Vegan Brunch San Diego – San Diego has a lot going for it, between miles of sandy beaches, a thriving craft beer industry, and a sunny climate that inspires envy from around the country. And as a bonus for plant-based eaters, America’s Finest City promises high-quality vegetables in many of its neighborhoods. From pop-ups and corner bistros to fast food joints and popular lunch spots, this seaside neighborhood ensures you won’t go hungry while visiting the city. Here are 8 of the best options for plant-based fare in San Diego.
Calling all: Metalheads. With metal tracks running through the dining room and decor that hints at everything dark — including a horned demon adorning one wall — Kindred defies the usual aesthetic of vegetarian restaurants. Most of the patrons are of the younger, upper class variety, but you will see people from all walks of life entering the booths and bar stools.
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Don’t miss: Casual outdoor snacks, mostly finger foods, make it easy to bring friends, order cocktails and small bites, and share a tapas meal.
Gaslamp Breakfast Company
Table Order: You’re missing out if you don’t order the skewers, strips of seitan grilled with chimichurri, harissa, and horseradish aioli. Cosmo Knots – pub cakes with Togarashi pub cheese and chives – are even more addictive. Nothing beats the goodness of a side of mac, enhanced by jalapeño and mushroom slices. For a little more to sink your teeth into, try the Memphis BBQ Jackfruit sandwich or the Babylon Burger, made with an impossible patty.
Plant yourself: With its beautiful patio, Kindred brings hungry people-watchers in droves. The restaurant is part of a vibrant business district in the charming neighborhood of South Park, just a short walk from the famous Balboa Park. Grab a seat under the SoCal sun and watch the fashionable citizens fill the seats at every bar and restaurant near you.
Calling all penny pinchers: San Diego’s best Vietnamese steakhouse is also affordable. Offering entrees for just $8.25, this City Heights location on El Cajon Boulevard is your go-to for a variety of delicious noodle dishes and soups, all priced to keep you comfortable.
Table Order: If you’re new to Vietnamese cuisine, appetizers are a great place to experience flavors and textures unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Get your snack on jicama rolls, Vietnamese crepes, or veggie egg rolls.
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Don’t miss: The Banh Mi sandwich, filled with vegetables and fried tofu on a fresh baguette. You should also try a bowl of rice vermicelli, with tons of fresh vegetables and a delicious sauce – it’s perfect if you avoid filling up too quickly. The beef stew noodle soup steals the show with its dark, savory sauce, and the lemongrass fried rice is familiar, but with an interesting kick.
Note: All menu items are vegetarian, except dishes made with egg noodles, although you can ask the staff to substitute rice noodles.
Calling all pizza fans: The accolades continue to grow as this 100% vegan restaurant in the Bankers Hill neighborhood continues to serve vegetarian dishes to the hungry, including pizza, pasta and lunch.
Although the ingredients are fresh and mostly homemade (including their amazing cashew cheese), this restaurant insists that it doesn’t aim to be your typical health food joint. Pull up a seat and get ready to eat simple yet satisfying vegetarian fare.
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Must-haves: While many interesting options grace the menu, there’s nothing quite like the classic Margherita pizza. You will be impressed by the chewy crust and the taste and texture of the cheese, which is unlike the store-bought varieties that leave a funny taste in your mouth. Gluten-free pods are also available, for the wheat-free crowd.
If pizza isn’t your jam (is that possible?) you can order appetizers like grilled okra or handmade pasta like agnolotti or lasagna. For lunch, you have sweet and savory options, like biscuits and gravy or strawberry rhubarb French toast.
Plant yourself: On a breezy patio, a flower-filled oasis shaded by umbrellas and a green canopy. Order a beer or wine while you wait for your hot meal to show up, and soak up some of the endless sunshine San Diego is known for.
Early at 8 a.m. on weekends, when most of the city’s residents are fast asleep, Spoiled Vegans Cafe works at lightning speed to create delicious breakfast sandwiches. Stop by their downtown store to place an order as early as possible; the crowd of hungry customers grows longer as the morning progresses, and you only have until 2pm. get your fix.
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Spoil yourself decadent with 100% vegan breakfast sandwiches that come on buttery croissants, chewy English muffins, or fresh bagels. The menu varies, but you can always count on grab-and-go breakfast and drinks like oat milk lattes or Local Roots kombucha.
Don’t miss: The ham, egg, and cheese croissant packs a punch with its salty “ham,” fluffy egg, and sweet, tangy sauce. For something unusual, try the Buffalo Chick’n Breakfast Sandwich, made with buffalo chicken, egg patty, smoked provolone, garlic dill pickles and house-made buffalo aioli.
Must-haves: Order the brownie on the side, which is as crisp and salty as you’d expect, but with additional spices that elevate the experience. For a really fun morning treat, order the Let Go of My Diego, a sausage wrapped in a waffle, and served on a stick.
Embracing a plant-based diet usually means giving up many of the things served at fast food restaurants. But you can get your junk food fix at Plant Power Fast Food, located in the Bohemian Ocean Beach neighborhood. With vegetarian versions of everything you remember making from your childhood – hamburgers, chicken nuggets, fries, floats, and even milkshakes – this is the place to satisfy your ultimate fast food craving. After grabbing takeout, stroll down to the beach, a long stretch of sandy beach popular with surfers, hippies, and sun-seeking out-of-towners.
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Must-haves: Sink your teeth into the classic bacon cheeseburger, made with a thick, meaty cut and topped with the usual burger toppings. The Big Zac is the vegan answer to the Big Mac – it even has two patties and special “Zac” sauce. You can’t go wrong with buffalo wings, drizzled with spicy buffalo sauce and perfect for dipping in vegetable ranch. Not a fan of plain French fries? Order yours the “iconic” way, topped with melted cheese, secret sauce, and caramelized onions.
Don’t miss: Milkshakes, which come in a wide array of flavors, including peanut butter, horchata coffee, and cookies and cream.
Not every grocery store in San Diego comes from a brick-and-mortar location. Harmless Eats is a pop-up that takes over the Hillcrest Farmers Market every Sunday from 9am to 2pm. For just a few hours, they enjoy plant-based dishes and grilled and juicy chicken served in creative ways.
Don’t miss: Crispy fried chicken, perfect with a side or ranch or BBQ sauce. While the order is great as a breakfast, it can be its own meal. Spice up the Buffalo Chick’n Sandwich on a pretzel bun, drizzled with house-made ranch dressing and topped with lettuce and tomato.
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Plant yourself: Join the locals and sit on the grass either in front of the post office or near the corner church to enjoy your meal. When you’re done, head back to the market to stock up on items like tempeh from SD Tempeh, sweet mushrooms from Mindful Mushrooms, and greens from Lath House Gardens.
Calling all picky eaters: With a menu that includes just about any type of comfort food you can think of, this relatively unchanged North Park spot is a great spot for plant-based diners looking for a good, home-cooked meal. Its extensive menu includes breakfast (with a separate waffle section), snacks, salads, bowls, burgers, and casual dishes, all with a wide variety of cuisines. No matter what situation you are in, this is the place to go.
Must-haves: Fish tacos are all the rage in San Diego, and The Modern Vegan offers its take on this local treat. You get three flour tortillas filled with fried “fish” and topped with coleslaw, Green God sauce, and house special sauce.
Order for the table: From the “All-Time Favorites” menu to try dishes that are hard to find elsewhere: stuffed portobello steak, buffalo chick’n mac and cheese, and Louisiana fried chicken, for example . The chick’n fettuccine alfredo is one of the most popular options – it’s a lot of spaghetti tossed in a garlic sauce, topped with broccoli and chick’n. Bonus: it comes with garlic bread on the side.
Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro Restaurant
They say variety is the key to life, and the folks at Grain would probably agree. They’ve created a self-described “East-meets-West” approach to vegetarian dining, with a menu of salads, pasta dishes and sandwiches.
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