California’s healthy, eco-friendly mentality is so prevalent that it spreads to practically every aspect of the lives of its residents, so it’s no surprise that some of the best vegetarian restaurants in the country can be found in this sunny state. If you want your plate to be filled with healthy, meat-free options, check out these vegetarian restaurants in California.
Formed in 1970, Rutabegorz was a small “hippie joint” that only served coffee and desserts. Since then, it has grown into one of California’s most popular health-conscious restaurant chains. Now, with three locations to serve local vegetarians, vegans and health nuts, Rutabegorz serves good, fresh food at decent prices. The Orange location is quaint and cozy, in a converted old house, and the menu is massive, but locals swear by the Southwest Quinoa Bowl, chock full of fresh vegetables. Or, try the Peasant Mushrooms, a hearty creation featuring mushrooms stuffed with a vegetable medley of zucchini, bell pepper and carrots, topped with melted cheese.
Where: 264 North Glassell St., Orange, CA 92866
Intimate and elegant, Elf Café is perfect for a special occasion dinner for those who enjoy vegetarian cuisine. The menu is heavily influenced by Mediterranean culture, with offerings like the Vegan Shwarma Sandwich, Spicy Moroccan Kale Salad and Moroccan VegetableTagine. Make sure to make reservations in advance, as this popular spot can fill up on nights and weekends.
Where: 2135 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
Evolution Fast Food
If you’re looking for good, healthy food fast, check out Evolution Fast Food. The concept of a gourmet fast food place may be foreign to you, but we can guarantee that you’ve probably never seen a gourmet vegetarian fast food restaurant. Evolution offers a selection of gourmet burgers, wraps, sandwiches, fries, smoothies, shakes and desserts made with no animal ingredients, refined sweeteners or artificial flavors. Additionally, the restaurant is plastic-free, as all containers and utensils are made from non-bleached paper or biodegradable food starch.
Where: 2965 5th Ave., San Diego, CA 92103
This little hole in the wall Asian fusion restaurant is a little out of the way for centrally located Sacramento residents, but it’s worth the drive. Primarily drawing its inspiration from Vietnamese cuisine, Noble Vegetarian is known for its faux meats in standout dishes like Orange Vegken, Roti Drumstick and Ruby Pearls. The mock chicken, beef and pork is so delicious and convincing that even those of the carnivorous persuasion sing its praises. Make to save room for a slice of their Vegan Sheese Cake – you won’t even miss the dairy.
Where: 5049 College Oak Drive, Sacramento, CA 95841
Known as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in San Francisco, Source believes in serving hand-selected, quality organic food, with a menu comprised of vegan and vegetarian handcrafted sandwiches on freshly baked bread, healthful salads brimming with delicious ingredients, unique casseroles and hearty brick oven pizzas. If you’re on a raw diet, choose offerings like the Live Lettuce Taco or the Live Platter, featuring hemp tabouli, marinated mushrooms, green goddess salad, lettuce tacos and living chips.
Where: 11 Division St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Photo credit: iStockphoto/Ildi_Papp