Dispatch: Best Vegan Restaurants in Northern California

July 7, 2015

I hail from Greensboro, NC, which boasts just one fully *vegetarian* restaurant in the whole city.

While my town may be lacking, the vegan restaurant void in my life provides a great excuse to travel and explore new vegan eats.

My latest adventure took me to California- land of detox junkies and crunchy hippies, aka vegan heaven. There are juice bars on every corner, kale & quinoa salads on nearly every menu.

On a week long trek from LA to San Francisco and back, I ate my way through each city I visited.

I want to highlight some of the coolest veg-friendly finds from my trip- specifically in Northern California. Hit up these joints if you are a local, or planning a West Coast getaway anytime soon.

San Francisco

Gracias Madre– An all-vegan Mexican restaurant in the Mission district, serving up more than your typical fare. They offer traditional Latin classics not always available in other restaurants, like flan, horchata and potato-masa patties.


Clockwise from top left: cauliflower taco, empanada, tamale, “ceviche”

Cafe Cole– This cafe offers non-dairy milk for lattes. However, what makes it a standout for vegan travelers is its large selection of dairy- and egg-free cookies.



Pepples Donut Farm– This bakery serves up delicious vegan donuts that could fool any non-vegan. They’re 100% organic and come in a variety of fun flavors. The “farm” also serves lunch all week and brunch on the weekends.


Vegan lemon donut

Souley Vegan– Located in downtown Oakland, this casual restaurant serves up good old fashioned soul food, plus some specialty cocktails. Everything is vegan, hearty and good enough lick your plate clean.


Combo plate of beans, greens, BBQ tofu, fried tofu, potato salad, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese and cornbread



Republic of V– This is a store, not  a restaurant. It’s tiny but filled to the brim with vegan foods, shirts, accessories and more. It offers some of your favorite veggie treats, plus a few lesser-known, local finds. (Vegan twinkie, anyone?)


Santa Cruz

Saturn Cafe– This old-school cafe carries hints of each decade from the 50’s through the 90’s. It serves up diner-style dishes, all meatless of course. Not all dishes are vegan, but many are or can be modified.


Ice cream topped with whipped cream, gluten-free brownie chunks and chocolate drizzle

Have you been to any of these? Do you know any other vegan restaurants in Northern California that should also be on this list? Let me know!

More vegan travel in the U.S.: A Summer Weekend Getaway to Portland, Maine

Vegan in Harlem, New York

Also by Quincy: How I Fixed My Hormonal Imbalance

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Photo: Quincy Malesovas

Quincy is an NC-based college student who is passionate about leading a healthy and compassionate life. Aside from classes, she fills her time with cooking, writing, travel, and yoga. You can find more from her on her blog Shugurcän and on Instagram.


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