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Vegetarian Chowhounds in the bay area recommendations?

Ok... I have to admit that I really really miss Seattle for two reasons. 1> The great Vegetarian Restaurants, 2> Good place to anchor your boat.

We live in Alameda, so trecking into the city is a special occasion thing for us. Most of the time that we have done it we go to the same two places, mostly the Stinking Rose with friends. Not cause we want to always end up there..... Massa once it was really good, and heck they even knew how to deal with Veg heads!!!! It isn't really a veggie restaurant though.

Now there really is nothing to be done about #2, however I am hoping that someone here can help with #1.

We have been to the following which were not bad. Nothing to rave about.

Long Life Vegie House in Berkley. Not bad, horrid decor, bathrooms make me want to hold it till I leave. :-)

New World Vegetarian. Not bad, although was better before chef change. Little overpriced for portion size.

Golden Lotus Oakland. Good food, seems clean. Lunch service isn't great, haven't tried the dinner service.

Manzinata Cafe. TOOOOOOO Funky for words. One good meal one horrid meal. Depends too much on luck for our taste.

That is about it for just veggie restaurants. Some other places have good options we have been to are such as:

La Pinata in Alameda Not bad Mexican, nothing to really write home about.

Hinn Tha In Alameda. Not bad, way too pricey now, wrote a review here somewhere on the boards about it.

El Caballo next to Paganos in Alameda, great Lunch!!! Good food, clean, great owners.

Pizza well we have sampled a lot of pies. Some good some bad...

We had hoped that the bay area would be vegie mecca, however it really hasn't done much compared to Seattle. Carmalitas, Cafe Flora, The Bamboo Garden..... Oh it makes we want to do a road trip just to eat out..... :-)

Feeling like trying something new, somewhere new, but can't seem to get a good recommendation on veggie fare anywhere.

Thanks for any help you can lend, we appreciate it greatly. And if we go somewhere new we will make sure we review it here.


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  1. Wow, have you been to Berkeley ... especially Shattuck Avenue around Chez Panisse? I can't think of too much there that isn't vegetarian or with LOTS of vegetarian options.

    What about Cafe Gratitude? Have you been to the Soup place in Epicurious Gardens. Seating is sort of al fresco as this is take out.

    Here's a link on a veg sandwich shop in SF, should you be in that area. I didn't try it yet.

    There was a link to this veg restaurant site in it.

    It doesn't have everything in it, but it might give you a few new ideas. On your SF visits, have you been to Greens?

    2 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Alameda's not the crunchy part of the east bay, that's for sure - I'm sure you've figured that out long ago.

      A second thumb up for Cafe Gratitude - I think it's what you're looking for. I'm a meat-ivore and I like it - big-bang taste, as long as you can get over the attitude. (Grrrr, attitude). Nearby Cha ya is also a great steer, although the infinitesimal size of the joint can be problematic.

      It sounds like you want a veggie restaurant, not a restaurant with good veggie options. As you've figured, that's not how the east bay does things. The vegetarians have assimilated, just like other groups (try finding a gay male bar in the east bay - even though Berkeley has the last remaining bathhouse). It's a good trend - assimilation is about all of us getting along, together. Post-sectarian, you might say.

      Regarding assimilation - Barney's offers all its burgers with one or two kinds of veggie patties. Indian food is fairly plentiful (my fav - mid-range - is Khana Peena). There must be a thread about favorite veggie burritos. Most japanese/sushi places have a wide selection of veggie maki, and the robata places will give you skewers of grilled veg.

      I know you said you wanted east bay, but for a special occasion you might think about Millennium in SF. It gets very mixed reviews (I've been twice, liked it, but not going back anytime soon), but you should probably experience it once yourself.

      Good luck ---

      1. re: bbulkow

        I'll second assimilation. I'm a veg, but if you want to eat well, you've gotta steer clear of 95% of the veg-only spots (it's like there's a lower standard for food if you cater to our crowd).

        Also, Cheeseboard Pizza and Vik's Chaat constitute at least 25% of the cells in my body.

    2. There is some vegetarian restaurant in San Jose that vegetarian friends rave about the food at the same time as laughing about the bizarre religion of the owner and the pictures of the supreme enlighted one on the walls. Yes, not very PC, but there it is. Damned if I know the name, however, as I generally have to avoid veg restaurants because of a garlic intollerance.

      However, if you go down to Santa Cruz/Capitola, I can heartily recommend both the Saturn Cafe and Dharmas, Saturn more for their desserts and ambiance, Dharmas for their food. Dharmas I'd recommend the burrito with soy strips.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kevin Andrew Murphy

        I know that place. . . if I can only remember what it's called. I think it's Vegetarian House. There are a lot of Asian vegetarian places that are part of this same community with the same "enlightened one."

        In San Jose, Di Lac (vietnamese veg) is great, and we've also enjoyed White Lotus.


      2. I recently took some visitors to my favorite place - Saha - and they loved it. I like the well-balanced menu.


        1. We've been into the vegan Japanese restaurant Cha Ya lately. There is one on Shattuck in Berkeley, and a new one on Valencia in SF (around 19th or 20th St). Reasonable prices, cash only. Not much atmosphere, but the fluorescent lights somehow aren't too bad.
          Papalote on 24th St at Valencia has lots of veggie Mexican options - soyrizo and tofu burritos, great salsa and guacamole. It's not super-authentic, but it is tasty and a nice place to eat, although not a destination.

          Slow Club on Mariposa doesn't have a veggie-friendly menu, but they can always make up a veggie plate from all the sides. The last one that I had was polenta with greens - it didn't look like much coming to the table, but it was actually extremely good and full of flavor.

          1. I know that, for some reason, Greens Restaurant in Fort Mason doesn't get the big accolades on Chowhound. I have been there twice over the last two years, and had absolutely spectacular meals, accompanied by a wonderful view, and a very nice, unusual, and reasonable wine list.

            I love Greens. I had a transcendent meal there the last time I went, in late August.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rruben1

              I agree. I'll take Greens over Millennium any day. Great food and service, but both have gone up and down over the many years we've been eating there, which is why the mixed reviews on Chowhound.

            2. I'm a vegetarian in Berkeley & I have no problems finding good eats. I love Picante, off Gilman in Berkeley - wonderful Mexican - my kids like to watch the tortilla lady press & cook tortillas. Cheeseboard Pizza has the best pizza ever - on Shattuck in the Gourmet Ghetto area - a few blocks north of Cedar. Rivoli is a high end restaurant on Solano Ave. that I highly recommend (It sort of reminds me of a Seattle restaurant on the way into Madison Park, Rovers maybe?) Another high end in the Gourmet Ghetto is Chez Panisse, & there's a cafe upstairs if you forgot to make a reservation for the restaurant a month in advance. Next door to Chez Panisse is Cesar - a delightful place for tapas. Truly enjoyable.

              1. Try Vegi Food in Berkeley on Vine Street. It's menu is entirely vegetarian.

                1. Millennium
                  580 Geary Street, SF 94102

                  1. I read this article in a local magazine Common Ground in this months issue a good list of vegan, vegetarian, slow food and organic choices. Many have been mentioned on this board but here is a some what complete list-
                    SAN FRANCISCO

                    Alive! Restaurant (vegan, raw, organic) 1972 Lombard Street (415) 923-1052 (Marina)

                    Ananda Fuara (meatless with vegan options; International) 1298 Market St. (415) 621-1994 (Civic Center)

                    Bok Choy Garden (vegan) 1820 Clement St. (415) 387-8111 (Richmond)

                    Café Gratitude (raw vegan organic) 2400 Harrison St. (415) 824-4652 (Mission); 1336 9th Ave. (415) 824-4652 (Inner Sunset)

                    Cha-Ya (vegan; Japanese Zen Buddhist) 762 Valencia St. (415) 252-7825 (Mission)

                    Daily Health (vegan; Natural food store with deli and eat-in section) 1235 9th Ave. (415) 681-7675 (Sunset)

                    Enjoy (meatless with vegan options; Chinese) 754 Kirkham St. (415) 682-0826 (Sunset)

                    Feel Real Organic Vegan Café (Vegetarian) 4001 Judah Street (415) 504-7325 (Outer Sunset)

                    Golden Era (meatless with vegan options; Vietnamese) 572 O’Farrell St. (415) 673-3136 (Tenderloin)

                    Greens Restaurant (meatless with vegan options; Upscale California cuisine) Fort Mason Building A (415) 771-6222 (Marina)

                    Herbivore (vegan; patio seating and daily brunch) 983 Valencia St. (415) 826-5657 (Mission); 531 Divisadero St. (415) 885-7133 (Western Addition)

                    Judahlicious (meatless with vegan options; Juice and snack bar with a selection of soy ice cream) 3906 Judah St. (415) 665-8423 (Sunset)

                    Juicey Lucy’s (vegan; organic, macrobiotic, raw, Buddhist Vital Food and Gourmet Juice) 703 Columbus Ave. (415) 786-1285 (North Beach)

                    Lettus Organic (full organic menu, a few select meat dishes) 3352 Steiner at Chestnut. (415) 931-2777 (Marina)

                    Lucky Creation Vegetarian Restaurant (vegan) 854 Washington St. (415) 989-0818 (Chinatown)

                    Medicine New-Shojin Eatstation (vegan; Japanese Zen Buddhist) 161 Sutter St. (415) 677-4405 (Downtown)

                    Millennium (haute vegetarian) 580 Geary St. (415) 345-3900 (Union Square)

                    New Ganges Restaurant (meatless with vegan options; Indian) 775 Frederick Street (415) 681-4355 (Cole Valley)

                    Shangri-La (meatless with vegan options; Chinese Buddhist) 2026 Irving St. (415) 731-2548 (Inner Sunset)

                    Umami (organic, slow food; Japanese Sake Pub) 2909 Webster Street (415) 346- 3431 (Marina)


                    Café Gratitude (meatless with vegan options; Raw, organic) 1730 Shattuck Ave. (415) 824-4652

                    Cha-Ya (vegan sushi; Japanese Zen Buddhist) 1686 Shattuck Ave. (510) 981-1213

                    Ital Calabash (meatless with vegan options; Ethiopian, West African, Jamaican, Organic soul food, juice bar) 3031 Adeline St. (510) 836-4825.

                    Raw Energy Organic Juice Café (vegan) 2050 Addison St. (510) 665-9464

                    Udupi Palace (meatless with vegan options; South Indian) 1901 University Ave. (510) 843-6600

                    Vegi Food Restaurant (vegan; Chinese) 2083 Vine St. (510) 548-5244


                    Golden Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant (vegan) 1301 Franklin St. (510) 893-0383

                    Ital Calabash (meatless with vegan options) 1405 Franklin St. (510) 836-4825

                    Manzanita Restaurant & Bakery (vegan; Macrobiotic) 1050 40th St (510) 985-8386

                    New World Vegetarian (vegan; International Cuisine) 464 8th St. (510) 444-2891

                    Supreme Vegan (vegan; California cuisine) 906 Stanford Ave (510) 655-0132

                    Here is a link to the article

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Lori SF

                      Great list! Lots of new places to try.

                      1. re: Lori SF

                        also on this list, though not known as a vegi restaurant (they serve meat and mock-meat options of almost all their dishes)

                        Mekong on O'Farrell at Larkin (Thai / Vietnamese)

                      2. Vik's in Berkeley for chaat ( for lunch, since they are open 11 to 6). Try the veggie dosa, a weekend specialty. They have a few meat items, but most of the dishes are veggie and all are delicious.

                        Expect formica tables and paper plates.

                        1. I've only been to Lucky Creation in Chinatown once, but it was memorable and fun. The place is small and they may ask you to share your table.

                          1. Of places that haven't been mentioned in the city, we always find plenty to eat at Nirvana (Castro), Pancho Villa (Mission), Maharaja (Mission), Ti Couz (Mission),and Cafe Ethiopia (Mission - yes, we spend a lot of time in the Mission!). We just tried Tartine Bakery, and the sandwiches were amazing! The long lines and cramped space are annoying, but the food was worth it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: LBeff

                              Add Minako (Japanese-Mission, veg options), Yamo (Mission-some veg options on menu but more than willing to make just about any dish they can with just veg/tofu), and the above mentioned Cafe Gratitude (Mission/Potrero depending on who you speak to) is excellent and they are on your side of the bay as well. Lori's list is pretty damn good...a wiki would be nice to keep these things for posterity in one place to be added on as needed.

                            2. Don't overlook Penang Garden, the Sing/Malay place in SF Chinatown. They have an extensive vegetarian section to the menu and it's the kind of food a committed carnivore like me can love.



                              1. Our daughter is a confirmed vegetarian. We have taken her to dinner at Chez Panisse, downstairs mostly, upstairs a few times, to everyone's delight. The downstairs menu is adjusted to vegetarians' needs without skimping on quality one bit. She has never felt slighted or treated with any less respect than her carnivorous mother and father.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Michael Rodriguez

                                  I believe vegetarian substitutions for fish and meat dishes usually come from the cafe upstairs.