20 Best Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants in San Francisco
San Francisco is a foodie town, with more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country. Plus, the local denizens tend to be progressive and health-conscious; many shop regularly at their neighborhood farmers markets. So, it is not surprising that San Francisco has a fabulous selection of vegetarian restaurants.
Surrounding the city are the artichoke fields, pumpkin patches, apple orchards, and vegetable gardens of Half Moon Bay, as well as agricultural lands in the rural, rolling hills of Marin County. Small local farms supply the city's restaurants with fresh seasonal ingredients to prepare delicious meals.
With something for everyone, the vegetarian restaurants in San Francisco range from casual to trendy and refined. Almost all types of cuisine are represented: raw food, California cuisine, fusion, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, South Indian, even Bolivian and American soul food.
Each restaurant has a different mission. Some of the restaurants on this list were inspired by Buddhist practices of vegetarian cuisine, while others are devoted to supporting local organic farms and environmental sustainability.
Whatever your reason to choose vegetarian dining, whether you want to help save the planet or simply enjoy healthy cuisine, the wide variety of options in San Francisco will satisfy your palate. Find the best places to eat with our list of the top vegetarian restaurants in San Francisco.
1. Gracias Madre
Prized for its food, as well as atmosphere, Gracias Madre offers Mexican-inspired dining with a twist. The cuisine is purely plant-based. But unlike some vegan cooking, the food at Gracias Madre is very hearty. From tacos and enchiladas to homemade chips and guacamole, every dish on the menu is wholesome and satisfying.
Gracias Madre relies on traditional Mexican flavors and locally grown seasonal ingredients. Vegetables are sourced from the organic Be Love Farm in Pleasant Valley, California, while the handcrafted tamales and tortillas are made from heirloom corn. The vegan cheeses are created from nuts.
Inviting and festive, the dining room is reminiscent of old Spanish Mission buildings, with whitewashed walls, a wood-beamed ceiling, and sturdy wooden furniture. The decor hints at sacred Christian art, but celebrates the bounty of agriculture, a nod to the ideals of sustainable organic farming.
Rustic wall sconces and a few candles illuminate the dining room with soft, gentle lighting. However, the overall ambience is more convivial than romantic, because of the shared tables and bustling atmosphere. On Friday and Saturday evenings, the restaurant is often completely full. Reservations are recommended.
Gracias Madre is found on a busy commercial street in the Mission district, San Francisco's historically Latino neighborhood.
Hours: Monday - Sunday, 11am - 9pm; brunch menu available 11am - 3pm on weekends
Telephone: (415) 683-1346
Address: 2211 Mission Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: www.gracias-madre.com/
2. Greens Restaurant
A veritable institution of farm-to-table vegetarian cuisine, Greens Restaurant was established in 1979 in partnership with the San Francisco Zen Center. In a city where many restaurants come and go quickly, Greens still draws crowds four decades after its founding, testifying to the restaurant's lasting appeal and popularity.
Chefs at Greens Restaurant focus on California cuisine, although the menu sometimes includes Mediterranean, French, and Asian-inspired dishes.
Seasonality is the essence of Greens' culinary philosophy. The restaurant primarily uses fresh ingredients from local organic farms and farmers markets. Green Gulch Farm at the Zen Center in Marin County (less than an hour north of San Francisco) has a partnership with Greens Restaurant.
In a spectacular dining room overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco marina, Greens Restaurant serves lunch and dinner and weekend brunch. The restaurant often has a full house for dinner. Weekend brunch is especially popular. Be sure to make a reservation. Otherwise if you walk in, be prepared to wait for a table.
Green To Go offers take-out options for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks, perfect for picnics on the nearby Marina Green or Crissy Field.
Hours: Tuesday - Thursday for lunch 11:30am - 2:30pm, dinner 5:30pm - 9pm; Friday for lunch 11:30am - 2:30pm, dinner 5pm - 9pm; Saturday - Sunday for brunch 10:30am - 2:30pm, dinner 5pm - 9pm; Greens To Go (take-out window): Monday - Friday, 11:30am - 7:30pm; Saturday - Sunday, 10:30am - 7:30pm
Telephone: (415) 771-6222
Address: 2 Marina Boulevard, Fort Mason, Building A, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://greensrestaurant.com/
This trend-setting restaurant is San Francisco's newest vegetarian dining establishment, opened in September 2019. Locals are flocking to Wildseed, which already seems to be the latest neighborhood hangout. The chic dining space blends minimalistic design with natural wood accents and live plants as decor, apropos of a temple to seasonal vegan cuisine.
Wildseed is at the forefront of the burgeoning "plant-based cuisine" movement. What makes Wildseed unique is its mainstream appeal. Gourmet food lovers appreciate the restaurant's globally influenced menu, which utilizes the freshest Northern California produce. Since the cuisine depends on what's in season locally, the menu will be updated often.
Menu options run the gamut from salads and veggie-laden Asian rice bowls to tofu skewers and international specialties, such as lentil "meatballs" with Indian-inspired masala sauce. Other highlights include house-made mushroom & spinach burgers and flatbread pizza featuring smoked mozzarella "cheese."
The desserts are more classic, for instance vegan cheesecake and gelato. Not to be missed is the warm chocolate cake! It's so light, fluffy, and decadent that it's hard to believe no eggs or butter are used in the recipe; the rich flavor comes from Belgian dark chocolate.
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 11:30am - 10pm; Friday, 11:30am - 11pm; Saturday, 11am - 11pm; Sunday 11am - 10pm
Telephone: (415) 872-7350
Address: 2000 Union Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://www.wildseedsf.com
4. Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar
At first glance, diners will be surprised that this stylish rustic-chic restaurant is vegan. The presentation reveals an artistic flair that is typical of traditional Japanese sushi restaurants. However, every item on the menu is plant based.
To prepare exquisite vegan sushi creations, the chefs use shojin (Japanese Buddhist) techniques and seasonal, locally sourced vegetarian ingredients like bean curd, yams, and tapioca.
The restaurant owners are committed to environmental issues, such as protecting ocean species and supporting conservation efforts. Taking its mission seriously, the restaurant strives to offer "light footprint" vegan cuisine that promotes sustainable ecological communities.
Shizen draws crowds especially on weekends, and often there is a wait to get a table. Reservations are taken online, but the restaurant holds the majority of its tables for walk-in diners. The restaurant does not take reservations by phone.
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 5pm - 9pm; Friday - Saturday, 4pm - 9pm; Sunday, 4:30pm - 9pm
Address: 370 14th Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: www.shizensf.com
5. Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant
Welcoming and cozy, Enjoy Vegetarian Restaurant offers an extensive menu of around 100 items. The cuisine focuses on traditional Chinese recipes with a few Thai and Japanese options. All the dishes are vegetarian, and most are vegan. In the Buddhist tradition of vegetarian cooking, the recipes do not include any onions or garlic.
Both of the Enjoy Vegetarian locations are casual neighborhood restaurants. The simple dining rooms are decorated with Buddhist-themed artwork. The Kirkham Street restaurant in particular has a quiet ambience, perfect for a relaxing dining experience and for conversation.
Hours: 839 Kearny Street: Monday - Sunday, 11am - 2:30pm and 5pm - 9pm; 754 Kirkham Street: Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 2:30pm and 5pm - 9pm
Telephone: (415) 685-4807
Address: 839 Kearny Street, San Francisco (Chinatown), California
Telephone: (415) 682-0826
Address: 754 Kirkham Street, San Francisco (Sunset district), California
Official site: https://enjoyveggie.com/
6. Cha-Ya Vegetarian Restaurant
Cha-Ya is a locals' favorite on the buzzing "Valencia Corridor," several blocks of the Mission district's Valencia Street that are lined with independent shops and trendy restaurants.
For those who appreciate Japanese food, Cha-Ya delights with its wholesome vegan cuisine "inspired by Zen cooking." The menu include salads, noodle soups, tofu dishes, and a variety of specialties featuring fresh vegetables and mushrooms.
The small, cozy dining room is illuminated with lamps resembling Japanese paper lanterns. Because of its laid-back and unpretentious atmosphere, many locals come to eat here on a regular basis. Solo diners prefer the window counter seats that overlook Valencia Street.
Hours: Wednesday - Friday, 5pm - 8pm; Saturday - Sunday, 12pm - 8pm
Telephone: (415) 252-7825
Address: 762 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://www.chayasf.com
7. Udupi Palace Restaurant
Indian cuisine is often a go-to for vegetarians, but until about a decade ago few American diners were familiar with South Indian vegetarian cuisine. Udupi Palace has introduced this type of regional vegetarian Indian cuisine to San Francisco in the happening Mission district.
South Indian cuisine differs from North Indian cuisine in its unique flavors, based on cumin, curry, chili, peppercorns, and mustard seeds along with generous use of coconut. Many of the chutneys tend to be very spicy, and some are tangy.
The menu options include dosas, Indian-style crepes filled with spiced potatoes; vegetable curries; and thali platters, which present an array of curries, chutneys, rice, bread, and condiments.
Hours: 11:30am - 10pm every day
Telephone: (415) 970-8000
Address: 1007 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California
8. Nourish Café
The healthful, wholesome vegan cuisine at Nourish Café keeps regulars coming back again and again. This casual neighborhood café serves breakfast, sandwiches, and casual meals.
Everything is prepared from natural plant-based ingredients. The café bakes their own fresh country-style bread, using a variety of flours based on grains, seeds, and legumes.
The Nourish Café sandwiches are customer favorites, especially the "grilled cheese," frittata sandwich, and the quinoa-black bean burger. Rice bowls are packed with veggies, and you can opt to add tofu for protein. The menu also includes, soups, smoothies, savory toasts, sweet toasts, and waffles.
The 6th Avenue location in the Richmond district has a tiny seating area inside along with several outdoor sidewalk tables, whereas the Hyde Street location in the lower Nob Hill area has a larger dining room and a more extensive menu.
Hours: Monday - Sunday, 9am - 3pm
Telephone: (415) 571-8780
Address: 189 6th Avenue, San Francisco, California
Hours: Monday - Thursday, 9am - 7pm; Friday - Sunday, 9am - 3pm
Telephone: (415) 580-7463
Address: 1030 Hyde Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: www.nourishcafesf.com
9. Peña Pachamama
In the touristy North Beach neighborhood, Peña Pachamama proposes a winning combination of vegan Bolivian cuisine and lively entertainment. Performances are held on weekend evenings; Cuban bands play on Friday nights; and flamenco dancers perform on Saturday nights. There is a special price for the dinner and show experience.
The restaurant follows traditional Bolivian recipes but uses only vegan ingredients. A good number of dishes are prepared from organic ingredients. There are also raw food options.
Customer favorites are the kale chips; empanadas; tacos; Pique Macho, a Bolivian staple made with peppers, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and spices; and Aji De Fideo, pasta in a savory sauce seasoned with chili powder, carrots, peas, cumin, oregano, and parsley.
Hours: Monday - Saturday, 3:30pm - 8pm
Telephone: (415) 646-0018
Address: 1630 Powell Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://pachamamacenter.org
10. Thai Idea Vegetarian Restaurant
This casual neighborhood restaurant treats diners to modern Thai cuisine prepared from high-quality vegetarian ingredients. The menu includes appetizers; soups; salads; noodle dishes; and entrees made with fresh vegetables, and soy-protein imitation "chicken," "seafood," and "beef." Favorite dishes are the curries, fried rice, and pad thai.
This restaurant is in the Tenderloin neighborhood, known for its urban grit. Many tourists prefer to avoid this area.
Hours: Monday - Friday, 11am - 3pm and 5pm - 9:30pm; Saturday - Sunday, 12pm - 9:30pm
Telephone: (415) 440-8344
Address: 710 Polk Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://www.thaiideavegetariansf.com
11. Ananda Fuara Vegetarian Restaurant
Ananda Fuara is a vegetarian restaurant inspired by the spiritual tradition of Sri Chinmoy. In a bright, cheerful dining room, the restaurant offers satisfying vegetarian meals. Many of the menu options are vegan, and the restaurant tries to use organic ingredients whenever possible.
The restaurant serves classic California-style vegetarian cuisine for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Many of the dishes are hearty, such as French toast, eggs Benedict, mushroom quesadillas, samosas, and faux chicken wraps.
Ananda Fuara is in the heart of downtown San Francisco near Civic Center. Tourists should note that the area is rough around the edges.
Hours: Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 11am - 8pm; Wednesday 11am - 3pm; Saturday 11am - 8pm (brunch is served until 3pm); Sunday 11am—3pm (brunch menu)
Telephone: (415) 621-1994
Address: 1298 Market Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://anandafuara.com
12. Golden Era Vegan Restaurant
This restaurant may not have curb appeal (it's in the gritty Tenderloin neighborhood), but that doesn't stop people from patronizing the restaurant. In fact, many locals say that Golden Era Vegan is their favorite vegan Chinese restaurant in the city. One selling point of the location is that it's just two blocks away from the renowned Asian Art Museum.
The menu focuses on Chinese and Thai recipes, such as pad thai, tofu claypots, sweet and sour soup, and vegetable curries. Faux meats are used for traditional dishes like lemongrass "chicken" and BBQ "beef."
Hours: Open daily from 11am - 7:30pm
Telephone: (415) 487-8687
Address: 395 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://goldeneravegan.com
13. Lucky Creation Vegetarian Restaurant
This unpretentious little restaurant in Chinatown specializes in dim sum and Cantonese-style Chinese recipes, using vegetarian ingredients and faux meat. The ambience is bland (think "hole-in-the-wall"), but the food is good, and prices are affordable.
Hours: Open daily (except Wednesdays) from 11am - 4pm; closed on Wednesdays
Telephone: (415) 989-0818
Address: 854 Washington Street, San Francisco, California
A favorite spot for quick meals, this burger joint fits right into the colorful Haight neighborhood, once the haunt of hippies and counter-culture activists. VeganBurg appeals to today's neighborhood residents, with plant-based burgers and a mission to inspire worldwide change.
VeganBurg is a restaurant chain with the lofty goal of helping to restore the planet by promoting sustainable vegetarian diets. The company's idea was to turn a fast-food product into something healthier and more environmentally friendly.
Served on whole-grain buns with fresh greens, the wholesome burgers are made from scratch at the location. Burger ingredients are entirely vegan, including quinoa, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Condiments, side dishes, and "cheese" are plant based as well. Another bonus: The burgers are cholesterol free.
Hours: Monday - Sunday 11:30am - 9pm
Telephone: (415) 548-8000
Address: 1466 Haight Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: www.veganburg.com
15. IndoChine Vegan Restaurant
In the Mission district, on a block of the Valencia Corridor that's always bustling, this casual neighborhood restaurant offers affordable vegan cuisine. IndoChine serves a variety of classic Asian dishes. The menu spans the repertoire of Korean, Japanese, and Chinese cuisines, from pho noodle soup and chow mein to sushi.
Many dishes are made with tofu, such as the Korean Ba-Ba-Bom and Spicy Tofu. However the restaurant also uses imitation meat for its teriyaki "chicken" and for "shrimp" items.
Hours: Tuesday - Friday 12noon - 3pm and 5pm - 10pm, Saturday - Sunday 12noon - 10pm
Telephone: (415) 701-0700
Address: 508 Valencia Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: http://indochinevegan.com
16. Vegan Picnic
Jill Ritchie, the owner of Vegan Picnic, was inspired by her children to become vegan. After learning that vegan cuisine can be better for your health and the environment, Ritchie decided to open a vegan restaurant that would appeal to everyone. Vegan Picnic is a casual café that serves classic American comfort food, prepared entirely from plant-based ingredients.
There are two locations of Vegan Picnic: one is in the residential neighborhood known as "Polk Gulch" close to downtown, and the other is in the Cow Hollow neighborhood on Union Street, a happening locale with many restaurants, shops, and cafés.
Vegan Picnic shops have only a few seats for dining; both locations are mainly take-out eateries. Either shop is a great place for a quick meal or to grab something to go. Locals appreciate the small selection of vegan culinary products for sale.
Customer favorites are the "Crispy Chicken" sandwich and the "ham and cheese" croissants. The "Classic Egg Salad" and "Slawpy Crab" sandwiches are also popular. If you're really hungry, try the meatball sub that's served with marinara sauce and "provolone cheese."
Hours: Open daily 11am - 3pm
Telephone: (415) 508-6736
Address: 1323 Polk Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: www.veganpicnic.com
17. Next Level Burger
The restaurant chain's motto "Burgers for a Better World" says it all. The founders of the Next Level Burger vegan restaurant chain are dedicated to supporting sustainability and fighting climate change; they take pride in reducing carbon-dioxide emissions by replacing beef burgers with plant-based burgers. Other environmentally friendly practices include using only compostable containers and reclaimed wood tables in the dining areas.
Located inside the Whole Foods grocery store, Next Level Burger is an old-fashioned diner-style restaurant that serves yummy vegan versions of hamburgers that are nutritious and filling. The menu also features hot dogs and "chicken" burgers. Diners can add extras like avocado, sides such as french fries or salad, and milkshakes. The dessert selection includes banana splits, hot fudge sundaes, and soda floats.
Everything on the menu is prepared from plant-based ingredients that are organic and GMO free. You can choose from soy-based, faux-meat Beyond Burgers, or vegan burgers made from black beans or mushroom & quinoa. Milkshakes are prepared from soy or coconut milk.
Hours: Open every day from 11am - 10pm
Telephone (415) 829-8485
Address: 450 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: www.nextlevelburger.com
18. The Flying Falafel
The Flying Falafel began as a food truck, and its popularity led to opening a small outlet on Market Street in downtown San Francisco (although the area is somewhat disheveled and dirty). This tiny order-at-the-counter restaurant only has a few tables outside on the sidewalk. Most people take the falafel sandwiches to go.
Following classic Middle Eastern recipes, the Flying Falafel fries up authentic falafel and serves it on fresh pita bread with tomatoes, shredded cabbage, and tahini. Everything on the menu is vegan, including the "chicken" shawarma and crispy "chicken," which are made from soy products.
Hours: Open Monday - Friday, 11am - 3pm
Telephone: (415) 964-1003
Address: 1051 Market Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: www.flyingfalafel.com
19. Loving Hut
In San Francisco's Sunset district near Golden Gate Park, the Loving Hut is an international chain restaurant that serves wholesome vegan cuisine.
The Loving Hut focuses on Chinese dishes, including classics like spring rolls, chow mein, and wonton soup. Also included on the menu are a few Vietnamese items such as fresh spring rolls and pho soup, as well as Thai specialties such as pineapple fried rice and pad thai.
Hours: Open daily 11am - 9pm
Telephone: (415) 731-1957
Address: 524 Irving Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://lovinghut.us
20. Beloved Cafe
Although mainly a juice bar, Beloved Cafe has a small menu of vegan items prepared from organic, plant-based ingredients. Locals like to stop by for a quick, casual meal. It's also a great place to meet friends and chat over a cup of hot tea.
Breakfast specialties include oatmeal and granola. For lunch or dinner, the café offers salads and more substantial items such as lentil soup, stuffed squash, and veggie quinoa bowls. The fruit smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices are popular. On a warm day, the perfect refreshments are the blueberry lemonade or a tropical beverage.
The café is located in the Mission District, across from 24th street BART station.
Hours: Open daily, 8am - 5pm
Telephone: (415) 800-6546
Address: 3338 24th Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: www.belovedsf.com
Special Vegetarian Menus
Although not vegetarian, this restaurant deserves mention because it offers a Vegetarian Menu on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for dinner. The meal is prepared in the Shojin Ryori style, inspired by Japanese Buddhist monks' vegetarian meals.
An elegant assortment of different dishes, the prix-fixe Shojin Ryori Vegetarian Dinner includes eight seasonal vegetarian dishes (mainly plant based). Menu items may include salad, soup, tofu specialties, and vegetarian maki.
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5:30pm - 7pm (Shojin Ryori Dinner)
Telephone: (415) 503-0702
Address: 2931 16th Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://www.maruyasf.org
This fancy fine-dining venue, with a relaxing, quiet ambience, is not a vegetarian restaurant. However, Nightbird does feature an exquisite five-course vegetarian menu.
The always changing seasonal menu is based on ingredients sourced from San Francisco, Marin, and East Bay farmers' markets. For those looking to splurge, Nightbird's vegetarian menu is a special treat. It's quite rare for an haute-cuisine restaurant of this caliber to serve an entirely vegetarian meal.
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 5pm - 10pm
Telephone: (415) 829-7565
Address: 330 Gough Street, San Francisco, California
Official site: https://www.nightbirdrestaurant.com/
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Vegetarian Cuisine in the East Bay: Across the bay from San Francisco are two other foodie towns with many vegetarian restaurants. In the multicultural city of Oakland, the list includes Golden Lotus Vegan Restaurant, Nature Vegetarian Restaurant, Souley Vegan, Millennium Restaurant, and Shangri-La Vegan Restaurant. In between meals, you can check out the tourist attractions of Oakland. Berkeley is the birthplace of California cuisine and the farm-to-table movement, thanks to Alice Waters. The city has plenty of options for vegetarians, plus it's fun to explore the sites of Berkley.
Coastal Retreats with Vegetarian Meals: The Northern California coastline has long attracted nature lovers and spiritual seekers. A few places are also perfect for vegetarians. Nestled in the Ventana Wilderness near Big Sur, the Tassajara center hosts meditation retreats with vegetarian meals. Big Sur's famous oceanfront Esalen retreat center provides vegetarian and vegan meal options. The pampering Stanford Inn eco-resort in Mendocino has an acclaimed vegan restaurant and offers plant-based cooking classes.
Veggie Restaurants by the Monterey Bay: Just over an hour drive from San Francisco, the sunny beach town of Santa Cruz is a recreational area at the northern tip of the gorgeous Monterey Bay. Top vegetarian restaurants in Santa Cruz include Veg on the Edge, which specializes in West African dishes and Café Gratitude, which serves organic seasonal plant-based cuisine. From Santa Cruz, it's an hour drive south to the beautiful seaside city of Monterey, which has a few vegetarian spots, including El Cantaro Mexican Restaurant and Saffron Café.