Photo: Marc Oliver Le Blanc


Alternative food restaurants in San Francisco

You’ve probably heard of Beyond Burgers. But what about plant-based beef or chicken eggs? If you’re intrigued you should head to one of these restaurants in San Francisco and try it out.

Photo: Next level burger

Next level burger

Next Level Burger is where you go when you’re feeling virtuous and ravenous after a five-mile run. Why virtuous? Everything is made from plants. Why ravenous? The food here is anything but diet. Order the house-seasoned Beyond Burger served on a sprouted seven-grain bun with dill pickles, homemade special sauce and tomatoes. Pro tip – don’t forget to order the tater tots.

Next Level Burger

450 Rhode Island Street, San Fransisco

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Photo: Marc Oliver Le Blanc

Local kitchen

At Local Kitchen, chef Nora Haron seamlessly blends the foods she grew up with in Singapore with ingredients from her new home in Northern California. Located in SF’s SoMa district, this place feels like a neighborhood joint, with locals sitting at the bar. The open kitchen setup gives diners a view of the diversity of the dishes here – Gado Gado, a selection of wood-fired pizzas and Singapore Chicken Rice with genuine poached and oven-roasted chicken thighs. Trained as a baker, Haron takes 48 hours to ferment the dough for her sourdough pizza before topping it with one of her five homemade sambals – including one that’s vegan. Of course, you’re there to show how sustainable you are, so order the aptly named Blended Burger made from 60% ground beef and 40% shitake mushrooms.

SF-Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant

330 1st Street, San Francisco

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Photo: La Boulangerie

La Boulangerie

La Boulangerie is a beloved San Francisco institution that began as a bakery. After the owner Pascal Rigo expanded it, sold and bought it back from Starbuck’s, he reopened it to the cheers of food-loving San Franciscans. Now it’s back to shaping baguettes and laminating croissants. Lots of dishes are available from early morning till early evening, but since we’re talking about a bakery, let’s stick to breakfast. Split an almond croissant with a loved one and order the Just Wrap – a flour tortilla containing an egg concoction made from plants blended with spinach, marinated tomatoes and mushrooms, with tomato dipping sauce on the side.

La Boulangerie

500 Hayes Street, San Francisco

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Photo: School Night

School night

School Night serves delicious food – the kind of easy food that beckons a little too much. It also serves cocktails. Good thing it’s only open Sunday through Wednesday (school night – get it?) Chef Traci Des Jardins opened the restaurant with the help of Peruvian mixologist Enrique Sanchez. The bar menu features hand-crafted pisco, agave and whiskey cocktails and light bites highlighting Mexican and Peruvian flavors. The star of the show is Bertha, an indoor oven that burns with both Lazzari mesquite charcoal and hickory wood, lending the latter's smoky influence on everything it touches. Try the roasted albondigas – meatballs made from plant-based Impossible ground “beef,” or order the secret Impossible Burger. It’s not on the menu but tell Enrique we sent you.

School Night

601 19th Street, San Francisco

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Photo: Curry up now

Curry up now

Who has time anymore for lengthy tasting menus? Good thing the fast-casual scene in San Francisco is brimming with so many delicious options, including Curry Up Now. While Indian cuisine is already known for being pro-vegetarian, Curry Up Now goes one step further and offers both a burrito and a rice bowl that include Hungry Planet plant-based protein, which has a natural smoky flavor and hearty soy texture. Pro tip – save room for the fantastic mango lassi.

Curry Up Now

659 Valencia Street, San Francisco

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Wooden spoon

There never seems to be enough time for breakfast, but then we learned of the all-day breakfast spot called Wooden Spoon, serving lunch and brunch, as well. Wooden Spoon nails the breezy brunch effect with its bright lighting and clever décor, involving wooden spoons affixed to the wall. The menu features morning staples like pastries and granola, not to mention more decadent Swedish Society Pancakes with lingon-berry jam, powdered sugar and lemon curd, as well as Granola Crunch French Toast made of brioche dough and served with whipped cream, raspberries and maple syrup. Cocktails are also served all day long. The best part about Wooden Spoon? Substitutions are fine. So try the latest in high-tech “eggs,” by swapping your usual chicken eggs for Just’s plant-based scrambled versions.

Wooden Spoon

2172 Market Street, San Francisco

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You don’t name your restaurant after the crest of a rooster if you plan on serving vegetables, but if you go for lunch at Cockscomb in SF’s SoMa district, you’d be wise to order the Impossible Burger, which comes with Dijon mustard, Gruyère cheese, caramelized onions, lettuce and bread and butter pickles. It tastes like meat, but it’s made from plants. One of the first chefs to feature the high-tech burger on his menu, Chef Chris Cosentino relishes the range of the plant-based “beef”. Then again, the menu also includes a wood oven-roasted pig’s head and a 28-day dry-aged Pin Bone Steak. Rounding out the massive meat selection are vegetables like duck fat cauliflower, roasted eggplant and “dirty” crispy potatoes.

Cockscomb SF

564 Fourth Street, San Francisco

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