Vegan food is not hard to find in Los Angeles. What’s hard to find is vegan food that guarantees to fill, satiate, and satisfy. A name like Sage Organic Bistro may not sound like the place to fill you up, and the dainty look of the airy corner café on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park doesn’t help its case much, but the food is surprisingly hearty, diverse, and overall worth checking out.
The bowls at Sage are wholesome and incredibly filling, but best of all, each option comes loaded with a colorful mélange of vegetables, herbs, grains, sauces, and garnishes. They’re the grab-bag entrée for the generalist who just can’t decide if they want beans, grains, veggies, or something in between—with the bowls, you get an assortment of all sorts of ingredients.
The falafel bowl is no ordinary chickpea patty and hummus platter; a chewy pilaf of quinoa and rice is studded with pistachio nuts, mint, and cilantro, accompanied by four massive falafel balls, and topped with a number of Mediterranean sauces like red pepper hummus, mango aioli, and Tzatziki.
The soul bowl, one of Sage’s most requested items on the entire menu, is considered the “guilty” pleasure entrée, but it’s truthfully just as wholesome as the rest of the selections. Southern-inspired, the hefty dish starts with a base of fluffy quinoa and is layered with black beans, sweet potato wedges, giant tender kale leaves, and crunchy okra. The near-indulgence comes into play with the fist-size ball of deep-fried mac and cheese, smothered in hot sauce and full of Velveeta-like flavor. Don’t be fooled; aside from the mac and cheese ball, this substantial dish is healthy at its core.
If your dinner at Sage leaves you feeling a bit too vegetal, don’t leave before you try dessert—their sweets may actually be their finest menu offerings. Most are raw, and they’re all completely excellent. A seemingly small serving of chocolate pudding looks underwhelming to the eye, but just one spoonful will prove otherwise—it’s dense, mousse-like, and incredibly indulgent. Should you prefer fork to spoon, have your pick of Sage’s raw pies for a dessert doozy; the salted caramel cheesecake will put you over the edge.
Sage may not be the average foodie destination, but for surprisingly hearty vegan chow, this is one of the top contenders in all of L.A. … and truly one of few places in the city you can get a decent meal of any persuasion (with leftovers to spare) for just around 10 to 15 bucks a person.
Sage Organic Bistro
1700 W. Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026