Berkeley restaurants

The Ultimate California Vegan Road Trip

If the urge to travel is running through your vegan veins, the ultimate California road trip is probably high on your to-do list. This route takes you from San Diego to San Francisco, munching on purple taquitos in Costa Mesa, digging into a popcorn-topped macaroni and cheese in Santa Barbara, and holding on tight to a Po’Boy of BBQ-fried shrimp. on Dutch Crispbread in Oakland. Don’t be so surprised, the Golden State does a lot more than $ 16 avocado toast. Fasten your seat belt and set up your Google Maps to navigate the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. California is calling.

San Diego

San Diego’s restaurant scene is very diverse, including sushi, vegan versions of fast food classics, rustic comfort foods, and more to start that indulgent road trip.

Donna John

Donna John

With a rich menu of risotto, pizza, breakfast calzones, and hand-made pasta, it’s no surprise that Donna Jean is one of San Diego’s best vegan restaurants. Carbohydrates dominate this cuisine – from cast iron mac and cheese to the impossible to resist homemade bread and butter – but saving room for the crispy hot mushrooms (Nashville-style fried oyster mushrooms) and delicious tartare is highly recommended. beets. Pro tip: don’t skip dessert.
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If you like your vegan brunch with a punk metal twist, then Kindred is the place for you. The vibe is a hardcore juxtaposition of shameless pink walls accented with a four-eyed wolf sculpture and skull decor. Bánh mì savory French toast sticks (Crusties) and a fried breakfast sausage sandwich (The Forenoon) are two favorite local dishes that pair beautifully with one of the restaurant’s many brunches.
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Other outstanding restaurants in San Diego County include The Plot in Oceanside, Civico 1845 (multiple locations), Trilogoy Sanctuary in La Jolla, Tribute Pizza in North Park, Split Bakehouse in La Mesa, Maya’s Cookies and Spoiled Vegans in San Diego and The Yesai (multiple locations).

Orange County

Orange County is dotted with exceptional vegan restaurants and hidden gems. If you have to make a short visit, Camp and LAB Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa is where you’ll find a cluster of vegan restaurants and cool shops to entertain you between meals.

VegNews.GoodtowndonutsGood donuts in town

Good donuts in town

Next door to Seabirds Kitchen, Good Town Donuts offers brioche-style donuts (about half are vegan). Enticing flavors include mango and coconut, lemon poppy seeds, matcha, chocolate strawberry and more. When you’re struck by the indecision, opt for the prepackaged vegan assortment box which includes six adorable miniature donuts in the store’s best-selling flavors.
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VegNews.SeabirdsSeabird cuisine

Seabird cuisine

Seabirds Kitchen is an ideal stopover for those who fancy a taste of fresh California cuisine. Take a seat on the terrace for brunch and savor the sweet and savory Porque Maria – the Seabird version of a Monte Cristo sandwich – to savor between sips and bites of a fried Birdy Mary topped with pickles (the restaurant’s version of a Bloody Mary). At night, this patio turns on the twinkling lights as guests munch on crisp purple taquitos, Avo Battered beer tacos, and a controversial yet mouth-watering Beets Me Burger topped with almond butter. Local tip: If you’re having dinner for two or more, divide the Chaffle for dessert. This waffle churro sundae is the perfect dish.
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Other notable stops in Orange County include Kenshō Vegan Sushi (various locations), Munchie’s Diner, Naughty Vegan and Soy Concha in Santa Ana, Vegan by El Zamorano in Costa Mesa, Freesoulcaffe in Tustin, Gracias Madre in Newport Beach and The Stand in Laguna beach.

Los Angeles

With a city as sprawling and progressive as Los Angeles, there are organized vegan restaurant guides for every neighborhood. When LA is just a detour in a long list of coastal California cities, stick to the established spots in Venice and Santa Monica to avoid the inevitable traffic through the city.

VegNews.ErinMckennas@Spiralglue / Instagram

Erin McKenna’s Bakery

Erin McKenna’s pioneering bi-coastal bakery makes something sweet and savory for everyone, regardless of food preferences or food sensitivities. Everything on the menu is gluten, dairy, egg and soy free. Locals have been visiting this hot pink storefront for years and still struggle to decide what to buy – everything is deliciously good. At the top of the list is a slice of cinnamon cake, a crunchy coffee donut, tasty veggie bombs and the Bakery Sink dessert mug, a 16-ounce mug filled with pieces of cake and various flavored donuts.
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VegNews.PFWVegetable food and wine

Vegetable food and wine

Three words: cacio e pepe. Celebrity Chef Matthew Kenney produces a fabulous vegan reinvention of this classic Italian dish with sweet kelp noodles dressed in an umami-rich cashew cheese sauce infused with black pepper and livened up with fresh spring peas. Every item on the menu is precisely and expertly prepared – you’ll want to plan a handful of dishes to sample the culinary skills of this haute cuisine. It’s definitely top of the line, but well worth it.
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Other stellar stops in Los Angeles include Magpies Soft Serve (various locations), Pura Vita Pizzeria in West Hollywood, Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, Flore in Silver Lake, Ladurée in Beverly Hills, Rahel’s in Little Ethiopia, El Cocinero in Sherman Oaks and Monty’s Good Burger (various locations).

Santa barbara

Santa Barbara’s food scene relies heavily on tourism, which means there are more bistros and fancy restaurants than quick, casual eateries. There are only a handful of fully vegan restaurants in Santa Barbara, but the few that do exist are quite memorable.

VegNews.MesaVerdeMesa Verde

Mesa Verde

This all-vegan restaurant offers fresh California cuisine. The menu favors vegetables over alternative vegan meat options, showcasing seasonal produce and turning mushrooms and jackfruit into meaty chorizo ​​and hearty handfuls. Favorites include squash blossom quesadillas, Picadillo empanadas, and loaded polenta fries.
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The Satellite’s menu is vegetarian and changes regularly, but you can still find plenty of clearly labeled vegan options. Dip into the yoga pants salad or rip up the garlic cast iron focaccia while sipping one of the fabulous wines on offer. Note: the restaurant also acts as a wine merchant, so buy a few bottles for the road (when you arrive at your next destination, of course).
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Other big stops would be Oliver’s, The Natural Cafe, Fala Bar in Santa Barbara, Bliss Cafe and Ziggy’s in San Luis Obispo, and Shine Cafe in Morro Bay.


Although small in population and size, Monterey is a must-see on a Golden State coastal tour. It’s not a massive vegan hub like Los Angeles or Orange County, but there are plenty of vegan-friendly places to support your beach and hiking activities. Check these two out the next time you’re up North.

VegNews.ElCantaro@glitteryotters / Instagram

El Cantaro

El Cantaro offers quality vegan cuisine for excellent value for money. For the same price as two Chipotle burritos, you can feed two people a large combination plate and a few sides. This works in favor of the budget-conscious traveler, as you’ll want to try all of the vegan options on the menu. Start with the vegan taquitos, try the mushroom quesadilla, and end the meal with fried plantains served with dairy-free ice cream.
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For an evening of live music and great vegan cuisine, Julia’s is the place to be. The menu is vegetarian, but most of the dishes are vegan or can be made vegan (more often with substitutions than omission). Pro tip: Happy hour starts at 8 p.m. and lasts all night. Take advantage of the late night specials and receive a free vegan tamale when you order a drink!
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Other stops in Monterey and on the way to the Bay Area include Saffron Cafe, Central Coast Juicery in Pacific Grove, Pretty Good Advice in Soquel, and Zachary’s and Veg on the Edge in Santa Cruz.

Bay area

You could spend a month in the Bay Area and have even more to see and eat. However, if you only have a few days left, stick with the vegan highlights of San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley for a plant-based taste of the bay.


Shizen vegan sushi bar

Shizen is a very popular vegan sushi and izakaya bar featuring the fusion of avant-garde Japanese and Californian cuisine. Expect pristine vegan nigiri, intricate sushi rolls, and a wide array of grilled, braised, and fried vegetable dishes.
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VegNews.TimelessCafeTimeless roasters

Timeless roasters and bakery

Timeless Coffee is a vegan bakery and coffee roast that has all the essentials to start your day. Whether you crave a blueberry scone sprinkled with powdered sugar or a tasty frittata without eggs, Timeless Coffee will serve it with a great cup of coffee or a dairy-free latte.
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VegNews.ThebutchersonThe butcher’s son

The butcher’s son

The brother and sister duo who own this vegan grocery store wanted to provide their community with nostalgic comfort food without any animal ingredients. The wide array of options includes monstrous meat and cheese sandwiches, a la carte deli sides, and homemade sweets. Make sure you get there early as this place closes at 3pm on weekdays and 4pm on weekends.
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Other big stops in San Francisco include Wildseed, BAIA, Vegan Picnic, Gracias Madre, and Nourish Cafe. In Oakland, try Souley Vegan, Eternal, Bare Knuckle Pizza, Malibu’s Burgers, and Millennium. In Berkeley, visit Cha-Ya, Kaffa Ethiopian Cuisine, and Stand-Up Burgers. Outside of these towns, check out the Backward Roasters in Sevastopol, Amy’s Drive Thru (multiple locations), and Blossom Vegan in Pleasanton.

We hope this ultimate California road trip inspires you to try new dishes, support small businesses, and explore new horizons. Have a good vegan trip!

Brianne Nemiroff is the co-founder of a vegan travel site, It’s Bree and Ben, as well as the specialist in the supply of products for Kinder Beauty.

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