The Bay Area in California is home to some of the most diverse neighborhoods and people you’ll find in California. From the uber technical area of Silicon Valley to the laid back hippy vibes in Berkeley, all the way up to wine country in Sonoma and Napa to the city streets of San Francisco, you’re bound to find something amazing to eat. If you’re heading out that way, or you live there and are looking for a new place to eat, check out our Vegan Guide to the Bay Area, California.
Butcher’s Son- Berkeley, CA
The Butcher’s Son, located in Berkeley, is an all-vegan butcher shop and a must-visit when you’re in the Bay Area. Their goal is to provide comfort food that provides a level of nostalgia without any of the animal products. After scouring the country for the Best Vegan Reuben in the US, the one here definitely made the shortlist! Rye bread piled high with homemade seitan and topped off with globs of sauerkraut is not to be missed. If you’re looking for a spicy morsel, check out their buffalo bacon ranch sandwich which is equal parts spicy and creamy ranch. The bacon gets a little underwhelming because of the other flavors jockeying to be the front runner, but it isn’t a waste of space. If you’re wanting a throwback to your college days, grab an order of the mozzarella sticks and dunk them in the traditional marinara sauce that accompanies them. The melted cheese inside is to die for.
Nicks on Grand- South San Francisco, CA
Filipino food isn’t traditionally known for its vegan friendliness, but Nick’s on Grand changes all of that. Start your meal with the appetizer sampler platter and indulge in “fishy” crab cakes with tartar sauce, and two different kinds of lumpia, which are fried spring rolls. Check out the Sizzling Sisig, which is normally comprised of ingredients that will make any vegan’s stomach churn, but this version is jam-packed with tofu, mushrooms, bell peppers, and is marinated and spiced to perfection. The Calederta is another can’t miss dish, which is a Filipino style pot roast, slowly stewed tomatoes with “beef” and potatoes. Given that their menu is 100% vegan, you have to give them a shot!
Enjoy Vegetarian- San Francisco, CA
Enjoy Vegetarian is located right in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown and is a restaurant worth visiting. Boasting classics such as beef and broccoli or sweet and sour chick’n, it also has some dishes that are far less common. Here you can order the vegan cuttlefish which comes out with an interesting juxtaposition of incredible flavor but odd texture. If you’re courageous, check it out because it could be your next new favorite. They also serve a vegan shark fin soup! Everything is vegan, so go wild with your order.
Vegan Picnic- San Francisco, CA
If you’re looking for something that’s a little more grab-and-go, you can’t go wrong with Vegan Picnic. Serving up both hot and cold options and being 100% vegan, you have quite a few morsels to choose from. Pictured above are the ham & cheese croissant and sausage breakfast sandwich, both off of their breakfast menu, which is the perfect way to start a day exploring the city. They also offer picnic baskets for you to pick up a delicious lunch with sandwiches, salads, or burgers to enjoy in the park on a beautiful day.
Amy’s Drive-Thru- Rohnert Park, CA
Picture this, it’s late at night and you really want a burger, but you also kind of want mac and cheese, and you would give anything for a milkshake, but you don’t want to get out of your car. Head on over to Amy’s Drive-Thru! It is exactly what you would expect from a fast-food restaurant, but you don’t have to worry about feeling guilty because Amy’s has you covered with a plethora of different vegan options. It’s the perfect way to end your day after wine tasting in Sonoma Valley.
Delhi Belly- Sonoma, CA
When you hear the words “Delhi Belly,” it’s generally associated with something you DO NOT want to get. But rest assured, this time you do want it. Delhi Belly in downtown Sonoma has a good array of different vegan options and one of the best flavor combinations of all time, the panch dal mixed with coconut rice. The sweet and savory combo is enough to keep you going back for more. You can’t go wrong with some of the other traditional options such as Aloo Gobi or Channa Masala. Start your meal with the samosas for a wide array of traditional flavors that are sure to satisfy your Indian food cravings.
Vegan Mob- Oakland, CA
What started out as a pop-up, Vegan Mob now has a brick and mortar in Oakland. Started by rapper Toriano Gorden as a way to entertain people without having to have meat, their menu is chock-full of BBQ classics that you would expect such as brisket, ribs, slaw, and mac and cheese. They also have some unique items such as the Shrimp Po’Boy and Barbequito, which is a burrito stuffed full of brisket, slaw, mac and cheese, and BBQ baked beans and smothered in sauce. There is usually a line outside, so you know it’s good!
Enssaro- Oakland, CA
If you’ve never tried Ethiopian food, you’re seriously missing out on some of the best flavors this planet has to offer. Enssaro has a fantastic vegan sampler platter where you can get multiple vegan dishes, including staples like Gomen, Kik Alicha, and Ata-kilt. If you’re super hungry, get a side of Shiro, which is a tomato, onion, garlic, flavored dish that is always the first one to be gobbled up. Careful, the Messer Wot (red lentil dish) can be quite spicy. The sample platter is huge enough to feed two hungry people, so bring your appetite.
Ike’s Sandwiches- Multiple Locations
Three words… vegan… meatball… sandwich. Even if you don’t look at anything else on the menu at Ike’s Sandwiches (and you should), you absolutely have to try their meatball sandwich. It is the perfect combination of the lightly spicy meatball flavor slathered in marinara sauce and topped with cheese and fixin’s. The whole sandwich is a pretty sizeable meal, so you might even have leftovers to bring home or you can split it with someone! They have locations all over the West Coast, so keep an eye out for them wherever you’re traveling.
Bucks of Woodside- Woodside, CA
There’s nothing extremely exciting about Bucks of Woodside as far as the actual food goes as they are limited to the Impossible and Beyond burgers, but the level of history that is wrapped into this establishment makes it worth the visit. Being an integral part of Silicon Valley, they have been the venue where tech demos and signings such as PayPal and Hotmail have taken place. If you go during the week, you’re likely to find any number of entrepreneurs of the next-gen startups hustling their products for investor money.
Crepes Bistro- Santa Clara, CA
Whether you’re looking for something on the savory side, something a bit sweet, or you want a nice hearty bowl, Crepes Bistro, located in Santa Clara, CA is a vegetarian restaurant with a few different vegan options to check out. The French Affection, shown above, is normally pictured with whipped cream on the plate and when you read the description, it says it comes with vegan coconut-based cream, but that’s actually on the inside of the crepe. Or you can opt for a more savory option, filled with vegan cheese, tomatoes, and spinach. Overall, the food here is delicious and worth stopping by. It can be difficult to find a table at peak times due to its proximity to Silicon Valley.
Did we miss something? Where is your favorite vegan restaurant in the Bay Area? Let us know down in the comments below.