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suggestions for vacation dining?

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I'll be in SF for almost a week with my boyfriend, we have a plan, mostly of places culled from chowhound recs! I'm looking for just a few suggestions to fill in some gaps, and a warning if a place we've picked is actually terrible! We're not going to have a car most of the time, so places that are accessible by public transportation are best. thanks so much!

We're from nyc, and I'm a vegan, he's not. So, places that have good vegan options and serve normal people food are most definitely welcome!

We plan to try:
Thai House Express
Lotus Garden
Zuni Cafe (I know I'll starve there...any recs on a quick vegan bite near zuni?)
Burma Superstar (we've had Burmese we like in nyc, so it'll be interesting to see the difference)
Millenium (I've read the reviews, I know it can be questionable, but I've got to try it once!)
Cha-Ya
and then we're deciding between Sea Salt and Vik's in Berkeley.

I'd love a recommendation for quick places to pick up breakfast near Union Square, any burrito places that do both vegan and non (papalote is my working idea, but I'd love to know if there's somewhere better), and if there are good places for picking up snacks (like Molly Mudd...).

thanks so much!

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  1. Sea Salt doesn't have any good options for vegans. You would do much better at 900 Grayson for lunch (fried chichen and waffles for him, tofu scramble, olive oil hash browns, and fresh veggies for you) or Ajanta for dinner.

    I actually think that Zuni will be fine. You'll have to custom order, but they have such phenomenal produce in the kitchen, they shouldn't have any trouble putting together a delicious vegan plate. And you'll love the fries.

    Are you going to the Chay Ya in Berkeley or SF? The Berkeley spot has had downhill reports.

    You should also consider Cafe Gratitude.

    Wherever you eat in Berkeley, check out Sketch Ice Cream on 4th st for dessert (it's right next to the freeway entrance, so it's not a detour). Phenomenal options for vegans including seasonal sorbets, granitas (shaved ice) and fudgecicles. Lots of great stuff for dairy heads as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Morton the Mousse

      And no real raves for the SF Cha Ya. Minako's much better and has several vegan selections.

    2. Molly Mudd is a bit out of the way if you are on public transportation...you could walk there from Lotus Garden but it would be a long walk. If you are looking for ice cream, Mitchell's is only a block or two from Lotus Garden and the baby coconut ice cream is great after dinner at LG....

      Definitely Vik's and not Sea Salt given that you are vegan! I'd put it ahead of several on your list and waayyyy above a burrito.

      My favorite dishes at Thai House Express all have meat in them. Not sure it is the best choice for a vegan, but perhaps others can comment...

      4 Replies
      1. re: susancinsf

        Thanks so much!

        I know sea salt's not great for me...maybe we'll do that and Vik's and just eat our main courses at different places. Or maybe with all of the other eating, I'll just want salad. I can only deal with so much fancy food at a time.

        Susan--I checked out the menu online and it does look like Thai House Express has a lot of veg stuff (and marked as such), so I don't think vegan should be a problem there even if their most super-fantastic stuff has meat. I'd love to hear your recommendations even if they are meaty!

        Morton--I think we'll do the Cha-Ya in SF, especially given what you've said. And I hadn't heard of 900 Grayson, so thanks for the suggestion!

        1. re: alexis

          900 Grayson just opened last year, but they are already a local favorite. I've easily been there over 20 times, and it is excellent every time. I've also brought about 30 friends there - vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians, carnivores, finicky food snobs, down to earth comfort food lovers- everybody loves it.

          I've never been a big fan of Vik's, the food is greasy, and I can get better versions of that style of food in LA. It's a Berkeley institution, and a lot of people love it, it's just not to my taste.

          More on Grayson:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/337246

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/329181

          Website: www.900grayson.com

          BTW, rumor has it that Grayson will be opening for dinner this Summer. I can't wait!

          1. re: alexis

            I assume that you will have the car for the stop at Viks. Neighter Viks nor Sea Salt are all that public transportation friendly. I agree that you are more likely to starve at Sea Salt than Zuni.

            Really make a stop at Cafe Gratitude. Besides the whole crazy California stereotype which will give you something to tell the folks back home, it is a vegitarian/vegan place a meat eater can like.

            Why Millenium rather than Greens.

            Hope you report back about where you ate and how it was.

            XOX chocolates in North Beach have vegan truffles and regular truffles that will make your bf swoon ... for him ... get the caramel.

            1. re: rworange

              Thanks everyone! You guys are so quick and helpful! As for a car, we have a friend who will take us places occasionally, but we obviously can't impose on her everyday. So I think we'll switch out to 900 Grayson.

              Cafe Gratitude is an interesting idea--does anyone know how it compares to Pure in nyc? I've been to Pure and have liked it, but I don't know if I would go out of my way unless Gratitude is way better.

              and rworange--why millenium and not greens? I have both cookbooks and I've been way more impressed with millenium's (it's just so much more creative, though i have encountered the occasional failure), and I'm a vegan and greens really is a vegetarian and not a vegan place so I'd rather try the place where I'm going to be the type of diner they're really trying to serve. Plus I've been wanting to try millenium since high school (I'm in grad school now....so it's been a while!).