The Best Restaurants in San Francisco for Vegetarian & Vegan Dining
Taste the bounty of the Bay Area at these delicious vegetarian dining establishments in San Francisco, where the plant is the star, not the side.
San Francisco has long been a proponent of clean eating, sustainable farming, and locally sourced cuisine. We excel at eating responsibly! It should come as no surprise then that the city has plenty to offer vegetarian visitors when they dine out. Here are our picks for the best places to find meatless meals. (Vegan friends, take note: most of these places can cater to you, too!)
Burma Superstar & Burma Love
Burmese food—infused with the flavors of India, China, and Thailand—can be hard to find, but San Francisco has an abundance of it. Burma Superstar is famous for long lines and intimate quarters. Burma Love has a full bar and a bit more space. Either one is worth the wait. The tea leaf salad is rightfully famous and the vegetarian curries pack a delicious punch.
Along the busy dining corridor that is Valencia Street in the Mission, you'll find Cha-Ya, a Japanese restaurant that specializes in tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes. Our favorites include the vegetarian pot stickers and the Starlight roll: seasoned brown sushi rice, eryngii mushrooms, spinach, and asparagus rolled in thinly sliced avocado.
Between North Beach and the Financial District is Cotogna, the casual little sister to high-end, adjoining Quince. It's been one of the hottest restaurants in town for years. Chef Michael Tusk prepares excellent pasta in-house, along with pizza, salads, and seasonal takes on rustic Italian cuisine. Their sformato is always vegetarian, and the raviolo di ricotta with an egg inside is another winner. Don't miss their vegetable side dishes, like the famed carrots, which are substantial enough for everyone at your table. Reservations are advised, but the bar and communal table are great for walk-ins.
It can be hard for a vegetarian to survive in a Chinese restaurant, but the local mini-chain Enjoy Vegetarian is a popular destination for vegetarians and vegans. If it's meat substitutes you seek, this is the spot for you. Their locations around town make it a convenient stop, too. They also deliver.
The Fly Trap
Hoss Zaré's The Fly Trap offers a little something for everyone. His modern, fresh takes on Persian dishes are layered in flavor, with extravagant use of spices and herbs. Many a vegetarian swears by his varied menu, and his "Hoss-pitality" is legendary. The warm and stylish dining rom and excellent wine list don't hurt either.
Golden Era Vegan Restaurant
This Civic Center restaurant serves Vietnamese, Indian, Thai and Chinese food for modest prices. Golden Era Vegan pleases diners who are fond of traditional Asian recipes because it re-creates the meat ingredients by using soy and spices. Their dessert menu is unusually extensive for an Asian restaurant. Golden Era is just three blocks from the Civic Center Station, serviced by Muni and BART.
For a true San Francisco institution dedicated to vegetarian cuisine, look no further than the legendary Greens Restaurant, overlooking the bay in historic Fort Mason. It was opened in 1979 by the San Francisco Zen Center and has been making vegetarians happy ever since. Their chefs have produced some of the most respected vegetarian cookbooks in publication, the views are spectacular, and the service is refined. Plus, in a classically Northern California twist, they were one of the first places in San Francisco to partner with their own farm, located on the Zen Center's retreat at Green Gulch in nearby Marin County. The menu changes with the season, but the dishes are always on point.
Indochine Vegan draws on culinary traditions from across Asia and presents its all-vegan menu in a vibrant Mission District setting. The wide range of choices include over a dozen types of vegetable rolls, as well as many varieties of nigiri, clay pot and noodle offerings. One popular option is the Spicy ChaCha, morsels of yam swathed in crumbs and deep-fried with spices and bell peppers. You can get to Indochine by taking the J line Muni streetcar to 16th and Church Streets or BART to 16th and Mission Streets.
Thai is often a safe bet for vegetarians and vegans, and Kin Khao is a stylish and truly authentic place. Owner Pim Techamuavivit is well known for her food blog, Chez Pim, and her restaurant features many dishes rarely found outside of Thailand. Kin Khao offers a fun atmosphere, with cocktails and a wine list well-designed to pair with the bright flavors on the menu. Come prepared for an adventure, have fun, and order the black rice pudding for dessert.
Nourish Café is 100% plant-based and uses organic, whole foods and non-GMO ingredients to create delicious, wholesome and healthy foods. They use only natural sweeteners and minimal oils in their recipes. Menus and hours differ between their two locations, so plan wisely in order to taste it all!
Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar and Izakaya
All dishes at this upscale spot are vegan, served in artistic arrangements almost too beautiful to eat. The green mango nigiri with citrus avocado puree is worth a try, as is the “Plot Twist” tempura roll with sweet potato, smoked bean curd, pickled mango, tomato, onion, yuzu, shiso, and jalapeño. Shizen is one of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed vegan restaurants and they don’t take reservations, so there's often a wait to be seated. However, their app lets you know where you are in the list, and there’s plenty of interesting shopping in the vicinity. Shizen is close to the 16th Street BART station. The 14 and 19 Muni bus lines will get you there, too.
Sons & Daughters
This upscale restaurant between Union Square and Nob Hill has a private farm that supplies the produce and ingredients used in their recipes. Sons & Daughters offers a vegetarian pre-fixe menu worth every penny. Call in advance for a reservation or book online.
Fans of Indian food should try Udupi Palace in the Mission. The food is entirely meat-free so that vegetarians can order with abandon. Vegans will also find plenty to love. The rich spices keep everything flavorful, and the thalis are an excellent value, too.
You might think that a vegan restaurant wouldn't have much to offer in the way of burgers. You'd be wrong. Veganburg in Haight-Ashbury offers no fewer than ten different kinds of meatless burgers. They also have killer french fries that are GMO-free.
In the Cow Hollow neighborhood, you'll find Wildseed. Their motto is simple: "Eat Well, Live Better". Wildseed has a menu of unique dishes made from hearty, well-prepared, plant-based ingredients. Enjoy their Beet and Orange Pate, the Spicy Sausage Pizza (made with jackfruit), and the refreshing King Trumpet Mushroom Ceviche! With a vast menu of options, even the biggest carnivore will leave Wildseed satisfied and ready to return again soon!
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