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My Top 11 Healthy Vegan-Friendly Cafes and Restaurants In San Francisco

There are periods in my life when I am just too exhausted to cook, make smoothies, and love to eat out. And I try my best to dine at healthy vegan-friendly restaurants in San Francisco. Even though I eat fish, in rare occasions, I am mostly whole foods, plant-based vegan (I try not to label myself if I can)

And I love savouring healthy and tasty meals made by creative chefs and restaurant staff who are passionate about wellness and food. Instead of worrying about the ingredients in my food, I like to know that I can trust what I put in my body, even if it is made in a restaurant. I enjoy healthy vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants in San Francisco.

While I have my favourite picks in Hong Kong, when I’m in SF, I usually go to the spots below, and #1 – #5 are my favourite joints (so far). I’ve also included my favourite dishes at these restaurants. If you’re a local or just visiting SF, you may find the tips below useful.

I will try my best to update this “healthy vegan-friendly restaurants in San Francisco” list as restaurants can change, and quality of foods restaurants offer may change too.

As a disclaimer, I’m not paid to write this article; the opinions below are my own. And yes my opinions may change in the next few months/years as I tend to change quite fast as a person 🙂

Top 11 Whole Foods Plant Based Healthy, Vegan-Friendly Restaurants in San Francisco:

#1: Urban Remedy – Best Living Foods (Salad + Zucchini Chips)

Source: Urban Remedy

Urban Remedy is one of the cleanest cafes out there. I really like their salads as well as their dehydrated zucchini chips (even my omnivorous friends love the chips). Their other dehydrated offerings such as chive kale chips, sprouted almonds are also tasty.

I also like their fresh juices (particularly the ones in glass bottles, not plastic) and their tinctures (especially in the flu season), which can include ingredients like probiotics, E3-live, adaptogens like astralagus, echinacea, and milk-thistle (helps with our liver!).

I used to love their Cacao Chip Protein Bar (still do), but have decided to cut back on them because chocolate can still be quite “heating” and I prefer more “cooling” foods (in Chinese medicine terms).

And don’t overlook their lemonade with chlorophyll – one of my favourite drinks there.

#2: Juice Shop – Best Juices + Cold Brew Coffee

Source: Juice Shop

I’d say Juice Shop probably offers the freshest juice I’ve tasted in San Francisco. Their juices are delicious.

I love their Bright Green and turmeric raw elixir, especially when I’m about to get sick/or flu is around.

Their cold brew coffee is also delicious – made with organic coffee beans, coconut nectar, and sprouted almond milk. These ingredients are very clean.

I don’t think you can go wrong with their juices.

#3: Project Juice – Best Acai Bowl 

Source: Project Juice

Love Project Juice’s acai bowl. I love their superfood one made with acai berries, blueberries and bananas.

The consistency of the bowl is smooth, and not icy – very much like icecream. I also like that the bowl is cold when served, and it quenches my thirst and satiates my sweet tooth. Also, other acai bowls I’ve tried are either too icy, too warm, or something is wrong with consistency / taste. And I’d say Project Juice have got their acai bowl formula right.

Pair the acai mix with local honey and their home made granola, you’ve got a winner.

I also quite like their warm vegan soup; its flavor changes quite often.

#4: Blue Barn Salad – Best Salad 

I love the salad at Blue Barn. Locally sourced, fresh, organic ingredients. And their bowls are hearty and filling. I usually order the U-Pick salads – I get to choose my ingredients.

I’d tried other salad places in SF, and so far, I like Blue Barn the most.

#5: Seed + Salt Best Gluten Free Toast / Crostini & Collard Wrap Sandwiches

Source: Seed + Salt

I enjoy going to this gluten-free vegan cafe in the Marina. The food is free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and trans fats.

I particularly like their gluten-free chia crostini bread (get the almond butter with chia seed jam, and sprinkle that with coconut sugar as a sweet treat, or their mushroom walnut pate as a savoury one).

Their S&S burger along with their pimenton mayo is also tasty.

I’d recommend Seed + Salt for their heated dishes /drinks also – their Zucchini Spaghetti, hot cacao, and seasonal soup are also great for cold SF weather.

#6: Pena Pechachamama – Best Kale Chips

This restaurant serves  healthy Bolivian food with Latin dance shows. They have a raw vegan and cooked vegan menu. I’d say their kale chips are the best I’ve tried so far, especially when they are warm, straight from the dehydrator at the restaurant.

#7: Judahlicious – Healthiest Vegan Icecream

Located close to the waterfront in Ocean Beach, I love that they have a raw and cooked veggie selection. They are vegetarian. Their food is usually made with clean ingredients and healthy.

The ice-cream sold there has very clean ingredients (fresh strawberries, cashews, coconut nectar, etc). Caveat is – you have to wait 30 minutes before indulging in their ice-cream because their ice-cream can be very icy/terribly cold.

#8: Gracias Madre – Healthiest Mexican Restaurant

Source: Gracias Madre

Gracias Madre, a plant-based Mexican restaurant, is located in the Mission district. You’ll instantly feel the elegant and artistic senses of Mexico the moment you walk into the restaurant.

Gracias Madre serves organic, farm fresh, and locally sourced food. The restaurant offers customers a meat- and dairy-free version of Mexican foods such as guacamole, enchiladas, and tacos. I love their cashew cream/cashew cheese, a healthier alternative to dairy cheese.

I enjoyed their quesadillas. That being said, I’m not a big fan of Mexican food. I also like the location in LA better. And, some of their foods, like their chips, can be deep fried too… so I try to avoid those.

#9: Cha-Ya- Best Macrobiotic Food

Their soba salad, broiled eggplant with miso sauce is the best I’ve tried in their menu. I didn’t like their sushi or other dishes that much, but those two are worth the try, especially since the vegetables are only lightly cooked, and the dishes are not oily at all. The texture, taste, and pairing of the ingredients make these two dishes stand out.

Their miso soup is also worth trying.

I’d skip their deep fried tofu and other dishes. They do have plenty of healthy options though.

#10: Shizen – Best Vegan Japanese Food

Source: HappyCow

Delicious vegan Japanese restaurant. Like their sushi (not the deep dried ones), and some of their small plates – their marinated kale –  are delicious.

I’d skip their deep fried sushi and starters as they can be quite oily and unhealthy. But they do have plenty of healthy options to choose from.

#11: Golden Era – Best Vegan Pho

Lots of vegan Vietnamese/Thai/Asian foods to choose from – this restaurant is vegan. I particularly like their vegan pho and soups.

I’d skip their deep fried dishes. They do have plenty of healthy options though.

 healthy vegan-friendly restaurants in San Francisco

Others (and why I did not include a few of the vegetarian/vegan restaurants in the list above):

Slanted Door (Not Vegan or Plant-Based) – Best Vegan Rice Paper Roll 

While Slanted Door is not a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, their vegetarian rice paper roll is the best I’ve had in SF.  The flavour is exotic and just right. I have tried many vegan rice paper rolls at vegan/vegetarians places (even ones I’ve listed on this list) and Slanted Door has beaten all of them.

I usually order the rice paper roll without the tofu cause the tofu is deep fried.

Also, Slanted Door is located in the Ferry Building with a gorgeous view of the Bay. You can’t beat that atmosphere. So if you’re sharing a meal with an omnivorous friend, you may want to consider Slanted Door.

Sweet Greens / Mixt

Their salads uses local and organic ingredients. I quite like their salads. But I prefer Blue Barn over them, at this point, though this may change.

Greens Restaurant

Located in Fort Mason, this vegetarian restaurant offers a beautiful view of the Bay. Food is decent though I felt that the food could be healthier.

Thai Idea Vegetarian

This restaurant serves vegetarian thai food. I am not a big fan because I thought their food was quite processed and oily.

What did you think of my “healthy vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants in San Francisco” list? Anything else to add? Leave a comment!

healthy vegan-friendly restaurants in San Francisco