Top Spots for REAL food in San Francisco
I have lived in San Francisco just shy of two years. As a huge vegan foodie I have made it my mission to find the best spots for local, plant-based, DELICIOUS food! Here are some of my favorite must-visits in the Bay Area, from morning munchies to night caps. Some of these are strictly vegan while others just have an amazing veg selection to choose from. Enjoy!!
If you are like me and crave a fresh juice or smoothie to start your day, look no further. PJ makes the best fresh smoothies and smoothie bowls! They also have raw veggie bowls, immune shots and many other goodies for your bod. There are a few locations but my go-to is in the Mission on 19th and Valencia.
This beautiful pink color comes from pitaya, also known as dragon fruit. It is a superfruit rich in magnesium, fiber, iron, antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin B2. Delicious and nutritious!
Be ready to spend the best $15 ever. If you have never had an acai bowl, or even if you have, be warned that this will ruin all future acai bowls. I have traveled around the country and I always find the local joint but nothing has ever topped Basik. My favorite is the Forager: acai blended with banana and cacao, topped with raw cashews, cacao nibs, strawberries, bananas and blueberries, layered on top of home-made granola. Mmmmmm.
I am lucky to live around the corner from this vegetable paradise. BB offers vegan and nonvegan salads, soups, and sandwiches, all sourced from local farms. Their ingredients rotate regularly based on what veggies are in season! My favorite sandwich is the Buddha which consists of fresh roasted veggies, home-made red-pepper hummus and smashed avocado on their fresh levaine bread. If I am recovering from a carb binge I typically make my own salad with toppings like sun dried tomatoes, falafel, pumpkin seeds, olive tapenade, and roasted mushrooms. Salad heaven!
This vegan gem located in the heart of the Marina would make even the biggest carnivore second guess themself. My favorites are the Zucchini Spaghetti (with buckeye veggie balls, fresh tomato sauce, gluten free garlic bread and cashew parmesean) and the S+S Beet Burger (beets, walnuts, lentils, mushrooms, brown rice, raisins, spices, smoked sea salt + ranch served on a GF burger bun). They also make the most addicting walnut chocolate-chip banana bread. YOU CAN'T GO WRONG. If you are craving a fresh meal packed with flavor and nutrients, this is the spot!
This place is the vegan equivalent of your favorite diner, but healthier and no animals were harmed. They have everything from buffalo chik'n wings, mac and cheese, meatball parm, tuna sandwich, ravioli... The menu is endless. They also have smoothies, cakes and pie!
One of my favorites is the charbroiled veggie red curry with chik'n over quinoa or brown rice. This place is great with a group so you can try a little of everything!!
The first time I came to GM was on my first date with my boyfriend. We had just discovered that both of us were vegan (YIPPEE!!) and he asked if I had been here before. I hadn't, so we decided to extend our afternoon date and go for dinner. He ordered the Enchiladas con Mole (mole enchiladas served open-faced, topped with mushrooms and cashew cheese, sautéed greens and black beans) , we shared a vegan caesar, and I got my still favorite Bowl Dos (braised lentils and mushrooms with peanut sauce and spinach, served on bed of coconut brown rice, topped with pico de gallo, pineapple salsa, and avocado).
Needless to say, I fell in love instantly with the food and the man :).
I consume about one Papalote burrito per week. They are the only place that actually knows how to make a freaking veggie burrito! There are tons of vegan options including the veggie burrito (my personal favorite) which contains rice, black beans, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, guacamole and their famous salsa. I buy their salsa to eat at home because it is that good. I recently tried their vegan SOYrizo and it is delicious. They also do a grilled veggie option with eggplant and zucchini. So much yes.
BL is another favorite of mine. I actually ate here two consecutive nights last month. There is normally a wait and they don't take reservations but the bar area is big and the drinks are so yummy, both alcoholic and non! The most popular dish is the Tea Leaf salad which is one of my favorites. These flavors are seriously a party in your mouth. Go with a group so you can try everything! MUST HAVES: garlic eggplant, vegetarian noodles, coconut rice and/or tea tree rice, veggie samosas!! I am salivating.
I've never been, but you can also check out their sister restaurant Burma Superstar!
The only con here is the 45 minute wait I have yet to avoid. For sushi lovers, fish can be the most difficult thing to give up when transitioning to Veganism. Not anymore! Shizen is 100% plant based and satisfies 100% of my sushi cravings!
One of my favorites is the Plot Twist (tempura fried roll with sweet potato, smoked bean curd, mango, tomato, onion, yuzu, shiso, and jalapeño). YUM.
People usually think being vegan means giving up pizza. Think again! Lo and behold the pizza gods have delivered something that will make your head spin and tummy ache.
Vegan Pie: whole wheat deep dish crust stuffed with spinach, onions, (I add broccoli), daiya dairy-less cheese, and topped with garlic and marinara (+ olives).
More locations in Hayes Valley, Noe Valley, and Inner Sunset!
VEGAN. ICE CREAM. COOKIE. SANDWICH.
Okay - this place is by no means healthy BUT if you are craving ice cream in San Francisco this is the most amazing spot. It's all about balance right? They also have cows milk ice cream but there really is no need for the cruelty with places like this!
Pictured to the right is my favorite: fresh-out-of-the-oven vegan chocolate-chip banana walnut cookies hugging the yummiest soy mint-chip dairy-free ice cream.
No cows were harmed!