In the land of organic produce and farm-to-table culture, being a vegetarian or vegan has never been easier. With a range of veggie options at San Diego restaurants and a wellspring of vegan eateries on the scene, healthy, delicious choices are now the local norm.
Here are some favorite dishes around town to try no matter what meal you’re hungering for. And never fear, if you are the only veghead in the group, we’ve got options for you too.
Known for their clever brunches, Bar Kindred serves up hungry locals vegan style in a one-of-a-kind setting. Start off with the drop biscuits with rice honey glaze, mushroom gravy or strawberry jam or the cinnamon roll with vanilla bean & juniper cream, candied pecans, and currants. Then dig into the Hashes for the Mashes with fried potatoes, smoked coconut, Calypso beans, soy curls, Maitake mushrooms, charred kale, jicama salsa, and Creole aioli.
1503 30th St., South Park, 619.546.9653, barkindred.com
Enjoy the La Jolla breeze atop Trilogy Sanctuary while digging into vegan breakfast delights including smoothies, acai and pitaya bowls, and a range of savory dishes such as the chilaquiles with Latin-style cauliflower eggz on handmade corn tortillas, pumpkin seed mole, avocado and pico, and the Savory Breakfast Crepe, a gluten-free buckwheat crepe with sweet potato hash, spinach, cheezy sauce, avocado and heirloom tomato.
7650 Girard Ave. #400, La Jolla, 858.633.3893, trilogysanctuary.com
As the only veghead
Head to Viewpoint Brewing Co. for beautiful views and outdoor enjoyment. Keep it light with the Del Mar Parfait with acai, goji berries, banana crisp, and bee pollen, or go full belly with Churro French Toast, made with brioche, cinnamon sugar, and Mexican chocolate sauce. Served 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.
2201 San Dieguito Dr., Del Mar, 858.356.9346, viewpointbrewing.com
Native Foods Cafe
Always a hotspot for lunch, vegan restaurant Native Foods Cafe gives mouthwatering versions of popular meaty favorites, including faux buffalo chicken wings, a meatball sub with seitan, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, pumpkin seed pesto, and ranch dressing, and a BBQ chicken salad with tofu bacon, roasted corn, black beans, jicama, salsa fresca, avocado, toasted pepitas and creamy jalapeno-cilantro dressing.
Clairemont: 5604 Balboa Ave., Suite 107, 858.278.2855; Midway District: 3369 Rosecrans St, 619.225.1155; Encinitas: 127 N. El Camino Real, 760.634.7607, nativefoods.com
Plant Power Fast Food
Vegan fast food is all the rage in San Diego, and two spots are drawing attention. Choose from eight different veggie burgers at Plant Power Fast Food, including a classic “bacon” cheeseburger, The Voodoo with secret sauce and grilled onions, and The Holy Guacamole with salsa, jalapeno and chipotle “aioli.”
Ocean Beach: 2204 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., 619.450.6845; Encinitas: 411 Santa Fe Dr., 760.452.2352, plantpowerfastfood.com
Evolution Fast Food
Evolution Fast Food offers twists on local classics including the California burrito, street tacos, and chimichurri carne sandwiches, swapping out original meats with vegan versions of carne asada, fish, and chicken.
2965 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill, 619.550.1818, evolutionfastfood.com
As the only veghead
While everyone else gets down with their seafood poke bowl at Sweetfin Poke, opt for the Miso Eggplant & Mushroom with miso sesame shoyu sauce, shimeji mushroom, shiso and radish, or the Ponzu Lime Sweet Potato with avocado, carrots, edamame, cucumbers or serrano.
Westfield UTC: 4301 La Jolla Village Dr., Suite 2035, La Jolla, 858.251.4840, sweetfinpoke.com
Dining at Cafe Gratitude is a gastronomic experience day or night. While lunch is always an option, cozy up to their warm bowls in the evening, including the Devoted Soul Bowl with blackened tempeh, black bean dirty rice, smashed yams, coleslaw, deep-fried chickpea frittata, sautéed kale and barbecue sauce, or the Humble Indian Bowl with red lentil dal, spinach, roasted garnet yams, coconut mint chutney, spicy tomato jam and brown rice or quinoa. Don’t miss Taco Tuesdays and the Transformed Flight, a lineup of three tacos for $12 including the grilled mole tempeh, mushroom carnitas, and buffalo cauliflower.
1980 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.736.5077, cafegratitude.com
For Thai delights, head to Plumeria, which turns classic meat dishes into veggie glory. Their menu features vegetarian satay, soups, noodles, and a range of curries, including their famous pumpkin version with eggplant, red peppers, bamboo shoots, and a choice of vegan duck, chicken, beef, or tofu. They even have soy “fish” for the adventurous veg lover.
4661 Park Blvd., University Heights, 619.269.9989, myplumeria.com
Each of the vegan restaurants in town have an enticing variety of dessert options. Try Trilogy Sanctuary’s raw carrot cake or dessert crepe stuffed with Nutella and topped with salted walnut date caramel sauce, vanilla cashew cream and chopped hazelnuts. Head to Kindred for Lucid Dream, an Amarena cherry cheesecake with ginger candy, smoked pecans, and snickerdoodle crust (pair with the Absinthe Raspberry Digestif). Or stop in to Plumeria for a gluten-free chocolate cake topped with white chocolate and the enticing range of creme brulees, including Thai tea and vegan coconut.