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Where to Get Vegan Food in San Diego

Discover delicious plant-based food all over the city.

If you’re moving or planning a vacation to California, San Diego is one go-to destination you don’t want to miss out on. Enjoy the city’s comfortable climates as you explore its extensive beaches, go fishing at one of its lake reservoirs, or visit its most popular attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, and the San Diego Civic Center.

chef preparing vegan meal at san diego california vegan restaurant

America’s Finest City is also home to several restaurants serving a wide selection of seafood, California-style pizza, and international dishes, including Southeast Asian and Mexican fare. However, you can also find plenty of places offering vegan options if you follow a specific dietary lifestyle or prefer dishes made with the city’s finest fruits and vegetables.

Check out my compilation of the best vegan restaurants in San Diego for enjoying a delectable meal at any time of the day as you explore the city’s landmarks. Who knows? You might even find a new favorite place for enjoying vegan takes on popular dishes.

Best Vegan Restaurants in San Diego

  1. Donna Jean
  2. Kindred
  3. Peace Pies
  4. Plant Power Fast Food
  5. Maya’s Cookies
  6. Thanh Tinh Chay Restaurant
  7. Grains
  8. Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant
  9. Cafe Gratitude San Diego
  10. Evolution
  11. The Plot
  12. Veganic Thai Cafe
  13. Loving Hut
  14. Modern Times Beer
  15. Native Foods
  16. The Yasai
  17. Greenhaus Vegetarian Eatery
  18. The Purple Mint
  19. Soulshine
  20. Veggilish

Donna Jean

2949 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619-299-5500
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The first destination I recommend on my list of the top vegan restaurants in San Diego is Donna Jean, located on Fifth Avenue, minutes from several of Balboa Park’s attractions.

This cozy restaurant has a homey feel, complete with a spacious outdoor patio and herb garden. Chef Roy crafts refreshing plant-based dishes anyone can enjoy.

I recommend ordering their Cast Iron Mac & Cheese, Killer Queen Pizza, Wild Mushroom Cavatelli, or Squash Party Tortellini. In addition, they also host weekend brunch from 10AM to 2PM, so don’t miss out on their French Toast or Chicken Fried Mushrooms. If you have room for dessert, try their Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake.


Kindred

1503 30th St, San Diego, CA 92102
Phone: 619-546-9653
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Next up on my list of the best vegan restaurants in San Diego is Kindred, found on the corner of 30th Street and Beech Street.

Enjoy contemporary vegan dishes in a lively yet offbeat atmosphere as death-metal music blasts through the vicinity. I was surprised at this vibe, but this contrast makes it stand out from the other restaurants I visited during my trip to San Diego.

After starting with their Cosmo Knots or Fried & Pickled, consider ordering their Grilled Cheese or ABBA Burger Tomato Bisque or Homestyle Mac on the side. Don’t forget to try their Spinal Tap cocktail or stop by on Thursdays for their Permanent Vacation menu specials.


Peace Pies

4230 Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 92107
Phone: 619-223-2880
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You can find Peace Pies on Voltaire Street, a short drive from Point Loma Native Plant Garden. This Bohemian cafe serves locally sourced dishes in a cozy and rustic setting.

If you’re in the mood for organic pizza, pies, or entrees, this is the best option for you and your friends. They’re also eco-friendly, using scraps as compost and using earth-friendly packaging.

In my opinion, their best dishes are Luna Tuna Wrap, Voltaire Street Tacos, Mushroom Stroganoff, and Mystical Mushroom Quesadilla. I prefer ordering these with a Milkyway Mylkshake, Tropical Fruit Smoothie, or Durian Shake. Don’t forget to treat yourself to their Cosmic Coconut Cream Pie.


Plant Power Fast Food

Multiple locations
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Are you having trouble finding vegan-friendly alternatives to over-the-counter fast-food favorites?

Then, consider stopping by Plant Power Fast Food for a quick bite. You can find this casual restaurant in the Ocean Beach area on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and in San Diego State University on Hardy Avenue.

Many of their menu items are gluten-free. I like ordering their Big Zac Burger, BBQ ‘Chicken’ Wrap, Buffalo ’66, or Large ‘Chicken’ Tenders whenever I stop by for lunch. Feel free to pair any of these menu options with an iced coffee or kombucha float. Kids 12 and under can also order a cheeseburger or chicken nuggets.


Maya’s Cookies

4760 Mission Gorge Pl, San Diego, CA 92120
Phone: 858-265-9957
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If you’re looking for quality vegan baked goods, visit Maya’s Cookies on Mission Gorge Place. This warm and welcoming wholesale bakery offers several tasty cookie options for anyone craving something sweet in the middle of the day.

Their sweets stay fresh in their box for five days when placed in the freezer, so be sure to try or share them as soon as you can.

Each cookie box contains six cookies each, including assorted collections. Be aware that some of their cookies contain nuts. I recommend ordering their White Chocolate Espresso, Double Chocolate Chunk, Brown Sugar Butterscotch, or Famous “Everything” Cookies. They also offer wheat-free options.


Thanh Tinh Chay Restaurant

4591 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115
Phone: 619-255-0134
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Can’t find any Vietnamese restaurants offering vegan options? Then, stop by El Cajon Boulevard and book a reservation at Thanh Tinh Chay Restaurant.

Immerse yourself in this restaurant’s relaxing setting decorated with vibrant green walls and plants. I recommend coming here for a small, light meal if you’re in a hurry to explore San Diego’s nearby attractions.

I recommend starting with their Crispy Eggplant or Sticky Rice Dumpling and sampling their Eggless Meatloaf Sandwich, Lemongrass Fried Rice, Vietnamese Roasted Duck Soup with Egg Noodle, or Thanh Toan House Special. They also have heatable cold dishes for home, including Sweet and Sour Soup.


Grains

2201 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Phone: 619-269-5999
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You can find Grains on the corner of Adams Avenue and Mississippi Street. This rustic yet chic eatery serves delectable vegetarian and vegan dishes prepared in an east-meats-west style.

If you’re looking for lunch after spending the day at Trolly Barn Park, this is one of the closest vegan options you can seek out. In addition, they offer delivery for all their dishes and wines.

I enjoy starting with their Garlic Potato Wedges or Dragon Balls and ordering their Philly Cheese Sandwich, Stir-Fried Eggplant, Drunken Angel Pasta, or Pan-Seared Fettuccini with a refreshing Thai Iced Coffee or Lemonade to wash down the spicier dishes.


Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant

4661 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116
Phone: 619-269-9989
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If you’re interested in taking your friends to the best vegan restaurants in San Diego, consider showing them the menu at Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant, found on Park Boulevard, down the street from Trolley Barn Park.

This polished and modern setting serves quality vegetarian Thai dishes for locals and tourists to enjoy while exploring the heart of University Heights.

Plumeria prepares its dishes with the freshest ingredients, without GMOs. In my opinion, their best dishes are Spicy Basil Fried Rice, Pumpkin Curry, Ka Pow, and Pad Thai. Be sure to try any of their wine or sake selections to enhance your meal before ordering their vegan ice cream for dessert.


Cafe Gratitude San Diego

1980 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-736-5077
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Can’t find any vegan restaurants in San Diego offering a stylish and hip ambiance for enjoying plant-based entrees? Then, look no further than Cafe Gratitude San Diego on Kettner Boulevard, next to the Adelman Fine Art gallery.

It has a calm and hip atmosphere, decorated with Zen-inspired decor to help guests immerse themselves as flavorful and healthy fare enchants their taste buds.

When browsing through their all-day menu, consider ordering their Chicken-Fried Mushroom Sandwich, Black Bean Burger, Macrobiotic Bowl, or Basil Pesto Kelp Noodles. I also recommend ordering a Pumpkin Spice Latte with oat or housemade almond milk to wash your food down.


Evolution

2965 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619-550-1818
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Nestled on Fifth Avenue stands Evolution, a casual vegan restaurant. You can find it just across the road from Trees for Health Garden, deep within the Balboa Park perimeter. It has a drive-thru aesthetic that amplifies its coziness. You can also enjoy their fresh vegan fast food on their dog-friendly outdoor patio.

Evolution serves a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian sandwiches and burgers for lunch and dinner.

I like their Chimichurri Carne Sandwich, California Burrito, Pesto Mozzarella Burger, and BLTG Sandwich. Don’t forget to order some Loaded Cheddar Bacon Ranch Fries on the side and try their Cookies and Cream Shake or Chocolate Banana Smoothie.


The Plot

1733 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054
Phone: 442-266-8200
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After enjoying San Diego’s sun at South Oceanside Beach, why not stop near South Coast Highway and enjoy a healthy dinner at The Plot?

You can’t miss this rustic yet chic establishment’s wood-lined exterior. Executive Chef David Waite incorporates several international flavors into each of his dishes for all to try.

If you’re dining with your friends and family, start with their Takoyaki or Veggie Sushi and order their Shepherd’s Pie, Stuffed Yam, Okinawan Sweet Potato Gnocchi, or Veggie Stirfry. I recommend sampling their String of Hearts or Neon Prayer cocktail to give your night an extra burst of flavor.


Veganic Thai Cafe

1417 Suit A, University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
Phone: 619-230-5540
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Located on University Avenue, Veganic Thai Cafe is your go-to destination for enjoying classic Thai dishes with a vegan twist.

Relax in a cozy space decorated with vibrant Asian-themed artwork as you savor every bite of your meal after a long day of walking through the University Heights neighborhood.

Veganic is open every day of the week, so you have plenty of time to try their rice, curry, and other specialty dishes. In my opinion, they serve the best Wonton Soup, Stir-Fried Spicy Eggplant, Thai Fried Rice, and Jungle Curry in the neighborhood. I prefer ordering a side of Jasmine Rice or Cucumber Chutney whenever I drop by for dinner.


Loving Hut

Multiple locations
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With locations on El Cajon Boulevard in the North Park and City Heights neighborhoods, and Mira Mesa Boulevard, Loving Hut is another place I recommend for anybody interested in quality vegan food during their visit to San Diego.

Their contemporary interior design gives the restaurant a stylish flair that blends the flavors of Asian and Californian cuisine.

I tried their McLovin, Ocean Fillet Tacos, Spicy Udon Noodle Soup, and Cha Cha Fried Rice during my last few visits to San Diego. Don’t miss out on their tater tots or sweet potato fries when trying any of their specialties, and try their Thai Tea Float or Peanut Butter Float to unwind after dinner.


Modern Times Beer

Multiple locations
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You can find Modern Times Beer at Point Loma on Greenwood Street and North Park on the corner of 30th Street and Upas Street.

San Diego is known for its breweries, so stopping by this hip destination should be something to consider as you’re touring through town. I typically stop by with my friends to enjoy craft beer flights and chat the night away.

You can choose from a wide selection of five-ounce craft beers to create a customized tasting flight that matches your drinking preferences. I recommend their Soft Swerve: Rocky Road, Bubble Party Hard, Foamer, and Doom Blade for an exciting flavor flight.


Native Foods

Multiple locations
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Enjoy scratch-made California-style vegan dishes at a reasonable price by dining at Native Foods, found in Loma Square at Rosecrans Street and the Clairemont Mesa neighborhood on Balboa Avenue.

I consider it one of the best vegan restaurants in San Diego because of its fast-paced vibe and stylish interior design. They also offer pickup and delivery services if you’re too busy to stay.

Order some Cauliflower Dippers or Chicken Tenders to share before trying their BBQ Brisket Burger, Buddha Bowl, Cauliflower Po’Boy, or Taco Salad with steamed kale or seasonal soup. Don’t forget to treat yourself to their gluten-free Peanut Butter Parfait for a sweet send-off.


The Yasai

Multiple locations
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Are you in the mood for Japanese cuisine but can’t find any vegan alternatives? Then, book your next reservation at The Yasai. You can find it on India Street in Little Italy and Convoy Street in the Convoy District. This elegant and sleek restaurant offers a wide selection of plant-based entrees you can enjoy with your flavor-seeking friends.

In my opinion, you should try their Curry Ramen, No-Shrimp Tempura Roll, Triple Tomato Ramen, or Caterpillar Roll.

You can also order a specialty Omakase Bento Box to-go if you don’t have time to stay. I also recommend their chocolate or matcha ice cream if you’re in the mood for dessert.


Greenhaus Vegetarian Eatery

1118 Morena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: 619-446-6510
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One popular vegan restaurant people love hanging out at before watching a performance at Brick By Brick is Greenhaus Vegetarian Eatery, located on Morena Boulevard. Its cozy and warm atmosphere is an excellent option for anyone passing through the Morena District interested in quality vegan meals.

Greenhaus offers menu options that let you choose your dish’s protein, signature sauce, and two sides.

I recommend their Nirvana Burger, Naan Wrap, or Salad Box with a side of Fries or Garlic Naan. In addition, many of their menu options are gluten-free, so you don’t have to worry about finding a tasty meal for someone following specific dietary preferences.


The Purple Mint

6171 Mission Gorge Rd UNIT 118, San Diego, CA 92120
Phone: 619-280-3388
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If you stop by Mission Square Center, consider ordering your next vegan meal at The Purple Mint.

You can find it on Mission Gorge Road, a short distance from Grantville Neighborhood Park. This laidback restaurant prepares vegan dishes with an authentic Asian twist to give them as much flavor and texture as other restaurants’ non-vegan specialties.

I like starting with their Avocado Spring Rolls or Crispy Wontons before asking for their Yam & Sweet Potato Curry, Kung Pao “Chicken,” Eggplant & Tofu Delight, or “Prawns” in “Lobster” Sauce. I recommend trying these dishes with Dragon Eye Oolong Hot Tea, Young Coconut Juice, or Chrysanthemum Iced Tea.


Soulshine

3864 Mission Blvd, San Diego, CA 92109
Phone: 858-886-7252
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Can’t find a vegan restaurant by Mission Beach? Then, Soulshine on Mission Boulevard is your best option. It has a casual and airy atmosphere for enjoying San Diego’s warm oceanside view and healthier dining options. Additionally, since it opens early in the morning, you can also stop by for coffee and breakfast.

My favorite menu options are their Brioche Breakfast Sandwich, Daily Vegetable & Cheese Quiche, and Superfood Avocado Toast.

Feel free to ask about their rotating daily pastries if you crave something sweet at the start of your day. Don’t miss out on their matcha lemonade or lavender latte to quench your thirst with enticing flavors.


Veggilish

1146 7th Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-798-3381
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Last but not least on this list of the top vegan restaurants in San Diego is Veggilish, nestled on 7th Avenue, in the heart of the Downtown district.

This cozy and modern eatery is the best place to enjoy customizable veggie bowls made with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. They also offer free delivery for anyone living within one block away from them.

Veggilish’s seasonal lunch menu is gluten-free and suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets. During my visit to San Diego, I tried a Macro Nutrient Bowl with black beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, sesame ginger dressing, and Cotija cheese.


Final Thoughts

There are plenty of places around San Diego’s beaches for enjoying vegan menus that are just as enriching and full of flavor as their meatier international dining options. So, whether you’re finding somewhere to eat during the weekend or dining after a long day touring the city, you’re bound to find somewhere to enjoy.

Not interested in vegan dishes right now? Then, consider browsing through this list of San Diego’s top steakhouses.

Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!

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Written by Erin B.

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.