything from scratch, including their own vegan cheeses, chorizo, mayo, and butter. Their menu covers all of the traditional comfort food for lunch, dinner, and brunch. They also have a full bar, and make decadent gluten-free cheesecakes, cupcakes, and mud pie for dessert.

Tustin

  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Upland

  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Valencia

  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.

West Covina

  • One Veg World ⭐️ – Their sign says “vegetarian,” but this is a vegan restaurant serving a menu of burgers, tacos, burritos, and a small global assortment of other entrees. They also have a vegan mini-mart on site.

West Hollywood

  • Go Get Em Tiger – This Los Angeles coffee shop chain has a location in West Hollywood, where they don’t mess around. Their housemade almond macadamia nut latte and vegan strawberry muffins are standards on the menu. And all of their other classic vegan dishes and coffee drinks are available. Sandwiches can also be made dairy-free.
  • Gracias Madre ⭐️ – The founders of Cafe Gratitude chose to honor traditional Mexican cuisine with this vegan, organic restaurant. Local and sustainable are a theme – in fact, they even grow their own produce! They serve lunch, happy hour, dinner, and brunch at this location, and offer many unique bowls and other Mexican-inspired dishes. They also craft their own cocktails and make decadent desserts, like tres leches cake. For additional food concerns, they have allergy menus available for gluten, tree nuts, garlic, onion, cilantro, soy, corn, and avocado.
  • Paradis Icecream – Their scoops always include at least a couple dairy-free flavors, which rotate often. Some are sorbets, but they also make a big range of creamy plant-based flavors made with almond milk or coconut cream. You can enjoy them in a cup or a cake cone, and most of their toppings are dairy-free. They can also make you a vegan milkshake or coffee drink with almond milk.
  • Zpizza – This regional build-your-own pizza chain offers Daiya dairy-free cheese, vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts, several vegan housemade sauces, and more. See our Brea Listing above for more specific details.

Westlake Village

  • Karma Baker ⭐️ – Everything at this local bakery is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. They have a storefront that is open to the public, but they also take online orders, fulfill custom orders, offer catering, and supply local stores and restaurants with goodies. They make every sweet baked good imageinable, including cupcake jars, Hostess-style cupcakes, donuts, cookie sandwiches, muffins, scones, quick breads, and that special cake.
  • Western Bagel – Every bagel they make is dairy-free, soy-free, and nut-free (at last check), and it’s quite a selection. They’re also egg free (except for the egg bagel), since they don’t use an egg wash. They offer standard schmeers, but do have peanut butter, jelly, and some sandwich options for dairy-free customers.

Venice

  • Café Gratitude ⭐️ – This all vegan restaurant takes a farm-to-fork approach and uses purely organic ingredients. Their menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner have a fresh, healthy spin, and use house-made cheeses and other sauces. They have ample raw food options, and of course a good selection of vegan, organic wine and beer. Food allergy menus are also available for garlic, onion, soy, gluten, and tree nuts.
  • The Butcher’s Daughter – This plant-heavy restaurant and juice bar bills itself as a “vegetable slaughterhouse.” Their menus (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) are completely vegetarian, most items are also vegan, and everything appears to have a dairy-free option. They serve an array of breakfasts, bowls sandwiches, pizzas, and desserts, alond with healthy beverages, ranging from wellness lattes to cold-pressed juices to elixir shots. Gluten-free options are clearly labeled.

Most Popular National Chains in Southern California for Dairy-Free Diners

There are many more chains in this state, but these are the ones we recommend most for dairy-free options.

At the Airports

Los Angeles Airport (LAX)

  • Real Food Daily ⭐️ – It isn’t cheap, but nothing at LAX  is! Like all of there locations, this is a purely vegan spot with a fairly diverse menu.

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

Go Dairy Free 2nd Edition - The Ultimate Guide and Cookbook for Dairy-Free Living with Over 250 Recipes!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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