I am surprised San Diego is number 9 on this list of cities that vegans and vegetarians should go to. Yet, according to Wallethub, San Diego is one of the best and cheapest cities for people adhering to a vegan or vegetarian diet. Wallethub ranked the cities in terms of affordability, diversity, accessibility, quality, and vegetarian lifestyle. They also weighed average meal costs, certified organic farms, and presence of vegan and vegetarian festivals and came up with this list.
San Diego is Top 9
Wallethub ranked San Diego as the top 9 city for vegans and vegetarians. There are a lot of vegan/vegetarian restaurants here in San Diego, such as Anthem Vegan, Loving Hut, Choice Superfood Bar and Juicery, Plant Power Fast Food, Evolution Fast Food, Kindred, Roots UCSD, Grains, Native Foods, Veganic Thai Cafe, among others. The Modern Vegan was one of the recent vegan restaurants that opened here.
Also, there are also a lot of restaurants with vegan options. My family and I would go to The Cottage La Jolla and there were a handful of vegan options I could order. Karl Strauss has a vegetarian burger that you can make vegan. Swami’s has an Impossible Burger that can be made vegan. My family also go to Il Fornaio where we would order a minestrone soup that is vegan. We could also veganize the margherita pizza and their angel hair pasta. So San Diego does have a lot of restaurants with vegan options available.
In addition, they have the First Friday Night Market on the first Friday of every month. Food stands such as Veg N’Out, Harmless Eats, El Veganito, and more, show up at the night market. The event is visited by not just vegans, but vegetarians, pescetarians, flexitarians, and people who eat meat but are curious about veganism and vegetarianism. They used to have the night market at Anthem Vegan, but recently they moved to Grossmont Center in La Mesa. I have attended the night market and not only did I eat from a lot of these food stands, I met a lot of people who visit the night market that I mentioned earlier. In addition, there are numerous vegan groups such as San Diego Vegans, PlantDiego, and others. No wonder San Diego is top 9 on the list of cities for vegans and vegetarians.
Still Areas of Improvement?
As a San Diegan, I feel there are still areas that need more work. There are still a lot of restaurants that do not serve any vegan options or they serve limited options or they serve food that is vegan. Tinfish, a seafood restaurant that my family and I go to, serves only salad and fries. At Stone Brewery in Escondido, the side orders of black beans and rice are vegan. But that is the only vegan thing there. In addition, a lot of the Korean BBQs I went to in the Convoy area do not have anything vegan. Also when I go to the events that my Filipino organization holds at hotels, the food catering at those hotels do not have any vegan options or that they only have vegetarian options and it is the least they can do sadly. Therefore, some restaurants in San Diego and the food catering at the hotels need to keep up with the times.
Also, the affordability factor in regards to San Diego being top 9 is misleading. A lot of the vegan and vegetarian restaurants here are very expensive. I had to pay more for my food when I ate at Loving Hut. The food at Anthem Vegan can be pricy. Add that to the already expensive housing costs here in San Diego and the recently high gas prices and you could get broke pretty fast if you do not have a high enough paying job. A lot of the vegan and vegetarian restaurants need to make their food cheaper and more affordable. At least beans are vegan and are cheap wherever I get them.
Overall, San Diego still earns the spot of top 9 for Best Cities For Vegans And Vegetarians. The First Friday Night Market is the place to go for vegans, vegetarians, pescetarians, and flexitarians alike. There are a lot of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, and a lot of restaurants with vegan options. There are a lot of vegan groups present in San Diego. The only drawbacks are that the vegan and vegetarian restaurants need to make their food more affordable. Housing and gas prices in San Diego are expensive enough already. Some restaurants, such as Tinfish and Stone Brewery, need to catch up by providing more vegan options. The food catering at a lot of the hotels are behind the times and need more vegan options. But overall, San Diego still has earned the spot for Top 9 on this list. I cannot wait to go to Portland, Oregon though, which is the number one spot for vegans and vegetarians.