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Puranpoli

13 Knockout Vegan and Vegetarian Restaurants in San Jose and the South Bay

These plant-based restaurants are full on flavor

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Gone are the days when vegans were limited to salads. Today’s plant-based dining scene is diverse and plentiful, with a top-tier selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants that can satisfy the cravings of both omnivores and meat eaters. Whether it’s chow mein, nachos, spring rolls, soups, burgers or pizza, the South Bay’s restaurants challenge notions of vegan and vegetarian cuisine, and many also support local farms and encourage sustainable eating practices.

For those looking for standout plant-based dining options in the area, here are some knockout options.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Veggie Garden

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Veggie Garden serves Chinese American comfort food in a casual setting. Incorporating meat substitutes in the dishes, the restaurant is known for its vegan renditions of classics like kung pao “chicken”, orange “chicken,” and sweet and sour “pork”. The restaurant also offers veggie-forward, aromatic dishes like basil eggplant, while garlic noodles and wontons are some of the most commonly ordered items. Lunch is an especially busy time for the restaurant, as many regulars take advantage of the specials that come with generous, filling portions. 

Pav Bhaji Hut

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At Pav Bhaji Hut, you’ll find a popular vegetarian street food delicacy from Mumbai. Pav bhaji consists of a thick vegetable curry cooked in a savory tomato gravy and served with a pillowy, buttery bread roll. The curry, known as bhaji, is a flavor bomb, made from blending a medley of potatoes, cauliflower, peas, carrots, and onions, with a mix of spices called bhaji masala. Though Pav Bhaji Hut operates as a food truck, the business prioritizes the quality of ingredients, which are organic and sourced locally whenever possible. The incorporation of Amul butter also adds a layer of depth to the bhaji, and for some extra texture, customers can also top their order with cheese.

Merit Vegan Restaurant

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Merit Vegan Restaurant aims to bring Asian comfort food to those living a plant-based lifestyle. Inspired by the cuisines of India, China, and Thailand, the restaurant serves hearty bowls of noodle soups, curries, fried rice, and an array of entrees. Some of the most commonly ordered dishes include the House Special Rice Claypot, pho, jalapeno BBQ seitan, and the Spicy Tango — fried seitan chunks sauteed in spicy garlic, onion, and peppers. The popular spicy noodle soup is a plant-based rendition of Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Many of the dishes can also be made gluten- or nut-free.

Merit Vegan Restaurant

Puranpoli

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Though there’s no shortage of great Indian food in the South Bay, Puranpoli is one of the only spots that serves vegetarian Maharashtrian food from the western part of India. The family-owned restaurant first opened when the shelter-in-place first took effect in March 2020, but has proven its resilience over the years. Customers tend to gravitate toward the misal pav, a spicy curry made from sprouts and mat beans, and the vada pav, a deep-fried spiced potato ball inside a bread bun. Fittingly, guests also frequently order the Maharashtrian delicacy puranpoli, which is a sweet flatbread with a jaggery and lentil filling. The Maharashtrian dessert modak is notably served here year round.

Puranpoli

Crepes Bistro

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Family-owned Crepes Bistro is a local creperie serving a variety of sweet and savory vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. The Royal Crepe is one of the most frequently ordered savory options, loaded with a choice of vegan or dairy cheese, roasted eggplant, mushrooms, avocado, tomatos, carrots, green onions, spinach, and the popular house-made lemon tahini sauce. The most popular sweet crepe, Sweet Works, comes with fresh strawberries, bananas, Nutella, and a sweet cream. The shop also offers smoothies, juices, acai bowls, salads, homemade baked goods, and comforting bowls of soups.

Crepes Bistro

Loving Hut

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Loving Hut is currently the fastest-growing international vegan fast food chain in the world. With more than 200 locations in 35 countries, the company focuses on providing options for those curious about exploring or transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. Each restaurant operates independently with its own menu, and the Milpitas location serves a myriad of comfort food favorites, including Asian dishes like chow mein and fried rice, as well as American classics like burgers and “phish and chips.” Customers rave about the veggie spring rolls and General Tso, a spicy stir-fried entree made with plant-based nuggets.

Loving Hut

RāwASF Plant-Based Café

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In 2018, two Bay Area locals founded RawASF Plant-Based Cafe with the desire to take control of their health and bring high-quality food to the Milpitas community. The shop’s lattes are made with adaptogens, and menu items are sweetened naturally with no refined sugar. Sauces are also made in-house without preservatives or stablizers. Two of the most-loved burgers are the avocado truffle burger and the chipotle mushroom burger, while the most popular acai bowl bowl is the Sunset Bowl, a thick, refreshing blend of acai, dragon fruit, and mangos, topped with fruit and coconut chips. 

RāwASF Plant-Based Café

De La Tierra

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This vegan food truck specializes in Mexican street food. Currently stationed in San Jose, De La Tierra started in 2019 as a stand at Bay Area farmers’ markets. Reimagining classic comfort food staples, the truck uses vegan asada, a vegan ground “beef” called picadillo, and jackfruit as meat substitutes. Customer favorites include nachos and nacho fries with housemade vegan cheese, packed with the jackfruit or vegan asada, freshly cut pico, guacamole, black beans, and topped with cashew crema.

De La Tierra

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café

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Downtown San Jose is home to many restaurants, but none quite like Good Karma. A cross between a charming cafe and a laid back pub, it’s a hip place to dine both earlier and later in the day. The completely vegan menu offers customizable plates and burritos, and the pulled “pork” tacos, made with slow-cooked jackfruit, are a fan favorite. For those with a sweet tooth, the restaurant also serves baklava and apple crisp, and of course, customers frequently turn to their craft beers. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch some live music while you’re there.

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café

Pizza Flora

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If you’re looking for vegan pizza in the South Bay, Pizza Flora is a solid option. Each pie is served with a hand-pressed sourdough crust, and customers can choose from an assortment of 20-inch pizzas or order by the slice. The most commonly ordered pie is the Pesto Porcini, made with a creamy sweet onion sauce, garlic sauteed mushrooms, and vegan toasted walnut pesto. Another fan favorite is the hearts of romaine salad, a veganized version of a classic caesar salad. The vegan “Mozz” cheese is made in-house, and there’s no shortage of local crafts beers on draft. The ambiance is especially lively when they host their open mic nights every other Wednesday.

Pizza Flora

Happiness Cafe

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For nearly a decade, Happiness Cafe has been cooking vegan favorites, making it a popular choice for those who want to grab a snack, a drink, or a quick bite to eat. With veganized versions of sandwiches like BLTs and patty melts, as well as Asian dishes like rice noodle soup, the menu runs the gamut. According to regulars, the avocado rolls are a must-try, and the Happiness Plate is simple but flavorful dish — veggies stir fried in the house sweet and sour sauce, served over brown rice. The specialty milk teas also make a refreshing accompaniment to any dish. 

Vegetarian House - Vegan

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You’ll find Vegetarian House, an organic vegan restaurant that opened in 1994 with dishes from all over the world, near downtown San Jose. The restaurant’s menu is made with organic and non-GMO ingredients from local purveyors. With sauces and noodles made from scratch, Vegetarian House also offers gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free options. Some of the best sellers include the Golden Thai Vegetable, a medley of veggies in a Thai lemongrass sauce, as well as the Heavenly Salad, a bed of shredded cabbage topped with soy protein, tofu, veggies, and crushed peanuts.

Green Lotus Restaurant

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For flavorful, plant-based Vietnamese food, look no further than Green Lotus. The restaurant serves a wide selection of savory classics, like BBQ “pork” spring rolls, pho, and “shrimp” cakes, but without any animal products. The noodle soups are said to be extra umami, and customers love the crispy oyster mushroom seasoned with a homemade tamarind sauce. Though the first location opened in Vietnam town, Green Lotus now has two locations in San Jose, both which are casual and inviting.

Veggie Garden

Veggie Garden serves Chinese American comfort food in a casual setting. Incorporating meat substitutes in the dishes, the restaurant is known for its vegan renditions of classics like kung pao “chicken”, orange “chicken,” and sweet and sour “pork”. The restaurant also offers veggie-forward, aromatic dishes like basil eggplant, while garlic noodles and wontons are some of the most commonly ordered items. Lunch is an especially busy time for the restaurant, as many regulars take advantage of the specials that come with generous, filling portions. 

Pav Bhaji Hut

At Pav Bhaji Hut, you’ll find a popular vegetarian street food delicacy from Mumbai. Pav bhaji consists of a thick vegetable curry cooked in a savory tomato gravy and served with a pillowy, buttery bread roll. The curry, known as bhaji, is a flavor bomb, made from blending a medley of potatoes, cauliflower, peas, carrots, and onions, with a mix of spices called bhaji masala. Though Pav Bhaji Hut operates as a food truck, the business prioritizes the quality of ingredients, which are organic and sourced locally whenever possible. The incorporation of Amul butter also adds a layer of depth to the bhaji, and for some extra texture, customers can also top their order with cheese.

Merit Vegan Restaurant

Merit Vegan Restaurant

Merit Vegan Restaurant aims to bring Asian comfort food to those living a plant-based lifestyle. Inspired by the cuisines of India, China, and Thailand, the restaurant serves hearty bowls of noodle soups, curries, fried rice, and an array of entrees. Some of the most commonly ordered dishes include the House Special Rice Claypot, pho, jalapeno BBQ seitan, and the Spicy Tango — fried seitan chunks sauteed in spicy garlic, onion, and peppers. The popular spicy noodle soup is a plant-based rendition of Vietnamese beef noodle soup. Many of the dishes can also be made gluten- or nut-free.

Merit Vegan Restaurant

Puranpoli

Puranpoli

Though there’s no shortage of great Indian food in the South Bay, Puranpoli is one of the only spots that serves vegetarian Maharashtrian food from the western part of India. The family-owned restaurant first opened when the shelter-in-place first took effect in March 2020, but has proven its resilience over the years. Customers tend to gravitate toward the misal pav, a spicy curry made from sprouts and mat beans, and the vada pav, a deep-fried spiced potato ball inside a bread bun. Fittingly, guests also frequently order the Maharashtrian delicacy puranpoli, which is a sweet flatbread with a jaggery and lentil filling. The Maharashtrian dessert modak is notably served here year round.

Puranpoli

Crepes Bistro

Crepes Bistro

Family-owned Crepes Bistro is a local creperie serving a variety of sweet and savory vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes. The Royal Crepe is one of the most frequently ordered savory options, loaded with a choice of vegan or dairy cheese, roasted eggplant, mushrooms, avocado, tomatos, carrots, green onions, spinach, and the popular house-made lemon tahini sauce. The most popular sweet crepe, Sweet Works, comes with fresh strawberries, bananas, Nutella, and a sweet cream. The shop also offers smoothies, juices, acai bowls, salads, homemade baked goods, and comforting bowls of soups.

Crepes Bistro

Loving Hut

Loving Hut

Loving Hut is currently the fastest-growing international vegan fast food chain in the world. With more than 200 locations in 35 countries, the company focuses on providing options for those curious about exploring or transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle. Each restaurant operates independently with its own menu, and the Milpitas location serves a myriad of comfort food favorites, including Asian dishes like chow mein and fried rice, as well as American classics like burgers and “phish and chips.” Customers rave about the veggie spring rolls and General Tso, a spicy stir-fried entree made with plant-based nuggets.

Loving Hut

RāwASF Plant-Based Café

RāwASF Plant-Based Café

In 2018, two Bay Area locals founded RawASF Plant-Based Cafe with the desire to take control of their health and bring high-quality food to the Milpitas community. The shop’s lattes are made with adaptogens, and menu items are sweetened naturally with no refined sugar. Sauces are also made in-house without preservatives or stablizers. Two of the most-loved burgers are the avocado truffle burger and the chipotle mushroom burger, while the most popular acai bowl bowl is the Sunset Bowl, a thick, refreshing blend of acai, dragon fruit, and mangos, topped with fruit and coconut chips. 

RāwASF Plant-Based Café

De La Tierra

De La Tierra

This vegan food truck specializes in Mexican street food. Currently stationed in San Jose, De La Tierra started in 2019 as a stand at Bay Area farmers’ markets. Reimagining classic comfort food staples, the truck uses vegan asada, a vegan ground “beef” called picadillo, and jackfruit as meat substitutes. Customer favorites include nachos and nacho fries with housemade vegan cheese, packed with the jackfruit or vegan asada, freshly cut pico, guacamole, black beans, and topped with cashew crema.

De La Tierra

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café

Downtown San Jose is home to many restaurants, but none quite like Good Karma. A cross between a charming cafe and a laid back pub, it’s a hip place to dine both earlier and later in the day. The completely vegan menu offers customizable plates and burritos, and the pulled “pork” tacos, made with slow-cooked jackfruit, are a fan favorite. For those with a sweet tooth, the restaurant also serves baklava and apple crisp, and of course, customers frequently turn to their craft beers. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to catch some live music while you’re there.

Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café

Pizza Flora

Pizza Flora

If you’re looking for vegan pizza in the South Bay, Pizza Flora is a solid option. Each pie is served with a hand-pressed sourdough crust, and customers can choose from an assortment of 20-inch pizzas or order by the slice. The most commonly ordered pie is the Pesto Porcini, made with a creamy sweet onion sauce, garlic sauteed mushrooms, and vegan toasted walnut pesto. Another fan favorite is the hearts of romaine salad, a veganized version of a classic caesar salad. The vegan “Mozz” cheese is made in-house, and there’s no shortage of local crafts beers on draft. The ambiance is especially lively when they host their open mic nights every other Wednesday.

Pizza Flora

Happiness Cafe

For nearly a decade, Happiness Cafe has been cooking vegan favorites, making it a popular choice for those who want to grab a snack, a drink, or a quick bite to eat. With veganized versions of sandwiches like BLTs and patty melts, as well as Asian dishes like rice noodle soup, the menu runs the gamut. According to regulars, the avocado rolls are a must-try, and the Happiness Plate is simple but flavorful dish — veggies stir fried in the house sweet and sour sauce, served over brown rice. The specialty milk teas also make a refreshing accompaniment to any dish. 

Vegetarian House - Vegan

You’ll find Vegetarian House, an organic vegan restaurant that opened in 1994 with dishes from all over the world, near downtown San Jose. The restaurant’s menu is made with organic and non-GMO ingredients from local purveyors. With sauces and noodles made from scratch, Vegetarian House also offers gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free options. Some of the best sellers include the Golden Thai Vegetable, a medley of veggies in a Thai lemongrass sauce, as well as the Heavenly Salad, a bed of shredded cabbage topped with soy protein, tofu, veggies, and crushed peanuts.

Green Lotus Restaurant

For flavorful, plant-based Vietnamese food, look no further than Green Lotus. The restaurant serves a wide selection of savory classics, like BBQ “pork” spring rolls, pho, and “shrimp” cakes, but without any animal products. The noodle soups are said to be extra umami, and customers love the crispy oyster mushroom seasoned with a homemade tamarind sauce. Though the first location opened in Vietnam town, Green Lotus now has two locations in San Jose, both which are casual and inviting.

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