SF Bay Area vegetarian recs?

[Mod note: split from Dumpling Depot discussion]

Perhaps for a different topic, any recs for good vegetarian/ vegan spots in the South Bay, and around the Bay Area?

@sck The first to come to mind is Merit Vegetarian in Sunnyvale. I’ve been living in Tahoe for awhile and every time I’m away from the Bay Area, Merit is always the one that I miss most. Great consistency over the years and the only vegetarian pho I like. Love their golden and spring rolls and definitely try their House Claypot Fried Rice. Those are the dishes I regularly order. Some of their other stuff can be good too, but they are hit-or-miss given their large menu.

I haven’t been back to the bay area for awhile, so I’m in “re-discovery” mode. What are some of your picks for good vegetarian/vegan spots? and it doesn’t have to be a pure vegetarian restaurant, I’m game for anywhere that offers even 1 vegetarian dish! :smile: Thanks!

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Good to know. This is a restaurant that I previously wasn’t aware of.

I love this Buddhist temple. They have food for sale on Sundays. (and I think Saturdays too for the food they can prep ahead) They did great work on tofus and soups.

Not cooked, but the Sogo Tofu sells very good fresh tofu and tofu skin. They sell some round pastry with red bean filling near the wall behind the counter. Those are great. Forget about all the other flavors.

I also would like to suggest the South Indian scene in the South Bay, but my kids don’t eat spicy so my knowledge of thalis and the like are rather out of date. Someone please comment on the current scene. I remember quite fondly of the okra/ bhindi dish from Kabob and Currys in Santa Clara, though I haven’t eaten that dish for years. Couldn’t come close to duplicating it at home.

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@sck That’s really interesting. I haven’t heard of the EPA Buddhist temple. Thanks for sharing!

I’ll also have to check out Sogo Tofu.

Regarding South Indian, my husband and I just celebrated our anniversary at Rasa in Burlingame and it was amazing. http://rasaindian.com/ The prices were actually reasonable for 1 Michelin star.

We had the Bombay sliders first and they were so good:

I really loved the truffle dosa and wild mushroom uthappam. The Genovese basil dosa was excellent too. Only thing I’d nitpick about would be the dips that came with the dosas and uthappam we ordered were exactly the same. It would’ve been nice to have some variation, but I think we ordered more food than usual.

If you have a special occasion, I’d definitely check out Rasa. For a more casual experience, I love Vik’s Chaat in Berkeley. http://vikschaat.com/

Have a tastytime! :fork_and_knife:

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MWhile eating at Chua Giac Minh in East Palo Alto yesterday, I started chatting with a group of 3 vegetarians who are Chinese descendents who originally came from SE Asia. They all live in SF and the ‘ringleader’ brought the other two there to eat at the temple for the first time. I asked the ‘ringleader’ her favorite vegetarian spots in the Bay Area, and here’s what she gave me:

Vietnamese vegetarian:

  • Best of the Bay: Chua Giac Minh, East Palo Alto
  • Green Lotus, 1143 Story Rd, Ste 180 San Jose

Cantonese vegetarian:

  • Ming’s Diner, 2129 Taraval St, San Francisco, which KK wrote about.
  • Another place in Chinatown whose name unfortunately slipped my mind, but she said its not as good.

She seems to be quite a veggie-foodie- knows all about Chua Giac Minh, know all about the veggie and tofu places in San Jose…


Its been about a year since i went, but gracias madre was really amazing mexican. I remember the pozole was my favorite dish, we had also ordered some tacos and a few of the apps which were all great. Unfortunately i’m not in SF often but i can’t wait to return

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El Camino in Sunnyvale / Santa Clara has a lot of Indian restaurants. Some veg, most not, a fair amount of South Indian. Farther down you get to Korean, which have the tofu soups. A few Afghan, Persian, and Mediterranean places, all of which have veggie dishes. Falafel Drive-In.


Right. There are quite a number of e.g. thali places that are vegetarian. I’d venture a guess of at least a couple of dozens.

If you have tried these, I’d love to know what you think about them.

Didn’t know about it either. I’ve had Thai Brunch at the Berkeley Thai Buddhist Temple a couple of times years ago, and it was quite good, but it’s out of the way for me and the group that used to go there together long ago dissipated.

2 posts were split to a new topic: [SFBA] South Bay Indian/ Pakistani restaurants

Mmm… was it Lucky Creation on Washington street? Its been a while, but I always liked their seaweed wrapped sticky rice with bits of peanuts and carrots. That one tends to sell out pretty fast but their other curry and sweet and sour wheat glutens aren’t too bad.

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In addition to Gracias Madre’s normal lunch, they have a separate brunch menu now on weekends. The plantain pancakes come topped with a phenomenal cashew or coconut based “butter”, that has a hint of citrus. Mmm.

Veggie Lee is a cut above the other Chinese vegetarian/Buddhist restaurants I’ve tried.

I ate there twice and found Gracias Madre, disappointingly, to fit the worst stereotype of the vegetarian restaurant. I honestly cannot understand how people are talking about the same food.

Ha, the premise and food at their former restaurant, Cafe Gratitude, terrified me.

I find that the beans and cheeses alternatives at Gracias Madre are done well, and they use good masa for various dishes. But I do find a general sameness to several of their dishes.Their butternut squash in their tamales tastes steamed and flavorless (I prefer the butternut squash tamales at Primavera (sold at Whole Foods, vegetarian not vegan IIRC)). What didn’t you like about their food?

I’ve gone to Terra Cotta Warrior with vegetarians several times, and they’ve liked the selection of Shaanxi style (coincidentally) vegetarian dishes and noodles better than the tamer flavors of Buddhist Chinese vegetarian places in SF.

Hella Vegan Eats, which pops up throughout the Bay Area and has a more stable place in Oakland, has probably the best vegan drinking food I’ve had (tacos, burgers, etc.) http://hellaveganeats.com/hella-vegan-eats-1/

Kosher bakery Frena, in SoMa SF, has vegan jelly doughnuts, bagels, and their sweets and puff pastry goods can be made vegan upon request https://frenabakery.com

I thought everything was utterly lacking in flavor and most of it was like eating paper and cardboard. I was so excited to eat there, and I couldn’t believe it was so bad. Even the cocktails were flavorless.

We had an excellent lunch at cha-ya Japanese vegetarian in the mission yesterday. Everything we ordered was very good, the veg sushi was mediocre. Definitely lots of options and choices for vegetarians.

Lime tree on clement (and Irving also) has a fair number of vegetarian options. They also can sub tofu/veggies for some of their other dishes (specifically their murtabak where i think the veggie version is better!)


My family is from Vietnam (both northern and southern) and we are all omnivores. However, this vegetarian restaurant is my niece’s favorite restaurant. I haven’t eaten there but they’ve quickly grown to three locations now so they must be doing something right.