The Best Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in Oakland
From Chinese and Vietnamese to soul food, bbq, Ethiopian, and more, here are the best spots to grab a meatless meal in Oakland.
Always expansive and diverse, Oakland’s dining scene has become even more exciting as a crop of vegan and vegetarian restaurants have opened in recent years, offering cuisines that range from soul food to Chinese to Ethiopian to Italian and more—all adapted to fit plant-based diets. While there are plenty of worthwhile omnivore-friendly restaurants in the city, this list focuses on those that have eliminated meat without sacrificing flavor and are sure to impress even the most staunch of carnivores. Spanning Vietnamese to Creole cuisine, a sourdough pizza spot, and fabulous farm-to-table options, here are the best vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Oakland.
The macrobiotic fare at this spot is a go-to for anyone looking for a cleansing, healthy meal that feels like it would be served at a restorative retreat. The daily-changing menu includes a grain, soup, salad, and two vegetables—perfect for anyone who wants to avoid decisions while ordering up a filling meal. There are also desserts, including Key Lime and Coconut Milk pie, as well as kombucha in flavors like Watermelon Basil, Strawberry Mint, and Hibiscus Flower. Shangri-La has two locations; one on Telegraph Ave and another on Linden St.
How to order: Walk in or order takeout by calling 510-547-1842 or delivery via UberEats.
This cooperatively-run bakery and sourdough crust pizza shop needs no introduction to locals, but one doesn’t always think of it as a vegetarian spot. However, the rotating daily pizza is always vegetarian, including specials with roasted yukon gold potatoes, baby kale, fontina, pecorino, and parmesan. But don’t just pick up a pie, make sure to get a Cherry Scone, Chocolate Chip Cookie, and Morning Bun as well. Arizmendi has several locations in the Bay Area, with varying menus. The bakery also sells a daily vegan pizza pie; it’s best to order online and set up a pickup time.
How to order: Walk up or order takeout online.
Lion Dance Cafe
This vegan restaurant that opened during the pandemic is inspired by Singaporean and Chinese cuisine. Formerly a pop-up known as S+M Vegan, many of the dishes are inspired by co-founder CY Chia’s childhood in Singapore, which includes family recipes and classic hawker fare. The plant-based menu focuses on high quality, seasonal ingredients culled from the local Old Oakland farmers market and other local farms. The menu is always changing, resulting in delightful surprises like Rendang and Nami Lemak with jackfruit that’s caramelized in a house-made spice paste with coconut pandan rice, and a Shaobing sandwich that’s only available on Fridays and Saturday, with roasted sweet potato and preserved Chinese mustard greens on bread that’s baked in-house. The restaurant is also moving toward a cooperative model, and current staff-inspired dishes also appear on the menu.
How to order: Order online or at the window for takeout.
Hui Lin’s restaurant, which she runs with her husband in Downtown Oakland, is a vegetarian Chinese restaurant that replicates many classic Chinese and Chinese American dishes, including Mapo Tofu, clay pot dishes, and Broccoli Beef prepared with house-made faux meats. The lunch plate is a great deal at around $12, including an entrée, brown or white rice, the soup of the day, and an egg roll. Another highlight is the dim sum, which is made in-house and one of the only places in the Bay Area that serves vegetarian dim sum (only on the weekends).
How to order: Walk in or order online for takeout.
If you want vegan fare that will excite your taste buds and senses, head to Souley Vegan. Opened in 2009 by Tamearra Dyson, the restaurant translates Louisiana Creole flavors through a plant-based lens. Dyson grew up eating mostly vegetarian and has been vegan since she was 18, with the menu offering favorite dishes that her mother cooked growing up, like Creole Spaghetti and Okra Gumbo. Dyson has since expanded to locations in SF, LA, and Las Vegas, appeared on Guy Fieri’s Food Network series Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, and recently became the first plant-based chef to beat Bobby Flay on his competition series. The Oakland location is the only one with dine-in seating as well as a full cocktail list—it’s a popular weekend brunch spot.
How to order: Walk in for dine-in. Order takeout online and delivery via Caviar.
Get all of your favorite Vietnamese noodle soups, including pho without any (real) meat at this downtown restaurant that’s self-described as “Asian fusion.” The robust menu includes Lotus Salad, a Papaya Salad with soy jerky beef, and the option to make your own vegan “fish” roll with rice paper, lettuce, cilantro, and mint leaves. Save room for dessert, which offers Mango Sticky Rice, Vegan Cheesecake, Caramel Flan, and more.
How to order: Order takeout online or delivery via Caviar.
This vegan taqueria is one-of-a-kind, filling tacos, burritos, empanadas, and more and with carnitas, carne asada, and chicharron that are made with tofu skins and dehydrated soy chips to mimic the flavors and textures you’ll recognize from your favorite taco trucks. Chef Raul Medina already supplies his vegan meats to Oakland-based Taqueria El Cruzero and did a collab with LA-based Taco Vega, but has a broader mission to take his vegan meats national which, judging from his nearly 47k Instagram following, he’s well on his way.
How to order: Walk up or order online for takeout.
For something a little fancier, Millenium Restaurant is perfect for a special occasion or date night. The restaurant has been around since 1994, first opening in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood and closing after 20 years in that location in 2015. Chef and co-founder Eric Tucker now helms the Rockridge restaurant, with a globally inspired menu that features seasonal vegetables in dishes like Tandoor Spiced Eggplant and Harissa Glazed Maitake. The award-winning restaurant still keeps the concise menu reasonably affordable for a fine dining setting: main dishes run $19-$23.
This vegetarian restaurant is a project of Mandela Partners, a nonprofit based in West Oakland. The restaurant is located conveniently in City Center plaza in Downtown Oakland and incorporates produce from small BIPOC-led farms within 150 miles of Oakland. The justice-focused restaurant is a nonprofit, and employs people who have barriers to finding work, including formerly incarcerated folks. The kitchen provides skills and job training opportunities. Breakfast and lunch fare include salads, bowls, and smoothies, highlighting really fresh fruits and produce.
How to order: Order pick up online.
Head to this East Oakland spot for brunch favorites that are all vegan, like Mushroom Florentine or Sausage Benedict with organic tofu and soy sausage—though the Belgian Waffle that’s topped with fresh seasonal fruit and the gluten-free Apple Cinnamon Pancakes also represent solid choices. You’ll also want to grab a Spicy Buffalo Chicken Ranch Sandwich to enjoy at home later on.
How to order: Walk in for dine-in or make reservations for groups larger than five by calling 510-606-0596. Order takeout by calling the same number.
After earning fans with its roving food truck, this vegan barbecue and soul food spot arrived with much fanfare at their Lake Merritt location. Helmed by Toriano Gordon, the menu is inspired by family recipes, featuring dishes like Vegan Gumbo, shrimp po’ boys, and vegan brisket, ribs, links, plus classic side dishes like collard greens, mac n cheese, and baked beans. The menu also expands into other cuisines, including lumpias, tacos, and burgers.
How to order: Walk up or order online for takeout.
Okay, so we’re bending the rules with this Ethiopian spot in the Waverly neighborhood that does have some meat options on the menu, but it also features a robust vegan menu, thanks to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s fasting seasons that restrict meat. The cafe includes a small market, with freshly made injera, spices, kitchen supplies, and dry goods lining the shelves. The veggie combo platter is a great deal at $13 for the full plate, with red lentils, split peas, collard greens, salad, and stuffed jalapeno served over injera bread. The café also offers fair trade, organic Ethiopian coffee.
How to order: Walk in for dine-in and takeout.