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Roasted curried cauliflower from A.O.C. in Brentwood and West Hollywood
Roasted curried cauliflower from A.O.C.
Shimon and Tammar Photography

13 Restaurants Serving Smoky Barbecued Vegetables

Where to find the best vegetables prepared on a grill in LA

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Roasted curried cauliflower from A.O.C.
| Shimon and Tammar Photography

If there’s any group that’s historically left out of the barbecue conversation, it’s the plant-based crowd. There’s so much emphasis on grilled proteins, but the grilled or wood-fired vegetable is worth consideration, too. Wood ovens fire up every day throughout Los Angeles, providing ample flavor, char, and a smoky finish to cauliflower, broccolini, or even a stacked oyster mushroom kebab from a prominent Downtown restaurant. Below is a guide that shows exactly where to find smoky grilled or wood-fired vegetable dishes throughout Southern California.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Charred cauliflower at Tesse

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8500 Sunset Blvd Suite B
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 360-3866
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It’s challenging to get excited about cauliflower, but chef Raphael Francois utilizes his wood-burning stove to lightly char the main ingredient, then he carefully adds harissa, cucumber, almonds, and pomegranate for a beautiful and salad that rocks notes that skew smoky with a touch of heat.

The charred cauliflower salad from Tesse
Tesse
Mona Holmes

2. Fire-roasted sweet peppers at Soulmate

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631 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 734-7764
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Dining on Soulmate’s lush West Hollywood patio is a must, but it’s also an ideal spot to try a dish like the fire-roasted sweet peppers. The kitchen doesn’t overdo it with the flames, which lets the flavor of the peppers, snap peas, and green onion come through —but there’s still a bit of wonderful char along with lime and a touch of cilantro.

3. Embered beet from Angler LA

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8500 Beverly Blvd Suite 117
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(424) 332-4082
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The beet at Angler takes inspiration from a much more arduous preparation from sister restaurant Saison, where chef Joshua Skenes hung the large red root vegetable above a wood-fired stove to imbue it with heavy smoke flavor. Here in LA, the smoke is less intense, though it still lingers after the beet has been roasted to a dry, prune-like consistency and then rehydrated for a final, savory-sweet fruit snack texture.

4. Roasted cauliflower at A.O.C.

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11648 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(310) 806-6464
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Classic restaurant dishes are often discovered during the staff’s shared meals outside of peak business hours, and A.O.C.’s roasted cauliflower is one of them. Available at both the West Third and Brentwood locations, the cauliflower is roasted whole over a fire with aromatics like curry, cumin and coriander seeds, and a splash of red wine vinegar. It’s even showcased in chef Suzanne Goin’s A.O.C. Cookbook

Roasted curried cauliflower from A.O.C. in Brentwood and West Hollywood
Roasted curried cauliflower from A.O.C.
Shimon and Tammar Photography

5. Grilled mixed vegetables at Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill

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2771 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(323) 737-2970
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A beloved mainstay for Los Angeles, Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill opened in 1948, serving traditional Greek fare with an adjacent market. Staff will delicately throw peppers, onions, tomatoes, and squash on the grill with an easy amount of seasoning. It’s an effortless dish that’s been around for centuries, so take advantage of having this classic Greek combination right here in LA.

6. Grelhas or grilled vegetables at Woodspoon

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107 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 629-1765
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Brazilians utilize the hell out of a grelha, or grill. This traditional metal grate with parallel bars can cook anything over an open flame, and at DTLA’s Woodspoon, chef and owner Natalia Pereira serves a hearty vegetable grelha on wood-iron with rice, dazzling black beans, plantains, collard greens, farofa, and salsa.

Grilled squash, plantain, black beans, farofa, and rice from Woodspoon in Downtown Los Angeles
Grilled squash, plantain, black beans, farofa, and rice from Woodspoon
Mona Holmes

7. Oyster mushroom kebab at Bavel

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500 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 232-4966
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Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’s Downtown Middle Eastern oasis still dazzles, even with its most simple dishes. Case in point: Bavel’s oyster mushroom kebab, which is even featured in the 2021 cookbook “Bavel.” This meaty vegetable is skewered, doused with grapeseed oil, and seasoned with pepper, salt, and sumac before it’s thrown over a charcoal fire. As a final touch, it’s topped with herbs, Meyer lemon, cilantro, and avocado puree.

8. Grilled vegetable sandwich at Poppy + Rose

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765 Wall St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 995-7799
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Husband-and-wife owners Ryan and Diana Lamon lead Poppy & Rose, Downtown’s cozy daytime spot. In addition to soulful takes like biscuits and gravy, the kitchen makes a grilled vegetable sandwich with marinated zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, red onion, lettuce, tomato, and herbed yogurt on ciabatta.

Grilled vegetable sandwich at Poppy + Rose
Grilled vegetable sandwich at Poppy + Rose
Mona Holmes

9. Piccalilli’s Japanese eggplant 

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3850 Main St
Culver City, CA 90232
(424) 298-8540
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When the plate arrives with Piccalilli’s Japanese eggplant, it’s quite a sight. The eggplant is completely charred and smoky, with layers of Fresno chile. The black bean sauce and sesame help tamper down the heat, but only a bit.

Japanese eggplant from Piccalilli in Culver City
Piccalilli’s Japanese eggplant 
Courtesy of Piccalilli

10. Oven wood-fired squash from Fig

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101 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 319-3111
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Chef Jason Prendergast has a thing about securing 75 percent of Fig’s ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmers Market. The result is a fresh menu that’s ideal for warm weather, especially the slightly smoky grilled squash from Flora Bella Farm with salsa verde, crispy shallots, and a summer pepper squash giardiniera pickled vegetables. 

Oven wood-fired squash from Fig restaurant in Santa Monica
Oven wood-fired squash from Fig
Courtesy of Fig

11. Eggplant steak au poivre from Butcher’s Daughter

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1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 981-3004
Visit Website

Butcher’s Daughter does plant-based food all day long in Venice. They prepare dishes where vegetables shine like the eggplant steak au poivre. The eggplant is treated like a steak: it’s grilled beautifully and topped with a mushroom-and-black-pepper cream sauce, only to be topped with charred lemon and spinach.

12. Cabbage baked in embers at Charcoal Venice

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425 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90292
(310) 751-6794
Visit Website

Chef Josiah Citrin’s Venice restaurant is all about the open fire, with large family plates that showcase techniques with vegetables and meats. The surprise hit here is the cabbage, which is actually baked in the coals’ heat and served with a side of yogurt, sumac, and lemon.

13. Wood-fired vegetables at Michael’s Pizzeria in Long Beach

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5616 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803
(562) 987-4000
Visit Website

Any restaurant claiming to fully utilize a wood-fired oven to turn out pizza should be roasting meats and vegetables in its flames, too. At Michael’s, the kitchen goes above and beyond to draw the best from the wood, smoke, and heat that turns vegetables into cast-iron skillet-charred gems.

1. Charred cauliflower at Tesse

8500 Sunset Blvd Suite B, West Hollywood, CA 90069
The charred cauliflower salad from Tesse
Tesse
Mona Holmes

It’s challenging to get excited about cauliflower, but chef Raphael Francois utilizes his wood-burning stove to lightly char the main ingredient, then he carefully adds harissa, cucumber, almonds, and pomegranate for a beautiful and salad that rocks notes that skew smoky with a touch of heat.

8500 Sunset Blvd Suite B
West Hollywood, CA 90069

2. Fire-roasted sweet peppers at Soulmate

631 N Robertson Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Dining on Soulmate’s lush West Hollywood patio is a must, but it’s also an ideal spot to try a dish like the fire-roasted sweet peppers. The kitchen doesn’t overdo it with the flames, which lets the flavor of the peppers, snap peas, and green onion come through —but there’s still a bit of wonderful char along with lime and a touch of cilantro.

631 N Robertson Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

3. Embered beet from Angler LA

8500 Beverly Blvd Suite 117, Los Angeles, CA 90048

The beet at Angler takes inspiration from a much more arduous preparation from sister restaurant Saison, where chef Joshua Skenes hung the large red root vegetable above a wood-fired stove to imbue it with heavy smoke flavor. Here in LA, the smoke is less intense, though it still lingers after the beet has been roasted to a dry, prune-like consistency and then rehydrated for a final, savory-sweet fruit snack texture.

8500 Beverly Blvd Suite 117
Los Angeles, CA 90048

4. Roasted cauliflower at A.O.C.

11648 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Roasted curried cauliflower from A.O.C. in Brentwood and West Hollywood
Roasted curried cauliflower from A.O.C.
Shimon and Tammar Photography

Classic restaurant dishes are often discovered during the staff’s shared meals outside of peak business hours, and A.O.C.’s roasted cauliflower is one of them. Available at both the West Third and Brentwood locations, the cauliflower is roasted whole over a fire with aromatics like curry, cumin and coriander seeds, and a splash of red wine vinegar. It’s even showcased in chef Suzanne Goin’s A.O.C. Cookbook

11648 San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90049

5. Grilled mixed vegetables at Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill

2771 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

A beloved mainstay for Los Angeles, Papa Cristo’s Greek Grill opened in 1948, serving traditional Greek fare with an adjacent market. Staff will delicately throw peppers, onions, tomatoes, and squash on the grill with an easy amount of seasoning. It’s an effortless dish that’s been around for centuries, so take advantage of having this classic Greek combination right here in LA.

2771 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006

6. Grelhas or grilled vegetables at Woodspoon

107 W 9th St, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Grilled squash, plantain, black beans, farofa, and rice from Woodspoon in Downtown Los Angeles
Grilled squash, plantain, black beans, farofa, and rice from Woodspoon
Mona Holmes

Brazilians utilize the hell out of a grelha, or grill. This traditional metal grate with parallel bars can cook anything over an open flame, and at DTLA’s Woodspoon, chef and owner Natalia Pereira serves a hearty vegetable grelha on wood-iron with rice, dazzling black beans, plantains, collard greens, farofa, and salsa.

107 W 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015

7. Oyster mushroom kebab at Bavel

500 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis’s Downtown Middle Eastern oasis still dazzles, even with its most simple dishes. Case in point: Bavel’s oyster mushroom kebab, which is even featured in the 2021 cookbook “Bavel.” This meaty vegetable is skewered, doused with grapeseed oil, and seasoned with pepper, salt, and sumac before it’s thrown over a charcoal fire. As a final touch, it’s topped with herbs, Meyer lemon, cilantro, and avocado puree.

500 Mateo St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

8. Grilled vegetable sandwich at Poppy + Rose

765 Wall St, Los Angeles, CA 90014
Grilled vegetable sandwich at Poppy + Rose
Grilled vegetable sandwich at Poppy + Rose
Mona Holmes

Husband-and-wife owners Ryan and Diana Lamon lead Poppy & Rose, Downtown’s cozy daytime spot. In addition to soulful takes like biscuits and gravy, the kitchen makes a grilled vegetable sandwich with marinated zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, red onion, lettuce, tomato, and herbed yogurt on ciabatta.

765 Wall St
Los Angeles, CA 90014

9. Piccalilli’s Japanese eggplant 

3850 Main St, Culver City, CA 90232
Japanese eggplant from Piccalilli in Culver City
Piccalilli’s Japanese eggplant 
Courtesy of Piccalilli

When the plate arrives with Piccalilli’s Japanese eggplant, it’s quite a sight. The eggplant is completely charred and smoky, with layers of Fresno chile. The black bean sauce and sesame help tamper down the heat, but only a bit.

3850 Main St
Culver City, CA 90232

10. Oven wood-fired squash from Fig

101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Oven wood-fired squash from Fig restaurant in Santa Monica
Oven wood-fired squash from Fig
Courtesy of Fig

Chef Jason Prendergast has a thing about securing 75 percent of Fig’s ingredients from the Santa Monica Farmers Market. The result is a fresh menu that’s ideal for warm weather, especially the slightly smoky grilled squash from Flora Bella Farm with salsa verde, crispy shallots, and a summer pepper squash giardiniera pickled vegetables. 

101 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

11. Eggplant steak au poivre from Butcher’s Daughter

1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

Butcher’s Daughter does plant-based food all day long in Venice. They prepare dishes where vegetables shine like the eggplant steak au poivre. The eggplant is treated like a steak: it’s grilled beautifully and topped with a mushroom-and-black-pepper cream sauce, only to be topped with charred lemon and spinach.

1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd
Venice, CA 90291

12. Cabbage baked in embers at Charcoal Venice

425 Washington Blvd, Venice, CA 90292

Chef Josiah Citrin’s Venice restaurant is all about the open fire, with large family plates that showcase techniques with vegetables and meats. The surprise hit here is the cabbage, which is actually baked in the coals’ heat and served with a side of yogurt, sumac, and lemon.

425 Washington Blvd
Venice, CA 90292

13. Wood-fired vegetables at Michael’s Pizzeria in Long Beach

5616 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

Any restaurant claiming to fully utilize a wood-fired oven to turn out pizza should be roasting meats and vegetables in its flames, too. At Michael’s, the kitchen goes above and beyond to draw the best from the wood, smoke, and heat that turns vegetables into cast-iron skillet-charred gems.

5616 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803

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