Review: Donut Friend in Los Angeles (Highland Park)

Chocolate Glazed Donut - Donut FriendWhile in almost every way I am a savory person more than a sweet, there is one sweet treat that I cannot refuse – vegan donuts.  I’m not talking about cake donuts.  I have no time for those.  (And sadly, they seem much easier to find than the elusive vegan raised, yeast donuts.)  I’m all about glazed donuts, especially cream filled, covered in chocolate or vanilla.

So you can imagine how, when I was tallying all of the restaurants I wanted to visit on my trip to Los Angeles, my ears perked up Santa elf-style when I read this glowing review (with video!) of Donut Friend from Kylie at Fellowship of the Vegetable.

Donut Friend - Los AngelesDonut Friend - Los AngelesDonut Friend is in Highland Park, only blocks away from my former workplace, as my bad timing luck would have it.  It’s an adorable shop with murals on the walls, and a long case of donuts with fillings and toppings.  Just as you might make a hummus & cucumber sandwich at a deli or bagel shop, here you can make a donut sandwich.

Donut Friend - Los AngelesNot all of the donuts and fillings are vegan, but many of them are.  (The glazed donuts, apple fritters, and bear claws are vegan.)  And there is a list on the wall with asterisks next to the vegan toppings and fillings.  If you need help getting started, there’s a menu with compilation ideas, and most of those options can be made vegan too.

Glazed Donuts - Donut FriendI started with a traditional glazed donut, which was then sliced in half.  Then it was time to choose the filling(s).

Donut Friend menu - Los AngelesMy options included:

  • Artisan jams like apricot ginger, baked apple, blueberry bay leaf, blueberry, cherry compote, maple pumpkin butter, raspberry habanero, and strawberry vanilla.
  • Creams and butters like vegan chocolate cream, vegan pastry cream, peanut butter, or vegan whipped cream.
  • There was also a variety of fresh fruit like strawberry slices and blueberries.

I chose a filling of vegan pastry cream and David had vegan whipped cream.

Coconut Bacon Donut - Donut FriendNext choice, toppings!

  • You pick a type of glaze like vanilla bean, chocolate, maple, or lemon, or a sauce like balsamic reduction, chocolate, maple syrup, olive oil, raspberry, strawberry or Sriracha.
  • Then they top it with your choice of candies, various kinds of nuts, or creative toppings like fresh basil, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, fresh mint, sea salt, nutmeg, cinnamon sugar, or Phoney Baloney’s coconut bacon.

I chose a vanilla glaze topped with coconut bacon.  David went with a chocolate glaze and no toppings (pictured at the top of this post).

Donut Friend menu compilation - Los Angeles

Donut Friend - Los AngelesWe had to pick up a couple more to-go for ourselves and to share with friends.  We got two more that were exactly like David’s first donut and two that were in the Compilation section – the Cherry 3 with tart cherry filling, vanilla glazed, and sprinkled with almonds.

The donuts were amazing and so fresh.  They were totally soft on the inside with the slightest crunch on the outside.  They almost melted in the mouth.  I have had terrific vegan donuts at Ronald’s in Vegas and Voodoo in Portland, but Donut Friend tops the list for me of donut greats.

The next time I’m in Los Angeles, Donut Friend will be on my “must visit” list.  The staff was friendly and helpful, especially the young woman who was making our donut sandwiches and helping us pare down the wealth of options!  There are endless possibilities of donuts to try, and I’ve only just begun…

Donut Friend on Urbanspoon


  1. says

    I’m so glad you went and liked it! It’s dangerous being so close, I have to try to block it out of my memory or I would be there WAY too often!! Shoot, now I really want a donut!

    • says

      That’s an enviable problem to have – vegan donut proximity! I’m really happy that you wrote about Donut Friend when you did. I would have hated to miss out on it! Now, if only I’d been able to catch the opening of Gracias Madre too!

  2. acookinthemaking says

    Oh. My. God. Amazing! Just one more thing to add to my list of things to do if I ever get to SoCal…

    …although I don’t know how I will ever choose what to get. I will totally be the person standing there gaping at the menu, then polling the staff to see what they recommend, then gaping some more, and then starting to order but changing my mind about 14 times.

    • says

      Yes!! That was me! There were sooo many choices of toppings, fillings, and sauces, I had the toughest time figuring out what to choose. Plus, it was my first meal of the day, and so when I add hunger to the equation, making decisions becomes even harder. Luckily, there really was no wrong answer!

  3. says

    Thank you soooo much for bringing us some to try! Seriously- we didn’t even make it halfway home that night before they were both gone. So incredible! I can’t wait to take the twins (the true donut fanatics) there- they will love it!

    • says

      Your text was so cute! They were gone in a flash! I’m glad you enjoyed them, and I look forward to hearing what you all order when you go with the twins. I’ll be waiting by my mailbox afterwards… I mean, you owe me two doughnuts, right? 😉

  4. says

    Wow! DIY donuts are such a good idea! I definitely would have chosen the cream filled ones as well. I can’t imagine ever getting Sriracha as a topping though… And I don’t have time for cake donuts either. Neal likes em, but it’s yeast donuts or no donuts for me:)

    • says

      Yeah, I have a friend who lives in the area, and she plots out her donut choices ahead of time. Next time she’s going to get the balsamic sauce. I would really have to go there a lot to start risking my doughnut-y treat on way outside of the ordinary toppings. (With the exception of coconut bacon…) As rarely as I get to have vegan donuts, it’s hard not to be a purist!

  5. says

    DARNIT I legit thought you were going to say they make hummus and cucumber donut sandwiches and I got SO excited. That aside, I need, yes, need, to have a donut with peanut butter and blueberry bay leaf filling, together. With a balsamic reduction topping and, um, some sort of candy.

    • says

      Okay. That is hilarious. I think you are the one person on this globe who would be excited about hummus and cucumber donut sandwiches. I love donuts. I love hummus and cucumbers. But I can’t imagine having them together! It sounds like the health nut’s answer to those Krispy Kreme sandwiches that everyone was writing about for a while. Maybe this is a blog recipe possibility for you? 😉

    • says

      Los Angeles is a vegan wonderland for sure! Whenever friends of mine there say that they’d like to go vegan but it’s too difficult, I have to smile to myself. I really can’t imagine anywhere easier to go vegan than LA!

  6. says

    I feel EXACTLY the same way about donuts. I do love sweets, but I’d pick a savory item over a sweet one just about every time….unless donuts are involved. :-) And they have sriracha topping!!!!!! :-) I need to plan a trip!

    • says

      Yes, I remember your box of Voodoo donuts when we were all in PDX! It’s so rare that I get a chance for yeasted donuts, that I make it my business to at least get one when there’s an opportunity. When you get to LA next, you’ll definitely need to make a point of picking up one of these! 😀

  7. says

    Normally when you post about a restaurant, I think ‘I wish I lived near there’. With Donut Friend I’m kind of glad I’m thousands of miles away, otherwise I’d been in there every other day with a serious donut habit!

    • says

      Luckily in Southern California there are all kinds of places selling kale salads and freshly squeezed juices to balance it out. I’m all for having an indulgent treat sometimes!

  8. says

    So awesome to see these types of donuts….and how you can choose your own toppings & fillings and all…oh man, so much to choose from! The Bacon section & the Cheese part sound lovely!

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