I could talk about the huge transformation Abbot Kinney has been going through over the years, leaving its edgy Bohemian artist enclave far behind for pricier, trendier, more corporate brands (I'm looking at you Lucky Jeans), but I'll save that for the locals and focus on the food. The transition has seen major restaurant closures like Hal's, Lilly's, CasaLinda and Axe, but with the closures we've had opening like Gjelina, Salt Air and artisanal chocolate and breakfast spots (yeah I know how that sounds, but read here). And like the evolution of Abbot Kinney itself, we also have vegan and now plant based fare with the opening of Matthew Kenney's Plant Food and Wine.
Plant Food and Wine opened in the old Axe spot and on the end of Abbot Kinney closest to the beach. They kept the pretty patio out back, and went with a minimalist design inside with clean neutral colored walls and a few well placed succulents to bring home the plant based theme.
Matthew Kenney has made a name for himself with his focus on vegan and raw food. He's had to close a few of these concepts, most recently Make in Santa Monica Place, but he continues to open new doors when others close. He has reopened Make Out (take out) in Culver City and now he has Plant Food and Wine on Abbot Kinney in Venice.
The menu is plant based with a large collection of local and seasonal produce on display. You won't find any meat on the menu, but I'm going to say you're not going to miss it as Kenney knows how to bring a lot of flavor to vegetables.
The mushroom tartare has such a range of tastes that include turmeric puree, crispy rice and cress, a peppery green.
Ancient grains are tossed with heirloom beans, greens, ferment carrots, dulse and green tahini, creating a vegan veggie bowl where each bite brings a new, savory flavor and surprise.
The plant based theme continues into dessert. When our waitress raved about the chlorella olive oil cake, we had to try. Chlorella is an algae with a whole host of healthy benefits, so I'd say you could eat this cake for breakfast. It was extremely moist and light with a tangy balsamic gelato, chocolate and fennel seed. That's certainly not a dessert I've seen or tasted before, but would be happy to repeat anytime.
While many are not happy with the changes Abbot Kinney is going through in Venice, eating more plant based food is a trend that may be here to stay, given that many feel it's better for your health and the environment. Even if you don't believe that, vegan fare has come a long way from tofu and carrots, and Kenney is leading the charge on unique and flavorful plant based cuisine.
Plant Food and Wine
1009 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice
If you're looking for more plant based, vegan fare, try one of these Los Angeles restaurants.