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Eating Out

15 Must-Try Vegan Restaurants in the Bay Area

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There are few better places to eat plant-based than the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to traditional options for vegan dining, a strong international influence means that there is no shortage of delicious vegan ethnic food to be had in the Bay.

With hundreds of restaurants that offer vegan and vegetarian options, we pared it down to a list of 15 of the Bay Area’s finest that offer exclusively plant-based food. Whether you live in the area or you’re just visiting, be sure to check out at least one of these and enjoy their all-vegan menus.

1. The Butcher’s Son

Alyssa C./Yelp

Come to The Butcher’s Son on a weekend for brunch, and you’ll often find a line out the door and down the block. Frankly, there’s a reason for its popularity. This all-vegan delicatessen features plant-based versions of all your favorites, including the Caprese, the Steak and Egg Hoagie, and the B.L.A.T. The Butcher’s Son makes its own meats and cheeses, some of which you can order separately at the counter (get your hands on some of their vegan bacon!), and offers a regular rotation of amazing desserts. Get them while they’re hot! If you’re looking for a similarly hearty, deli-style sandwich but don’t live in California, try out our Caprese Sandwich With Cashew Mozzarella!

Find The Butcher’s Son at 1941 University Ave., Berkeley.

2. Shizen

Dhinal C./Yelp

This upscale, plant-based Japanese restaurant is not to be missed. Shizen has a creative menu which all foodies are sure to enjoy. Definitely get your fill of the specialty rolls, including The Candlestick, which literally comes alight with a small flame, and the Surprise Ending, which has an ingredient just listed as “suspense.” This restaurant takes vegetable sushi to the next level, proving that vegan Japanese food is no less colorful, flavorful, or delightful. If you don’t live near San Francisco but still need your fix, look through our Vegan Japanese Food recipes to make at home!

Visit this restaurant at 370 14th St., San Francisco.

3. The Flying Falafel

Phil L./Yelp

The Flying Falafel started as a small stand in a farmers’ market. Now it has a permanent location on San Francisco’s Market Street, and recently opened another location in downtown Berkeley. With its delicious, freshly-made falafel and pita, reasonably-priced pockets, and satisfying hummus platters, The Flying Falafel will set your heart aflutter. Come for the plant-based Mediterranean food, and stay for the cheesecake and banana milkshake. Try one of our Vegan Falafel recipes if you don’t have the chance to get to The Flying Falafel.

 1051 Market St., San Francisco, and 2114 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.

4. IndoChine

Sherry X./Yelp

Vegan Asian food, anyone? Look no further than IndoChine. Here, you can try plant-based versions of some of your favorite classics, like chow mein, crispy spring rolls, pho noodle soup, and vegetable nigiri. Try out some of their meat alternatives like the teriyaki “chicken” or “beef.” Top it all off with some vegan carrot cake or a banana split. If you don’t live near IndoChine, you could try this vegan Simple Aromatic Pho!

IndoChine is located at 508 Valencia St., San Francisco.

5. Gracias Madre

Mina O./Yelp

Nestled in the Mission is vegan treasure: Gracias Madre. It’s easy to make Mexican food plant-based, so it seems perfectly right to have an entire menu full of it. While here, sit indoors or outside along bustling Mission Street, and enjoy some guacamole, nacho cheese, or cashew crema. Gracias Madre prides itself on local, organic ingredients, like its nut-based cheeses and milks and tortillas made from non-GMO, organic corn. If you don’t live in California but still a vegan topping your your homemade Mexican dishes, check out How to Make Cashew Cream for a tangy topping!

Indulge in Gracias Madre at 2211 Mission St., San Francisco.

6. Golden Era

Jen B./Yelp

This all-vegan Asian fusion restaurant features Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, and Thai dishes. Plus, it has a lunch special featuring your choice of two entrees with brown or white rice for busy San Franciscans in a rush. For dessert, pick up a caramel flan or almond mocha cake. It’s always bustling, which is testament to its thoughtful and mouth-watering dishes. Grab a table for lunch or dinner, or get your fix of Golden Era to go. Try out our Coconut Flan With Caramel Sauce if you can’t make it to this iconic California restaurant. 

Golden Era is at 395 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco.

7. VeganBurg

VeganBurg/Facebook

Who doesn’t love a vegan burger? Swing by VeganBurg’s location on the historic Haight Street. Founded in 2010, VeganBurg says it is the world’s first 100% plant-based burger joint. In addition to its regular menu items, like the Avocado Beetroot Burger and Cracked Mayo Burger (may we recommend extra avocado, bacon, or cheese?), VeganBurg also offers tasty sides. Check out the Loaded Shrooms Fries or the BBQ Franks with Ranch. We have so many Vegan Burger options for you if you don’t live in San Francisco.

Grab your burgers at 1466 Haight St., San Francisco.

8. Flacos

Flacos/Facebook

Flacos is a tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it restaurant located in Berkeley, with the appropriate motto of “Feed La Revolucion.” Since 2001, Flacos has been offering nutritious and affordable Mexican food to eager Bay Area residents. Flacos gets consistent rave reviews for its taquitos, though you should also try out their tamales or huaraches. Spice levels at Flacos are not for the faint of heart, so grab some agua fresca to wash it all down! Need a vegan tamales recipe but can’t make it to Flacos? We’ve got your back with our Black Bean Tamales recipe.

Don’t miss Flacos at 3031 Adeline St., Berkeley.

9. Vegan Donut Gelato

Jen B./Yelp

The name says it all. At its newly opened Oakland location, Vegan Donut Gelato offers just that: donuts and gelato. The donuts are huge, fluffy, and oh-so-satisfying: pick up a mixed box of some traditional flavors, like chocolate glazed or sugar, and some of Vegan Donut Gelato’s specialties, like bear claws and apple fritters. If you’ve still got some room in your tummy after all that deliciousness, grab a scoop or cone of gelato, picking from almond milk-based flavors like cookies and cream or lemon cheesecake. If you have a doughnut craving but can’t get out to Vegan Donut Gelato, try one of our 15 Decadent Vegan Doughnuts to Daydream About!

Vegan Donut Gelato is now open at 411 E 18th St., Oakland.

10. Vegan Picnic

Jen B./Yelp

With its bright and lovely storefront in the Marina, Vegan Picnic is a perfect spot if you’re in the mood for some sandwiches or salads. Get fancy with a VP Steak Tip Sandwich, or keep it classic with a PB&J. While there, you can also buy from a selection of plant-based products like tea or caramel sauce. Of course, not to miss are Vegan Picnic’s giant donuts, so leave some room for dessert. Can’t make it to Vegan Picnic but want to create your own picnic? Check out our article: Have a Perfect Picnic With These 20 Plant-Based Recipes.

Come hang out at Vegan Picnic at 1977 Union St., San Francisco.

11. Nick’s Kitchen

Nick’s Kitchen/Facebook

Head down to Daly City for plant-based Filipino food. Nick’s Kitchen offers vegan versions of all your favorite Filipino dishes, including Lumpia Shanghai and Pancit Palabok, or rice noodles with gravy. Nick’s Kitchen, originally a non-vegan restaurant, is run by a couple that wanted to share their love of plant-based comfort food with the world and turned their entire menu vegan. Now that’s a mission we can totally get behind. If you live too far to make it to Nick’s, try our Tofu Teriyaki With Rice Noodles!

You can find Nick’s Kitchen at 2449 Geneva Ave., Daly City.

12. Souley Vegan

Judy S./Yelp

No vegan should go without the chance to eat hearty soul food and Southern comfort dishes. Souley Vegan made our list of places you can eat vegan chicken and waffles, but once you’ve got your fill of those, there’s so much more to try! Order your food at the counter and then enjoy the hip Oakland vibe while you wait. Of interest are the chick’n nachos made with seitan and creole style cheese, the mac ‘n’ cheese, and the shrimp po boy. Or take a group of friends and order the sample platter, so you can try just a little bit of everything. Want to try chicken and waffles at home but don’t live near Souley Vegan? Try one of our Vegan Chicken and Waffles Recipes!

Souley Vegan is located at 301 Broadway, Oakland.

13. Shangri-La Vegan

Shangri-La Vegan/Facebook

Shangri-La Vegan is one of the Bay Area’s hidden gems, and it’s a bit unconventional. The menu changes twice daily, and you can choose between two things: full and moderate. These describe the portion size of a plant-based meal that is prepared fresh daily. The menu items tend to be wholesome and vegetable-heavy, offering a simple yet comforting and filling meal for lunch or dinner. The restaurant is quiet and encourages no cell phone use, so come with a friend or two and enjoy sipping on free tea together over your meal. Need some comfort food in your life but don’t live in Oakland? Try one of our Vegan Comfort Food recipes!

Try Shangri-La at either of its two locations, 4001 Linden St., Oakland, and 4905 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.

14. Sanctuary Bistro

Wendy H./Yelp

A beautiful, airy space in North Berkeley, Sanctuary Bistro offers a refreshing plant-based menu for both brunch and dinner. Enjoy chilaquiles with oat-based nacho cheese for brunch, or oyster mushrooms in wine broth for dinner. Of course, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, Sanctuary Bistro has you covered with its hearty waffles. Order yours covered in shiitake “bacon” and with a glass of fresh kombucha on the side. If you can’t make it to Sanctuary Bistro, check out our Breakfast Cilaquiles to try at home! 

Enjoy Sanctuary Bistro at 1019 Camelia St., Berkeley.

15. Millennium

Millennium Restaurant/Facebook

Millennium is an upscale, innovative gourmet vegan restaurant that has made headlines for its commitment to plant-based fine dining. Be sure to make a reservation, because this place books up fast. If you’re lucky enough to get a seat, there’s no shortage of things to try. The menu changes often, but anything you choose will be sure to delight. Historically, Millennium’s creative chefs have featured dishes with mouth-watering names like Juniper & Ginger Glazed Tempeh or Coriander & Arborio Crusted King Trumpet Mushrooms. Millennium is open for Sunday brunch as well, so you can enjoy a mimosa with your delicious and beautiful plant-based fare. Want to try out their ginger glazed tempeh but don’t live near Milennium? Try a similar recipe like our Gingery Maple Glazed Tempeh on Baby Greens Salad at home!

Make a reservation for Millennium at 5912 College Ave., Oakland.

Lead image source: Matt Biddulph/Flickr

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