The Best Vegan and Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in San Diego
May 10, 2019
Not only is San Diego America’s Finest City, it’s also one of the country’s fittest cities, according to the annual ACSM American Fitness Index Ranking. With this reputation for healthy living, it’s not surprising there are many vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in San Diego—and many great ones at that.
Here are 16 spots with some of the best vegan food in San Diego.
1. Donna Jean
Opened in 2017, Donna Jean serves creative vegan comfort foods. Dishes include handmade pastas, entrees such as mac and cheese and risotto, and award-winning pizzas; they’re also open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday. The restaurant was opened by chef Roy Elam in honor of his mother, Donna Jean, who passed away from breast cancer. Elam believes her death could have been prevented if she had had “the knowledge and resources to seek out a plant based diet earlier in life.”
Carnivore? You’ll happily go vegan for a day at cocktail bar/restaurant KINDRED. This South Park eatery serves both awesome vegan cuisine and creative drinks—all in a beautiful, funky space. KINDRED offers dinner and drinks daily and brunch on weekends.
3. Ike’s Sandwiches
What began as a little sandwich shop in San Francisco’s Castro district has become an award-winning chain with over 50 locations in California, Arizona, and Nevada. The two San Diego Ike’s locations are situated in Hillcrest and Point Loma and offer dozens of mouthwatering sandwiches, including several vegetarian sandwiches that can also be made vegan.
Located in Rolando, Alforon serves some of San Diego’s best Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine. Diners can choose from tons of vegetarian and vegan dishes, which are clearly marked on the menu. Vegan options include vegan kibbie, dolma, falafel, zaatar bread, and more.
5. Peace Pies
Peace Pies serves a range of raw, vegan, and gluten- and soy-free foods, including pies, pizzas, wraps, salads, and desserts. Committed to a zero-waste policy, they also compost their food scraps and use environmentally-friendly packaging. Peace Pies has locations in Ocean Beach and Encinitas.
Ocean Beach’s Sundara offers delicious Indian fare with several vegan options. All Sundara’s curries are gluten free and can be made vegan upon request, and some other dishes can be made vegan as well.
7. Sipz Vegetarian Fusion Café
Sipz serves Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine. All of their dishes are vegetarian and most of their appetizers and entrees are vegan (along with all of their desserts). There are currently three locations—Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, and North Park, with a location in La Jolla opening soon.
8. Evolution Fast Food
Vegan fast food? Yes, please. Evolution, located in Bankers Hill, serves vegan burgers, sandwiches and wraps, small bites, cakes, and more. And when they say fast, they mean fast—they even have a drive thru. Grab a sandwich and enjoy it at Balboa Park, which is just across the street!
9. Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant
Plumeria offers delicious vegetarian and vegan Thai food (with an optional egg in some dishes). As an added bonus, they don’t use MSG and they only use organic, non-GMO, and gluten-free tofu that is made locally. Plumeria is located on Park Blvd. in the heart of University Heights.
10. Loving Hut
With over 200 locations in over 35 countries, Loving Hut is the largest and fastest-growing vegan chain in the world. Each Loving Hut has a different menu; the Loving Hut on El Cajon Blvd. has yummy options like pho, fried rice, chow mein, burgers, and vegan cheese bread.
11. Plant Power Fast Food
Plant Power offers awesome vegan food without GMOs or artificial ingredients. Their menu includes burgers, sandwiches, breakfast, salads, small bites, and shakes, along with a kids’ menu. Plant Power has three locations in San Diego, and their Ocean Beach restaurant has a drive thru—for those of you who need your vegan fix fast.
12. EVE (Encinitas)
EVE serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and, as they say, “happy vibes.” Diners can choose from various plant-based options, including buddha bowls, flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. But this Encinitas restaurant aims to fill more than just your belly; they are also a community gathering space that has live music, clothing swaps, yoga, and more.
North Park favorite Tiger!Tiger! offers indie beer and numerous veggie and vegan options such as sandwiches, hashbrowns, and doughnuts. Stick around for one of their many events, which include game and comedy nights, poetry readings, and live music.
14. Native Foods
With a 100% plant-based menu, vegan chain Native Foods offers dozens of delicious options for vegan and vegan-curious diners. Choose from burgers, sandwiches, bowls, salads, and small bites; there is also a kids’ menu for the mini vegans in your family. Native Foods’ San Diego shops are located in Clairemont Mesa, Point Loma, and Encinitas.
15. Modern Times
Looking to enjoy a craft beer or two with your vegan meal? Modern Times' newly opened Far West Lounge has got you covered. Located on Highway 101 in the heart of downtown Encinitas, this retro-styled coastal den offers a mouthwatering and diverse selection of plant based grub alongside its staggering list of craft beers.
16. Café Gratitude
Last but certainly not least is Café Gratitude, a small California-based chain serving gourmet, organic, plant-based options. Their menu includes starters, salads, sandwiches and wraps, bowls, and entrees—many of which are deliciously instagrammable. Café Gratitude is located on Kettner Blvd. in Little Italy.
Written by Whitney Currier for Knockaround.