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Raw/Vegan food near Irvine?

I have to be in Orange County today, at UC Irvine, and will be there around dinnertime. My friend and I are both vegan, and I know there are some excellent raw/vegan restaurants in Costa Mesa and thereabouts, but don't know which to seek out. A friend gave me some leads several years ago, but I can't find them, and they're probably out of date anyway. All help welcome. Thanks!

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  1. Right across the street from UCI on Campus Drive is Veggie Grill. Yummy vegetarian/vegan food. Their sweetheart (sweet potato) fries are tasty. I think Veggie Grill was established by the the Native Foods people-another vegan/vegetarian place. There's a location in Costa Mesa, I've never been there but i hear good things about it.



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    1. Way on the other side of Irvine is Wheel of Life.

      100% vegan, Thai-Chinese menu. Speaking as a non-vegetarian, I'm usually not a fan of faux meat, but theirs is actually pretty good. It's not a raw food sort of place if that's what you want.

      Wheel of Life
      14370 Culver Dr, Irvine, CA 92604

      1. There's Avanti Cafe @ Newport Beach:


        It has won a lot of awards since opening. The food is great, esp. the desserts.

        1. Thank you, everyone! Such great options! I wish we had as many down here in San Diego.

          1. I will second the Avanti rec - excellent - and there is also a vegan raw food place right next to Native Foods on Bristol in CM - ahh.... name escapes me... some number of degrees... haven't eaten there, yet, but it looks good.

            1. I think Veggie Grill is the best option, especially the Irvine Spectrum location, at least for the food, the view is better at the UCI location. I don't think Veggie Grill was established by the Native Foods people. Rather, the VG people were inspired by the food they ate at Native Foods.

              However, aside from the others mentioned, there's another new vegan restaurant in Irvine called Greens Cafe, that just opened on Jeffrey just off of Irvine Center Drive. Supposedly decent, but I haven't tried it yet. Still, Veggie Grill is my hands down favorite restaurant, so if you only have a meal or two, go there.

              The name of the raw food place in Costa Mesa is 118 degrees.

              Also, there's Au Lac in Westminster, if you want raw, as well as excellent cooked vegan food. I love Thuyen Vien as well, if you're in the mood for Vietnamese. Bo De is supposedly good, but I haven't had the chance to go there. I just went to Zen Vegetarian in Westminster and their bun bo hue was okay but I'd go to Thuyen Vien any day. Van's is just okay.

              1. I am a full fledged, self proclaimed, proud and happy "carnivarian." Okay, I just really like meat. But, today my husband took me to this restaurant and I still have hearts in my eyes, I am in love! I entered the restaurant skeptical. How could nuts and vegetables ever match up to the rich sumptuous goodness I am used to? None the less, I ordered: the lemon-agave-coconut water along with a burrito. The juice came out first: sweet, tart, and complex. I was intrigued…could the food be a good as this beverage? And when it arrived, I got my answer. The presentation was beautiful; a large tortilla covered with sour cream and chipotle cream sauce….just as it had advertised. And as soon as I took my first bite I was sold. It had everything! My brain kept searching for how to interpret the delectable food I was eating as it was unlike anything I had ever tried. It didn't have anything that I typically love in a burrito (i.e., cheese, sour cream, beef etc etc.) and yet, I was not missing it at all. The burrito was as rich, filling and satisfying as any street food I would have gotten in mexico city. Hmmm, could I go vegan after being sold like this? Probably not, but I am impressed that the thought would actually cross my mind. I know I know...those meat eaters out there are rolling their eyes in disbelief....but really, you've got to go try it. Just go try it!!

                118 Degrees
                2981 Bristol St Ste B5, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                1. Besides the aforementioned Veggie Grill, Wheel of Life, 118 Degrees, and Avanti Cafe, there's a raw food area at Whole Foods in Tustin at the District.

                  Wheel of Life
                  14370 Culver Dr, Irvine, CA 92604

                  Avanti Cafe
                  259 E 17th St, Costa Mesa, CA 92627

                  118 Degrees
                  2981 Bristol St Ste B5, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                  1. Greens Cafe on Jeffrey/Irvine Center Drive