One of the many great attributes of the Bay Area is the diversity — as evidenced by its art, the people, and especially the food. The East Bay in particular is one of the leading regions in the dietary shift towards veganism and vegetarianism. This isn’t about simple garden burgers and fries anymore. These 10 restaurants serve revolutionary vegan specialties and treats that can’t be found anywhere else.
Just as the name implies, it’s impossible not to become addicted to the tasty treats of Berkeley’s Cinnaholic. The business has redesigned the classic cinnamon roll into a modern delicacy. The freshly baked rolls pair perfectly with the dozens of frosting flavors that are offered — and the long list of toppings, from fruit to nuts to chocolate, is even longer. Customers watch the cinnamon rolls being made right before their eyes. Everything sold in the store is vegan. Located across from the Berkeley campus, people come from miles around just to check it out.
Cinnaholic, 2131 Oxford St, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 647 8684
Mac and cheese isn’t just for kids anymore. Homeroom schools all of its guests on the many ways to enjoy this classic, simple meal. While the menu is full of famous combinations, you can also pick and choose what add-ins you would like – bacon for the meat-lovers, pineapple for the sweet tooth, vegan cheese for the vegans – the list of ingredients is endless. Each plate is customizable to fit any dietary need or flavor choice. The minimalist table settings pair perfectly with chalkboards and light blue walls.
Homeroom, 400 40th St, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 597 0400
This vegan Japanese grotto is a rare gem. With soups, sushi, tempura rolls, salads, and more, there is something for everybody to enjoy at Cha-Ya. The dishes served are detail-oriented, tasty, and fun to look at. The minimalist wooden tables and dining room offer a casual elegance that makes for a very friendly and uplifting atmosphere. Keep in mind that this place is cash only, so come prepared.
Cha-Ya, 1686 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 981 1213
Timeless Coffee Roasters
Cafe, Coffee Shop, Vegan, Vegetarian, none
Timeless Coffee Roasters
Timeless Coffee certainly offers the timeless feel of a coffee shop, but with an eclectic twist; all of the pastries and baked goods are vegan. The scones, truffles, and other sweets make it easy to enjoy these little treats without worrying about the ingredients. The coffee is local, and made several times a week in small batches to ensure the utmost freshness. Located in one of Oakland’s cute shopping districts with a small-town feel, Timeless Coffee is always bustling with happy faces and is a great addition to any day.
Timeless Coffee Roasters, 4252 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 985 1360
Bistro, Restaurant, Vegan, American, $$$
Sanctuary Bistro is like no other restaurant in the area. Its specialty is French bistro–like vegan cuisine, though the menu often changes to accommodate the freshest produce trends. The professional chef carefully crafts multi-course meals that are vegan, gluten-free, and delicious. Reservations are not required, but they are suggested for dinner time, as this is the busiest time. Food here is truly a lifestyle; the meals are treated as works of art, and the environmentally friendly dishes inspire compassionate living. Part of the profits are donated to local animal charities.
Sanctuary Bistro, 1019 Camelia St, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 558 3381
Cafe, Restaurant, Vegetarian, Vegan, $$$
Saturn Café welcomes you into its fun, whimsical environment. The bright pink walls and quirky design scheme make it impossible not to enjoy you meal here. Each table has its own decorative theme that makes each visit unique. The cafe offers a wide range of vegetarian and vegan choices, from burritos to burgers to nachos. The down-to-earth staff is extremely helpful and provides fast and thorough service. Make sure to stop by for the delicious brunch menu, too.
Saturn Café, 2175 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 845 8505
Another great option for both vegetarians and meat-eaters is Gather in Berkeley. Its upscale lunch and dinner menus use the freshest ingredients to bring the best to each plate. The menu changes daily, but there is always a fine selection of meat or vegetable dishes. Gather caters and is also known for its wonderful selection of wines. Right by Saturn Café and Cinnaholic, this is one of the fancier locations in the area. Reservations are available, but not required.
Gather, 2200 Oxford St, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 809 0400
Herbivore – The Earthly Grill
Restaurant, Vegan, none
Herbivore – The Earthly Grill
The light blue tower on Shattuck Avenue near the Downtown Berkeley BART Station will direct your attention to Herbivore, a fully vegan and vegetarian restaurant. Several types of food are offered, including pasta dishes, sandwiches, and Mexican food. The desserts and coffee are equally delicious. The ample seating area is well-lit with natural sunlight, and the environment is always friendly and calming. If you can’t get enough, check out Herbivore’s two San Francisco locations as well, which are listed on the website.
Herbivore, 2451 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 665 1675
Mealtimes are an important factor in the bonding of family and friends, and Souley Vegan is the very embodiment of this ideal. The soothing jazz music, community-style seating, and friendly staff make this place feel like home. The plates overflow with hearty portions of the most mouthwatering vegan soul food. The staff treats each guest like a member of the family — a refreshing feeling in the otherwise fast-paced Bay Area. Located only a few blocks from Oakland’s Jack London Square, you could easily make a fun day out of the dining experience.
Souley Vegan, 301 Broadway, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 922 1615
Flacos is a cozy taquería with lots of personality. Its authentic, vegan Mexican food has received lots of attention, especially the irresistible tamales and tacos. The colorful interior is a fine match for the friendliness found inside. As Flacos’s mission statement — ‘Feed la Revolución’ — implies, Flacos has the best vegan Mexican food around while also helping the planet and promoting health.
Flacos, 3031 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA, USA +1 510 981 8081