East Meets The West Coast

LA chefs are embracing ancient Indian and Chinese practices while creating delicious, nourishing dishes and drinks.
Cafe Gratitude’s Ayurvedic latte, made with love. Photography: @cravethebenefits

by Stef McDonald

While Los Angeles has long had an abundantly healthy number of eateries that offer whole, clean food, an increasing number of chefs are leaning on the wisdom of the ancient practice of Ayurveda, India’s ancient mind-body health system, while preparing their menus. “In Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, many foods, herbs and spices have medicinal properties,” says Jeanne Cheng of Kye’s (kyesmontana.com), a restaurant with a superfoods-focused menu. “I like to use the general tonifying and strengthening ones for everyday cooking, such as Chinese yam, goji berries, lotus root, fennel, nuts and seeds, seaweed, cilantro, parsley, basil, ginger, turmeric and ghee.”

Elsewhere in LA, go East and order an earthy and sweet Ayurvedic latte at Cafe Gratitude (cafegratitude.com), made with chaga, shilajit, mucuna, he shou wu, cinnamon, and coconut milk. Or sample the chayawanprash-and-banana toast with a house-made Ayurvedic herbal jam at Honey Hi (honeyhi.com), or the honey-glazed heirloom carrots (with coriander-fennel yogurt and cilantro) at Akasha (akasharestaurant.com). Try next-level good-for-you bowls with the flavors familiar from Indian food, balancing hot and cool like the chicken curry at Kye’s, the chickpea tikka masala at Native Foods (nativefoods.com), or Sqirl’s (sqirlla.com) long-cooked chicken-and-rice porridge with ginger, turmeric, cardamom ghee and cilantro.