Just recently I had the privilege to visit the San Francisco Bay area for the first time in my life. The majestic scenery was one of the many perks to my visit. Of course, my all-time favorite thing about visiting this city was checking out the vegan restaurants. If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen that I called this sojourn my San Francisco Vegan Restaurant Hop.
Wonder what my favorite spots were? Well, here goes. Out of the eight spots I visited, the top five were:
- Hella Vegan Eats
Is it a classic car museum or a vegan hipster hangout? Well, both actually! This was an impromptu addition to the vegan hop located in the heart of downtown Oakland. Upon entering, I was greeted by the most colorful and eclectic scene: an emo-styled kitchen crew and hostesses surrounded by classic cars, blaring 80’s tunes, followed by a rave-like DJ set. I ordered the chicken quesadilla with side of garlic fries and a ginormous chocolate covered rice crispy treat with jelly filling and sprinkles. The meal was not only as different at the wait staff but was very satisfyingly delicious.
- Souley Vegan
OK…so this spot is both solely vegan and soulfully vegan. As the title indicates the next hop is the soul food version of plant-based eating. Located in the trendy Jack London Square entertainment district on the Oakland waterfront, this cozy restaurant had all the staples of soul food. I ordered the yams, mac n’ cheese and fried chicken plate. The taste was so “dead on” I had to ask the waiter if the food was really vegan. Not to mention that my husband’s portabella mushroom burger was absolutely awesome! A jazzy blues band surprised us with some serious chops made the experience even more fun.
Want a vegan burger that’s Taylor Swift approved? Well this is a complete burger joint located in the historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood that Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane made famous in the Summer of Love, but that features a big poster of “Swifty.” The restaurant was clean, crisp and modern with savory seaweed fries and burgers made of seitan. The vegan soft-serve ice cream with Oreo sprinkles was the topper!
- The Butcher’s Son
What college town would be complete without a vegan deli? This Berkeley restaurant did a great job with the décor, creating the illusion of a real deli, hence the name The Butcher’s Son. I ordered the steak and cheese made of gluten but ate half of my husband’s Spicy Jackfruit sandwich (my favorite of the two entrees) which tasted like “MORE.” The macaroni salad was delightful, as were the cupcakes and coffee cake desserts. The portion sizes were large and extremely filling.
- Gracias Madre
Was Gracias Madre delicious? Si senora! The San Francisco Mission District restaurant put a fun and absolutely delectable, gourmet spin on Mexican food. Talk about yum. I had the Enchiladas con Mole Dinner featuring two rolled tortillas with potato and zucchini topped with mole negro and crema, served with sautéed greens and beans. This was a very upscale Mexican experience with all your favorite organic spirits.
Honorable Mentions | I also wanna give some love to the other cool vegan restaurants I visited: Vegan Picnic in downtown San Francisco, The Happy Hooligan in San Jose, The Plant Café Organic in downtown San Francisco, and True Food Kitchen in Palo Alto.