The Bay Area is renowned for its food scene. From its delectable Mexican dishes to a tasty emphasis in Asian cuisine, there’s no corner of Northern California that’s been untouched by tastiness. San Jose, California, has risen to the challenge like its neighbors and is home to some of the best vegetarian and vegan food in the state.
Just because you don’t eat animal products doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sip on delicious brews. Good Karma Artisan Ales and Café offers a rich blend of beers, from IPAs to Pilsners, that reflect the craft beer boom for which California is known. On the food menu, you’ll find locally sourced produce that’s used to create delicious salads, curries, and tofu-based dishes.
Arguably, vegetarian options are largely dominated by Asian cuisine. Eastern cultures have long practiced the art of creating hearty, nutritious meals with fresh vegetables and either rice or noodles. Green Lotus is no exception to this notion. The quaint restaurant in San Jose dishes up classic Vietnamese dishes with a vegetarian twist. The shop has a myriad of meat alternatives available, not to mention a plethora of spicy noodle soups that will warm up your body and spirit.
The Happy Hooligans describe their offerings as “vegan comfort food.” From spicy soy “drumsticks” to “bacon, ranch, cheese” fries, you’ll find all the fixings that made you reconsider your plant-based lifestyle back in the day. Except, all of these food items are completely sustainable and still delicious. Feast on “burgers,” “fish ‘n’ chips,” and more recipes you’d look for at a diner.
Bringing together a mix of North American, Asian, European, and Middle Eastern cuisine, Vegetarian House truly has something for everyone. Chow down on fragrant curries and noodle soups or graze on a mighty mango salad followed by a soy-protein kabob.
Have you ever had a vegan pig in a blanket? If not, get thee to Happiness Cafe! The tasty café offers a hodgepodge of menu items for when you just can’t decide between mashed potatoes and a vegan BLT or vegan fettuccine alfredo.
People love Veggie Grill so much that the restaurant has been able to open over 30 locations in just 10 years. Find out what all the fuss is about at the Santana Row location or San Jose’s Westgate Center. The chain provides a healthy spin on fast-casual food, dishing up imaginative veggie burgers and spicy “chick’n” buffalo strips.
The only thing better than delicious vegetarian cuisine is being able to eat it buffet style. Do precisely that at Veg Nation Indian Restaurant in Santa Clara. Choose from a variety of Indian-, Chinese-, and Nepalese-inspired vegetable-based dishes, and make sure to wear your favorite pair of sweatpants for ultimate consumption levels.
Mint & Basil feels clean and inviting as soon as you enter. The casual restaurant located in San Jose’s Milpitas neighborhood specializes in Vietnamese, Thai, and Malaysian cuisines. Bring a friend along so you can sample the restaurant’s signature autumn rolls, Malaysian noodles, and maybe even a mushroom hotpot to share.
One trip to Curry Up Now and you will become a regular customer—guaranteed. The concept began as a food truck and slowly expanded into restaurants throughout the Bay Area. The restaurant combines the best flavors and recipes from Mexican and Indian cuisine, resulting in delicious concoctions like a tikka masala burrito and a rice and bean-filled samosa. Though there are tons of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, Curry Up Now serves meat dishes as well, which makes it a perfect compromise for you and the special omnivore in your life.
Diner, Restaurant, Mediterranean, American, Fast Food, $$$
Ask any San Jose local where the best stop is to get your Mediterranean food fix, and they’ll respond “Falafel Drive-In.” The small restaurant has been operating for 50 years, and it still attracts hordes of customers. Order a falafel wrap with a side of hummus and tabouleh, and don’t forget to complete your meal with one of the shop’s famous banana milkshakes. In addition to serving scrumptious vegetarian food, Falafel Drive-In also serves some meat-based dishes, so be sure to clarify with an employee before placing your order.