How to Eat Vegan in San Francisco: Our favorite restaurants
Z&J Traveling: Even when traveling, we spend most of our time eating and want to share this with you, too. You want to know where to eat vegan in Barcelona, Athens, and Copenhagen and what to not miss in New York City, Lisbon or Mallorca? Check out all of our travel guides here.
This year I went to California for the second time. Starting in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Yosemite National Park and back! But it doesn't matter which route you choose - it is worth traveling around this beautiful country! I collected the best spots on my way through California for this guide, but at first, have a look at this two issues:
advice 1: You don't have to worry about motels or hotels, there are plenty on your way! But remember that American breakfast is still not the best and we Europeans need to get used to it. Be prepared with plant-based milk, so you at least get a coffee in the morning or some oats.
advice 2: While searching for plant-based milk in the supermarkets, have a second look for all the plant-based products they offer. I fell in love with vegan ice cream, vegan chorizo, and cashew yogurt.
Here we go!
The plant-based “Nourish Cafe“ is the perfect spot for breakfast in the morning or coffee and cake in the afternoon. They also offer plenty of dishes for lunch: bánh mì sandwiches, “tuna“ bowls, grilled cheese sandwiches, smoothies and “lox“ toasts." Unfortunately, we couldn't come over more often, cause we immediately fell in love with it. By the way: there are two stores in San Francisco: 189 6th Avenue & 1030 Hyde Street.
You will find a lot of restaurants in San Francisco (and California) that offer the Impossible Burger. Check all the locations here. Each restaurant is serving the Burger in their own way. We came across “The Brixton,“ by walking through Union Street. They don't serve many plant-based dishes, but they prepared the Impossible Burger quiet well. What a bombe of a vegan burger!
Gracias Madre is located directly in Mission District and feels like a Mexican holiday. The atmosphere is hilarious and the location always crowded. You can choose between lots of bowls and tacos like the tempeh chorizo bowl with black beans and guacamole or a tostada with cashew nacho cheese sauce and sweet potato. Be prepared: the servings are not that big.
The Castro Fountain
Wait! There is still space for a small scoop of ice cream, right? We found delicious vegan chocolate ice cream at “The Castro Fountain.“ Be prepared: the pricing per scoop is exceptionally high with 6$, so better you fully enjoy the ice cream. However, the store is located excellently in the Castro District, and you can find a lot of small shops around.
Until this day, we never went to Loving Huit before. This fact still shocks me. Through the whole holidays, I didn't find a place with yummy vegan food for such low pricing. Loving Hut is vegan restaurant chain, and there are plenty locations in the US. I tried the vegan Pad Thai with plant-based prawns and was hugely impressed. It's a must do!
Lilly Mae's Cinnamon Rolls in Monterey
While visiting Monterey, you will quickly notice that Monterey doesn't offer a lot of things to do and vegan options in restaurants, cafés, etc. The city is very, very small so I was fortunate when I went to “Lilly Mae's Cinnamon Rolls“ and found out they offer vegan and gluten-free cinnamon rolls. Uh yay!
The Bagelry in Santa Cruz
“The Bagelry“ in Santa Cruz was a lucky find for me. We searched for a vegan breakfast spot in Santa Cruz, and this was definitely the cheapest and best breakfast we had in our holidays. The shop is located in a very calm residential area so that you won't meet any tourists here. They offer several vegan bagels with cream cheese or tofu spreads. They are very delicious, and it's such a typically American place for breakfast.
Veg on the Edge in Santa Cruz
“Veg on the Edge“ describes themselves as „Vegan with a West African twist.“ You can find them in a small food court at Abbott Square Market. This place is worth seeing: people are dancing outside the court and singing together, one room further is the “Museum of Arts & History,“ and the atmosphere is romantic and euphoric at the same time! Spend your evening here, folks.
Big Sur River Inn
On your way through Big Sur, you will quickly notice there a just a few restaurants on your way (and the vegan options are very limited). The “Big Sur River Inn“ serves several vegan dishes and is still affordable. The food was not stunning, but totally fine for a one day adventure through Big Sur.