The Best Vegetarian Food in San Francisco, Part I

  • Published on July 18th, 2013

Today Vibrant Wellness Journal features a guest post from Danielle. Our friend D is a long-time San Francisco girl and is lucky enough to work at one of the leading places for vegetarian cuisine in SF, Greens. Danielle has compiled an extensive list of best vegetarian food in San Francisco to share with our readers– so many listings, in fact, that we had to create TWO posts! Let us know if any of your favorite places are missing!

In a city of around 4,000 restaurants (no, really) — more restaurants per capita than anywhere in the US — deciding your next dining destination can be overwhelming, to say the least. If you happen to be of the vegan persuasion, that narrows your search– but only slightly. Word on the street is that Los Angeles is becoming a hotspot for vegan cuisine, but let’s not forget: the place where it all started, the granddaddy of forward-thinking, animal-free food is really San Francisco. The vegan cuisine found in this amazing city can hold it’s own against the up-and-coming whippersnappers anywhere else! The key is knowing where to go in San Francisco, as with any city with such a diversity of worthy restaurants.

Many SF restaurants boast completely vegan menus, though as the veg-oriented population grows, and movements like “Meatless Mondays” gain international momentum, innovative omnivorous restaurants are getting the hint and becoming increasingly creative with vegan options. Gone are the days when your only vegan choices were a side of steamed veggies (hold the butter), a green salad (no dressing, please), and a dry baked potato (bo-ring!). The list below is just barely the tip of the iceberg of vegan options in SF, especially since new choices are popping up every week. So let this list serve as a starting point! Today we’ll start in the famed Mission district, which is just teeming with amazing eats. Tomorrow we’ll share some hidden gems from across the rest of the city.

In the heart of the Mission, the Rosamunde Sausage Grill (yes, your friends will raise an eyebrow when you, the vegan, suggest a sausage grill) offers delectable vegan sausages. When paired with a mixed green salad, baked beans, and a craft microbrew, not only will you be utterly satisfied, but your hipster points will be through the roof. The long, communal, picnic-like tables are a great way to make new friends, and this place is almost always packed.

Gracias Madre offers Mexican cuisine with an all-vegan, organic, local, seasonal, hippie twist. The food is mind-blowing and the place has a very conscious business model along with beautiful ambiance and warm spaces to enjoy their inspired meals.

GraciasMadre

Curry Up Now started as a food truck, but now has folks coming in droves to their new brick-and-mortar Mission location; Indian street food of a vegan’s dream (try the “Hella Vegan” burrito – curry and samosas in a BURRITO??).

If you are craving something fried and delicious, but need a little more than french fries from the nearest fast food joint, check out Weird Fish. This great little place features vegan “fish” and chips, plus a killer brunch menu on weekends that includes vegan pancakes (oh hells yes!). It’s a great spot to bring your omnivorous friends since they have options for both. Be warned, though, this place is teeny tiny. You may end up waiting for a table, but the food is totally worth it.

Most folks haven’t dabbled in Senagalese food, but Bissap Baobab, a hidden Mission gem, will change all that. The place is often packed, especially on weekends, but is totally worth the wait. Dishes bursting with flavor, tasty beverage options, AND they have fried plantains. Be sure to get the Niebe Thies and relax with their current selection of African beer before you shake it on the dance floor. After 10pm, the tables are cleared out and the place becomes a groovy dance hall with eclectic sounds like West African beats, Congolese, reggae, and Latin music.

pieimagesAnother magical spot in this same illustrious neighborhood is Mission Pie. They offer a daily vegan pie and savory pie option (the curry pot pie is to pie for!). They call themselves a “neighborhood gathering place,” and it sure feels like it inside – simple, country home décor, community activity notices, and a map of California that shows where they procure their ingredients. A place with true San Francisco values, the menu is seasonal, they contribute to the community, support local farms, and all that jazz.

Bay Bridge image from SF Weekly; Mission Pie image from www.sfgreenbusiness.org;Gracias Madre logo image from Tangerine Living


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