Vegan in Berkeley?
I recently returned from a 7 year trip abroad and I am vegan. There are many new-ish places and I'm looking for something that serves vegan food. I know a lot of Indian places do a vegetarian thing and I'm really trying to avoid the white-bread-and-mustard rut that I almost fell in to while in London. Anyone know of good places that (also) cater to vegans? I live in Berkeley and that would be best but anywhere around the Bay Area would be fine. I've tried looking on line like at citysearch but the list was unsatisfactory. So I'm enlisting your help, chowhounds! Please advise!
Mortan is right. Practically every restaurant on Shattuck around Chez Panisse has vegan options.
In Oakland, on the Emeryville border is a totally vegan restuarant called Manzainita. Even as a meat-eater, I liked the place. It is not a wow-factor place, but the food is fresh, reasonable and tasty.
Eastbay Express Review
900 Grayson which recently opened has some vegan options, IIRC
I think you'll find that almost every restaurant in Berkeley can accomodate your dietary preferences. Every Indian restaurant I've been to in Berkeley will substitute oil for butter or ghee. I'll second the recs for Cha Ya and Cafe Gratitude on Shattuck. You should also check out Socca Oven and Soop in Epicurious Garden and the Saturday Berkeley Farmers' Market (Vegan tacos, vegan sushi rolls, vegan breads and a couple of stands devoted to soy, saurkraut and living food products.) For dessert, visit Sketch Ice Cream on 4th st for their delicious vegan sorbet, granita and fudgsicles. As MollyGee said, this is probably the best city in the world to be a vegan.
Come to think of it, most pizza is vegan when you leave off the cheese. I was only vegan for two years, but enjoyed lots of pizza w/ the cheese left off. It's very unusual for pizza crust to be made w/ any dairy products and, though it's probably pretty rare, you could ask if the sauce has anchovies.
Frankly, unless you're really into it, a lot of the vegan cheeses can be fairly odd anyways.
Cha-Ya's good. I'm an omnivore but I eat there once in a while because I like the food.
Lanesplitter makes vegan pizza. Never tried one but their regular pizza's good.
Many of the vegetarian dishes at Ethiopian places are vegan. Try Cafe Colucci.
Cheese Board Pizza is vegan any day they don't use cheese.
Fellini on University does a good vegan pizza. You can even get one topped w/ fake sausage and pepperoni, if you like.
Lots of breakfast orientated places have tofu scrambles (Rick and Ann's and Homemade Cafe are two that I can think of off the top of my head).
Rice and bean burritos are a popular vegan option. Most of the refried beans 'round these parts are not vegetarian, but the whole beans are almost always suitable, you just need to ask. Some rice is cooked in chicken stock, so you need to ask about that, too. We usually go to Picante on 6th because the kids like it a lot. They have a whole seperate vegetarian menu and it indicates things which are vegan.
This is probably the easiest city in the world to be vegan in, so you should have no problems eating well and often.
Cha Ya is totally vegan and not bad.
Udupi Palace on University and MLK is vegetarian, but has many vegan choices and will also make the thali meal combo vegan if requested.
Lanesplitter Pizza, locations in Berkeley and Oakland, offered vegan fake cheese on their pizzas last time I checked. Haven't tried the stuff so don't know if it's good or otherwise.
Pasta Shop, locations in Berkeley and Oakland, is a deli/grocery with many yummy offerings some of which are vegan and quite tasty, esp. the tofu salad.
Also Ristorante Raphael, which is kosher Italian, has some vegan selections marked on the menu.
In Oakland Downtown (8th & Broadway?), there is New World Vegetarian which is entirely vegan except for the Thai iced tea.
I found the following site which may be useful as a starting point, however call first as I recognize at least one place that is definitely out of business.
As you probably realize, you will probably have the most success with East Asian places.