San Diego’s traditional cuisine is centered around seafood and Mexican dishes, but it’s also heavily influenced by Southeast Asian cooking. The city offers countless vegetarian options for every wallet, but it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by your options.
A Short Guide to the Best Vegetarian Restaurants in San Diego, CA
Here is a quick list of some of the best vegetarian restaurants San Diego has to offer. If you’re new to the city or to vegan/vegetarian dining, this selection will give you the boost you need to start exploring.
This University Heights restaurant serves plant-based dishes inspired by Thai cuisine. Optionally, you can order eggs with some of the noodle dishes. Plumeria’s menu offers filling and delicious lunch or dinner options. There’s a selection of Thai soups, curries, salads, and beautifully served wok dishes.
For dessert, you can try the fried banana with agave syrup. This restaurant is also a great choice if you’re just looking for a quick bite over drinks. There’s a wide variety of teas and iced teas, as well as sake, Thai beer, and wines. For a snack, you can try the satay, the samosas, or the crispy rolls.
2. Loving Hut
Loving Hut is located on El Cajon Boulevard. This international vegan restaurant chain has an especially wide selection of dishes based on local produce. If you’re visiting Loving Hut in San Diego, try their vegan quesadillas or the soy sea nuggets. There’s also a rich selection of burgers and sandwiches to grab if you’re in a hurry.
3. Purple Mint Vegetarian Bistro
The Purple Mint Bistro is one of the best vegetarian restaurants San Diego has to offer to fans of Vietnamese dishes. Offering comfortable furniture and shabby chic décor, the bistro is a great option for anyone who wants to take a few moments to relax and enjoy a delicious meal. You can find the Bistro on Mission Gorge Road.
Their menu has something for everybody, from traditional wonton egg noodle soup to an all-vegan beef jerky salad. You can experiment with tofu-based versions of Vietnamese dishes, and you can also try their vegan seafood dishes. For refreshment, you may enjoy ordering young coconut juice served in a coconut shell.
4. Donna Jean
For vegetarian home cooking in a cheerful, rustic ambiance, try Donna Jean on Fifth Avenue.
If you decide to go down to Donna Jean for brunch, you can opt for biscuits and gravy or the scrambled tofu. The lunch and dinner menu features a wide selection of vegetarian pizzas, mac and cheese, salads, sandwiches, and even some Louisiana specialties. For dessert, Donna Jean offers pie, peach cobblers, strawberry shortcake, and more.
5. Café Gratitude
Café Gratitude is a popular nationwide restaurant chain. Their San Diego location is on Kettner Blvd, and they offer delivery as well.
This café focuses on the most popular staples of vegetarian cuisine. There are intricate salads and pasta dishes to choose from, as well as their hummus, which is a popular appetizer here. If you’re in a hurry, you can also try their sandwiches and wraps featuring a carefully chosen combination of beans, nuts, and vegetables. The dishes are beautifully presented, which makes Café Gratitude an excellent option for hosting events of any kind.
Located on Mission Beach, Soulshine is a good spot for a vegan, organic brunch. Their menu features blue corn tortilla tacos and enchiladas packed with vegetables and cashew cheese. There are refreshing salads to choose from, as well as falafels and sushi. Soulshine serves delicious cold brew coffee and the ambiance is warm and friendly.
7. Sipz Vegetarian Fuzion Café
Sipz is an Asian Fusion bistro that developed from a boba tea shop. They have a location in North Park and another one on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.
Their eclectic menu features Japanese, Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese dishes. You can try their house special—the tofu stir-fry with snow peas, bell peppers, and other veggies. If you’re a sushi fan, try their teriyaki flavored shitake-yam sushi roll.
8. Plant Power Fast Food
You can find this vegan fast food joint on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Plant Power Fast Food is a great option if you’re craving waffles, tacos, or American classics like plant-based buffalo chicken, but it’s their selection of burgers that really stands out.
They have all-vegan ‘beef’ burgers, as well as patties made from black beans, and all burgers come with a wide selection of healthy seasonings. Plant Power Fast Food also offers a so-called raw burger, which features a walnut-sunflower patty served on a cabbage shell. The beverage options are remarkable as well, featuring kombucha, various smoothies, and an almond milk milkshake in many different flavors.
9. Trilogy Sanctuary & Café
Trilogy Sanctuary is first and foremost a wellness center. Having a bite on the vividly decorated roof could inspire you to try one of the yoga classes offered inside. This rooftop café is one of the best vegetarian restaurants San Diego has to offer if you’re looking for breakfast or brunch.
Trilogy is located on Girard Avenue, right in the heart of San Diego. They offer superfood salads, plant-based BBQ meatballs, and cauliflower Buffalo wings. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, try their acai bowls or their sophisticated vegan cheesecakes. There are also beautifully served smoothies, as well as kombucha or kefir soda on tap.
10. Ranchos Cocina
While Ranchos Cocina isn’t an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, they serve a wide variety of plant-based Mexican dishes. You can order vegetable tostadas, tortillas, and tacos. In many cases, you can ask for the vegan version of their salads or their combination plates. You can find this restaurant on 30th Street in North Park.
Located on Adams Avenue, Jyoti-Bihanga merges different cuisines as well as new vegetarian inventions. One of their signature dishes is the Buddha burger, which they make from soy protein, jack cheese, and a selection of vegetables, all served on a nine-grain bun. Vegans and vegetarians alike will love the vegan salads, but if cheese is an option for you, don’t miss out on the Greek goat cheese salad.
12. Anthem Vegan
Anthem Vegan is a mobile eatery. They have four different locations each week, including North Park and Hillcrest Farmers’ Market. It’s worth making the effort to figure out their schedule, considering the rich selection of vegan burritos, burgers, wraps, and bowls. All of their dishes are made to order, so it’s up to you to choose your favorite seasonings.
A Final Word
This is only a brief preview of city’s best vegetarian restaurants. San Diego offers a multicultural selection of traditional cuisines, but it’s also easy to find fusions and bold innovations. Whatever your taste is, you won’t go hungry when you visit this city.