Orange County, nestled in sunny Southern California, is a hot spot for tourists. It is famous for enchanting theme parks, vast sandy beaches, and stunning state parks. But in recent years, it is not just the attractions pulling people in – Orange County’s food scene is also gaining more attention.
The region used to be dominated by well-known fast-food joints. Now, however, its dining landscape is changing. A variety of new eateries have sprung up across the county. Authentic taquerias are offering flavorful Mexican dishes, international restaurants are bringing flavors from around the world, and hip cafes are becoming cozy hangouts for both locals and visitors.
And it is not just omnivores who have all the fun in Orange County’s dining scene. Vegans and those following a plant-based diet will find an abundance of the best vegan restaurants in the region.
Whether it is casual vegan eateries, upscale dining with plant-based selections, or specific vegan twists on classic dishes, Orange County ensures that everyone’s palate is considered. This inclusion means that regardless of dietary preferences, everyone can enjoy the rich variety of flavors that Orange County’s food culture has to offer.
Fancy yourself some vegan grubs while enjoying the laid-back vibes that Orange County has to offer? Here are eight must-try vegan restaurants in Orange County, each with its unique charm and flavors.
- Orange County offers a wide variety of vegan dining options, from burger joints to Asian-inspired cuisine, so there is something for everyone.
- Many vegan restaurants in the area receive high Yelp scores, reflecting their popularity and quality. You can trust the local community’s feedback when choosing restaurants with vegan menu with a wide array of food choices.
- You can find vegan restaurants in various cities within Orange County, so you do not have to travel far to enjoy a plant-based meal. Whether you are in Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Tustin, orCosta Mesa there is a vegan eatery nearby.
- Some restaurants offer outdoor seating, making it the perfect choice for those who enjoy dining al fresco in the sunny California weather. Enjoy your meal while basking in the warm OC sun.
- From savory tacos to flavorful burritos, enchiladas, and guacamole, Vegan by El Zamorano captures the essence of Mexican flavors while staying true to its plant-based philosophy.
- Au Lac takes plant-based cuisine to a whole new level by offering vegan dishes that are not just visually stunning but also bursting with flavors.
- If you’re looking for delectable vegan sushi in Costa Mesa, Kensho is a great place to find it. With a wide variety of plant-based sushi rolls that incorporate fresh ingredients like marinated tofu and avocado, Kenshō offers a delightful sushi experience that’s perfect for both lunch and dinner.
- Nice Burger 100% Vegan brings a vegan twist to fast-food classics like burgers, sandwiches, and chicken tenders. Their food is absolutely satisfying.
- Seabirds Kitchen is one of South California’s best vegan/vegetarian restaurants according to the LA times. They offer a delightful fusion of vegan flavors that both adults and kids can enjoy.
- Gracias Madre is another vegan restaurant that brings the taste of Mexico to your plate. Here you’ll find great vegan Mexican dishes like taco and crunch wrap as well as excellent vegan beverages like horchata and chamoyada.
- Veg’d is a 100% plant-based restaurant in Garden Grove, serving up a variety of dishes, including toasts, muffins, sandwiches, bowls, desserts, and smoothies.
Vegan by El Zamorano: Bringing Vegan Tacos and Other Mexican Staples to Santa Ana
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Located in Santa Ana, Vegan by El Zamorano is a hidden gem that offers delicious vegan Mexican cuisine. This cozy eatery serves up flavorful dishes like vegan tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. Their homemade vegan cheese and sauces add a unique twist to traditional Mexican flavors. Do not miss out on their signature spicy vegan pizza, a fusion dish that combines Mexican and Thai flavors, resulting in a taste explosion.
Yelp Score: 4.5/5
Au Lac: Elevating Plant-Based Cuisine in Fountain Valley
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Au Lac is a beloved institution in the Orange County vegan scene. Located in Fountain Valley, this upscale eatery offers a sophisticated dining experience with a focus on plant-based dishes that go beyond cold tofu blocks that used to be associated with vegan cuisine.
Their menu features an eclectic mix of Vietnamese and other Asian-inspired dishes, including noodle soups like pho, sautees, and curries. The restaurant also offers living foods, which bring the novel idea of dehydrating, blending, and culturing foods instead of cooking them to bring out the full nutrition of raw vegetables, nuts, and grains.
Each dish at Au Lac is artfully prepared and bursting with flavors. The restaurant’s commitment to using fresh and high-quality ingredients shines through in every bite.
Yelp Score: 4.4/5
Kenshō: Fast-Casual Vegan Sushi in Costa Mesa
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For those seeking a fast-casual restaurant in Costa Mesa, Kenshō is the place to be. This eatery specializes in vegan sushi, bowls, and salads that are as delicious as they are nutritious. With an array of fresh ingredients and homemade dressings, you can create your custom bowl or choose from their menu items.
With their delightful vegan meals and friendly restaurant staff, Kenshō is a great spot for a quick and healthy casual lunch or dinner.
Yelp Score: 4.6/5
Freesoulcaffé: A Charming Tustin Café Offering a Variety of Vegan Options
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Located in the city of Tustin, Freesoulcaffe is a charming café established in 2010, offering a wide range of vegan options. From burgers to smoothies, this restaurant has it all, making it a great place for those making a transition to a plant-based diet or are simply looking for healthier meals.
Freesoulcaffé also prides itself on using fresh and organic ingredients to create dishes that are not only delicious but also healthy.
Their outdoor seating area provides a lovely atmosphere for enjoying your meal, especially on sunny days. So, if you are in the mood for a savory brunch or a sweet treat, this is where you should go.
Yelp Score: 4.0/5
Nice Burger 100% Vegan: Satisfying Your Vegan Burger Cravings in Costa Mesa
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If you find yourself in Costa Mesa and craving vegan burger, Nice Burger 100% Vegan (formerly Nice Guys 100% Vegan) is the place to go. This restaurant specializes in plant-based charbroiled burgers that will satisfy your cravings for wholesomely familiar, savory vegan goodness.
Their creative options, including the ‘Chili Cheese Burger’ and ‘Buffalo Ranch Chicken,’ offer a unique twist on traditional favorites. Additionally, the relaxed atmosphere and friendly staff make Nice Burger 100% Vegan a must-visit for those seeking vegan fast-food classics with a twist.
Yelp Score: 4.8/5
Seabirds Kitchen: Innovative Plant-Based Creations in Costa Mesa
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Seabirds Kitchen, located in Costa Mesa, is a vegan eatery that serves up a delightful fusion of flavors. They have been voted as the best vegan/vegetarian restaurant in Southern California by the LA times, thanks to their unique and creative techniques that deliver delicious and satisfying meals.
Also, with a focus on organic, locally sourced ingredients, the restaurant is committed to sustainability and providing a memorable dining experience to all their guests.
Seabirds Kitchen’s menu features vegan dishes that are both comforting and innovative. Their grilled cheese and tomato soup made from cashew gruyere, basil avocado pesto, and American cheese on Old Town sourdough as well as their better battered avo taco made with fried avocado, Seabirds sauce, cabbage, and red onion are must-trys. . They also offer a carefully curated menu for kids, making it the perfect spot for families.
Besides their spot at Costa Mesa, Seabirds Kitchen also operates a place at Long Beach.
Yelp Score: 4.4/5
Gracias Madre: Authentic Vegan Mexican Fare in Newport Beach
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Gracias Madre brings a taste of Mexico to the shores of Newport Beach with its delicious and authentic vegan Mexican cuisine. From delectable tacos to flavorful mains, every dish on the menu is made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Their extensive cocktail menu features artisanal margaritas and creative concoctions that perfectly complement the bold flavors of their food.
With its vibrant atmosphere and stunning ocean views, Gracias Madre is the perfect spot to enjoy the warm OC sun while savoring the finest in vegan Mexican fare.
Yelp Score: 4.1/5
Veg’d: A Vegan Oasis in Garden Grove
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For a vegan oasis in Garden Grove, Veg’d is the go-to destination. This restaurant offers a menu that celebrates the flavors of plant-based cuisine. With an emphasis on gluten-free and health-conscious options, Veg’d caters to a diverse range of dietary preferences. They are open not just for dine-in and takeout and delivery, but also for catering and drive-thru orders.
From mouthwatering breakfast bowls to creative sandwiches, each dish is 100% plant-based and crafted with care and precision. The restaurant also offers vegan desserts and smoothies, which are excellent pick-me-up and compliments to their whole food dishes.
Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty plant-based chicken bowl or a filling vegan breakfast burrito, Veg’d has you covered with a menu that embodies the essence of vegan excellence.
Yelp Score: 4.1/5
Orange County is a paradise for vegan food enthusiasts, with an abundance of restaurants offering a unique experience that caters to various tastes and preferences. Whether you are in the mood for Mexican, fine dining, fast-casual, or fast-food classics, the region has a vegan restaurant that suits your needs.
Next time you are in Orange County, do not miss the chance to explore its fantastic vegan restaurants. Start off with any of the places we recommend above. With their wide range of flavors and options to choose from, you are sure to find a new favorite plant-based eatery. Go ahead and dine like a true Angeleno vegan eater in the OC!