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The Hottest Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in California

The Hottest Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in California

Up and down the state, California boasts some astounding vegan and vegetarian Restaurants, and we've compiled some of the best. Team


4 min read

June 07, 2023

California dining is a full-bodied scene of vegetarian restaurants. From chef-owned places to hippie-leaning joints, the diversity reflects that which makes California great. Starting from the northern sweeps to the Bay Area, and stretching to the deep south, the state is a dancing stage of knockout vegan cuisines ready to gorge your every craving. Whether you’re a curious foodie trying out options, feeding on plant-based cuisine, or are considering a healthy, crash diet, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to vegan and vegetarian eateries in California.

Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in NorCal

Crepes Bistro

Location: Santa Clara

Step into a variety of flavorful vegetarian, vegan, and celiac dishes in this knockout family-owned local creperie.  Prepped from plant-based milk and a head-spinning amount of green ingredients, this cafe is a vegan favorite. From its sweet works to the most popular smoothies and bowls and acai salads, the Crepes Bistro is a great place to enjoy a humble desert in the busy town of Santa Clara. 

The Golden State is home to a plethora of restaurants that specialize in vegan and vegetarian dishes.

Merit Vegan Restaurant

Location: Sunnyvale

Merit Vegan Restaurant serves Asian comfort food to those opting for a plant-based lifestyle. Drawing inspiration from Thai, Indian, and Chinese cuisines, this vegan restaurant in California offers hearty bowls of curries, noodle soups, fried rice, and a variety of mouthwatering entrees. Treat yourself to favorites such as the House Special Rice Claypot, jalapeno BBQ seitan, and the Spicy Tango made of fried seitan chunks and sauteed in spicy garlic, onion, and peppers. Many of the dishes are also available in a gluten or nut-free version. 

Veggie Garden

Location: Mountain View

Veggie Garden offers Chinese American comfort food in a laid-back atmosphere. Making use of meat substitutes in its creations, this vegan hotspot is famous for making vegan renditions of favorites such as kung pao “chicken,” orange “chicken,” and sweet and sour “pork.” It is one of the vegan and vegetarian restaurants that serve veggie-forward, aromatic food. The basil eggplant is an absolute must-try. Commonly ordered dishes include garlic noodles and wontons. Veggie Garden is especially busy around noon, when many regulars come for the specials served in generous, filling portions.

Whether it’s falafel, enchiladas, or noodles, California’s vegan and vegetarian delicacies are to die for.

The Butcher’s Son 

Location: Berkeley

Eternally swarming with customers, the queue at this vegan eatery can reach all the way out the door and around the block — even on weekday afternoons. There’s only a few fully vegan butcher shops in the world, and The Butcher’s Son is one of them. Grab a classic deli sandwich packed with thinly sliced seitan. You’ll find it hard to believe that it really isn’t meat. Even avid meat-lovers go nuts for the stuff. While you’re there, make sure to try the cream-filled cannoli and perhaps a few homemade “meats” or treats from the marketplace for later. When it comes to vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Berkeley, The Butcher’s Son easily stands out. 

SoCal Restaurants for Vegans and Vegetarians

Gracias Madre

Location: Newport Beach and West Hollywood

It’s safe to say that Gracias Madre is not your typical laid-back Mexican cantina. This vegan restaurant in California holds strict standards when it comes to sourcing their plant-based food, such as using heirloom corn to make tortillas from scratch. You may also be surprised to find out that the nacho cheese garnish is actually nut-based and — 100 percent non-dairy. Each meal is packed with a cornucopia of rich flavors. Vegan delicacies such as enchiladas con mole with peas, potato, and zucchini are a treat for both the eyes and the mouth. And for dessert, try the ever-so-wobbly, egg-free flan.

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Más Veggies Taqueria - Tustin Marketplace

Location: Irvine

Launched in January 2021, Más Veggies Taqueria is one of the must-try vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Irvine, California. You’ll find plant-based renditions of Mexican classics such as tacos, burritos, nachos. The eatery also serves bowls in five different flavors: tejano tex-mex, chipotle carnitas, cauliflower asada, crispy polano “chicken”, and crispy baja fish. Customers have the choice of ordering online or at the location with a separate menu.

Extra Market, Inc.

Location: Los Angeles

Extra Market is a must-visit plant-based cafe doubling as a merch shop that sells everything from skateboards to sneakers. The emphasis, however, is mainly on appetizing food that a health enthusiast would normally think twice about eating. But if you’re here for a good time and not a bad time, you’ll love the chili cheese fries, Philly cheesesteaks, “chicken” nuggets, and massive double cheeseburgers — all made from vegan substitutes. It’s safe to say that this gastronomic destination competes with some of the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Los Angeles, California.

Pura Vita

Location: West Hollywood

Going vegan in California has never been so tempting. This completely vegan Italian ristorante on Santa Monica Boulevard serves gorgeous pastas including shiitake “bacon”-filled carbonara as well as a “Black Magic Lasagna” with pesto, mushrooms, spinach, cashew ricotta, bechamel sauce, and black truffle cream. Aside from all the mouthwatering dishes, Pura Vita is simply a fun and casual place to spend time and enjoy a neighborhood where quality people-watching is never scarce. 

Adopting a cruelty-free diet is easier than ever in the Golden State.

Mr. Charlie’s

Location: Los Angeles

As you may have probably guessed, the Frowny Meal from Mr. Charlie’s is a vegan take on the Happy Meal from Mcdonald’s. It includes an impossible burger, four “chicken” nuggets, and a small order of French fries — all in a big red box. It’s all you could possibly want if you’re craving some good old fast food. The tall, crunchy, and golden, the salt-covered fries at this L.A. vegan restaurant resemble the McDonald's fries we all love. Make sure to ask for the sweet BBQ sauce; it can take any Mr. Charlie’s meal from great to excellent.

Needless to say, California has no shortage of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. And there’s definitely something for everyone!

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