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Most creative modern vegetarian/vegan

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mcLo Jun 20, 2011 08:57 AM

Hello. Serious foodie looking for the best and most creative, modern vegetarian cooking in San Francisco. Besides Greens and Ubuntu -- and by the way, is it worth the trip to Napa ? -- what should I try ? I want to be impressed ! You can include regular restaurants that work really well with vegetables.

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Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

  1. r
    Ridge Jun 20, 2011 11:57 PM

    We just went to Gather in Berkeley for the first time. They had some great vegetarian dishes including a very Ubuntu-like “Vegan Charcuterie” sampler plate that was innovative and delicious.

    http://www.gatherrestaurant.com/

    1. m
      Michael Rodriguez Jun 20, 2011 01:23 PM

      The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton offers a very inventive vegetarian tasting menu. And most of the courses on Coi's tasting menu are vegetarian; perhaps the chef would do a completely vegetarian menu upon request.

      1. m
        mcLo Jun 20, 2011 12:46 PM

        Thanks to all for your help !

        1. DeborahL Jun 20, 2011 11:04 AM

          I'd say Gracias Madre (organic, vegan Mexican) is a don't-miss. I've eaten there twice and been wowed both times. I'm mostly vegetarian (eat fish occasionally) and would not naturally embrace things like nut cheeses (Gracias Madre uses cashew cheese) but I can't say enough good things about the food here. Organic, flavorful, not cheap but worth every penny for both flavor and enormous portions. Lovely house-made guac and corn tortillas, delectable tacos with sauteed mushrooms, great refried (black) beans, nicely spiced sweet potato quesadilla, knockout grilled summer squash. Other things eaten and enjoyed: sauteed seasonal greens with garlic and chile and pepitas, and a stew of seasonal greens and corn and chiles. I didn't love their mole, but that's my personal taste preference. And the house-made ginger beverage was a bit too pungent for me personally. But this is my favorite restaurant in the city, the most consistently flavorful food I've had.

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          Gracias Madre
          2211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. JasmineG Jun 20, 2011 10:29 AM

            Not in San Francisco, but Plum in Oakland. Most creative and delicious vegetarian food I've ever had (including Ubuntu).

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            Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
            1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

            1 Reply
            1. re: JasmineG
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              mcLo Jun 20, 2011 01:36 PM

              This is where i'll go ! And it's Daniel Patterson's new place. Thank you so much for reminding me.

            2. CarrieWas218 Jun 20, 2011 10:28 AM

              Even though the chef that made Ubuntu famous is gone, yes, I believe it is still worth the trip to Napa.

              Besides Windy's suggestion of Atelier Crenn, I would also heartily recommend Saison but both of those places are going to set you back a pretty penny.

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              Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
              1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

              Saison
              2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

              Atelier Crenn
              3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

              1 Reply
              1. re: CarrieWas218
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                sfbing Jun 20, 2011 10:43 AM

                You definitely need to call ahead and see if Saison will do a vegetarian menu. They've declined several times when I've called to make a reservation with vegetarian friends.

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                Saison
                2124 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94110

              2. Windy Jun 20, 2011 09:43 AM

                Ubuntu's founding chef left last year. And Greens, while a beautiful location, was a trendsetter 20 years ago.

                Most restaurants here offer a lot of vegetarian options, so you don't necessarily need to restrict yourself. It's summer; hard to find bad vegetables in San Francisco.

                High end: Atelier Crenn, a new and highly regarded restaurant, is offering a vegetarian prix fixe for $95. La Folie, traditional and wonderful French, has a vegetarian prix fixe which I haven't tried; probably lots of butter, so not vegan.

                Creative and not expensive: Cafe Gratitude, Minako, Judahlicious, Gracias Madre

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                Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
                1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

                La Folie
                2316 Polk St., San Francisco, CA 94109

                Gracias Madre
                2211 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Atelier Crenn
                3127 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123

                1. r
                  Rapini Jun 20, 2011 09:31 AM

                  I know your post asks about SF, but I'm partial to Encuentro off Jack London Square in Oakland. From some of the folks that brought you Millenium in SF.

                  On a warm night like tonight, I can imagine taking the ferry to JLS, walking to the restaurant, then return.

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