Best San Diego Restaurant Week Dinner Menus for Vegetarians & Vegans
By Anna Keeve
With San Diego Restaurant Week (SDRW) in full swing, vegetarians and vegans can be hard-pressed to participate in the historically meat & seafood-heavy event. This year though, many will be pleasantly surprised that restaurants are upping their plant-forward offerings and dishing out a solid dose of vegetarian options. While San Diego restaurateurs are still lacking in putting forward dedicated vegan (no animal products/by-products) options – which we hope to see change next year – we can still celebrate the rising menu diversity and some great selection of vegetarian options. To help veg-seekers navigate the week, we created this guide featuring the must-visit establishments offering vegetarian-friendly Restaurant Week menus.
Café Gratitude (Full vegan menu) – Little Italy
People on all sides of the food spectrum gravitate towards this elevated casual eatery in Little Italy. This is the only 100% plant-based/vegan restaurant participating in Restaurant Week. For those wanting a truly plant-based experience, visiting Café Gratitude during SDRW is a perfect opportunity to taste some of the items you have been longing to try. Bring a friend or three along and prove to them they won’t miss the meat or dairy. For Restaurant Week, they’ll be serving a 3-course $30 dinner menu.
Coasterra (Partial vegan/vegetarian options) – Point Loma
Perched on the bayfront and merging with stunning city views, Coasterra is one of those restaurants that you may not know serves up thoughtful and dedicated vegan and vegetarian options on the regular. The Cohn Restaurant Group has done a great job of ensuring that all food preferences are welcome. From their $40 dinner menu served during San Diego Restaurant Week, vegans can enjoy the First Course (just ask for no cheese on the salad) and the Second Course, which is a phenomenal Cauliflower al Pastor (marked vegetarian, but it is actually vegan). Finish off with a selection of desserts; you can’t go wrong with any, but the piping hot made-to-order churros (vegetarian) are a house favorite.
BO-Beau Kitchen + Garden (Vegetarian options) – La Mesa
We love that Bo-Beau (another Cohn restaurant) always clearly marks their vegetarian items (with a “V”). At the bohemian-chic La Mesa BO-Beau, you will find at least one item of each course on the Restaurant Week menu vegetarian. (If you are closer to the Hillcrest area, checkout BO-Beau Kitchen + Caché whose special menu has some good veg options and a little more to choose from for the non-veggie eaters in the group.) Check out their $30 dinner menu here.
Cucina Sorella (Vegetarian options) – Kensington
Cucina Sorella is set in the small but beautiful Kensington neighborhood bordering Normal Heights. If you have not visited, Restaurant Week is the time to try to Cucina Sorella located on the main thoroughfare. The team at Cucina certainly got creative with their menu this year providing a number of mix and match options, plus wine pairings to go along with the meal. You can have your fix of a large assortment of pasta and artisanal pizzas, and other entrees and appetizers like their popular stuffed fried squash blossoms. For San Diego Restaurant Week, they are featuring a $40 3-course dinner menu.
Serea (Vegetarian options) (Coronado – Hotel Del Coronado)
Restaurant Week at Serea is the perfect excuse for a little staycation-inspired dinner. While their Restaurant Week menu is modest, vegetarians will be able to enjoy a selection from each course. The small menu won’t matter when you are being waited on by some of the top service staff – and views – in San Diego. Enjoy an expertly made cocktail or wine from their curated list while taking in the peaceful ocean views and people watching.
CUSP (Vegetarian options) – La Jolla
Speaking of views, CUSP might just be one of La Jolla’s hidden gems outside the busyness of The Village. Sitting on the top floor of Hotel La Jolla, CUSP delivers a pretty extensive Restaurant Week menu this year. You’ll find a few options on each course for vegetarians, and lots of options for those not limited to veg-only. Make sure to browse their extensive wine and cocktail list and ask their servers for pairing recommendations.
Jayne’s Gastropub – (Vegetarian options) Normal Heights
As the darling of the Normal Heights neighborhood, Jayne’s was crowned “Best Outdoor Patio” by San Diego Magazine in 2018. Foodies and wine lovers adore this spot for the great service, knowledgeable staff and a unique wine list. The Restaurant Week menu gives vegetarians one option on each course. And the entrée option, Crispy Tiki Masala – which is a must-try – is actually vegan if you simply remove the yogurt. Veg or not, anyone is sure to love what Jayne is dishing out this week.
Anna Keeve is the founder of PlantBasedPopUp, a dining experience company that host vegan food and wine pairing dinners at top restaurants. Keeve is also a contributor to a number of publications covering plant-based foods and the vegan lifestyle. Follow on Instagram, @LifesAlternateRoute