Lares Restaurant

I LOVE Mexican food. Love it. I get a serious hankering for Mexican food every few weeks and last night the vegan Mexi craving struck me once again.  LA doesn’t really have any strictly vegetarian/vegan Mexican restaurants (when are we getting a Gracias Madre, huh?!) but there are plenty of good Mexican restaurants that serve vegetarian/vegan menu items.  My favorite Mexican restaurant by far is Lares, a cute and moderately priced restaurant on the Westside.  Lares has been in business since 1968 and doles up some of the best veggie Mexican options around!  My parents and I had a wonderful meal at Lares last night and I left a very happy vegan camper, per usu. Good vegan Mexican food puts a huge smile on my face, or maybe that’s just the wonder that is Lares.  I wore sweat pants to prepare…



Lares Restaurant

2909 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Neighborhood: Santa Monica

(310) 829-4550

Hours: Mon-Sun 8 am – 1 am

Street view of Lares (photo credit: local research)

Located on Pico Blvd in Santa Monica near the 10 freeway, Lares is a family owned restaurant that has been in business for over 40 years.  There is valet parking right in front, but I always manage to find metered parking without much effort.
There is a less formal downstairs dining area, and a nicer more romantic upstairs dining area which I always prefer. 

Downstairs with a huge full bar (photo credit: buy local market)

Upstairs with lots of booths, tables for large parties and mood lighting (photo credit: buy local market)

The upstairs is absolutely beautiful right now! It’s outfitted with tons of Christmas lights, decorations and a huge sparkly tree. I forgot to snap a pic but trust me it’s magical!
At around 8 pm on Sunday night, my parents and I made our way upstairs and were seated within seconds without a reservation.  Multiple singers and guitar players provided live entertainment which made for the perfect soundtrack for the epic meal we had in store.  Our waiter took our drink orders right away. I stuck with sparkling water but my dad ordered a Pina Colada which Lares makes superbly. Careful, they are strong!
Freshly baked chips  arrived at our table within minutes which they serve with their delicious salsa. If you are a spicy freak you can ask for their hot salsa too – but this one is plenty spicy for me.

Complementary chips and salsa.

We ordered guac to enjoy with the chips before our entrées came which my family gobbled right up.

Guacamole Dip

Lares makes excellent guacamole and last night it did not disappoint! I have to be careful around Lares’ guac, because I could easily eat the entire bowl no problem. I’m like that with all things avocado though, what can I say. Guac is amazing!
For my entrée I ordered the vegetable tostada, which you can get made vegan by simply asking for no cheese. My parents ordered vegetarian entrées – my mom got cheese and onion quesadillas and my dad got cheese and onion red enchiladas. Other vegan menu items include their incredible vegan potato taquitos or tacos, and the vegetable option of tacos, enchiladas, burritos and fajitas – score! The veggie options here are crazy, score!
Our food came out super fast and we all dug in.

Vegetable Tostada - a crispy flour tortilla topped with refried beans, grilled mixed vegetables, shredded lettuce, salsa and guacamole.

This was absolutely to die for! The grilled veggies featured lots of broccoli (my fav!), red and green peppers, onions, zucchini and yellow squash. The beans were amazing and god knows I love that guac! I gobbled this up savoring every vegan bite. I would 100% get this again and highly recommend it.

Another tostada shot - mmmmm mmmmm mmmmmmm.

I def stole some enchilada sauce and rice from my dad and almost all of my mom’s beans. Sorry guys. Their rice and beans are just too delicious here I couldn’t resist!
I’m not the biggest fan of Mexican desserts in general but I don’t think there are any strictly vegan options here. Not to worry, you will be so full from stuffing your face full of vegan goodies you won’t have room.
Another great meal at Lares in the books. If you are looking for authentic Mexican cuisine that doesn’t break the bank and has tons of veggie options, Lares in the place to be!  Vegan Mexican jonesin’ needs to be fed and fed right and for me, needs to be fed by Lares.  Muchos garcias Lares. Hasta pronto!
Your Vegan Girlfriend

One thought on “Lares Restaurant

  1. i realize this is a very old post, but last time i was at Lares (very recently) they told me their beans and rice were not vegetarian friendly.. so not sure if something has changed or not, but apparently the rice & beans are not vegan. 😦

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