Last week I went out to Playa Vista to visit a long lost friend, Marisa, who I hadn’t seen since Halloween. Shameful. As we began to catch up our conversation turned to food, being that we were both hungry. Were feeling something healthy, so immediately Marisa thought of her favorite vegetarian place of all time, The Green Temple on Redondo Beach, an area that she’s known her whole life. No sooner did this come up than we were in her car on our way to the beach. Honestly, I don’t spend nearly enough time close to the water, so I was all about it. And the fact that she described this place as ruining all vegetarian food for her for life because it’s that good, how could I not be on board with this?
The minute we arrived I totally understood the allure. The restaurant is largely outdoor, with a beautiful shaded courtyard dotted with tables, filled with foliage, and housing various other little shops where one could easily drop alarming amounts of money. The entire place has a very zen feel, the kind of vibe one would absolutely expect from a SoCal establishment devoted to well being and sustainable living. The restaurant itself is tiny, with only a handful of tables and a decor that stays true to the temple theme. Boasting friendly staff and a very thoughtful menu that is not only vegetarian, but free of white sugar and processed foods (a huge bonus for anyone trying to maintain their weight), I was dually impressed with the combination of creative dishes and reasonable pricing.
Marisa had several recommendations, but at the top was their Tofu sauce, a savory gravy made from Tofu, soy sauce, and assorted spices – it’s rather indescribable. I went with “The 4 Bowl” from their smaller dishes menu, which allowed you to pick 4 ingredients from a list and put them in a bowl covered in Tofu sauce. I got small size for only $9. My bowl had broccoli, asparagus, crumbled veggie patty (house made, of course) and guacamole. It looks like a mess in the picture, but it’s really delicious and completely satisfying. If I were to go again I might get beans or mashed potatoes instead of guac, but I really wasn’t in the mood for anything terribly heavy. Marisa got one of her go-tos which was the Broccoli Pine Nut Casserole, a dish layered with yukon gold potatoes, soy cheese, broccoli, pine nuts, and tofu sauce. Really amazing texture – I actually thought I was eating a filet of fish for a minute.
We did not venture for an appetizer or dessert on this visit, but I am told they are definitely worth checking out, which I plan to do in the near future. It’s rare that someone can find a restaurant with a menu that is both uncompromisingly whole/healthy and full of a variety of flavors. Not to mention I had lunch for $10. Highly recommended for everyone, regardless of whether you’re a vegetarian. And if you’re not, come on, some more veggies could do you good.
The Green Temple
1700 S. Catalina Dr.
Redondo Beach, CA 90277