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Jul 10, 2009 02:40 PM

Vegetarian Japanese

I am looking for a Japanese restaurant (any type) that serves a variety of vegetarian options, preferably in the South Bay (Palo Alto to San Jose), but I am willing to travel to SF or Berkeley if it is worth it. So far I have found:
Hoshi in Cupertino
Cha Ya in Berkeley and SF (seems too informal, I'm looking more for a special occasion place).
Any recommendations? Thanks.

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  1. You can call the high end kaiseki places like Kaygetsu (Menlo Park) and Wakuriya (San Mateo) and see if they can somehow adjust the menu to offer vegetarian and find out what the cost would be. While I didn't get a pure vegetarian option, the folks at Wakuriya were very gracious to substitute certain dishes due to food allergies of my dining companion.

    You may also want to check out Kappo Nami Nami in Mountain View (dinner), and see if the chefs can do a seasonal omakase that is vegetarian. One of their signature dishes is goma tofu (made with black sesame). There's no viewable dinner menu online so drop by and take a look and inquire.

    Also there's a chance that Kappa restarant in SF (that serves high end small plates in a very cool intimate setting) may have something vegetarian but again, call ahead to inquire if they can put something like that together.

    Minako in SF offers a shojin option in their set course dinner, but the digs might not suit your needs.

    Fuki Sushi (oldest Japanese in the South Bay) in Palo Alto has a varying number of cooked vegetarian dishes and a vegetarian sushi option. They have green tea cold soba noodles too.

    Hoshi is in Santa Clara. Gochi is in Cupertino. Not sure how good their vegetarian offerings are, if any.

    2 Replies
    1. re: K K

      Thanks for all recommendations. We went to Kaygetsu and it was great! They were very nice in accommodating this vegetarian restriction: they asked precisely what was forbidden (fish, fish stock, ...) and the chef worked around it. We had the 5-course kaiseki menu ( For me, the highlights of the meal were the seared scallop in the starter course, then the seared tuna in the hassun course, and really all the hassun course was an dizzying assortment of flavors.

      The vegetarian version had a carrot instead of the scallop in the starter course (only place where I think the vegetarian eater was shortchanged), and avocado wrapped in tofu skin and a variety of seaweed instead of the sashimi. Most the hassun course was the same, except for a dish with vinegared lotus root in place of the egg custard square ( a great replacement in my opinion, I didn't like this dish at all because of the gelatin). The last course was completely different with vegetable tempura instead of the pork and a vegetable soup instead of the miso soup. That was my husband's preferred course. Finally, the dessert was also different with a sesame seed sweet and yuzu sorbet (I guess it was vegan).

      Kaygetsu also offers kaiseki menus with more than 5 courses. However, we were pleasantly full after 5 courses and starting to have "tasting fatigue" due to all the different flavors. So, at only $55, it's really a great choice.

      1. re: Emilie.


        Kaygetsu Restaurant
        325 Sharon Park Dr Ste A2, Menlo Park, CA 94025

    2. I really love Kaita Restaurant in San Jose. It has a home style Japanese feel and the food is just so tasty and well-priced.

      There's not a TON of vegetarian options, but my other half was happy enough. There's a veggie bento at lunch and an evening option as well, if you get the veggie tempura and croquettes. You can see a menu here on yelp:

      With the variety of sides and a couple veggie rolls, I think it's a nice option.

      215 Jackson St, San Jose, CA 95112

      1. I have been to Cha Ya on Valencia (in the Mission in SF) with a Japanese friend and she was very impressed. Tasty

        1. Both branches of Cha Ya are definitely quite informal.

          1. Tataki has a menu section specific for vegetarians. And for the fish eaters, their choices are sustainable.

            2815 California St, San Francisco, CA 94115