In San Francisco you could eat at a different vegan restaurant every night for weeks before exhausting them all.
Greens is not only our favourite vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco, it’s our favourite vegetarian restaurant anywhere in the world. Another special occasion place is gourmet vegan restaurant Millennium, by far the best vegan restaurant we’ve ever been to. The wilted spinach and frisee salad with smoked tofu, roasted new potatoes, spring onions, olives, almonds, and sangiovese vinaigrette was amazing—substantial and very flavourful. What did tempt us back to Mexican was Gracias Madre, an entirely vegan, organic Mexican restaurant that gave us the opportunity to try dishes we couldn’t find meat-free south of the border.
Gracias Madre is pricey for a Mexican restaurant (starters $7-9, mains $13-16) but the portions are huge. There are also plenty of cheap Indian restaurants in the Tenderloin which all have vegetarian options (we liked Lahore Karahi and heard good things about Chutney).
Thai Idea is a small vegetarian Thai restaurant that is surprisingly stylish considering its location in the sketchy Tenderloin neighbourhood.
At around $10 a dish it’s not the cheapest cafe type place but the quality is high and it’s cheaper than eating in a restaurant. There are lots of Ethiopian restaurants in the Bay Area and they are all vegetarian friendly.
Like most Ethiopian restaurants this informal modern cafe offers a veggie sampler—at $15 it was more than enough for the two of us. We tried three veggie burgers in San Francisco including Plant and Umami Burger, and we enjoyed them all but Roam was our favourite.
Saigon Sandwiches is a tiny hole in the wall takeaway joint in the Tenderloin with a small menu of banh mi, Vietnamese sandwiches, including a tofu option.
Betelnut – This Asian fusion restaurant in the Marina is based on Asian side street beer houses, or pejiu wu that serve fresh “street food”.


Split Pea Seduction – This popular takeaway lunch place downtown has a daily changing menu which always features at least one vegetarian soup, salad, sandwich and crostata (pastry). The rest of the Bay Area is just as vegetarian friendly as San Francisco and we found some good options just a short BART ride away. Encuentro, Oakland – A vegetarian wine bar that offers a creative selection of small plates from local, organic ingredients. Cheeseboard Pizza Collective, Berkeley – A popular, casual pizza place that offers one pizza that’s always vegetarian and changes each day. As you can see there are a huge amount of vegetarian and vegan tasty eats in San Francisco and the Bay Area.
We’ve created a map marking all the vegetarian restaurants in San Francisco that we have mentioned in this post.
Bonus Tip: We used Yelp a lot in San Francisco where it seems that every restaurant and cafe is extensively reviewed by users. I’ve said that previously about Chiang Mai in Thailand which certainly is an excellent budget option, but on our third visit to San Francisco in July we were reminded what a gourmet heaven it is. You can find vegetarian restaurants that specialise in Thai, Mexican, and Japanese, as well as some of the best gourmet vegetarian restaurants in the world.
The salads in San Francisco are the best we’ve had in the world, and Greens is no exception—on our latest visit we started with a wilted spinach salad with creamy goats cheese, beets and walnuts, along with moist yellow finn potato griddle cakes. You don’t find this level of quality in many vegetarian restaurants around the world so we always take advantage when we can. Their menu is not entirely vegetarian but there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, and everything is organic and uses fresh, local produce. We heard the best were in Oakland but we ran out of time and went to Moya in SOMA instead, and were really happy with our first Ethiopian restaurant experience.
They only have one vegetarian burger but the Earth burger made from mushrooms and edamame and topped with truffled ricotta, cipollini onions and slow roasted tomatoes was really good.


It’s a pleasure to spend time in a city where vegetarian food is both easily found and taken to the next level, and where local, organic, sustainable and artisanal are words used to describe almost everything we ate.
Click on the blue markers for more information about the vegetarian restaurants and the red ones for the veggie-friendly places. The app is particularly handy as you can just type “vegetarian restaurant” or “sandwich” and it’ll tell you the nearest places to you with comprehensive reviews and menus.
If you widen the net to vegetarian-friendly restaurants it’d take you years to sample all the excellent meat-free food that the city has to offer.
I wish they offered set meals like they did at vegetarian restaurants in Japan for a fully balanced shojin ryori meal.
Their choice of unusual toppings sets them apart and there are plenty of vegetarian combos or you can create your own. We had a grilled aubergine and goats cheese sandwich with salsa verde, mint, and capers, and a squash bread pudding panzanella salad. If you are a vegetarian we’d definitely recommend you visit, but take a fat wallet as although you can find cheap eats some of the best places are worth the splurge. Not 100% vegetarian but the chef there Sean Baker is obsessed with veggies and veritable cookery.
We gave it our best shot but we still have many more restaurants we want to try (we’re happy for the excuse to return). Their Plant burger is vegetarian and very good, made from lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews and bulgur wheat (although we prefer the one at Roam below), and they have main dishes like their good spicy red thai curry. Add to that a sizeable vegetarian community and world class chefs who cook creatively without meat, and it really is a vegetarian paradise.



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