Davis' reputation as a vegetarian, liberal, Birkenstock-wearing kind of town is not really too far off base. Davis' restaurant scene does, for the most part, an admirable job in catering to veggie customers. There is, however, always much room for improvement.
Also see Vegan.
- Tofu is usually a "meat" option at most Chinese restaurants and Thai restaurants. Tempeh (fermented soy) and Seitan/gluten (wheat protein) have also been spotted.
- Eggplant and portobello mushrooms are becoming popular sandwich items at Upscale Restaurants.
- At any restaurant, it's best to just ask about what ingredients are used, especially when it comes to soup bases, refried beans, and tortillas.
- Even if there appears to be nothing on the menu that is vegetarian at any given restaurant, they are occasionally willing to make something especially for you (after all, you are special).
- Always use Nutritional Yeast, an excellent source of Bcomplex and sexy taste.
Both the House Special and the Cheese Pesto Sandwich are amazing at Delta of Venus
- Delta of Venus is very friendly - vegetarian options outweigh the few seafood options that they serve. Everything there is really good. Make sure to say "hi" to SharonZimmerman if she's working :)
- Delta of Venus's entire menu is vegetarian, save for 2 sandwiches, 1 salad, and part of the Caribbean menu. It's probably the most vegetarian-oriented restaurant in all of Davis.
- John Natsoulas Gallery Café has vegan potato knishes, vegetarian spinach-feta cheese knishes, and some delicious gluten-free and spelt bakery items.
- Farmer's Kitchen Cafe has vegetarian and vegan entrees, sandwiches, soups and desserts. Ask for vegan sandwich bread.
- Pluto's Salads / Spuds (even their small salad is big enough for a meal). Pluto's has good food, but they are a bit expensive.
I don't think Pluto's is expensive at all. The large size salad, with 7 veggie toppings, is only $5.90. AprilAries
Sides at Pluto's are only $2, two of them are enough for a hearty meal, but even one is a great size, ask for a piece of bread on the side! kmassoudi
Burgers and Brew- The Garden Burger is excellent- preferred it over the Portobello burger. It comes with good fries or mixed greens with an interesting balsamic vinegar. There's also a Smoked Tofu Burger on the menu. The main drawbacks are it's often really crowded and therefore service can be slow. Even 'To-Go' orders can take 30 minutes!
- The tofu burger can also be ordered at Crepeville
- The Melt — Most of their menu items are vegetarian by default.
- Three Ladies Cafe - emphasizes vegan/vegetarian options
- UC Davis Dining Commons - All items on their menu are marked blue for vegan and red for vegetarian. Cuarto Dining Commons also has an exceptional salad bar and lots of fun vegan and vegetarian options. The Dining Commons also offer vegan Coconut Bliss ice cream on request. If you don't see it in the ice cream freezer, then ask an employee for some. All Dining Commons also offer a vegan corner, complete with nutritional yeast, an organic seed mixture and lots of vegan-friendly dips and spreads!
Doing Vegetarian at Meat-Oriented (American-style) Restaurants
- In-N-Out "Veggie Burger" (vegetables on a bun), Grilled Cheese or Animal Style Grilled Cheese. Also, animal style fries is practically a whole meal. It's not on the menu so ask for it by name.
- Davis Noodle City has a vegetarian section on their menu, dedicated to purely vegetarian dishes. You can discuss vegetarian options with them, they're very open. They, along with Ding How, are the only two Davis restaurants that serve vegetarian wonton soup.
- Ding How allows most any dish to be ordered in a vegetarian option, and most people say they taste great too. -I just ate here for the first time tonight and wow, I have no idea why I waited so long! They have an ENTIRE vegetarian menu if you ask, and the mock meats look, feel, and taste incredibly close to the real thing. Very reasonable prices and fantastic service to boot! - TylerFelix
- Golden Sun has a very large vegetarian section on its menu, including both regular dishes (e.g., tofu and veggies) as well as mock meat dishes.
- Hometown Chinese Food has custom cooked food is available using fresh veggies and no MSG.
- Old Teahouse has a good tofu something (it is on the back side of the menu). Their fried soy sauce noodles (that's not the name on the menu, but it is close to that) are really, really good too.
Be careful at Old Teahouse. I ordered the tofu dish & found bits of greasy meat at the bottom of the container. AprilAries
- Orange Hut (closed) has a pretty good chinese eggplant and tofu dish, but the porous and absorbent properties of eggplant make it rather oily.
- Wok n' Roll is closed. Wok n' Roll had a tofu and vegetable plate with rice that is fairly cheap and decently good; mind you, it's not fantastic but it's definitely good for the price. - Departed business
- The Dumpling House offers vegetarian Chinese dumplings and wontons and a few vegetarian appetizers.
Crepes / French
- Crepeville - from make-your-own crepes (mushrooms, spinach, tomato), to dessert crepes. Try a side of potatoes (tell them not to burn it as it they usually over cook them) or smoked tofu.
- Symposium -The overall menu isn't all that vegetarian-friendly but it has what I think is the absolute best pizza in Davis. I always get the Spankotiropizza made with spinach, feta (and two other kinds of) cheese and garlic- plus I have them add black olives on top. They've also recently added an appetizer that I like- Kafteri Feta dip. This is made with feta cheese, olive oil and spicy roasted red peppers. It's a bit salty from the feta but very good. It comes with some bread, and also is good to dip your pizza crust in. This is a sit-down restaurant with waiters. I actually prefer to get my pizza to go. The pizza is a *little* more expensive than others in Davis but it is completely worth it.
- The Co-op and Nugget are really good for vegetarian and vegan shopping. International Food Market is a good, cheap source for Indian vegetarian foods. They have items that Safeway couldn't even try to fit into their newly added "natural food" section.
About 40 percent of Indians are vegetarians. Traditionally, much of their food is lacto-vegetarian.
- Kathmandu Kitchen might be the best vegetarian food in Davis, take that advice or leave it. It's completely vegetarian-friendly and if you go to the buffet you will never leave unsatisfied.
- Preethi Indian Cuisine has many tasty vegetarian dishes, including Southern Indian options.
- Raja Indian Cuisine has many vegetarian dishes, notably ones made with fried paneer (cheese) cubes. Their lunch buffet always has plenty of options for vegetarians.
- Namaste Nepal Restaurant (closed ) had several vegetarian dishes, and there were lots of vegetarian options at their lunch buffet as well.
- Yeti Restaurant has many tasty vegetarian dishes.
- Paesanos has a considerable vegetarian selection. Just be careful about parmesan cheese, which contains animal rennet, and is not always listed on the menu item descriptions.
- Rostini Italian Kitchen (long gone from Davis) has many vegetarian dishes, including salads, pizzas, pastas, and a sandwich. Also, they deliver!
- Huku Japanese Bistro's menu is specifically marked with a number of vegetarian options. Two of the vegetarian rolls and the tofu teriyaki are particular creative (note that although it's not indicated on the menu, the tofu teriyaki comes with vegetables and other yummies).
- Jusco Sushi on G street next to G Street Pub has many vegetarian options for your favorite rolls. If you mention that you're vegetarian to your server, they offer tons of dishes not even on the menu. I've even gotten free ice cream. The vegetarian Dragon Rolls and Salt and Pepper Tofu are fantastic. All you can eat.
- Sushi Unlimited offers a few vegetarian sushi options (as well as two on their half-off menu). They can also serve vegetarian udon!
Manna has a couple of vegetarian options; not a lot of them on the menu though.
- Make sure you ask if the curry has fish sauce in it. Fish sauce is usually included in most curries unless you ask for it not to be (most every dish can accommodate this)
- Tako Korean BBQ Tacos has several vegetarian options including burritos, tacos, and rice bowls that can be filled with marinated tofu, shitake mushrooms, and/or veggies.
- Ali Baba has a really good "Vegetarian Special." They have a variety of Garden Burgers served on white or wheat buns. Their mushroom veggie burger on whole wheat bun is awesome.
Pita Pit is closed, the rest of this paragraph is now moot. Pita Pit has a rather extensive selection, and employees are conscious of various vegetarian concerns and take great pains to prepare vegetarian food on special surfaces that do not at all come into contact with meat. Excellent salads served with really good choice of dressings. The Aggie wrote a review about "The Pit" when it opened.
- Pita Pit has five or six veggie selections, including falafel and hummus. They are careful about not making veggie stuff on the grill where the meat is cooked, and also about changing their gloves if they've just made a pita with meat in it. They are one of the few restaurants in Davis that are open late.
- They aren't necessarily always that vegetarian-conscious, it really depends on who you get and how much they care. It is important that you ask that they microwave anything that would normally be cooked on the non-vegetarian-friendly grill - KristenBirdsall
- We always ask people if they want anything microwaved and tell them we cook meats on the grill. So if they are a vegetarian we can accommadate. - JackkiCox
- Sam's Mediterranean has a really good falafel that is definitely worth checking out over Pita Pit. And the best fries in town.
Mexican / Mexican Influenced
- Dos Coyotes has many vegetarian friendly options. Many of their salads, quesadillas, and burritos can be ordered vegetarian. Dos Coyotes also has seasonal vegetarian specials at all of their locations that can be seen on their website or on the specials board at the restaurant.
Chipotle is decently vegetarian-friendly but they just don't have as many options as the other Mexican restaurants in Davis in general. However, you can get a bowl of rice, black beans and cheese for under $2.00 and add the free soda if you have a reg card and you have one cheap meal (a cautionary piece of advice: there is one lady there who charges more. Technically you're getting 3 sides but she charges for a quesadilla and something else. Maybe that's what they're supposed to do?)
- Their current website says "our cheese is made from a vegetable-based rennet and is therefore vegetarian." However, the last time I visited their website (about a year ago), their website said, "Our cheese is made from an animal-based rennet and is therefore not vegetarian." I find this interesting, and wonder if Chipotle simply changed the type of cheese that they use, or just screwed up their food labeling on their website either then or now. Anyone have any knowledge about this?
- I believe they actually changed the kind of cheese they used. At about that same time they started emphasizing their vegetarian product line more, and overhauled their menu.
- Taqueria Davis - Vegan and vegetarian burritos are available. The "vegan burrito" comes with grilled vegetables, veggie rice, guacamole, pico de gallo, and your choice of beans. The "vegetarian" burritos (regular or super) have cheese and lack the grilled vegetables.
Taqueria Guadalajara lists a "vegetarian burrito" on their menu, but this is only accurate at the North Davis location. The North Davis Location has changed their recipe to remove the chorizo from their beans and now use vegetable stock for their rice. The manager stated that they did this to accommodate their Davis clientele. Their guacamole is dairy-free as well. The South Davis Location has not made these changes, despite continuing to list a "vegetarian burrito" on the menu.
- They will make a special order vegetarian burrito with your choice of ingredients: beans (pinto, black, refried), rice, cheese, guacamole, tomato, lettuce, onion, cilantro, sour creme, and habanero pepper. Its not listed on their menu signboard, so you have to remember or bring your list of exactly what you want in your special order vegetarian burrito. BruceThomas
- I just called the South Davis location today 12-29-2008 to ask if they still use meat in their beans and rice, and they confirmed that they still do. I just can't understand how they can get away with this for so long.Brett
- One time, I ordered a plain quesadilla - tortilla with cheese in the middle. When I picked it up to eat it, there were chunks of meat stuck to the bottom of it. Needless to say, I was thoroughly annoyed. However, I've since learned to appreciate their vegetarian burritos simply because I live so close to the place. But I'll echo what someone else said, make sure you order it with black beans. I'd also recommend no extra pico. - TerraSmithers
- According to the Taqueria Guadalajara page, Guad uses chicken broth in making their rice. I don't know if this is true, but it means a lot of their items wouldn't be vegetarian at all, including the 'vegetarian burrito.' GeoffJohnson
Also see Sandwiches.
Nugget has an extensive selection of toppings for yummy fresh veggie sandwiches. (Recommended: The Veggie on a croissant with havarti cheese). They also have an awesome veggie soup on certain days, and tons of pasta salads and other goodies from their deli section.
- Their vegetarian panini is really good.
- Sunrise Restaurant has a vegetarian Vietnamese sandwich with tofu on a crispy toasted baguette for $2.50
- tea list has great garden vegetable or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, with organic, locally grown ingredients and bread from The Village Bakery!
- Zia's Delicatessen has a tomato/fresh mozzarella sandwich, a frittata sandwich, as well as a few vegetarian friendly salads. If you ask for a vegan sandwich they will make one with roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, marinated artichokes and/or mushrooms. Good stuff.
- Davis Food Co-Op has a tofu sandwich that is good. But their sandwich makers always seem to take longer than they should.
Community Supported Agriculture
- See Community Supported Agriculture
- I've had a subscription to the Student Farm Veggie Baskets for the last six months or so. They are great! You get lots of fresh organic veggies for a great price. It's a good option for those who want to eat healthy but can't afford the supermarket organic prices. The basket is more (quite more) than enough for two people. You can go to the Student Farm webpage for more information.- Ana Lucia
Thai Nakorn has a great vegetarian lunch special. you get a spring roll(may have egg in it) and also a vegetarian soup, steamed rice, and fruit. this comes with a vegetarian entree, tofu or vegetables $5.25. one of the few Thai places that have lunch specials. perhaps the best Thai food in davis. my brother really likes the eggplant lovers with tofu. MattHh
- Here, and at all the other Thai restaurants in Davis, you order just about anything on their menu with tofu in place of meat.
- This restaurant gives generous portions and is reasonably priced, but it isn't the best Thai restaurant in town. They're pretty much on par with each other overall.
I'll leave it to you vege/vega-tarians, but maybe this section should go on the vegan page?
- Delta of Venus has a number of vegan options, and you can make almost anything vegan, too. They use soy mayo on the vegan sandwiches and can use it on the non-vegan ones to make those vegan too. Most of the brunch menu contains eggs, and for 50 cents you can have it with tofu instead. Just make sure to let them know "vegan" so they don't put butter on your bread, too.
Sam's and Ali Baba offer several vegan entrees including falafel, dolma, and hummus with pita. Ali Baba's veggie special is an ideal vegan dish...just ask for no yogurt on the side.
Subway has a veggie sub, it costs a lot less than all the other ones, and when ordered without cheese or mayonnaise is vegan.
- make sure to ask for some of the hidden veggies like spinach, carrots etc. it makes your sub taste much better and less processed. —MattHh
Isn't their bread made from animal byproducts?
- According to their website, the Italian bread is made with no animal byproducts. Other breads are vegetarian, but may contain honey or cheese.
- Ingredients chart
- Subway has a veggie sub, it costs a lot less than all the other ones, and when ordered without cheese or mayonnaise is vegan.
- Thai Recipes has a whole "vegetarian" section on its menu. In actuality it should read "vegan". Every dish in this section is vegan or can be made vegan. Even some of the desserts. Watch out for their fried foods (e.g. Thai rolls, fried banana) though. It is fried in the same oil as their fishcakes. Some veg*ns aren't bothered by this though.