Best of Vegan in San Diego 2018
The voters have spoken! Below are the results of the third annual Best Of Vegan In San Diego awards! Voting was open from December 17, 2018, through January 7, 2019. To see the full details of the contest, please visit the 2018 contest page.
Thank you to the 2,150+ voters who helped us determine the Best Of Vegan In San Diego 2018. We look forward to bringing you the 2019 awards in December 2019!
San Diego’s 2018 best….
About Donna Jean
Donna Jean is a fully vegan restaurant on the west side of Balboa Park in Bankers Hill. It opened its doors in February 2017 and quickly made a name for itself with its famous skillet-cooked Mac n Cheese and Nashville Hot Shrooms. The additions of pizzas to the menu and weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday solidified Donna Jean as a San Diego restaurant destination. In addition to being named Best Vegan Restaurant in 2018, Donna Jean was named San Diego’s Best Vegan Pizza of 2017 and 2018.
About By Rosaline
By Rosaline has become quite famous for colorful vegan street corn, including rainbow-sprinkled “Unicorn Elote,”but this North County pop-up bring creative menu items to every event. Being named San Diego’s Best Pop-up of 2018 was By Rosaline’s first, but it is expected not to be her last award!
Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant is a well-known and highly recommended vegetarian restaurant, located in the heart of University Heights. Vegan items are clearly labeled on the menu. Plus, if you bring your own container, you save $1 off all to-go orders.
About Holy Matcha
This picturesque cafe opened its doors in San Diego in March 2017 and quickly became a gram-worthy haven. Founder Geraldine Ridaura was inspired to open Holy Matcha after traveling to Japan and discovering the vibrant green tea. Holy Matcha is one of San Diego’s few businesses offering gluten-free vegan donuts.
VEGAN-FRIENDLY FOOD PREP SERVICE: KATIE’S HEALING KITCHEN
Runner up: The Vegan Honey Bee
About Katie’s Healing Kitchen
Catering, pop-ups, and cooking classes–Katie’s Healing Kitchen seems to do it all! There’s no wonder why Katie’s received several nominations and honorable mentions, in addition to being named San Diego’s Best Vegan Nutrition and Cooking Classes of 2017, and Best Vegan-Friendly Food Prep Service of 2018. Katie’s offers a broad menu of catering options, and all of them are delicious!
VEGAN-FRIENDLY MARKET/GROCERY STORE: MISSION SQUARE MARKET
Runner up: Sprouts
About Mission Square Market
Mission Square Market snagged headlines in 2018 when it announced and celebrated converting to fully vegan. Although not San Diego’s first (as outlined by local author Kelly Bone), the community was ecstatic to welcome the shift. Customers adore owner Sunny’s generosity with samples and willingness to order requested and new vegan products. Mission Square Market also started co-hosting vegan pop-up events in 2018, bringing food-loving vegans to their Grantville/Mission Valley location. Notably, the Mission Square Market Deli was also named San Diego’s Best Vegan Sandwich of 2018.
VEGAN-FRIENDLY LOCAL MANUFACTURER: MYLKDOG
Runner up: Bitchin’ Sauce
MylkDog crashed the local vegan product scene near the end of 2018, bringing creamy vegan nacho cheese to Mission Square Market in CBD-infused and non-CBD offerings. Charismatic owner Bethovan Enhancing has been vegan for 10 years and promotes healthy vegan foods on social media, so you can rest assured this product is healthy in addition to being animal-friendly.
About Orphan Kitten Club
Orphan Kitten Club, run by “Kitten Lady”Hannah Shaw alongside fiancé Andrew Marttila and assistant Sonja Lueshen, is a San Diego-based kitten rescue organization that provides around-the-clock care to sick, injured and motherless neonates to prepare them for adoption into forever homes. Hannah also provides online resources for kitten rescuers around the globe.
VEGAN-RUN/THEMED PODCAST: VEGAN DANIELLE
Runner up: Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack!
About Vegan Danielle
Vegan Danielle quickly made a name for herself through her Instagram, but the creation of her podcast in 2017 took her platform to a new level. The Vegan Danielle podcast is produced by Specialty Produce, recorded in their own on-site studio. Danielle has interviewed more than 100 locals and influential people in the vegan community.
VEGAN NUTRITION AND COOKING CLASS: KATIE’S HEALING KITCHEN
Runner up: Soul in the Raw
About Katie’s Healing Kitchen
Catering, pop-ups, and cooking classes–Katie’s Healing Kitchen seems to do it all! There’s no wonder why Katie’s received several nominations and honorable mentions, in addition to being named San Diego’s Best Vegan Nutrition and Cooking Classes of 2017 and 2018. Katie’s offers a broad menu of catering options, and all of them are delicious!
KINDRED is a “vegan death metal” bar located in San Diego’s South Park. It’s well known for its atmosphere and wolf-head sculpture on the wall. Kindred is now a three-time winner of the Best Vegan Brunch in San Diego award, and won the award for Best Vegan Sandwich in San Diego of 2016 and 2017. The Saturday and Sunday brunch at Kindred is highly regarded for its pancakes, Tofu Benedict, and French toast.
About Peace Pies
Peace Pies provides raw, vegan, gluten-free and soy-free food at its two San Diego locations. The business practices a zero-waste policy; it addition to earth-friendly packaging, they also compost food scraps.
About Donna Jean’s Pizza
Donna Jean is a fully vegan restaurant on the west side of Balboa Park in Bankers Hill. It opened its doors in February 2017 and quickly made a name for itself with its famous skillet-cooked Mac n Cheese and Nashville Hot Shrooms. The additions of pizzas to the menu and weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday solidified Donna Jean as a San Diego restaurant destination. In addition to being voted Best Vegan Pizza in 2018, Donna Jean also snagged the title in 2017, as well as San Diego’s Best Vegan Restaurant of 2018. Musician/Chef Roy Elam’s creativity doesn’t stop in the kitchen — almost all of the pizzas have been named after metal bands and songs (hence Thunderkiss ’65, and Pie on Fire).
About Mission Square Market’s sandwiches
Mission Square Market became well-known as a grocery go-to in 2018 after converting to fully vegan, but its counter service vegan deli is also a crowd favorite, winning the award for San Diego’s Best Vegan Sandwich of 2018. Choose from pre-made, pre-fixed or build-your-own.
VEGAN BURGER: PLANT POWER FAST FOOD
Runner up: Veg’n Out
About Plant Power Fast Food
Plant Power Fast Food brings San Diego 100% vegan fast food from two locations near the beach. Plant Power’s first location, Ocean Beach, created a lot of buzz since opening in January 2016. Its second location in Encinitas opened in April 2017 and won the internet over when viral videos zoomed around the world about the new vegan chain that opened a vegan drive-thru in a former Burger King location. Plant Power is known for its vegan burgers, wraps, frozen desserts and fast food atmosphere. Plant Power’s third San Diego location will be opening in a former Denny’s on campus at SDSU (and will be included in campus meal plans!). Plant Power was voted Best Vegan Restaurant and Best Vegan, Gluten-Free Options in the Best Of Vegan In San Diego 2016 and 2017 contest, as well as Best Vegan Frozen Dessert in the 2016 contest.
About Ranchos Cocina
First time diners to San Diego’s Ranchos Cocina, located in North Park, often note the extensive size of their menu and number of listed vegan options. Customers are also fond of being able to order veganized versions of their favorite classic Mexican foods – such as enchiladas and tortas.
About Fairouz Cafe and Gallery
Written by Kelly Bone, The Veg Foodie (Instagram / Facebook)
Fairouz Café and Gallery is a family-owned eatery established in 1984. Art filled walls surround diners in San Diego’s Fairouz Cafe & Gallery, by owner Ibrahim Al Nashashibi, and numerous vegan options fill the hot and cold trays of the all day Greek and Lebanese buffet (Lunch $12.99 / Dinner $15.99). All clearly marked and generous, the buffet makes for an easy-to-dine-together meal for difficult groups—but for those not partial to food sitting out all day, there is table service as well.
About Sipz Vegetarian Restaurant
Sipz is a well-known vegetarian restaurant in San Diego with two locations so far, and a third location coming to La Jolla in 2019, offering a nearly all-vegan menu. Both locations–North Park and Clairemont Mesa–offer vegan sushi daily after 5 p.m., and North Park serves vegan sushi all day on Fridays and Saturdays. Sipz also offers many mock meat dishes such as Kung Pao, but customers love their Caterpillar Roll and Sipz Dynamite roll.
Tajima Restaurants has made a name for itself among local vegans as a trusted go-to for vegan ramen. Tajima’s vegan ramen is made with a soy-based soup with mixed vegetables, baby spinach, corn, kaiware, cherry tomatoes, deep fried tofu, and sesame seeds, topped with black garlic oil and served with spinach noodles. Tajima has five San Diego locations from Downtown’s East Village to North Park, as well as a restaurant in Long Beach and two in Tijuana.
VEGAN DESSERT: DOLCE ITALIAN ICE
Runner up: Mia Sorella Chimney Cakes
About Dolce Italian Ice
Written by Kelly Bone, The Veg Foodie (Instagram / Facebook)
Serving 24 flavors of vegan Granita—a water-based scoopable frozen dessert similar to sorbet but with a coarser texture—Dolce Italian Ice has been cooling Pacific Beach goes since 2016. The rainbow of ices can be anchored by a creamy house-made vanilla cashew ice creme under toppings such as Oreos and crushed peanuts. In 2017 Dolce began stocking the freezer case with a collection of charming vegan ice creme cakes. This is Dolce’s second year receiving the Best Vegan Dessert in San Diego award (first in 2017).
About Maya’s Cookies
Maya’s Cookies has been dubbed San Diego’s best cookies ever — vegan or not. One bite and you’ll definitely agree. Maya’s Cookies was also voted San Diego’s Best Vegan Baked Goods of 2017. You can find Maya’s at several farmers markets throughout San Diego as well as in popular restaurants like Loving Hut Mira Mesa, Nibble Chocolate in Old Town, and Paradise Yogurt in Mission Valley. You can pick up cookies at Mission Square Market, too, and they also accept custom orders!
About Donut Panic
Donut Panic is located in the Mission Valley/Grantville area. It offers vegan and traditional donuts, with vegan-only donuts on Tuesdays. Donut Panic was also named San Diego’s Best Vegan Donut of 2016 and 2017. Donut Panic offers game nights and other fun opportunities for gatherings (and of course, more donuts!).
Kombucha with alcohol! California’s first high-alcohol content kombucha is made right here in San Diego—born in Ocean Beach. Boochcraft is a 7% alcohol kombucha made from organic, raw ingredients and available in a variety of flavors.