Let me start by saying that San Diego is absolutely a vegan friendly city, I couldn’t believe they had so many options!
As I was in the city for work and staying downtown, most of the restaurants I tried were within the general downtown vicinity. And one should note, I ate at a variety of restaurants, including meat centric spots, as my partner is an omnivore. So I’ve shared my thoughts on those too!
Here I’ve put together a list of both very vegan spots, and other locales that I found graciously catered to veggie needs.
This has to be named a top destination for vegans, however, even my omnivorous boyfriend had to agree that some of the food here was pretty tasty.
Top eats would have to be the Nachos, they are flavor packed and just as crave worthy as traditional nachos. I’m also a big fan of the Buffalo Cauliflower (truly one of the greatest vegan creations). I’ve had the Blackened Tempeh Caesar Wrap, which was great so long as you’re a tempeh fan (obviously). We also tried the SF Mission Burrito, which wasn’t my favorite, but I think you either love chewy mushrooms, or you hate them, and I AM NOT a fan. Most importantly though, if you’re here, do treat yourself and order the Heavenly Milkshake (It IS just that).
This is a great spot for fast casual food (or takeout salads & bowls) for vegans, vegetarians & meat eaters alike. It’s easy, fast and delicious, which was perfect because I was hangry AF when we got here after not having eaten ALL day.
I had the Falafel Plate with seasonal veggies & salad, and it absolutely did not disappoint, in flavor or its ability to save my relationship from a mid-day meltdown (I know, you know).
Harvest By The Patio
Great for health-conscious eaters, plant based vegans included, with a few hearty comfort food options as well. This spot also has a takeout counter, so it would be perfect to grab something on the go.
We ordered the Trio of Hummus & I had the Harvest Salad with Tofu, but they have a wide variety of salads and bowls.
While I didn’t have the appetite for more, they did have a couple other vegan eats worth mentioning, their Coconut Lime Ceviche sounded pretty interesting and their Crispy Tofu lettuce wraps could well be worth a try.
If you’re going to indulge, this is the place to do it. They have both regular AND vegan donuts. I tried the vegan apple fritter and the Strawberry Split, but they also have a peanut butter chocolate and classic sugar donut in vegan varieties. It needs to be said, their vegan apple fritter is the best d*mn donut I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. But the Strawberry split really went over the top… And I wasn’t let down by this one either.
And yes, you read that correct, I DID eat two donuts in one day. When in Rome people! Note, I do not recommend eating two of Donut Bars MASSIVE donuts in one day… I DID feel a little ill thereafter, but STILL no regrets.
Okay people, this old school pasta house has a completely separate, full vegan menu! With its rave reviews from meat eaters and vegans alike, I was super excited to eat here with my boyfriend. But I have say, I have mixed feelings about this place.
We ordered the vegan bruschetta appetizer, and honestly it was BLAND, and off this alone, I would have been deeply disappointed.
However, I ordered the vegan mushroom truffle ravioli and the fresh made pasta was unreal, this might actually be the best pasta, vegan or otherwise, I’ve ever eaten… And I’m not even a big mushroom fan.
But my boyfriend’s dish was a little on the dry side, and he claimed to have had far better pastas, so it’s hard to say whether he chose the wrong dish or if this place is just hit or miss depending on your order.
Something for the Vegans
Not a dream spot for vegans, but like most Mexican restaurants, they had some options. I ate Chips & Guacamole and the Mushroom Taco without cheese. The Black Beans and Side Veg are also vegan friendly, so I left this place feeling optimistic, as you could easily make a meal here.
This place is not ideally suited to a vegan. The only items on their day to day menu that fit the bill were the baby broccoli and brussels sprouts. However, I’m giving them some brownies points as they certainly knew what a vegan was and did their best to accommodate, creating a vegan style feature, a cauliflower steak with a tahini like crème sauce and roasted chickpeas. Between that and the baby broccoli I was sufficiently satisfied. Bonus, the atmosphere of the restaurant is also pretty cool. It’s located in San Diego’s bustling Gaslamp Quarter, and based on the restaurants full house, it’s safe to assume this is a popular spot.
The perfect spot for grab & go protein smoothies & fresh pressed juices. They also have a few vegan options for bowls and wraps, but I’m saying, as far as food goes, this isn’t anything special to a vegan. I stopped in after a workout and made my own smoothie with pea protein, and while the food pickings may be slim, they DO have a variety of vegan proteins to choose from when it comes to their shakes.
So there you have it! I highly enjoyed eating my way through San Diego, and I hope this list is helpful for finding vegan friendly spots when you too, are in the sunny city 🙂
For recommendations on what to see & do see my post “Explore – San Diego See & Do”
For fitness recommendations see my post “Get Sweaty – San Diego Workouts”