9 Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco You Need to Visit

 

San Francisco is a popular destination for many types of cuisine, and vegan food is no exception. You won’t find boring standbys like black bean burgers, salads, or plain old pasta at these all-vegan restaurants in San Francisco. Get ready for some creativity because the vegan food scene in the city by the bay has stepped up its game.

From raw food to vegan sushi spots, to burger joints, farm-to-table Mexican and more, there are plenty of delicious spots to visit. Here are nine vegan restaurants in San Francisco that should be on your list, along with what we recommend to order at each spot. Come hungry!

Note: These are 100% vegan establishments except for the last one. If a menu item says “cheese” or “chicken” you can safely assume it’s the vegan version.

VeganBurg

What you should order: We’re fans of the cracked mayo, but bestseller Haight ‘n’ Salsa has a fresh kick. Definitely make it a meal with some unique seaweed fries, and treat yourself to a soft serve cone.

The original VeganBurg opened in Singapore in 2010, and their San Francisco Haight Street location has been serving up delicious plant-based burgers since 2016. Their funky fast-casual restaurant vibe fits the Haight, and it’s a great spot to stop by on your way to or from visiting Golden Gate Park. Can’t make it to the Haight? Order it on GrubHub for delivery. If the many celebrity endorsements (from Steve Aoki to Sir Paul McCartney) don’t give you enough of a reason to go, take our word for it! Their menu includes eight different burger styles that you can customize with vegan cheese, bacon or eggs, and classic avocado or pineapple. VeganBurg is one vegan restaurant in San Francisco you don’t want to miss. Address: 1466 Haight St San Francisco, CA, 94117, Phone (415) 548-8000.

 

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Photo Courtesy of VeganBurg

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Cha-Ya Vegetarian

What you should order: Cha-Ya roll, Soba Salad, Gyoza, Cha Ya Delight, choose from many Sake options to drink. 

Another longtime staple on the San Francisco vegan restaurant scene, with a sister location across the Bay in Berkeley, Cha-Ya’s Japanese cuisine is consistent and delightful. Many of their dishes are made in respect to the Buddhist tradition, leaving out onions, garlic, scallions, chives, and leeks, the five pungent spices that are forbidden in some Buddhist sects. As they say on their menu, “Consuming these items is said to lead to anger and passion. It is even believed by some that these odors repel gods and instead, attract hungry spirits and demons!” Many items they offer are more moderately spiced, but none are lacking in flavor and not all follow the Buddhist tradition. The fan favorite Cha-Ya roll is tempura fried and served with a special sauce drizzle. Be sure to bring cash when you visit this cozy spot (they’re cash only), and order a few things on the menu. Address: 762 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110, (415) 252-7825.

 

Golden Era Vegan Restaurant

What you should order: Spring rolls, Spicy noodle soup, Claypot, Chinese Sweet & Sour, Flan

Located near Civic Center and its many concert and event venues, this mostly Vietnamese vegan restaurant in San Francisco offers a wide range of menu choices and has been serving the people of the Bay since 1999 (they’ve moved locations at least once). Choose from our favorite dishes like the spicy noodle soup or Chinese sweet and sour. For dessert, try their flan! Seriously, try it. If you’re lucky enough to work near Golden Era they also offer an attractively priced lunch special on certain items served buffet-style. The restaurant itself is spacious with booth and table seating that can accommodate large groups. Their food is so good it likely won’t be an issue, but do note that they do not serve alcohol. Address: 395 Golden Gate Ave San Francisco, CA 94102, Phone: (415) 487-8687.

 

 

 

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Photo Courtesy of Golden Era

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar and Izakaya

What you should order: Choose your own ramen and any of the specialty sushi rolls. You can’t go wrong. They also offer a small list of great cocktails, try the kin-san-gria with sake, muddled lychee, Riesling, and strawberries.  

In 2015 Shizen joined the ranks of vegan restaurants in San Francisco scene and they’ve been selling out tables nightly since then. Seriously, it’s exceptionally busy. They only have a partial waitlist you can access online, and you must have your full party present before even thinking about being seated. Their location on 14th is just off the main drag in the Mission, and they’ve really transformed their small space into something fantastic. When it comes to their food, you can’t go wrong with any version of their ramen (Shio, Shoyu, or Spicy garlic miso) but they’re also really well known for their specialty sushi rolls. Choose from whimsically named creations like the Colonel’s Pipe or Open Invitation. Looking for a dish with some flair? Order the Candlestick – it comes with a side of fire. Yes, we mean that literally. Address: 370 14th Street San Francisco, CA 94103, Phone: (415) 678-5767.

Judahlicious

What you should order: Go classic with one of the best Açaí bowls in the city, or try their delicately spiced Nekked Burrito.

Ocean Beach mainstay Judahlicious opened their doors in 2004 with a focus on sustainability (including sourcing organic) and great vegan food. They’re one of the few vegan restaurants in San Francisco that offer delicious raw options too. The space is small with a bit of outdoor seating, so plan to wait a bit or take your food to the beach. Their website offers a helpful glossary of terms for some of the ingredients included in their delicious smoothies, like chlorella. We like their Nekked Burrito, a gluten-free delight that includes black beans, rice, grilled veggies, and sliced avocado. It’s covered in a flavorfest of sauces: sesame tomato, cashew crème, and tomatillo. On the side is a mixed green salad topped with fresh vegetables, house goji dressing, sprouts, and vegan walnut parmesan. Address: 3906 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, Phone: (415) 665-8423. 

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Photo Courtesy of Katie Corrigan

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Vegan Picnic

What you should order: The crispy chicken is a classic, and we like the old school deli vibe of the salmi sub. If you’re there for breakfast (which we also recommend) go sweet with a donut (yeah, we said it) or the maple banana waffles, and if savory is your thing, go for the ham and cheese croissant.

When Vegan Picnic owner Jill Ritchie first went vegan, she was underwhelmed with the quality of food she was finding for her family. Vegan Picnic is her answer to that problem, a San Francisco vegan restaurant filled with dishes based on childhood classics. Jill’s favorite is the vegan fish fillet, and we’re fans of the crispy chicken. They have many gluten free options as well and offer breakfast every day of the week. Their food is indulgent and nostalgic, often just what we’re looking for in vegan food. The location is small, just a few stools at the window, so get it to go and have a picnic! As a bonus, Vegan Picnic also doubles as a small grocery store. Get some goods from companies like Hippeas, Arare Rice crackers, Banza, Miyokos, Unreal, and more.  Address: 1977A Union Street San Francisco, CA 94123, Phone: (415) 323-3043.

Next Level Burger

What you should order: If you’re feeling like going all out, get the Animal. For a more regular meal, try the All American Burger, Special fries, and the strawberry shake.

The rapidly expanding Next Level Burger started in Oregon and has quickly become an essential addition to any list on the best vegan restaurants in San Francisco. Find them inside the Potrero Hill Whole Foods. There’s no reason to shop hungry when you can stop and get an amazing meal first. Their burgers range from the tame – the Signature or the SoCal, to the insane – The Animal features a double sausage style batty on a bun with tempeh bacon, a layer of crinkle cut fries, onion, choice of vegan cheese, special sauce, and barbecue sauce. Wowza. While their burgers, hot dogs and fries can be indulgent, they also offer some flavorful salads and sandwiches on the lighter side. But back to the indulgent. Get. The. Milkshakes. They have over 16 different flavors with two bases – soy or coconut. Address: 450 Rhode Island St. San Francisco, CA 94107 (inside Whole Foods), Phone: (415) 829-8485

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Photo Courtesy of Next Level Burger

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco

Gracias Madre

What you should order: Pozole, Cesar salad, Coliflor Frito, Quesadilla, Cobbler.

You can find this farm-to-table Mexican restaurant in the Mission, not too far from Cha-Ya and Shizen. Owners Terces and Matthew Engelhart also own nearby Be Love Farm where they grow a majority of the produce for the restaurant. They started Gracias Madre to fill a gap in organic, plant-based, non-GMO Mexican food, in the Bay Area. The response has been a consistently full restaurant since they opened. Reservations at this vegan restaurant in San Francisco are recommended, and seating is communal, meaning if your party is less than four people, you’re probably going to be sitting at a table with some strangers. Don’t be shy! Ask them what they’re ordering and try something new. We like the pozole, a traditional hominy stew in a spicy red ancho broth, topped with avocado, cabbage, and cashew crema. Our only critique is that it would come in a bigger bowl. For dessert order whatever seasonal cobbler they have and savor their housemade cinnamon coconut ice cream. Address: 2211 Mission St. San Francisco, CA, Phone: (415) 683-1346.

Cybelle’s Front Room

What you should order: Gnocchi, Caesar salad, one of the many vegan pizzas.

While not 100% vegan, Cybelle’s Front Room deserves a special mention on our list of the best vegan restaurants in San Francisco. They first opened as a classic New York-style pizza spot in 2004. In August of 2017, they started offering a few vegan options on the menu. The response was immediate, the restaurant became more popular than ever before.

However, the owner initially wasn’t convinced that going all-in on a vegan menu would be worth it. SF Gate reports that Christa Yan, Cybelle’s vegan chef, had to convince her father, who owns the restaurant, that it would be a draw rather than a deterrent. “He has been very surprised. He had no idea. He didn’t really know what veganism was, to be honest,” says Yan. “It has boosted our business 25 percent and more. We saw the boost in the first 3 months. We have spent zero money on advertising.”

They now offer an extensive vegan menu, make all of their vegan cheeses in house, and provide one of the most intense versions of the infamous impossible burger yet. Get it served on a vegan pretzel bun, with vegan mayo, house-made vegan cheese spreads, vegan fried egg, vegan bacon strips and more. They also have dedicated fryers for vegan and non-vegan items. Cybelle’s is definitely worth a visit. Address: 1385 – 9th Ave. San Francisco, CA 94122, Phone: (415) 665-8088.

Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco
(Honorary vegan restaurant in San Francisco)

Shout Out to Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco That Have Closed

A thank you to the time, love, and energy from our friends at Seed + Salt, Source, and Citizen Fox, three San Francisco vegan restaurants we’re sad to be without. From the amazing raw gluten-free salads at Seed and Salt, the endless options at Source, and the creative brunches at Citizen Fox, we miss you. To those that are brave enough to open their doors, we thank you! Enjoy a meal at any of the locations above and let us know what you think.

Love Stretchy Pants?

If you’re looking for even more must-have vegan food in SF, then check out our Food Walks. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon and an experience you won’t want to miss!

-Alexis Croswell 

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