Plant-based diets are trending, and it's not hard to see why.
Eating less meat is said to be healthier, cheaper and better for the planet. In fact, a study that followed 2,461 men over 22 years revealed that the higher the ratio of meat protein to plant protein, the greater the risk for early death.
Even large chains are picking up the trend. Burger King, a restaurant built around beef, now offers the Impossible Burger. As more restaurants add vegan options, vegans can enjoy an even larger variety of tasty food.
San Francisco is a mecca for great food, coffee, wine and in general, a unique dining-out experience. So, it's no surprise that you can find amazing and creative vegan food choices. Whether you live in San Francisco or are just visiting, here are some fantastic vegan restaurants you must try.
Where: 2000 Union St., San Francisco, CA 94123
Wildseed is a trendy and elegant restaurant serving delicious vegetarian dishes inspired by global flavors. Favorites include tropical chia seed pudding, Mexican corn cakes, wood-grilled artichokes and delicious roasted brussels sprouts. Wildseed also has a cocktail bar that adorns its drinks elegantly.
Where: 370 14th St., San Francisco, CA 94103
Sounds odd, but Shizen is a vegan sushi bar and izakaya, so that means delicious sushi without the fish. Traditionally, sushi is actually about the rice, not fish. Here, you can order sushi made from many delicious fruits and vegetables, such as avocado, eggplant, okra, corn and tomato. Try The Candlestick, one of their specialty sushi, which arrives at your table on fire.
Shizen often has long lines but you can make reservations on their site. Shizen opens for dinner every night at 5 p.m.
Where: 301 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
While Souley Vegan isn't located in San Francisco, it's worth the trek to Oakland, which is just a short ride away across the Bay Bridge.
Souley Vegan is one of Oakland's premier vegan Southern-style restaurants. You can find delicious, crispy chicken made from seitan, shrimp and grits, creamy mac-and-cheese, as well as strawberry ginger lemonade.
Get there on Sunday morning for brunch and bottomless mimosas.
Where: 1977 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123 and 1323 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
As an American-style deli, Vegan Picnic specializes in 100 percent plant-based sandwiches, with gluten-free options. Favorites include their breakfast burrito, chicken sandwiches and burgers. Patrons also strongly suggest trying their vegan doughnuts.
Vegan Picnic also delivers through Grubhub.
Where: 2211 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94123
Before you even step through the doors of Gracias Madre, you'll be inhaling the decadent, rich, Mexican flavors and aromas. Gracias Madre offers many of your Mexican favorites but with a healthy, vegan twist.
Try their signature chimichanga and their butternut squash quesadilla. They serve brunch, lunch and dinner.
Where: 2 Marina Boulevard, Fort Mason, Building A, San Francisco, CA 94123
If you like high-quality ingredients and are wowed by restaurants landing regularly in top food publications, check out Greens Restaurants. They're recognized as a top 100 Bay Area Restaurant, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and can be found in Zagat as a Michelin Guide recommendation.
The main dishes include masala curry, as well as a roasted green gulch broccoli pizza. Try it with a refreshing heirloom tomato appetizer.
The restaurant overlooks the Golden Gate Bridge and serves excellent cocktails.
Where: 1298 Market St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Ananda Furara's flavors are so savory, even meat-eaters express their desire to keep coming back for more. Much of their cooking comes from an Indian philosophy of wellness, spirituality and mindfulness, meaning that their cuisine is entirely satisfying.
Bring the kiddos and order their juicy and crispy “chicken" nuggets. Or try their “Neatloaf," which is moist and flavorful.
Where: 524 Irving St., San Francisco, CA 94122
Rated the best vegan restaurant in San Francisco two years in a row by Best Business, they serve tasty, inexpensive Chinese food. Patrons sing their praises for Loving Hut's delicious spring rolls and crispy mushrooms, which are chewy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Where: 762 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Cha-Ya is a vegan Japanese restaurant. Like most Japanese food, Cha-Ya's food is light and delicate. Instead of using wheat-based “meats" and dairy-free cheeses, the food highlights vegetables, tofu, rice and noodles. Note: It's cash only.
Where: 1954 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704
Technically, this isn't in San Francisco, but it's a short BART ride away in Berkeley. Despite serving an incredible meatball sandwich, everything at this Berkeley delicatessen is vegan. All the meat sandwiches are plant-based versions, including their BLT and Chicken Parmesan. The fried mozzarella sticks are a fan favorite.
The best part of The Butcher's Son is the wide variety of options for desserts. Their vegan cannolis are an absolute must!