Plant-based food is appealing to many people who’re interested in healthy eating and a more sustainable form of food production. Orange County, California, has many great vegan and vegetarian restaurants and cafes that serve delicious, vibrant food from a diverse range of culinary traditions. Flavorful dishes will have you coming back again and again and telling all your friends. Whether you’re looking to grab a quick bite of comfort food or book a table for a special occasion at a fine restaurant, you’ll be able to find one that offers delicious vegan alternatives to meatier menus.
Seabirds Kitchen has three locations, one in Los Angeles and two others in Orange County. This restaurant serves a range of menu items made from fresh local ingredients, including vegan grilled cheese made with cashew nuts and colorful tacos filled with grilled mushrooms, vegetables, and almond feta. Other tempting menu items include jackfruit nachos with black beans and ancho salsa, butternut squash enchiladas, and the Beets Me burger with a house-made shiitake, beet, and chia patty.
Orange County Locations: East Village at 975 E. Fourth St., Long Beach, and The LAB at 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Zabb Thai Cuisine
Zabb Thai Cuisine is a restaurant in Newport Beach that offers a large selection of vegan alternatives to popular items, including vegan chicken satay, vegan drunken noodles, and vegan larb. The latter is plant-based duck or chicken with a spicy lime dressing and mixed herbs. Other items include spring rolls, yellow curry, spicy fried rice, and pumpkin curry. Zabb also has a full bar with wine, beer, and Thai-themed cocktails, such as the Thai champagne cocktail and the Thai mojito.
Location: 4001 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Do you want the comfort of fast food made with nutritious organic and vegan ingredients? Then come to Veg’d for vegan versions of breakfast sandwiches, juicy burgers, and loaded fries. It also offers hearty wraps and bowls, such as the poke bowl with beets, seaweed, tofu, avocado, and spicy mayo drizzle. You might also want to try the fruit, vegetable, and protein smoothies, as well as a dessert, such as the soft serve or gluten-free brownies. With food so good, you’ll be coming back no matter what your dietary preferences are. What’s not to love?
Location: Bristol Village at 280 Bristol St., Costa Mesa.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Vibe is a great place to go if you or someone you’re getting a meal with has dietary restrictions because it serves up only vegan, organic, gluten-free, and soy-free food made without refined sugars. Some of Vibe’s most popular items include the Mediterranean Bowl with a chickpea frittata, fresh vegetables, hummus, lentils, and a tahini drizzle served over rice, quinoa, or greens. Or maybe try the Early Bird Tacos, made with homemade corn tortillas and filled with a cauliflower scramble, cashew-lime crema, pico de gallo, and pickled onions. You’ll also find fresh juices made to order, as well as coconut milk smoothies.
Locations: Dana Point at 3455 Pacific Coast Highway, Costa Mesa at 263 E. 17th St., and Newport Beach at 1000 Bristol St. N.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday (except Newport Beach, which closes at 7 p.m.) and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Taste of Beauty
For a refined dining experience of Asian cuisine, head to Taste of Beauty. Here, you can choose between a set meal or a vegan or vegetarian tasting menu. These elegant and thoughtful dishes will be sure to delight all refined foodies in your group. You’ll find such items as an artichoke flower prepared with asparagus, sweet chili, and balsamic vinegar, along with black truffle wontons. The restaurant has three private dining rooms and a banquet hall, making it a great option if you’re hosting a private dinner party or other event.
Location: 18420 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley.
Hours: 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Lunch on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Vegan by El Zamorano
Head to Vegan by El Zamorano for an authentic taqueria experience with one difference — as the name suggests, it’s all vegan. The menu has breakfast items, including chilaquiles rojos that are served on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Other menu items include shareables, such as asada nachos, tacos with handmade corn tortillas, burritos with beans, rice, and mushrooms, quesadillas with house-made vegan cheese, tortas, and rice and bean plates.
Location: 3011 Harbor Blvd., Suite A, Costa Mesa.
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
It can be hard to find great vegan pizza, so if you’re near Garden Grove you should check out the folks who specialize in it at Vegan Pizza. Try the House Special pizza with white sauce, tomatoes, pineapple, onions, and chik’un, or the Philly Cheez Steak pizza with grilled vegan steak, onion, mushroom, and bell pepper.
Location: 12022 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove.
Hours: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
What’s Your Favorite OC Vegan Restaurant?
These are just a few of the great plant-based restaurants that Orange County has to offer. Have you been to any of the ones on this list yet? If so, we’d love to hear which one it was and what you thought of it. Drop us a line at Teak Master to let us know if the food was as great as you hoped it would be. What’s your favorite local plant-based or vegan-friendly restaurant here in Southern California?