I absolutely love culinary guides! They really make life a tad bit easier. Eating a gluten free, plant-based diet makes eating while traveling both challenging and exciting. Typically before I travel, I put together must-try lists of restaurants and cafes. So I figured why not do the work for others and put together a list of my favorite at home plant based gems.
The below list features my absolute favorite plant-based/vegan restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Not only are these my go-to places but they are also such a treat for people who have never tried them before. If you're traveling to the Bay or simply a resident looking for something new, this list is perfect for you. Check out the restaurants with my thoughts on each and favorites menu items below. For more information simply click the image to visit each website. Enjoy!
Gracias Madre, San Francisco
image via Restaurantes en California
Want vegan Mexican food? Well you're in luck because that is exactly what Gracias Madre provides. Okay, well as a California I wouldn't exactly say this is the most authentic fare but it is delicious in it's own right and deserves a try. You won't be disappointed.
My Favorites: Handmade Tortillas and Guacamole + the Bowl Uno + Enchiladas con Mole
Seed+Salt, San Francisco
image via Seed+Salt
This place does all the thinking for you when it comes to the quality and health factor in their ingredients. So when you look at the menu you will not have decipher much in terms of allergens or "worst offenders" because Seed+Salt has done that for you. Everything is vegan and gluten free and did I mention delicious.
My Favorites: Buffalo Cauliflower S+S Spicy Sauce Bites + Taco Salad + Beet Burger
Millennium Restaurant, Oakland
image via Millennium Restaurant
What can I say about this place that isn't a high praise?!? I absolutely love it. Once located in San Francisco in the Hotel California (yes, like The Eagles song) you can now find this culinary marvel in Oakland. The menu features seasonal plant based dishes that really step up the bar in plant food preparation. I can attest that the non-vegans I have taken here rave about this place as much as vegans. I, for one, will always have a special place in my heart for Millennium because I hosted my bridal shower here which was such a hit because everyone loved the food and ambiance. I eat here when ever I can and it always feels like such a treat.
My Favorites: The menu is seasonal but if there is a tamale on the menu you must try it and their desserts are HELLO to die for.
Nourish Cafe, San Francisco
image via the San Francisco Chronicle
Like Seed+Salt this place has really done its homework when it comes to quality ingredients. They serve up a menu that is organic and non-gmo using natural sweeteners and minimal oil. While everything isn't gluten free, just about everything can be made that way which is why I adore this cute little cafe.
My Favorites: Nut "Tuna" Sandwich + Nourish Salad + Açai Bowl + Refresh Juice
The Plant | Cafe Organic, San Francisco
image via sfgate.com
With many locations around SF, including one at SFO, if frolicking around you're bound to run into this yummy place. While every item is not plant based there is a lot of plant options to choose from.
My Favorites: Though the menu varies from the location to location, I love their extensive juice menus, smoothies, and bowls.
image via sfgate.com
This is the perfect location for a casual date or a night out with friends. This was once a cafe and bar offering simple bites has now expanded into full dinner service. What you can expect from the menu are offering that are seasonal, local, and light. While everything isn't vegan, most items can be made such because everything is vegetarian. The same can be said about making just about anything gluten free.
My Favorites: The menu is seasonal but go a full experience with an appetizer, salad, and entree. You wont be disappointed. PLUS, they offer a vegan cheese course with is a must-try!
Greens Restaurant, San Francisco
image via Greens Restaurants
You can expect an all around fine dining experience with beautiful views to match. Located at Fort Mason, Greens offers plant based meals with a gorgeous view of the SF Bay, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz on clear days. The food here is clean and refined with a touch of elegance. It's certainly a must-try. Also, if you don't have time to sit and dine, Greens offers a to-go menu of perfect carry-out items.
My Favorites: Anything. The menu again is seasonal. Be adventurous and try something new.
Potala Vegan Cafe, Albany
image via East Bay Express
This is no frill place that is simple and straightforward. Each day there are two menu items the main meal and the seasoning-free meal. The main meal features a soup, salad, steamed greens, rice, beans, and vegetables. Nothing more nothing less. The seasoning-free meal features a similar option that is salt and oil-free. Also, there are a few dessert options that are simply lovely, raw vegan pies and cookies. If I had the time, I'd eat here every day. Everything is organic, clean, and yummy.
My favorites: The entree of the day never fails you + Pumpkin Pie + Key Lime Pie
Shangri-La Vegan, Oakland
image via sfgate.com
Shangri-La Vegan and Potala Vegan Cafe are created upon the same concept. Two menu option daily, the standard meal and the seasoning-free option. You can expect the same here with a couple of additional options like kombucha. Plus there are two locations to choose from, the original in North Oakland and new location in the Temescal neighborhood.
My Favorites: The daily entree option
Gather Restaurant, Berkeley
image via sfgate.com
If there is one city that gets farm-to-table consistently right, it's the home of California cuisine itself, Berkeley. Well you can say I'm biased but I like to say just honest :). Gather offers a vibrant menu that isn't exclusively plant based but offers great vegan options. The menu connotes what is or can be made vegan and/or gluten free. The menu changes frequently to accommodate seasonal shifts, so go often and try a lot.
My favorites: The vegan charcuterie! This is a gastronomic culinary experience. It's a flavor burst and the absolute must-try.