Heading home on the way from the Xterra SoCal Trail Run #1 at Point Mugu, Minh suggested trying a vegan restaurant he knew about in Santa Monica. He must have been reading my mind, because I was going to suggest vegan for lunch, but didn’t think he would go for it. He couldn’t remember the name of the place, so I had to look it up. We stumbled upon a bunch of vegan restaurants in the Santa Monica/Los Angeles area, but Real Food Daily had the highest and most number of reviews. Ends up, this was the place he was thinking about.
The set-up is a little different. There are two storefronts: the restaurant and the bakery. I think they’re connected through the kitchen, but I can’t be completely certain about this. I don’t know what the restaurant side looks like, but the bakery side has the bakery on the lower level and a lofted seating area for the restaurant. It was very LOUD, but the decor was nice and clean and light. Nothing special, but fit the place well.
Minh and I ordered the Salisbury Seitan and Pizza Ya Can Eat-za. I also ordered a glass of Red Head Juice (beet, carrot, celery and apple).
The Red Head Juice was… different. It had A LOT more beet flavor than carrot or apple (didn’t taste the celery at all). It also would have been better if it was chilled (or iced). Oddly enough, they didn’t serve any of our drinks with ice, and I didn’t notice any other tables with ice. Perhaps it’s by request only?? I wouldn’t purchase the drink again (especially not for $6), but I would make it at home if I ever get a juicer. I’d probably go easy on the beet juice and increase the apple juice content. It wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t thrilled about it.
The Salisbury Seitan (pronouced SAY-tan) is supposed to represent homecooked salisbury steak (which is like chicken-fried or country-fried steak.. I don’t really know what the difference is). The first thing I noticed was that the salisbury seitan was missing one KEY thing about the whole dish, it wasn’t battered and fried. It WAS smothered in gravy, which was a plus, but it didn’t have that crunch that I was hoping for. With that set aside, I would say that the dish was alright for what it was. Personally, I prefer tempeh to seitan, but this wasn’t bad. The dish, on a whole, was a little bland and could use some more spice or salt or flavor. But it wasn’t horrible, like some other seitan dishes I’ve tried in the past.
The Pizza Ya Can Eat-za was different. I didn’t realize when we ordered it that it was gluten-free (I’m not sure if Minh noticed that either). The dough was made from cornmeal, which made it more crumbly than chewy like traditional pizza crust. This dish also lacked a bit in flavor, but it wasn’t horrible. The melted cashew and mozzarella cheeses were actually pretty good. It was difficult to eat, though, becuase it would fall apart after one bite.
Overall, the meal was OK. I’ve had vegan meals at other restaurants that had a lot more flavor and just had an overall better taste, but Real Food Daily wasn’t bad. I’d consider coming back to try something else on the menu, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here.
Real Food Daily
514 Santa Monica Blvd (at 5th)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Open Daily: 11:30AM – 10:00PM