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Aug 15, 2010 04:55 PM

Vegetarian, staying in the Mission

Hi all,

I've got a four-day trip to SF coming up in two weeks (for vacation). I've never been, and I'd love to go to some 'can't miss' restaurants while I'm out there for dinner. I've had a few recommendations from friends, but would *love* some expert opinions ;).

So, what I'm looking for is - what's your 'can't miss' restaurant in San Francisco?

I do have a few preferences to narrow it down:

-- I'm vegetarian (don't mind eating at non-veg restaurants, but clearly, I won't be having a steak...)
-- I'm staying in the Mission, and I won't have a car (so no far-flung locales)
-- I often like to have a nice glass of wine with dinner

With that, any suggestions?

Thanks all!!

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  1. Since you made no mention of budget, let's start with Range, Farina, and Delfina on the top end. If you're not pescatarian, Delfina and Range may be problematic, but check out their menus. If you are pescatarian, there are many place to recommend.

    Mexican restaurants offer many vegetarian options, but the 'nice glass of wine' might be the challenge. If you want to call tequila a cactus wine, the door opens. Check out Gracia Madre for no-compromise organic, vegetarian Mexican.

    Dosa is in my 'cant miss' list and offers great veggie options. South Indian dosas, uttapams are outstanding. Wine? Not what I go there for, but its available. Similar cuisine is also found at Udupi Palace which is perhaps more vegetarian friendly and cheaper.

    And if you want to put the wine first, (and again, if you're OK with seafood) check out Heart on Valencia.

    5 Replies
    1. re: BernalKC

      +1 for Dosa. Truly in a class by itself.

      1. re: BernalKC

        the food at Heart is good, but it's certainly not can't-miss

        Foreign Cinema is similar to Range and Delfina, and like those two, only has one vegetarian entree nightly, but has a larger menu of appetizers and snacks which allow for more combinations.

        I haven't been, but if price is no issue, you might want to look into doing a vegetarian tasting menu at Saison, as they are very much into the foraging movement.

        Delfina Restaurant
        3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        Foreign Cinema
        2534 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94110

        2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. re: BernalKC

          Dosa's has one of the best wine lists of any Indian restaurants I have ever been to; it is interesting and well selected. So, IMHO, wine is more than just "available" there.

          Another good choice would be Beretta -- an modern Italian place with lots of vegetarian options. Excellent cocktails and a nice selection of Italian wines by the glass.

          1199 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. re: SFDude

            I'll have to take another look. I formed my opinion long ago, on my first visit there, and have not looked back -- I always get beer there. But looking at their wine list, I see you're right. Plenty of interesting choices.

          2. re: BernalKC

            FYI Delfina always has some terrific vegetarian pastas on the menu - always the classic, culty spaghetti with plum tomatoes, often a vegetarian risotto and always a bunch of vegetarian sides that can be assembled into a trio for either an appetizer or a main dish (greens, polenta, broccoli raab, etc.)

            Range always has at least one vegetarian main dish on the menu -- right now it is a corn and cheddar cheese fritter, according to their website, and their veggie appetizers are phenomenal-- last time I was there it was a kind of casserole of favas and butter beans, served in a little crock, with bread crumbs and tomatoes and maybe some cheese. Whatever was in it, it was fantastic.

            Delfina Restaurant
            3621 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            842 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

          3. Cool - these are great suggestions. Looks like Dosa is definitely on the list.

            I probably should have specified - while I *like* wine, it doesn't have to be served - I'm most interested in eating at some places that folks think are key experiences in San Francisco.

            Anyone else?

            1. Gracias Madres - wholly and entirely a vegetarian Mexican destination.

              Nombe's suimono salad knocks my ball out of its park. Paired with their corn huitlacoche fritters, roast beets, and brussels spouts and you would have a better-than-ample meal, although the pairing would be rare sake and not wine.

              And I can make a whole meal out of Medjool's vegetarian options as well; roast vegetable b'still with goat cheese...

              2522 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

              Gracias Madre
              2211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              2491 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              1 Reply
              1. re: CarrieWas218

                totally forgot about medjool - really great middle eastern/mediterranean food that often gets overlooked because of the scene that occurs later in the night. excellent food/wine happy hour too from 5-7.

                the view from the top of medjool is certainly a can't-miss in SF

              2. No one mentioned that Taqueria Cancun is the reputed king of the veggie burrito. In the mission.

                Other recs are excellent, go with them. The only "pure veggie" restaurants are Millenium and Greens. Look them up before you go, there's a lot of mixed opinion, and they're expensive. I personally am not a fan.

                Modern italian in SF has a mixed record for veggies. There will be the choice of two pastas and a salad, but I consider that a bit of a snub. Some places are better than others. If you are OK with fish that's a different matter entirely, everywhere in town is good and there are fish specialists like La Mar that are worth a trip.

                Every tasting menu restaurant (Coi, TDRATRC, Commis @ the counter, .... ) all do veggie tastings, even if they're not highlighted on the website. Those tasting menus will be the best high end veggie option in town, and likely will blow your socks clean off - you didn't mention your frame of reference - california is all about local fresh veggies in the high end places, most restaurants have their own gardens, the tasting menu is always made the day of by the chef. Good to call ahead on restrictions on tasting menus, let them know your exact veggie status and they will do the right thing....

                Two special mention places outside of town are Manresa and Ubuntu; you can search and read the reviews. (Manresa is not pure veggie but with Kinch's signature dish Into the Garden he has long & strong skills)

                Lots of other high end places (michelin one star like Boulevard) have very limited veggie options, and are not terribly happy about making veggie available. If you have specific places you wonder about, post a request.

                Taqueria Cancun
                2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Millenium Restaurant
                580 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                1 Reply
                1. re: bbulkow

                  No idea what you mean by pure, but there are lots of vegetarian restaurants besides Millenium and Greens. (Enjoy, Udupi Palace, Cafe Gratitude, Gracias Madre to name a few off the top of my head).

                  A few places I've had dinners with contented vegetarians: Piccino, Minako, Ti Couz.

                  Piccino Restaurant & Coffee Bar
                  1001 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107

                  Gracias Madre
                  2211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                  Millenium Restaurant
                  580 Geary St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                2. I don't think there will be wine but I like the mushroom broth at Cha-Ya. I would avoid the miso-paste glazed items though, a little too sweet.