The food scene in California is renowned for its creativity and diversity. Following the current demand for vegetarian meals, San Jose is home to some of the best vegetarian restaurants in the Bay area. Regardless of the vegetarian style you prefer, the best vegetarian restaurants in San Jose will surely stimulate your taste buds.
1. Veggie Grill
Veggie Grill has been so popular that it branched out to 30 different locations over the past 10 years. The thing that keeps bringing people to this restaurant is their unique approach to vegetarian cuisine. Veggie Grill offers a menu that gives a vegetarian spin on your common fast food.
Give one of their burgers a try to get a feel for the unique twist they bring to the texture and taste of vegetarian meals. You can also order the Rustic Farm Bowl and enjoy a blend of roasted yams and grilled mushrooms spiced up with broccoli pesto and red pepper sauce.
2. Falafel Drive-In
Wondering which of the best vegetarian restaurants in San Jose has a drive-in option? Look no further! Falafel Drive-In is a stop well worth your visit. This diner has been serving droves of hungry vegetarian customers for more than 50 years.
Falafel Drive-In is famous for its blend of Mediterranean foods that are bound to keep you coming back for more. You shouldn’t miss their famous falafel wrap with tabbouleh and hummus on the side. For a full falafel experience, complement it with the diner’s renowned banana milkshake.
Falafel Drive-In also offers non-vegetarian meals, so you should clearly state your preference when placing an order.
3. Vegetarian House
This vegetarian restaurant carries a melting pot of Asian, European, Middle Eastern, and American cuisine. The Vegetarian House menu is truly designed for everyone.
You can enjoy a tasty curry in the fast-paced but casual atmosphere of this San Jose vegetarian gem. On the other hand, their crispy mushroom delight is an absolute must. It comes with deep fried, organic Oyster mushrooms and a seasoning that includes basil and sweet-sour brown sauce. If you are into more fruity flavors, the Vegetarian House mango salad is the thing for you.
4. Good Karma Artisan Ales and Cafe
This is a cafe you shouldn’t skip when on the lookout for the best vegetarian restaurants in San Jose. After all, being a vegetarian doesn’t mean you can't treat yourself to a few sips of quality ale, and that is exactly the thing Good Karma Artisan Ales and Cafe has to offer.
Of course, the cafe wouldn’t be on our list of best vegetarian restaurants in San Jose if it served only drinks. Good Karma has an excellent menu that features an assortment of salads and Indian dishes. Their Spicy Basil Tofu perfectly complements the craft beers this cafe/restaurant is known for.
5. The Happy Hooligans
The Happy Hooligans restaurant proudly carries an all-vegan, no-meat-based-products menu. This restaurant describes their cuisine as vegan comfort food that is attractive for non-vegans as well. The menu is actually a healthy crossover between Mexican and American foods designed to stimulate all your senses.
The restaurant’s salads are a palatable blend of fresh vegetables with a dash of Mexican seasoning for some added flavor. You need to try one of the Hooligan specialties, though. Their Reuben sandwich, in particular, contains a mouth-watering combination of thinly sliced seitan corned beef and vegan provolone.
6. Green Lotus
Vegetarian cuisine is heavily influenced by Asian cuisine. This influence is all the more apparent in the Green Lotus menu. The Green Lotus restaurant carries a traditional Vietnamese menu focused on delicious vegetarian dishes.
If you visit the restaurant with a non-vegetarian friend, there are also meat-based alternatives, but one of the Green Lotus spicy vegan soups will surely keep any vegetarian or non-vegetarian warm and full. The all-time favorite, however, might be the restaurant’s Banh Khot and mushroom soup.
7. Happiness Cafe
Did you know that there is a vegan pig in a blanket? If you want to get a taste of it, head straight to the Happiness Cafe. This cafe offers a comprehensive menu of vegan foods, drinks, and desserts.
You can go for their vegan pig in a blanket or a hotdog with grilled onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. To top it all off, choose one of the Happiness Cafe hot drinks or their organic espresso coffee.
The cafe’s oriental desserts are in a category of their own. Pick up the Hot/Cold Tofu Pudding and add a couple of toppings to satisfy your sweet tooth. In case you crave a more exotic sweet taste, order the cafe’s Hot Grass Jelly.
8. Mint & Basil
If your search for the best vegetarian restaurants in San Jose takes you to the Milpitas neighborhood, you must visit Mint & Basil. This restaurant has an immediately appealing interior with a casual atmosphere.
Mint & Basil specializes in Malaysian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. It is renowned for Malaysian noodles and autumn rolls you can enjoy with your friends.
But if you are really into sharing a veggie dish with a friend, try the restaurant’s Star Anise Rice Stew. This hot pot features a delicious mix of vegetables and herbs—including star anise and cilantro—stewed in vegetable broth. Just remember to make your reservation in advance, because this dish is not always available.
9. Curry Up Now
Once a food truck, now one of the best vegetarian restaurants in San Jose, Curry Up Now is a restaurant you shouldn’t skip. The restaurant’s unique concept and approach to vegetarian food have spread over several locations in the Bay Area.
Curry Up Now serves a mouth-watering combination of Indian and Mexican cuisine with a contemporary vegetarian twist. Order the Tikka Masala burrito if you want to get a taste of the crossover flavor this restaurant is famous for. For a more traditional Mexican taste, you can enjoy the Curry Up Now rice and bean-filled Samosa.
10. Golden Bamboo
Golden Bamboo is a place that serves exquisite Vietnamese cuisine. It offers vegan, vegetarian, and meat-based dishes (in case you are visiting with an omnivore friend). However, it’s the beautiful presentation of the dishes that sets Golden Bamboo apart from other Vietnamese restaurants.
Whether you order the fried Oyster mushroom appetizers or the restaurant’s mango sticky rice, the serving will be beautiful. Golden Bamboo truly stimulates all your senses and allows you to have an unforgettable dining experience.
Because it offers an exceptional all-around service, Golden Bamboo should be on everyone’s list of the best vegetarian restaurants in San Jose.