Meatless Mondays with Metro: Âu Lạc

au lac dtla

Many of our followers on Twitter expressed interest in making Meatless Mondays with Metro a regular feature, so in the spirit of taking transit and eating less meat — two small, fairly simple things you can do to reduce your environmental impact — here’s the second installment featuring Âu Lạc. Don’t ask me to pronounce the name because I’m probably butchering it horribly.

Âu Lạc serves “plant-based cuisine with Vietnamese roots” and has locations in Fountain Valley and DTLA. The DTLA restaurant is located in a small plaza behind the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Frankly, I was surprised to find the restaurant there and I doubt I would have come across it if I hadn’t been actively looking for it. Âu Lạc is kind of posh so it seems a little out of place tucked in a nondescript corner with a Subway (eat fresh). I mean, it’s not super fancy…but the banquettes are upholstered with velveteen, there’s mood lighting and the water comes in pitchers that contain orchids. The place is definitely a quiet, semi-upscale dining experience.

On the server’s recommendation I ordered the Salt & Peppered Yam Shrimp, which turned out to be super delicious. However, the dish came out looking like a plate of shrimp — remember it’s actually yams — which I’m of two minds about. On the one hand, the visual might give you an expectation of what it should taste like, so you’re not super freaked out by your food, especially if you don’t often eat meat-free. On the other hand, if it looks like shrimp but then doesn’t taste like shrimp, you might be disappointed. (Spoiler alert: yam shrimp do not have the texture of shrimp. It’s much chewier, but in a good way.)

au lac food

To get to Âu Lạc in DTLA, take the Red or Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station and exit toward 1st Street. Then walk three blocks north on 1st Street (uphill toward Disney Hall). You can also take Metro Bus 14/37 or DASH A to 1st/Grand. The Fountain Valley location is accessible via OC Bus Line 35.

Have other recommendations for vegan/veggie restaurants? Let me know in the comments!

2 replies

  1. I love Âu Lạc in Downtown LA! There are also other Vietnamese restaurants that I love too, like Phở 87 in Chinatown (only a five minute walk from Chinatown Gold Line Station), as well as Blossom Restaurant on Main Street in Downtown LA (Metro Red/Purple Lines to Pershing Square). Have a great week and happy holidays to everyone at Metro1