Hailed as one of the top culinary trends for the last year by multiple global research groups, vegan food is the latest trend to hit the foodie scene. When it comes to great vegan and vegetarian food, San Diego is well ahead of the curve with plenty of great vegan and non-meat restaurants opening their doors to cater to the burgeoning scene. Here are some of the seaside city’s best offerings. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
© Café Gratitude
Café Gratitude is a branch of the famous LA chain that offers creative plant-based cuisine, fresh cold-pressed juices, and organic wine and beer in a casual, laid-back setting. Located in Little Italy, the Bay Area-born vegan chain presents a menu of healthy vegan dishes with unusual names such as “I am grateful” and “I am crunchy.” While the meal titles might be odd, the food certainly isn’t, with sumptuous dishes like asparagus risotto, buckwheat-flax pancakes, collard spring rolls, and yam cauliflower samosa chaat. Pair food with a selection of organic beer, wine, or freshly squeezed juice. Café Gratitude is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days of the week.
1980 Kettner Boulevard, Little Italy, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-736-5077
© Civico 1845
Tucked away in Little Italy, Civico 1845 is a charming eatery that serves a menu of contemporary Italian fare with a variety of vegan options. Furnished in reclaimed wood with comfortable tables and chairs and an outdoor patio, the restaurant has several signature dishes that have diners returning time and again. These include delights such as the Caprese Calda, which is a warm Caprese salad stacked with rice mozzarella, oven-roasted heirloom tomato, and arugula pesto. Another favorite is the Ravioli al Basilico, which is filled homemade basil pesto and served with roasted almonds in a thick tomato puree. Civico 1845 is open every day for lunch and dinner.
1845 India Street, Little Italy, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-431-599
© Courtesy of chingyunsong - Fotolia.com
Established in 2009, Evolution is San Diego’s original vegan fast food outlet and the vegetarian’s answer to the universal fast food burger joint, including the drive-thru window. Following the successful formula of meat-centric burger joints, the restaurant has a menu of burgers, tacos, and wraps, including the gluten-free Evo Burger with either a black bean or house-made tempeh patty stacked with fresh lettuce, pickles, grilled onions, cheddar cheese, tomato, and a creamy Thousand Island dressing. Pair burgers with a side of chili cheese fries and organic shakes or smoothies. While the hut-like restaurant caters to mostly take-out fans, it also has some modest patio seating for diners wanting to eat in. Evolution is open for lunch and dinner, Monday through Sunday.
2965 Fifth Avenue, Hillcrest, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-550-1818
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Jyoti-Bihanga is a casual spot with an inventive menu of vegan and vegetarian fare run by local students of spiritual master Sri Chinmoy. The tranquil eatery offers a creative menu of delicious food for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday and an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet on a couple of Sundays every month. Tuck into whole-wheat blueberry pancakes, challah French toast, tofu scrambled eggs, and French biscuits for Sunday brunch, fresh salads, homemade soups, wraps and sandwiches for lunch, and a variety of entrées, sides, and desserts for dinner. Signature dishes include a daily special, vegan meatloaf, curries, and Thai stir fry. More Things to do in San Diego
3351 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116, Phone: 619-282-4116
A French Gothic cathedral meets a death metal bar in this unique and eclectic eatery. Located in the former Alchemy space in South Park, KINDRED is an exclusively vegan restaurant with the aesthetic of a European comic magazine blended with a 1920s Parisian cocktail bar and a menu to match. Offering an array of unusual and delicious food, the menu features dishes such as cornmeal-crusted tempeh on a rye pita with kale fennel kraut, smoked beets, and Sriracha Thousand Island sauce, spicy Grilled Seitan skewers, and Memphis BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich with crispy house-made potato chips. Wash it down with a La Fin Du Monde-based Doom Gazer beertail or a Cosmic Key cocktail and end on a sweet note with caramelized banana pancakes with bourbon butterscotch glaze. KINDRED is open for dinner from Monday through Friday and brunch, lunch, and dinner on the weekends.
1503 30th Street, South Park, San Diego, CA 92116, Phone: 619-546-9653
© Loving Hut
Renowned as the world’s largest vegan restaurant chain, Loving Hut has two outlets in San Diego that serve an array of standard dishes along with signature plates that suit local tastes. Loving Hut uses fresh locally sourced ingredients to create hearty, healthy, and tasty cuisine, including favorites such as udon soup, spring rolls, spicy cha, and the signature Heavenly Salad. Other items range from noodle soup and crispy wontons to chow mein, eggplant tofu, and grilled seaweed. Loving Hut is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday through Sunday and is closed on Mondays.
1905 El Cajon Boulevard, University Heights
9928 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa, San Diego, CA 92116
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© Courtesy of dasuwan - Fotolia.com
Committed to “changing the world one slice at a time,” Peace Pies serves a menu of raw, gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free products and cooked dishes, ranging from pizza and pies to salads, wraps, entrées, desserts, and more. Ingredients are sourced from local farmers and artisans and always served fresh, while dried goods and products have earth-friendly packaging. The restaurant, which is open every day for brunch, lunch, and early dinner, offers dishes such as a peace pizza of marinated veggies and “cheese” on a sunflower seed crust, mushroom quesadillas, and a Sol Bowl of cheesy kelp noodles with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Don’t miss the cheesecake, which is one of the eatery’s specialties.
4230 Voltaire Street, Ocean Beach, Phone: 760-479-0996
133 Daphne Street, Encinitas, San Diego, CA 92116, Phone: 760-479-0996
8.Plant Power-Fast Food
© Plant Power-Fast Food
Relatively new on the vegan culinary scene, Plant Power-Fast Food was opened by the founders of Hillcrest’s Evolution Fast Food and offers a broad menu of plant-based sandwiches, salads, wraps, and burgers along with super smoothies and decadent desserts. Signature dishes include the Rambler Burger with crispy onion rings, American “cheese,” BBQ sauce, lettuce, and tomato, the Southwest Avocado Wrap filled with a zesty black bean and “beefy” medley of chipotle “aioli,” avocado, salsa, and kale mix, and the raw Jumbo Veggie Wrap packed with spinach, avocado, cashew hummus, sprouts, and cucumber in a whole wheat tortilla. Plant Power-Fast Food is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
2204 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard, Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA 92116, Phone: 619-450-6845
9.Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant
© Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant
Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant is an upscale Thai and vegetarian restaurant at the end of Park Boulevard in University Heights that offers an outstanding vegan dining experience. Boasting a menu focused on South Asian cuisine with a particular focus on Thai flavors, the restaurant promises a culinary feast of dishes such as pumpkin curry in red curry sauce, mock chicken satay with peanut sauce, glass noodles with mixed vegetables and tofu, and petite flower-shaped crispy wonton cups. The environmentally-friendly restaurant also offers a dollar discount for to-go customers who bring their own food containers. Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant is open every day for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
4661 Park Boulevard, University Heights, San Diego, CA 92116, Phone: 619-269-9989
10.Sipz Vegetarian Fusion Cafe
© Sipz Vegetarian Fusion Café
Set within a strip mall on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard, Sipz Vegetarian Fusion Café offers casual vegan and vegetarian dining in relaxed, informal surroundings. The family-friendly restaurant serves an extensive menu of 100% vegetarian and mostly vegan Asian cuisines, ranging from Vietnamese and Thai to Chinese and Japanese. The menu features sushi rolls, glass noodles and veggies, and spicy Thai curry alongside super smoothies and fresh juices with signature dishes including cashew stir-fry, vegetable paella, and teriyaki. Sipz Vegetarian Fusion Café is open seven days a week for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
5501 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117, Phone: 858-279-3747
11.SOL CAL Cafe
© SOL CAL Café
SOL CAL Café is a healthy, vegan-friendly market café and juicery owned by former NFL player Jacob Bell and nutritionist Thomas McCann. The casual restaurant serves a tempting menu of grab-to-go salads, soups and sandwiches, wraps, tacos and healthy desserts as well as homemade ice cream, single source organic coffee, teas and elixirs, and a variety of fresh cold-pressed organic juices. Tuck into avocado toast, acai bowls, breakfast burritos, Chipotle lime quinoa wraps, teriyaki zen bowls, and more. SOL CAL Café also offers catering and takeaway services and is open every day of the week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
910 J Street, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-255-2927
12.The Purple Mint Vegetarian Bistro
© The Purple Mint Vegetarian Bistro
Set in Grantville in the Allied Gardens neighborhood, the Purple Mint Vegetarian Restaurant blends traditional culture and nutritious eating to create a friendly, inviting vegan and vegetarian café in which to enjoy the delicious, healthy food. Boasting a menu of vegetarian and vegan dishes with an authentic Asian twist, the restaurant promotes a vegetarian lifestyle by healthy eating and healthy living. The Asian fusion restaurant offers a variety of sumptuous 100% vegetarian dishes such as Lemon Grass Chicken, Crispy Egg Rolls, and Yam & Sweet Potato Curry, accompanied by a selection of fresh juices and other beverages. The Purple Mint Vegetarian Restaurant is open for lunch on weekdays and lunch and dinner on the weekends.
6171 Mission Gorge Rd #118, San Diego, CA 92120, Phone: 619-280-3388
© Trilogy Sanctuary
Set in a downtown La Jolla Yoga studio, Trilogy Sanctuary is a vegan rooftop restaurant and juice bar that boasts Boho chic décor and beautiful ocean views and serves a menu of organic, vegan, and gluten-free fare, super smoothies, and fresh juices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features favorites such as “eggs” Benedict served with cauliflower cheese “eggs,” avocado, sprouts, “Hollandaise” sauce and eggplant “bacon” on a toasted gluten-free bun, the Sunflower Sprout Raw Pizza, and the Kale Superfood Salad. Trilogy Sanctuary also offers detox programs and catering services.
7650 Girard Avenue, Suite 400, La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 858-633-3893
14.Veganic Thai Cafe
© Veganic Thai Café
Veganic Thai Café is a small and charming vegan Thai restaurant in Hillcrest that received rave reviews for its authentic Thai cuisine. Located on University Avenue in the heart of Hillcrest, the eatery boasts Asian-themed art on the walls and cozy dining tables, along with a menu of innovative classics such as tom ka soup, yellow curry, Pad Thai, summer rolls, and glass noodles. Signature dishes include the cream cheese wontons, pineapple fried rice with mock chicken and spicy duck curry. Veganic Thai Café is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week.
1417A University Avenue, Hillcrest, San Diego, CA 92101, Phone: 619-230-5540
14 Best Vegetarian Restaurants in San Diego, CA
- Cafe Gratitude, Photo: Café Gratitude
- Civico 1845, Photo: Civico 1845
- Evolution, Photo: Courtesy of chingyunsong - Fotolia.com
- Jyoti-Bihanga, Photo: Jyoti-Bihanga
- KINDRED, Photo: KINDRED
- Loving Hut, Photo: Loving Hut
- Peace Pies, Photo: Courtesy of dasuwan - Fotolia.com
- Plant Power-Fast Food, Photo: Plant Power-Fast Food
- Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant, Photo: Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant
- Sipz Vegetarian Fusion Cafe, Photo: Sipz Vegetarian Fusion Café
- SOL CAL Cafe, Photo: SOL CAL Café
- The Purple Mint Vegetarian Bistro, Photo: The Purple Mint Vegetarian Bistro
- Trilogy Sanctuary, Photo: Trilogy Sanctuary
- Veganic Thai Cafe, Photo: Veganic Thai Café
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of teelesswonder - Fotolia.com
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