Vegan in San Diego

san-diego-downtown-gaslamp-69d10779

San Diego, California is home, and I often get asked “what are your favorite vegan restaurants” or “where do you go out to eat” (yes, some people hear vegan and they immediately think I can’t eat anywhere haha). So I thought I would go ahead and put together a list of some of my favorite vegan restaurants in my home town, and a few other non-vegan restaurants that actually have some great vegan options available on their menus. I must say, it sure is great that San Diego is a very vegan friendly city with lots of vegan restaurants, cafes, smoothie/juice stands, and grocery stores…and it seems the plant based trend is only growing here with new places opening up all over town! So without further ado, and in no particular order, here is my list:

VEGAN RESTAURANTS

1. Cafe Gratitude –  Little Italy – 1980 Kettner Blvd. San Diego, 92101.

This is definitely one of my favorites, and I am sure one of the most popular among vegans and non-vegans (they have multiple locations here in Southern California, and they are a pretty big name in the scene). What I love about this place is that they have such an extensive menu of only vegan options! A variety of cuisines, pressed juices, kombuchas, coffee drinks, and wine/beer/cocktails. It’s so great to be able to finally go into a restaurant and know that you can order anything off the menu, without being limited to one option (like a salad, or just a veggie burger), and not having to modify anything or ask the waiter to leave anything out…ahhhh vegan paradise!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Humble / Indian Curry Bowl
  • Mucho / Mexican Bowl
  • Magical / Double Double Veggie Burger
  • Warm Hearted / Grilled Polenta
  • Brave / Immune Boosting Shot – I always get this, has quite a kick, but really good for ya!
  • Immortal / Ayervedic Latte – so damn yummy; it’s like a sweet, cinnamon, chai like latte, but packed with health!

2. Kindred – South Park – 1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102.

This is a great little hip spot in South Park, all vegan food, and craft cocktails…definitely a cool venue to check out!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Snacks (appetizer) / Skewers – Chargrilled Seitan, with Chimichurri, very tasty!
  • Snacks (appetizer)/ Hearts of Palm flatbread – so damn good!!
  • Dine / Seared Cauliflower Steak
  • Dine / Beet Risotto

Plenty of other good stuff on the menu too, and also the extensive cocktail menu…give it a go!

3. Donna Jean – 2949 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103.

This place just recently opened in the Bankers Hill area right by Balboa Park, and it’s actually right next door to Evolution Fast Food – a smaller vegan restaurant that has a drive through (think more casual, quick-service counter style type of place). Donna Jean has a great outdoor patio with a garden of vegetables being grown right there in house; it looks great at night lit up under the garden lights. The cuisine here has a midwest spin to it, with lots of comfort food like options. They also serve kombucha, vegan beers, wine, and sake based cocktails. I saw lots of good options on the menu, and I am looking forward to going back and trying them all!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Starters/ Baked Riccotta – think of this as a cheese plate served with sourdough bread, pretty damn good!
  • Starters/ BBQ Cauliflower – solid kick of smoky BBQ flavor here!
  • Supper/ Ravioli – House Made Ricotta and Tempeh Filled Ravioli, Arrabbiata, Herbs, Spinach. This was absolutely delicious, some of the best ravioli I’ve had!

4. Trilogy Sanctuary – La Jolla – 7650 Girard Ave #400, San Diego, CA 92037.

Not only is this place an awesome yoga studio (multiple levels, and practices), but it also has an amazing roof top all vegan cafe! Great place to come and grab a delicious healthy bite while taking in the open air vibes. This is definitely also one of those places where I walk in and always have a difficult time making decisions on what to order, because everything just looks so good – lots of food options, smoothies, juices, and coffees/teas too! I’ve also had the pleasure of taking a few yoga classes here, and would definitely recommend giving their classes a try!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Perfect Tacos
  • Trilogy Cheeze Burger
  • Love Bowl
  • BLTrilogy Crepe
  • Sweet Potato Wedges

5. Native Foods Cafe – Point Loma – 3369 Rosecrans St., San Diego, CA 92110

This place is more your “fast-casual” type of restaurant; they have multiple locations, an extensive menu of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, burgers, tacos, bowls, desserts, and drinks…and yes, all vegan! This chain does a great job of introducing plant based foods to the mainstream population, their menu’s explain what certain plant based foods are, and how they are prepared. They also have a great vegan cook book that makes it very easy for vegans and non-vegans alike to cook a variety of plant based dishes.

Some of my favorite items:

  • Native Classics / Ensalada Azteca
  • Earth Bowls / Thai Meatball
  • Hand Holds / Baja Tacos
  • Burgers / Native Scorpion Burger
  • Sides / Sweet Potato Fries

6. Veggie Grill – La Jolla Westfield Mall – 4353 La Jolla Village Dr. San Diego, CA 92122.

This is another “fast-casual” order at the counter type spot just like Native Foods Cafe; and it’s located right in the Westfield UTC Shopping Mall. This is also a chain, they have multiple locations, and again this type of concept is doing a great job of introducing the mainstream population to plant based foods by kind of taking the alternative healthy [plant based] fast-food approach. Lots of great tasty options here too from salads, power bowls, burgers, and seasonal entrees.

Some of my favorite items:

  • Bowls/ Sonoran Bowl
  • Entree Salads / Quinoa Power Salad (I always add tempeh)
  • Sandwiches / Grilled Quinoa + Veg Burger
  • Sides / Sweetheart Fries

 

VEGAN FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS 

1. Civico 1845 – Little Italy – 1845 India St. San Diego, CA 92101

Home of the best vegan lasagna I have ever had! This is a great Italian restaurant, with a cool looking interior, and good lively vibes. And best of all, they actually have a full vegan menu in addition to their normal non-vegan menu. So this is a great place to go with non plant-based folks, since everyone will have options (vegans and non-vegans alike). This place is pretty much always busy, so make a reservation or arrive with your patience.

Some of my favorite items:

  • Antipasti/ Vegan Caprese Calda
  • Primi Piatti/ Vegan Lasagna Romagnola (like I said, it’s zeeee best!)

2.  Tajima – East Village – 901 E Street, San Diego, CA 92101.

Who doesn’t like a good ramen, and better yet for us plant heads, a vegan ramen! That is the only thing I come here for, just that one single menu item. They obviously have a bunch of other ramen varieties and small dishes for the non-plant based foodie, but this is one place that actually does the vegan ramen justice!

In this case my only favorite item:

  • Ramen/ Vegan Ramen – spinach noodles in a soy based soup with mixed vegetables, asparagus, mixed greens, corn, kaiware, deep fried tofu, sesame seeds, shredded chili and topped with black garlic oil.

3. Sipz – North Park – 3914 30th Street, San Diego, CA

Sipz

Now this place is 100% vegetarian, so by nature this restaurant is also very vegan friendly; in fact, they have many vegan options, and can always cater to vegan requests. The cuisine is Thai fusion, so you can find lots of stir frys, curries, spring rolls, noodle dishes, and sushi…and they even have some vegan desserts! Lots of options here, so go nuts!

Some of my favorite items:

  • Appetizer/ Fresh Summer Rolls
  • Appetizer/ Lettuce Wraps
  • Spicy Main Dishes/ Spicy Basil
  • Spicy Main Dishes/ Spicy Ginger
  • Mild Main Dishes/ Broccoli Stir Fry

 

This by no means is a full comprehensive list of all vegan/vegan friendly restaurants in San Diego, CA. I know there are many more out there that are not on this list; but these just happen to be a few of my favorites that I frequent the most. As I continue to explore new vegan restaurants, I will be sure to add them to this post. Feel free to comment below with any of your favorite vegan restaurants around town that I might have left out.

 

 

 

 

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