My friend Max is not a vegan. In fact, he has never even eaten at a vegan restaurant. He does however love kale (smile). So when he told me he sussed out a vegan restaurant for us to go to I practically jumped out of the car seat I was so excited when he informed me we’d be dining at Real Food Daily. Why? Well RFD in Santa Monica is one of my absolute favorite places to take my not so vegan friends, turning them on to the wonders of vegan eating. People are literally shocked that vegan food can taste this good. I was hoping he would be too…
Real Food Daily
514 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
- Hours: Mon 11:30 am – 10 pm, Tue-Sun 11:30 pm – 10 pm
- Located a few blocks from the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, RFD is fittingly nestled in a cute area on Santa Monica Blvd next to a new age bookstore and Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga. We found parking a block away and there is pretty much always ample street parking around the area, paid lots, and free parking behind the library. When we walked in we were greeted by the host who immediately sat us in a cozy table in the second room. This location has two small rooms with an upstairs and downstairs. The decor is light, modern and super relaxed. Needless to say I felt pretty over-dressed in my mini dress. Whoops.
- Our waiter, whose hair epically stood three feet taller than he did, warmly gave us our menus and brought us beverages. Now I have a few go-to orders for my not so vegan friends when we come to RFD, so in my least pushy tone possible I suggested my favorite musts on the menu. We decided to start with the Not-chos, which are not so surprisingly my number one must have on the menu. We upgraded with the taco mix which is made from tempeh and heaven. Go for the deluxe version of these and you will NOT be disappointed.
- Verdict? Max LOVED them. Wahoo. Of course I did too. In fact they were even better than I remembered. Don’t you love when that happens? Seriously if you do not order these when you come here you are out of your damn mind. Off the hook.
- Next up we ordered the Sea Cake, another beloved app of mine. This baby is full of yams and seaweed and smothered in the best pesto aioli I have ever had. It’s what I like to call a fab-cake.
- Yes the Sea Cake was fabtastic. I am obsessed with this appetizer and you will be too. Must must order. My guest even said, “Wow you really hit the mark with that one,” or something to that effect. Hollerrrr.
- Since we had already had a huge amount of food we decided to split an entrée that was on their specials menu. Now I’m normally a little wary of the specials because they can be so hit or miss, but “On The Mexican Riviera” sounded too intriguing not to get so we rolled the dice and ordered.
- We were both so pleasantly surprised when the dish arrived and there were four helpings of kale on the plate! I may or may not have squealed out “There’s KALE!!!” Oy. The kale did not disappoint either, but sadly the rest of the entrée did. The yams were tasty but the tempeh was totally lacking and nowhere near as good as the tempeh we had just enjoyed in the taco mix. Damn it! I knew we should have ordered the Club or the RFD Burger with the Works. Next time. It was still a good dish just not on point amazeballs like the two apps we had just devoured.
- Despite our less that five-star special my guest and I utterly enjoyed our meal. Max was seriously impressed and I was seriously self-satisfied that I had just devirginized a non-vegan at one of my favorite vegan restaurants. Score!
- We were both way too stuffed to order dessert, but I generally love everything I order in that sweets department here minus the faux-stess cupcake. It tastes like cardboard. But everything else, especially their gluten-free cookies and cakes (yes!) are scrumptious. RFD’s brunches are to die for too. The French Toast and the Weekender will blow your mind. Vegan breakfast euphoria, legit.
- There is also a West Hollywood location but I prefer the Santa Monica one immensely. The consistency and quality of both the food and service at the Santa Monica location far surpass that of its WeHo cousin. Other favorite orders of mine include the El bandito Rojo enchilladas, the grilled veggie wrap, the Ruben and the Burger. Also love the RFD meal that is simply beans, grains and veggies. Simple how I like it.
- I highly recommend Real Food Daily in SaMo for all my vegan and non-vegans out there. If you have omni friends or family and want to turn them on to the wonders of plant-based organic eating, this is your place. Besides, nothing feels as good as swiping someone’s v-card. 🙂
- Hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth of July and long weekend! Yesterday I ran eight miles, got hella tan, and went to two BBQs. #winning. What did you all do? Any epic vegan BBQ eats? Let me know love bugs! Till next time.
- Your Vegan Girlfriend