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We aren’t vegan, but we do like to be adventurous sometimes and try out vegan restaurants which is exactly what we did at Gracias Madre. This Mexican restaurant serves all vegan dishes and is located in the trendy area of Los Angeles, California. Crystal recently had Jackfruit Tacos for the the fist time at a company potluck and really enjoyed it. Ever since then, she’s been wanting to try out some more Mexican vegan dishes and this was the perfect place to do it. Plus this restaurant has been all the buzz in West Hollywood, so we wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
THE AMBIENCE AND SERVICE
The ambience of this restaurant is fantastic although we did think that it would be brighter inside from the pictures we saw on their social media sites. Maybe they kept it darker for dinner but it was still gorgeous inside. The inside dining area could get a little loud (you can tell from our video) so if you don’t want to deal with the noise, we suggest sitting outside. At the time we went, LA was dealing with some chilly weather so we opted to sit inside. Although we did see a lot of customers sitting outside underneath the heat lamps bundled up in their scarves and coats.
We really appreciated the friendly and professional service here. We’ve had upsetting dining experiences in Los Angeles before where we were treated poorly at a trendy restaurant so we were expecting the same kind of cold treatment but we could not have been more wrong. As soon as we walked in, the host gave us a warm greeting and kindly let us sit at the table we requested. We really wanted to sit by the window and although there was already a reservation there, he made a deal with us that as long we were done in the next 2 hours, we could sit at our desired table. We were so happy! Our waitress was friendly as well and patiently explained all the drinks and dishes to us.
COCKTAILS - HOUSE PURISTA MARGARITA
Anytime we go to a Mexican restaurant, we have to order a margarita; especially Crystal since it’s her favorite cocktail of all time. That’s all she orders when we go out for drinks. At Gracias Madre, they have a ton of unique cocktails and we slightly regret not trying something more interesting but we were very pleased with our House Purista Margarita. It was one of the most delicious margaritas we’ve had to date. It was smooth with a delicious hint of lime and the sweet citrus salted rim was fantastic.
They make all of their cocktails with only two kinds of liquor: Tequila and Mezcal. We didn’t know what Mezcal was until the waitress told us that it was a Mexican liquor made from agave and had a smoky taste. We were intrigued but stuck with the classic tequila.
APPETIZERS - GUACAMOLE
We were actually surprised at the price of this small bowl of guacamole. Since it was $12.50, we were expecting a generous amount of guacamole with chips but it turned out to be a tiny bowl of guacamole with a big basket of chips. The basket of house-made chips were plentiful and delicious but we didn’t have enough guacamole to finish the chips (usually it’s the other way around). The guacamole was delicious and a great way to start off our dinner, but we didn’t think it was any better than the guacamole we’ve had at other establishments. I guess we were somewhat expecting something special with that price.
APPETIZERS - COLIFLÓR FRITO
There were a handful of choices on the “Vegetable + Salad” menu and we settled on the Coliflór Frito. The flavors of cashew nacho cheese on the cauliflower caught our attention and we were curious to see if our palettes would enjoy the combination of cashew and cheese. Surprisingly, we could not taste the cashew and there was a hint of cheese flavor. The flavors were a little bland for me, but Crystal seemed to enjoy it.
MAIN DISH - TACOS
The barbecue jackfruit carnitas was exactly what we had hoped it would be. The jackfruit had a texture that resembled very closely to pulled pork and the barbecue flavors were spot on. We appreciated that the barbecue wasn’t overpowering the other flavors in the taco. The cashew cream added a nice depth of flavor and the pickled cabbage added a delightful crunch. We loved the side of pickled vegetables and the black beans were beautifully prepared. If we were vegan and craving something that resembled meat tacos, this would be a winner in our books.
We enjoyed most of our dishes, but we probably would only go back for more of their craft cocktails. They have a great Happy Hour menu on the weekdays, so we hope to make it one night so we can try some of their other menu items at a fraction of the cost. Gracias Madre is a great option if you're entertaining a vegan crew, but we wouldn't say the food was stellar enough to be worth the pricey bill. With that being said, the food was beautifully presented, the service was friendly and inviting, and we loved the decor.
Parking is extremely difficult in this area as spaces are limited on this side of Melrose. We recommend taking an Uber or Lyft as it might be cheaper than valet parking.
ADDRESS: 8905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood, CA 90069
HOURS: WEEKDAYS 11AM - 11PM | WEEKENDS 10AM - 11PM | WEEKDAY HAPPY HOUR 3PM - 6PM