We Found the Best Vegan Ramen in Los Angeles
I embarked on a quest to find vegan sushi in Los Angeles and unearthed something far better: Gokoku Vegetarian Sushi & Ramen, the best place to find plant-based ramen in LA.
If you head down the road from Universal City in Los Angeles, California, you'll stumble across Gokoku. Don’t blink or you might miss the humble storefront, tucked away in a practically vacant shopping center located on Lankershim Boulevard in the bustling North Hollywood neighborhood.
Chef and owner Shanshan Liu Estacio opened Gokoku in 2016, and the self-taught chef and first-generation immigrant has crafted a vibrant, diverse menu that has something for everyone – even carnivores will be impressed. Aside from the sushi and ramen offerings, you can also try items such as Not Chicken Nuggets, Vegan Shrimp Creamy Pasta, Poke Bowls, Spicy Miso Eggplant Bento, Curry Rice, and Kabocha Smoothies. The restaurant opts to use only the freshest ingredients and chooses organic whenever possible.
I arrived just after lunch on a Thursday in hopes of avoiding a crowd, but even at 2 pm, Gokoku was pretty busy. There are a few tables inside as well as a cute patio, but it was a bit breezy out, so I opted for indoor seating and asked for a table for three. I was seated immediately, and my server was just as upbeat and friendly as the adorable decor, which features murals of anime and portraits of Chef Shanshan’s pets, a Frenchie named Mooky and a Pocket Bully named Yogurt who serve as the restaurant’s mascots.
Everything on the menu was tempting, and I was ravenous, so I ordered a lot. Thankfully, I brought my two fellow vegan gal pals along to help me dive into this magical feast because food is best enjoyed with good company.
Here's what you need to know about Gokoku Vegetarian Ramen Shop, located at 4147 Lankershim Boulevard in Studio City, California.
Calling All: Who prefer a more relaxed vibe, you are welcome to dine here at your leisure, and I highly recommend ordering as you go. With an expansive menu and generous portions, there is something for even the pickiest of eaters.
Plant Yourself: Inside next to the big window, which serves as a great vantage point for people-watching and witnessing the high-energy neighborhood in the open kitchen concept. If fresh air is your thing, choose the modest patio situated on the sidewalk, with an Instagram-worthy greenery wall that creates some privacy.
Order for the Table: You won’t find any boring sushi rolls here. Go for The Dynamite Crab Meat Vegan Roll, made with baked vegan crab meat atop a vegan California roll top with melted cheese. Another thrilling option is the Popcorn Vegan Roll, this best-selling roll features cucumber and vegan crab meat, and is topped with tempura mushrooms and vegan popcorn chicken. If sushi isn’t your jam, the Fried Cauliflower Vegan Wings, is a tried and true staple. An honorable mention is the Vegan Bao, filled with imitation vegan meat with carrots, radishes, beansprouts, and spicy mayo drizzled on top. These little bites pack a punch.
Don't Miss: There are 11 ramen varieties to pick from, all packed full of freshest ingredients. The Curry Ramen, a personal favorite, has a comforting and robust broth, made from a mushroom and curry base. I’ve never tasted anything like it. The Beyond Ramen features Beyond Meat cooked in a house special sauce, and savory kale, corn, & carrots.
Take Note: The restaurant is small and was full by the time we left. With a bustling carry-out business and a small kitchen, expect to wait if visiting during peak hours and on weekends. If you plan on doing carry out, allow extra time for preparation, though 100 percent worth the wait.
All in all, we had a wonderful experience at Gokoku, full of good conversation and the amazing plant-based dishes were inventive and sure to dazzle any diner's appetite. You truly can not go wrong.