The Gadarene Swine
No meat, we hear you cry? It’s true. Apart from the odd drizzle of honey, there are no animal products on the menu at The Gadarene Swine. But you won’t miss them; trust us. Even the most dedicated carnivores are sure to be converted to holier than thou vegetarians by Chef Phillip Frankland Lee’s dishes.
But before your imagination gets the better of you, this isn’t like any vegan eatery you’re probably familiar with; you won’t find any faux chicken wings or tofu masquerading as pig at The Gadarene Swine. (The only misleading pig here is the one in the name; a biblical reference and later philosophical fallacy about straying from the herd.) Rather, at Gadarene Swine, they’re intent on showing you that even the spectre of meat isn’t necessary when food is prepared this creatively and cleverly. And that’s saying something considering Lee himself is an enthusiastic meat-eater, as evidenced by his other LA restaurant, Scratch Bar.
Chef Lee’s secret to satisfying vegan cuisine? Light and clean dishes enhanced by his holy trifecta: olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Simple as that. But he’s selling himself short. We have a lot more to thank than salt for dishes like Vegetables in a Box, a spin on his Squid in a Box from Scratch Bar served in a box of dehydrated potato, and his take on a PB&J (hand-churned peanut butter, with prunes, house-pickled veg and rocket). And don’t even get us started on the fried olive-stuffed olives. You read that right: he literally stuffs an olive with another olive, deep fries it and drizzles it with honey. This kind of food goes beyond vegan.
The space itself is intimate, with solid wood furniture, drop lights that cast a warm glow, and a rusty bike in the corner–because, why not? There’s now even an outdoor patio for enjoying those dusky warm LA evenings. But before you go, don’t miss the chance to try one of the desserts. Made by Margarita Lee, Chef Lee’s wife, the desserts are a particular highlight, but like the rest of the menus at The Gadarene Swine, they change with the season. So just close your eyes and point to something on the dessert list; we pretty much guarantee it’ll be good.