These days it seems as if all the personal chefs in L.A. are packing up their most-requested dishes in compact, biodegradable containers and delivering them to hungry homebound customers with a few dollars to spare. Most are angling to provide clients with healthy fare, like Sexy Lunch Club, which bills itself as the country’s only carbon-free, vegan subscription service, and celebrity-endorsed Z.E.N. Foods, which delivers “clean” versions of cupcakes and creme brûlée with its salmon salads.
Meal subscriptions aren’t strictly an L.A. phenomenon, of course, though the booming industry seems perfectly aligned with a population that’s diet restricted, traffic averse, and obsessed with what the rich and famous put in their mouths. But despite the obvious allure for customers, the business is fraught with turnover. Forty percent of the companies feted in a Hollywood Reporter story a mere three years ago have already closed up shop, with new ones debuting just as quickly to fill the void. Still, the options are plentiful as ever: Whether you’re sticking to keto, strictly paleo, or simply looking for a more ethical way to enjoy your favorite foods, we can guarantee there’s an L.A. meal service catering directly to your palate.
Best known for its brick-and-mortar locations, which sell fresh restaurant-style meals priced to fit the average income of the neighborhood in which they are located, EveryTable now offers subscription plans as well. The meals are tasty, and they’re pretty affordable, too: Order spaghetti squash and meatballs or Cajun blackened fish with braised collard greens and sweet potato puree for $8 in Brentwood (or $6 in South L.A.). Pickup is free, and if you’re within a five-mile radius of any store, you’ll pay less than $5 for delivery.
Celebrity subscribers like Kim Kardashian and Mark Wahlberg have made Sunfare a tabloid darling, but even plebeians swear by its clean ingredients and stellar customer service. Emphasizing a mix of proteins and greens, Sunfare’s is a comprehensive menu that offers not only full meals (such as lasagna and spice-rubbed salmon) but also snacks (gouda cheese, strawberries, and sunflower seeds) for when your blood sugar is running low.
This company comes with a side of star power: Its founder has served as the personal chef for Bill Gates, Arianna Huffington, and Kobe Bryant. As you might guess, Kooshi specializes in catering to clients with certain needs, be they keto, pescatarian, gluten-free, or even “detoxing.” Think mini oat pancakes with agave syrup and berries for breakfast and stuffed poblano peppers with feta for dinner. Picky eater? If you let Kooshi know you hate an ingredient, its chefs will avoid using it.
Cofounded by a couple downtown, Sexy Lunch Club delivers its biodegradably packaged meals via bike to L.A.’s urban core, resulting in fewer carbon emissions and fresher food. Expect dishes like kabocha squash-quinoa-collard wraps and roasted corn with lime-jalapeño dressing. Bonus: Whatever food the company doesn’t end up using is donated to homeless residents on Skid Row.
OK, Territory isn’t technically an L.A.-based meal service, but it’s developed a huge following among the CrossFit set. The Whole30-approved menu allows for customization (even for new moms) and wins raves for dishes like spinach salad with buffalo chicken and cumin dressing.
One of the better-established players in the local meal-delivery game—the business was founded in 2010—Z.E.N. stands for “Zero Effort Nutrition” (because you still get to eat dessert along with your steak and shrimp cocktail). Some complain about a lack of novelty, but celebrities like Zac Efron and Jesse Tyler Ferguson swear by the service.