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4 San Francisco Vegetarian Restaurants with Delicious Ambience

Updated on October 30, 2012

It isn't tough to find vegetarian food in San Francisco. There are entire restaurants devoted to it. And, of course, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on most restaurants menus throughout the city. However, there are a few San Francisco vegetarian restaurants that stand out above the rest. It's not just that their food is great (although it is). It's also that they have a cool atmosphere that's fun to enjoy when you dine out at these spots. This article discusses four of them: Cafe Gratitude, Beautifull, Loving Hut and Golden Era.

show route and directions
A markerCafe Gratitude -
2400 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
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Vegetarian food served with affirmations to make you feel good!

B markerBeautifull -
3401 California St, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
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Vegetarian food that is free of hormones, antibiotics and other nasty stuff. This is food you can feel good about!

C markerLoving Hut -
1365 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
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Vegetarian Asian dishes in a brightly lit spot in Chinatown.

D markerGolden Era Vegetarian Restaurant -
572 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA
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Another Asian food choice. This one's more of a hole-in-the-wall with the kind of surprising vegetarian food that makes your tastes buds happy.

Cafe Gratitude

When you order the delicious vegetarian fare off of the menu at Cafe Gratitude, you don't order a simple salad or vegetarian lasagna. Instead, you order the "I Am Fulfilled" large cafe salad or the "I Am Fabulous" seasonal lasagna. When the order comes out to you, your plate of food is often served with a confirmation from the waiter that "you are fulfilled" or "you are fabulous". The purpose is to allow you to use affirmation to feel a sense of abundance in your life while you enjoy your meal.

In addition to this, you'll find that there are several other unique facets to the ordering and eating process at Cafe Gratitude. These include:

  • Communal dining. You are often seated at large tables with other people that you do not know. You can meet them and enjoy random conversation in a community dining setting that you don't get to experience much in modern restaurants.
  • Your server may ask you the question of the day. They often have a question that gives you pause for thought. Don't worry; you aren't on the spot. There's no obligation to answer the question (although you may). Instead, you can think about it or you can use it as an icebreaker to launch some fascinating conversation at your table.
  • There are many affirmative items for viewing and purchase in one area of the restaurant. There's even an abundance board game that you might want to buy and play at your table.

The ambience of Cafe Gratitude admittedly takes a little bit of getting used to. It's not what your normally experience when you go to dine out. However, if you're willing to be open and accepting then this experience might be something that you really enjoy.

Plus there's some green stuff that you might be happy to support include:

  • Water is filtered on site. All of the food is organic.
  • Food scraps are saved. Many are sent to the Be Love Farm in nearby Vacaville.
  • When the cloth napkins here become too ragged to use they are sent off for a second life as rags for the auto industry.
  • They use recycled inks and they recycle things like paper and cardboard.

In addition to the San Francisco locations, Cafe Gratitude has locations in Berkeley, San Rafael, Oakland, Healdsburg and Cupertino.


This is a fairly new San Francisco restaurant that opened in early 2009. They have fairly simple foods that are super tasty. Their menu consists of terrific soups, salads, sandwiches and some great entrees. The main thing to know about this restaurant is that they have organic vegetarian food but they also have a few meat choices that tend to be acceptable to vegetarians. Although you may not eat these foods as a vegetarian, you can feel good about the fact that the meat that is served here is free of hormones, steroids and antibiotics. Their food is low-glycemic, nutrient rich and fiber rich.

What I really love here are the vegetarian soups that they offer. Their tomato basil soup is a top choice but they also offer carrot ginger soup and butterbean and garlic soup. Yum! Their Indian vegetable curry bowl, polenta fries, whole grain mac and cheese and butter bean tagine are also good. 

The ambience here is interesting and admittedly won't appeal to all vegetarians. It's a place that seems a bit like it belongs in a mall or as one of those FiDi pop-up places that never stay open long. It's like upscale fast food. But I like the fact that you can just pop in and order simple healthy food for lunch or a snack.

The location that I've marked on the map is the one in Laurel Heights since that's the one that I am familiar with. However, there is another Beautifull location in San Francisco's Inner Sunset neighborhood.

Loving Hut

Loving Hut is a fascinating little place located on the edge of Chinatown in San Francisco. In many ways it's like a typical Asian lunch buffet from another city where you go in, get your cheap lunch plate and select your food from a buffet-style bar. It's brightly lit and there's cakes on display at the front of the room where there's also a television usually playing something on the Chinese channel. There is vegetarian literature papering one entire outside wall, sprinkled throughout the super extensive menu and stuffed into pamphlets that you can pick up and take with you.

It's the oddity here that really produces great ambience. This is a great tasting Chinese food but it's a spot that is so incredibly incongruous with much of the rest of Chinatown. People walk by the window with dead pigs on their backs and yet this place is all about the vegan fare. It's a bit like a diner but not at all like the traditional hole-in-the-wall dive of Chinatown. It's just plain different and that makes it interesting

Of course, it's the food that really matters and the food here is super delicious. I highly recommend their great version of hot and sour soup which comes in a great steaming bowl. I've never had an entree here that I didn't like. And it's a great place for the type of vegetarian who enjoys meals made with fake meat because it's not just faux chicken and beef offered here; you can even get surprisingly good fake fish!

In addition to the Chinatown location, Loving Hut offer a limited menu at a location in the food court of the Westfield Mall.

Golden Era Vegetarian Restaurant

This is more of a traditional Chinese restaurant than Loving Hot us but it's vegetarian-only. It's more upscale although not super fancy. I suppose I like the incongruity here as well since it's a fairly nice place for its location in the Tenderloin. You walk into a small dark doorway to get there but then inside you find a beautifully decorated Asian restaurant. It's not fancy, per se ... just nice.

The menu here is terrific. They, too, offer a soy fish option that gives an authentic flavor to many of their dishes. The dishes are healthy and made well. It frequently receives local awards. And one of the best compliments that you'll see it receives often is that meat eaters praise its great filling vegetarian food.


Submit a Comment

  • LillyGrillzit profile image

    Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

    Very nice Hub! You have probably increased business for these restaurants, you did a good job on the layout and all.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile image

    Liz Elias 7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hmm...these must all be new since I moved from The City.

    Is Greens no longer in existence? It used to be out at Fort Mason...and was mainly known for being quite pricey. I never could afford to eat there!

  • profile image

    TopUniverse 7 years ago

    Now I know that why these San Francisco vegetarian restaurants stand out from the rest.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

    Gosh... as a vegetarian working in San Francisco, I feel like a complete failure for having visited NONE of these places yet! Thanks for mapping them out- now I'll know how to get there super fast!

  • jcales profile image

    jcales 7 years ago

    tomato basil soup sounds really good. the restaurant "Beautiful" sounds like a good place - free of hormones and antibiotics

  • irenemaria profile image

    irenemaria 7 years ago from Sweden

    Wish I one day can try out your suggestions.