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Vegan Hot Spots in San Francisco

Updated: Sep 24, 2023



In no particular sequence, I shall recount the flavors that intrigued and delighted my senses during my sojourn in San Francisco.



Peña Pachamama, where Clark Gable fell in love with Carole Lombard and Joe Dimaggio and Marilyn Monroe shared their first meal together as a newlyweds. Robin Williams declared this wildly rythmic nightspot "The kind of place even the Amish would dance."


The large organic sampler, featuring an empanada, plant-based albondigas, plantains, salad, roasted potatoes, lentil dip and housemaid plantain chips, with a glass of homemade Sangria.

Peña Pachamama's backstory as a landmark location.
Peña Pachamama's backstory as a landmark location.

Peña Pachamama's menu.

Peña Pachamama's vegan brownie with ice cream.
Vegan Chocolate Fudge Pecan Brownie with Ice Cream.

 

VeganBurg restaurant in San Francisco, California.
The edifice of VeganBurg in Haight-Ashbury, birthplace of counterculture!


VeganBurg aims to redesign comfort food for planet restoration, and predictably serves a range of vegan burgers, seaweed and sweet potato fries, Chikn' nuggets and tenders, Phish fingers, shroom pops, and smoked "franks," along with cookies, brownies, cake slices and vegan soft serve ice cream.






VeganBurg is one of Sir Paul McCartney's favorite fast-food restaurants and an official catering partner of Taylor Swift!







VeganBurg also holds the self-proclaimed title of the world's first entirely plant-based burger joint.











 

Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar is a proud haven of the vegan persuasion. Be sure to make a reservation before heading over, as walk-in seating can be limited. Here, the art of sushi and the wisdom of izakaya unite. Dishes embodying health and flavor are crafted with masterful artistry, all while treading lightly upon the soil from which that sustenance is drawn. At Shizen, the plant-based fare declares itself without pretense or mimicry. The chefs know what they're doing with tapioca, mountain yam, konjac, bean curd and their vegetable brethren, artfully intertwined to birth dishes of intricate delight.



You can feel good about eating here.

Dining with deeper significance.



 

Wildseed is a vegetarian-vegan plant-based restaurant focused on whole foods, seasonal ingredients, health and wellness The menu offers California fusion cuisine with dishes such as grilled avocado toast, fresh salads, carrot lox tartine, fries, a curry bowl, sandwiches, mushroom ceviche, a Beyond Sausage paella, Mexican corn cakes, tofu skewers, flatbread pizzas, burgers and more!


Wildseed believes in eating well and living better: "Because every meal is an opportunity to choose better. Better for you. Better for the planet."



























 

Judahlicious is a wonderfully small, fully vegan cafe serving juices, hemp milk smoothies, açaí bowls, rice dishes, chili, Nekked burritos, raw food tacos and wraps, cooked and raw vegan food, wheatgrass, frozen treats, waffles and pancakes.


Judahlicious makes an environmental commitment with a green business model and blue collar attitude, maintaining a small carbon footprint and environmentally responsible business practices--"Rolling up our sleeves and making the effort has put us pretty darn close to zero waste." The restaurant opts for local organic produce whenever possible, thereby preserving genetic diversity and supporting local family farms.



All of Judahlicious’ take-out containers are eco-friendly and compostable. The cups are made from corn, utensils from potatoes and straws from paper.


 

Oren's Hummus serves authentic and fresh Israeli cuisine. Among some of their finest vegan dishes on their extensive menu include the following:

  • Hummus Jaffa Style - A thicker style of hummus with more garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and parsley

  • Hummus Eggplant - Hummus with chunky eggplant, stewed tomatoes, garlic and tahini

  • Israeli Salad - Chopped cucumber, tomato, red onion and parsley, served with lemon vinaigrette

  • Pita Falafel Sandwich - Hummus, falafel, cucumber, tomato, pickles, tahini with a choice of white, wheat or gluten-free bread

  • Pita Black Sheep Foods Lamb Sandwich - Plant-based lamb, hummus, tomato, cucumber, pickles and a choice of white, wheat or gluten-free bread

  • Rice Bowls with Falafel or Vegetable Skewers - Turmeric spiced Basmati rice simmered with tomatoes, garlic, onions, mint, parsley and tahini

  • Babaganoush Eggplant - Fire-roasted eggplant mashed with tahini, garlic and cilantro

  • Greek Style Eggplant - A purée e of eggplant, tomato, dill, parsley and garlic

  • Romanian Eggplant - Fire-roasted eggplant mashed with red bell peppers, lemon, cilantro and garlic

  • Marinated Beets - Steamed beets in apple cider cilantro vinaigrette

  • Moroccan Carrots - Steamed, sliced carrots with olive oil, garlic and Schug spice

  • Pickles & Olives - Brined pickles and green olives



Many of Oren's ingredients are imported from Israel, and their hummus and pitas are prepared fresh throughout the day. The ingredients used contain no preservatives, and there is an emphasis on recycling everything from oil to paper products.


 

If you want some good Ethiopian or Eritrean food, I recommend the following three:


Different wots (An Ethiopian version of a curry stew) from the aforementioned restaurants on a bed of injera.


Ethiopian injera is like porous sourdough flatbread made from naturally gluten-free teff flour. Teff, an ancient cereal grain, about the size of poppy seed, goes by other names as well--Williams lovegrass or annual bunch grass, and is native to the Horn of Africa. Injera is served with a mix of of curry-stews, known as wats or wots, often made with lentils, split peas, chickpeas, cabbage, potatoes or carrots. Teff has a tangy sour flavor, and is torn into bite-sized pieces and used as a utensil for scooping these wots up and into your mouth. Made with three simple ingredients--flour, water, and salt--it is a fantastic vegan option, with the added bonus of a decent fiber (3%) and protein (11%) content.




Occasionally, you may run across some Ethiopian dishes which contain butter and/or other animal bi-products. Do be sure to inquire about ingredients before placing your order.





Shiro is one of the more popular vegan Ethiopian wots made from ground chickpeas or lentils, mixed with onions, garlic and spices like cumin and turmeric simmered into a thick, creamy stew.


Misir wot is a spicy (Allegedly spicy--for me, anyway) stew of red lentils, garlic, onions and berbere spice. Berbere is the quintessential spice of Ethiopian cuisine, and is comprised of a blend of chili peppers, ginger, fenugreek, coriander, cardamom, allspice, cumin, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and indigenous spices such as korarima, ajwain and long pepper.


Kik Alicha is a mild stew of split peas, onions, garlic and ginger.


Gomen is made from collard greens cooked with onions, garlic and ginger.


Atakilt Wat is made from potatoes, carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic and turmeric.


Tikil Gomen is a milder side dish, made from cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic and turmeric.


Fasolia -- one of my favorites-- is made from cooked green beans, onions, garlic and tomatoes.


Some other spices and condiments you may encounter in Ethiopian cooking, aside from berbere are the following:


  • Mitmita - An orangish-red spice, containing ground African bird's eye chili peppers, Ethiopian cardamom (korerima), cloves, salt and sometimes cinnamon, cumin or ginger.


  • Awaze is a dipping sauce or marinade made from a whisked mixture of garlic and berbere spice with tej (honey wine or mead), wine, beer, a potent anise-flavored spirit arak, a mixture of water and honey or simple vinegar.


  • Shiro powder is made of ground chickpeas or lentils and is used as a thickener for stews and sauces.


 

Wholesome Bakery in San Francisco, California.
The view of Wholesome Bakery from across the street.

Wholesome Bakery is plant-based vegan bakery specializing in gluten-free, soy-free and ethically-sourced victuals.


No additives, processed fillers or refined sugar with Bone Char here! This company is incredibly thoughtful and environmentally conscious every step of the way!


Some popular menu items include handmade galettes with seasonal fruit and vegetables, brioche cinnamon rolls, cakes, cupcakes, gluten-free bread loaves, cookies, brownies, bagels, raw lemon blueberry bites, a 7-layer bar, pesto "mozzarella" rolls, pizza rolls and breakfast burritos.




 

Curbside Creamery is a delightful vegan-friendly ice cream spot offering a range of inventive flavors and toppings. Their vegan ice creams are house-made and come in a variety of flavors, including strawberry soft serve, oatmeal cookie, rocky road, cookie dough, mint chip, cinnamon, cherry almond, young coconut and honeydew sorbet! Curbside also offers vegan pies and vegan ice cream sandwiches!


Their selection of toppings and cones are also vegan, including the sprinkles, raspberry sauce, chocolate sauce, coconut-caramel sauce, regular and chocolate waffle cones!



 

Patxti's Pizza is a pizzeria with multiple locations serving Chicago style deep dish as well as thin crust pizzas. There is a vegan pizza with Daiya cheese listed on the menu or you can elect to create your own, with an array of vegetable toppings.



Broccoli, Roasted Garlic, Calabrian Chili Peppers, Basil, Grape or Roasted Red Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Roasted or plain mushrooms, Artichoke, Cilantro, Green Peppers, Kalamata or Black Olives, Arugula, Pineapple, Spinach, Roasted Red Peppers, Garlic and Red or White Onions



If you're looking for a wider array of vegan pizza options, it may be worth your while to check out Bizza, a pizzeria with a Mediterranean influence located in Haight-Ashbury.



 

Sharing Ghirardelli's vegan hot fudge sundae in San Francisco, California.
Sharing this expensive sundae with a floating hand.

Ghirardelli. Would you believe this world famous ice cream and chocolate shop now caters to vegans?!? They have a hot fudge sundae with vanilla coconut ice cream, hot fudge, an almond milk whipped topping and 72% dark chocolate squares. If you're itching to spend $17 on a non-dairy vegan hot fudge sundae, look no further!


Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco, California.
The famous Ghirardelli sign in San Francisco.

 

Boudin Bakery has been perfecting the art of baking bread since the Gold Rush. While this place doesn't have much in the way of food to offer vegans, the sourdough bread baguettes, loaves and bowls are always exceptional!


Sourdough bread loaves at Boudin Bakery around Christmastime in San Francisco.
Sourdough bread loaves at Boudin Bakery.

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