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100 Vegan Dishes to Try in San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Looking to veg out a little more this year? You’re not alone: While just a small percentage of Americans are strict vegans or vegetarians, 10 percent of Americans say they now follow a largely vegetarian-inclined diet–and 43 percent of non-vegan or vegetarian people say they eat one or more vegetarian meals per week.

With so many people on the hunt for green, restaurants in San Francisco have stepped up to meet the demand. In fact, San Francisco is ranked the third-most vegetarian-friendly city in the country.

“San Francisco makes it easy to find a tasty vegan or vegetarian meal,” says Mark Berman, MD, of One Medical Group. Continues Berman–who has been vegan for 23 years–”Not only does San Francisco feature many exclusively vegan or vegetarian restaurants, but the vast majority of restaurants are happy to offer or modify their fare to create a satisfying plant-based meal.”

Here are 100 delicious vegan dishes to try in one of the country’s greenest cities. We’ve even mapped all of the restaurants on this list for your convenience, and if you like our guide, feel free to share it on your web site or blog. Enjoy!

VeganFrancisco

Castro

Ike’s Place – 3489 16th Street

Vegan Reuben: If you thought this traditionally cheesy, meaty sandwich couldn’t be done vegan-style, think again. This version comes with French dressing, homemade poppy seed coleslaw, and vegan versions of cheese and turkey.

Other Dishes to Try: Vegan Meatless Mike, Vegan Strawberry Girl, Vegan Tom Brady

China Basin

AT&T Park – 24 Willie Mays Plaza

Veggie Hot Dog: Did you know that San Francisco’s beloved ballpark is one of PETA’s “Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Major League Ballparks” of 2013? The stadium serves vegan frankfurters from Field Roast made from grains, garlic, onion, and organic oils and spices. This dog is nothing like the bland, store-bought variety and its flavor and texture are “super legit” according to the SF Gate food blog.

Chinatown 

Golden Era Vegan – 572 O’Farrell Street

Sauteed Jalapeño Tofu: Golden Era calls this their “best tofu dish,” and Yelpers agree. Of the tofu sauteed with onion, bell peppers, and jalapeño, served with steamed broccoli, cucumber, and tomato, one diner says the dish is “similar to what I ate growing up,” and another calls the tofu “nice and chewy.”

Other Dishes to Try: Spring Rolls, Spicy Eggplant Mushroom

Lucky Creation – 854 Washington Street

Deep Fried Taro Root Fish: This faux favorite is “shaped like a fish, fried and breaded with sweet and sour sauce over a bed of lettuce.” As one Yelp reviewer notes, “No one prepares taro like these ladies.”

Other Dishes to Try: Lemon Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pork

Civic Center

Ananda Fuara – 1298 Market Street

Neatloaf Sandwich: The restaurant’s best-selling sandwich features two thick slices of its famous neatloaf, made from grains, eggs, ricotta cheese, tofu and spices blended together and baked and topped with a tangy tomato-based sauce, on whole wheat or ciabatta bread. If you want it vegan, it’s available by request.

Other Dishes to Try: Curry Wrap, Roasted Vegetable Ravioli

Thai Idea Vegetarian – 710 Polk Street

Veggie Crab Cakes: One Yelper described these appetizers as “delicate and flavorful,” and others call them “excellent” and “exceptional.” Three cakes come with wasabi cream and homemade soy syrup and are perfect pre-dinner starters.

Other Dishes to Try:  Bangkok Veggie Duck, Wing Bomb, Veggie Hot Dog

Duboce Triangle

La Mediterranee - 288 Noe Street

Vegan Middle Eastern Plate: Falafel, dolma, lentil salad, and hummus make for a sumptuous, satisfying meal. One diner said the falafel was “small and light and perfectly cooked,” and another said the dolma “was full of yummy goodness.”

Other Dishes to Try: Salad Mediterranee, Armenian Tomato Salad, Vegan Chocolate Cake

Embarcadero

Donna’s Tamales - Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market

Vegan Burrito: Whether you order it hot or cold, this Farmers’ Market treat hits the spot. A whole-wheat tortilla wraps up organic brown rice, organic red beans, curtido (cabbage slaw), and Donna’s special ranchero sauce.

Financial District/Downtown

Fleur de Sel – 308 Kearny Street

Roasted Tomato Soup: Accompanied by house-made rosemary croutons, this scrumptious starter was described as “delicious crack” by one happily addicted customer.

Other Dishes to Try: Sweet Potato with Leek Soup

Mixt Greens475 Sansome Street

Be Wello Salad: Don’t expect a plate of plain iceberg lettuce when you order a Mixt Greens salad. This version comes with a mix of greens, avocado, chickpeas, quinoa, lentils, edamame, cucumber, red onion, fresh herbs, and jalapeño vinaigrette. As one customer summed it up, “What’s not to love?”

Other Dishes to Try: Slam Salad

Plant Café – 101 California Street

PLANT Burger: This decadent burger is made in-house from lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews, and bulgur wheat, and comes complete with tomato, grilled onions, lettuce, and vegan aioli atop a sourdough bun. The mouthwatering combo inspired one Yelper to deem the burger “heavenly.” A side salad and house-made pickles round out the celestial experience.

Other Dishes to Try: Masala Vegetable Stew, Avocado and Grapefruit Salad, MnM Bowl, Dino Kale Salad, Quinoa Bowl, Thai Green Curry, Chinese Five Spice Tempeh, Sambazon Bowl, Basil Tofu Scramble

Haight 

Love N Haight Deli - 553 Haight Street

Vegan Chicken Steak Sandwich: Non-meat eaters who crave a sandwich with substance will love this savory and sweet meal that incorporates warm, vegan chicken steak patties with tomato, sprouts, avocado, pickles, lettuce, and a smattering of hummus. One fan called the sandwich “light, delicious, and satisfying,” and another raved that it was “one of the tastiest sandwiches I’ve had in a long time.”

Other Dishes to Try: Vegetarian Meat Chunk Sandwich

Hayes Valley

Lers Ros Thai – 307 Hayes Street

Kang Karee Pak: One Lers Ros fan chose to describe this yellow curry with potatoes, vegetables, and tofu with one simple reaction: “Mmmm.” Others raved about the dish’s flavorful combination of seasonings and spices.

Other Dishes to Try: Pad Makuer Tofu

Japantown/Lower Pac Heights

Dosa – 1700 Fillmore Street

Masala Dosa: If you’ve never tried the savory deliciousness of a dosa, this vegan version will shake up your taste buds. A rice and lentil crepe is filled with mashed spiced potatoes, onions, and cashew nuts, and the beautiful dish is served with dipping sauce and chutney.

Other Dishes to Try: Onion Rava Dosa, Red Beet and Cumin Soup         

Marina/Cow Hollow 

Greens Restaurant – Fort Mason Center, Building A

Summer Curry: This eggplant dish is delicious during any season and comes with green beans, little farm potatoes, and English peas with coconut milk. Lemongrass, ginger, chilies, and cilantro punch up the flavor, while jasmine rice and plum-mango chutney are a sweet and satisfying side. 

Other Dishes to Try: Fresh Spring Rolls, Fire Roasted Poblano Chili, Grilled Fennel and Onion Pizza, Eggplant and Summer Squash Gratin, and Pumpkin Crème Caramel

Mission

Big Lantern – 3170 16th Street

Vegetarian Dim Sum Combination: Three veggie dumplings, three meatless chicken siu mais, and three BBQ meatless pork buns make up this plentiful dim sum platter. Customers not only love the variety of meat-free options, but rave about the availability: The dim sum is served all day long.

Other Dishes to Try: Black Mushroom with Bok Choy, Basil Meatless Chicken, Kung Pao Tofu

Cha-Ya - 762 Valencia Street 

Cha-Ya Roll: One Yelp fan referred to this asparagus, avocado, yam, and carrot-filled roll as “deep fried goodness.” Another called it “amazing,” saying it was “one of the best vegetarian rolls” she’d ever had.

Other Dishes to Try: Sansai, Tonchi Nasu, Chaya-Delight

Gracias Madre - 2211 Mission Street

Guacamole con Tortillas: Diners often fill up on this delicious appetizer before the main meal is even served. Cilantro, onion, chile, and lime are expertly mashed with fresh avocado and served with warm corn tortillas that many fans simply called “delicious.”

Other Dishes to Try: Coliflor Con Queso Fundido, Papas Al Horno                                                                                                                     

Ken Ken Ramen – 3378 18th St

Miso Vegan Ramen: Vegan ramen lovers, rejoice! Many ramen dishes are made from eggs, which is why this soup is so special. The broth, noodles, and veggies are all vegan-friendly.

Minako – 2154 Mission Street

Almond Encrusted Tofu: Diners can’t get enough of this unique and tasty vegan treat, which makes a great addition to the restaurant’s other plentiful vegan options.

Other Dishes to Try: Vegan Chicken Karaage, Vegan Scallop, Vegan Eel Teriyaki                                                 

Mission Pie – 2901 Mission Street

Vegan Spiced Apple Pie: Several customers couldn’t help but notice that every bite of a Mission Pie delicacy is more delectable than the last, and the vegan options are no exception. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, this apple treat will do the job.

Other Dishes to Try: Vegan Tomato and Collard Pot Pie, Vegan Ginger Black Bean and Carrot Stew with Kale and Farro

NoPa

Herbivore – 531 Divisadero Street

BLT Sandwich: You’ve never had a BLT quite like this. Traditional bacon is swapped for a flavorful tempeh version and served with vegannaise on sliced sourdough or whole wheat. Don’t worry; you’ll still find the classic tomato and lettuce combo on this vegan version, and the burger comes with a hearty helping of house potatoes. 

Other Dishes to Try: Vegan Strawberry Rhubarb Pie, Quinoa Tabbouleh, Vegan German Cake

Richmond

Enjoy Vegetarian – 5344 Geary Boulevard

Sea Bass Eggplant: Locals agree that this faux fish dish ranks supreme. The eggplant “melts in your mouth” and the fish “tastes like sea bass” and is “so damn good!”

Other Dishes to Try: Lotus Root, Veggie Deluxe, Pai Pai Tofu Balls with Broccoli

Burma SuperStar – 309 Clement Street

Tea Leaf Salad: This one-of-a-kind salad incorporates ingredients like sunflower seeds, fried garlic, peanuts, and tea imported from (you guessed it) Burma. It’s so distinctive, it was even featured on the Food Network!

Other Dishes to Try: Pea Shoots

SOMA

Samovar Tea House – 730 Howard Street

Jook: This savory Chinese rice porridge is served with a variety of tasty toppings like scallions, toasted garlic, peanuts, nori, cilantro, sriracha, and tamari soy sauce.

Other Dishes to Try: Tea Soup, Coconut Rice Pudding, Matcha Shake                                      

Source – 11 Division Street                                  

Baked Vegan Spinach Artichoke Fondue: With roasted peppers, spinach cashew cream, truffle oil, and pita bread (or living chips), this is a local favorite. As one Yelp reviewer notes, it’s “warm, gooey and delicious…crisp on the outside and moist and tender on the inside.”

Other Dishes to Try: Truffle Macaroni and Cheese (vegan version available), Source Salad, Moo Lettuce Tacos, Chipwich

Sunset 

Daily Health – 1235 9th Avenue

Garden Vegan Burger: This organic tofu burger is made from soybeans and veggies, and served on a toasted, organic whole-wheat bun with organic mixed greens, veggies, mustard, and mayonnaise. 

Other Dishes to Try: Green Noodle Soup, Vegan Wrap, Vegan Mediterranean Plate 

Holy Gelato! – 1392 9th Avenue 

The Bomb: It’s hard to pick a favorite vegan treat at Holy Gelato!–just ask manager John Lee. But according to Lee, this soymilk-based chocolate/peanut butter combo that features swirls of vegan marshmallow sauce and vegan brownies is “super good–it’s one of our standouts.”

Other Dishes to Try: Spicy Chocolate, Irish Morning, Mango Sorbet

Patxi’s – 822 Irving Street 

Vegan Pizza: Vegan pizzas can be tricky, but Patxi’s nails it with this spinach, crushed garlic, and red onion creation. The Daiya vegan cheese atop a whole wheat crust is so tasty that the dish is a favorite of non-vegans, too. “The regular pizza is fantastic,” one fan said of a meat-topped option. But “the vegan pizza was even better.” Another said “the pizza was so amazingly, incredibly, stunning, unbelievable, wonderful, and delicious that I thought I had died and gone to heaven.”

Tenderloin

Millennium – 580 Geary Street

King Trumpet Mushroom and Hearts of Palm Ceviche: This clever spin on the Peruvian dish pairs mushrooms and hearts of palms with chili kumara coconut leche de tigre, avocado, heirloom tomato, Belgian endive, radish and crisp corn hominy. Perfect acidity and crunch!

Other Dishes to Try: Sweet Potato Tamale, Black Garlic Sweet Soy Glazed Tempeh, Crusted King Trumpet Mushrooms, Tempura Oyster Mushrooms

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comments:

  1. donna says:

    There is an Herbivore location on Valencia Street and a Loving Hut on Irving street.

  2. Amanda K says:

    I would add one more to this list – Papalote! They have SIX vegan taco options, including soyrizo and mole tofu.

  3. Sarah Dee says:

    Whoa! Why is Dante’s Weird Fish not on this list? It’s my favorite vegan-friendly spot! They have brunch!

  4. Andrea says:

    Great list. Additions: 1.) Cafe Bunn Mi on Clement St has two vegan options: Savory Mushroom or Buddha Tofu Bunn Mi – just get w/o the aioli 2.) Sun Rise Deli on Irving’s falafel 3.) Yank Sing in the Rincon Center (also have a 2nd location) has spinach and mushroom dim sum, eggplant and sweet tofu dessert all vegan

  5. Lun Esex says:

    How could you have left out Udupi Palace at 1007 Valencia St. in the Mission? It’s wonderful. :)

    Looks like the only Indian restaurant on your list at all is Dosa. IMHO they’re overrated (not to mention more expensive). There are SO MANY other Indian restaurants in SF that are vegetarian/vegan or have a broad variety of vegetarian/vegan dishes!

  6. Emily Shea says:

    I’m pretty sure Golden Era has closed. I stopped by recently and looks like they lost their lease. Not sure if they are reopening elsewhere, but for now I think they are closed.

    The recommended dish at Ananda Fuara says it has eggs, which would make it non-vegan. They do have some decent vegan dishes though.

    At Herbivore, I would also recommend the “chicken” schwarma. It’s very good :)

    In my opinion, Pizza Orgasmica has the best vegan pizza. I would recommend the virgin – you can also add more toppings which usually makes it even better. I’m not a fan of too much fake cheese and a lot of other places over do it (again, my opinion).

    The Plant on Embarcadero is worth mentioning for brunch. They have some really great vegan options – tofu scrambles, etc. Also, they have some really great fresh juices. I’m in love with their Dino kale salad.

    At Samovar, I would recommend the Japanese service. The jook is good, but the tea service I think is more impressive.

    I would also mention Judahlicious in the sunset (?). They have awesome vegan brunch options, as well as other meals. Some great juices and shakes as well.

    Moya, Ethiopian food in soma/central market has an awesome veggie platter that is vegan. Really good.

    Pena Pachamama in North Beach is also really great – and they often have live music!

    • Devon Rhiannon says:

      Thank you for including the amazing Judahlicious!! And don’t forget about Golden Era’s partner Golden Buddha in Richmond dist!

  7. Amber says:

    Wow! This is so exciting, thank you for this list as my boyfriend and I who are both veggie just moved to SF! :) We are also gluten free and organic, does anyone have recommendations for a vegan, gluten free, organic restaurants, especially in the East Bay area?

    • Carly J says:

      Check out Rawdaddy’s at the Berkeley Farmers Market tomorrow. They are all Gluten Free, vegan and organic.

    • Kate m says:

      Cafe Gratitude in Berk, Encuentro Tapas bar in Emeryville, Zachary’s pizza has a vegan/ GF option and there is Saturn Cafe near the university. Herbivore on Shattuck, Cha-Ya right down the street La Meditteranne on college are also great (similar menus to the sites in the city mentioned in the post!) must also try Cinnaholic (vegan cinnamon rolls) for something really decadent. Vegan/ GF donuts & baked goods are sold at Philz on Shattuck as well! Hope this helps!

    • Mari says:

      Encuentro on 2nd and Jackson in the jack London area of oakland has amazing vegetarian/vegan food – almost everything on the menu has a vegan option and they are happy to accommodate gluten free folks as well.

  8. Carly J says:

    If you haven’t tried RawDaddy’s Fun Cone Food at the Berkeley and Palo Alto Farmers Markets, then you haven’t lived. The Mushroom and Polenta cone is amazing, as is the “Don’t Get Saucy with Me Bernaise” cone. They also have sweet cones that are to die for. Well worth searching them out. All vegan, Gluten Free and Organic.

  9. KAT says:

    I’d tell you where the best vegan ramen is in the city, but it would further crowd this whole in the wall. Ok fine, it’s Izakaya Goku.

  10. KAT says:

    Oh, and in Chinatown is a tasty Buddhist restaurant—Enjoy Vegetarian.

  11. KAT says:

    Sorry—one last suggestion. Tsunami, near the ballpark, has some of the tastiest vegan sushi I’ve ever eaten. Veggie Tiger and Honky Tonk rolls. delish!

  12. Josh says:

    Check out CURRY UP NOW food truck in the Financial district (Bush @ Sansom) for their Hella Vegan burrito!!

  13. Kristin says:

    Souley Vegan in Oakland is an amazing soul food place that is entirely devoted to amazing vegan food! Their mac n cheese is outrageous!! Fried tofu is brilliant! And I love, love, love their bbq tofu! Plus amazing black eyed peas and okra!

  14. Chris says:

    This page has been posted by a couple of different users in our SF Vegans facebook group. We’ve been discussing faves and additions of places that didn’t make this list. We’d also started our own 100 Vegan Dishes list prior to seeing this. There are lots of resources there for folks that want to connect with Bay Area vegans. Come join us, if you’d like!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/sfvegans

  15. Nora says:

    This is fantastic!!! Thanks for putting it together!

  16. Shirley Virgil says:

    Thank you for including us in your 100 vegan items t try in San Francisco. We are very honored. Is there way way to print out just the poster? You di such a great job on it!!

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