San Diego Favorites: Healthy Eats
Through Instagram I’ve get a lot of messages asking for San Diego recommendations, whether it’s for the best latte, a healthy brunch, or a yoga studio to go to. I’ve been responded in many one-off long messages with as many suggestions as possible before finally realizing that maybe it would both be more efficient for me and more helpful to all of you if I compiled my top suggestions in one place that everyone could access.
I’ve been in San Diego for almost 3 years now (time flies!!) and have created my own mini cheat sheet of all my favorite places. It’s a color-coded google spreadsheet that’s organized by neighborhood, meal type (coffee, brunch, veggie friendly, etc.), and also tracks which places I’ve visited and which are still on my bucket list.
Since this might be a bit much / slightly embarrassing / also not as helpful to share, I’m picking my top 5-10 for each category and will highlight a bit about each place. This should hopefully provide a super easy to follow guide whether you’re visiting San Diego or are local and looking for a new spot!
Phewf! Ok, now to dig into the good stuff, first category:
Favorite Places for Healthy Eats
- Trilogy Sanctuary*, La Jolla
Connecting to a yoga studio and boho boutique shop, Trilogy Café is an all vegan restaurant that has everything from cauliflower “wings” to big bowl salads, to all kinds of creative vegan tacos. Everything I’ve tried here has been nothing short of delicious and their servings are generous! Bonus: their outdoor deck has ocean views and is a great spot to cozy up to do work.
Order: the Green Power Bowl if you’re feeling healthy and hungry (I sub the lemon tahini dressing onto it), the Mac n Cheeze if you’re feeling decadent, or the Vega-Nachos if you’re sharing with friends.
- Donna Jean*, Bankers Hill
Donna Jean is another all vegan place but you’d never know it by looking at the menu. The menu features comfort food classes like cast iron mac and trees (vegan mac with broccoli), cheese tortellini, gnocchi Bolognese, and spaghetti puttanesca. Great date night spot for a place that never crazy loud. Order: the hot shrooms to start and the Thunderkiss pizza (or any of their pizzas really).
- Goodonya, Encinitas
Goodonya’s menu focuses on REAL food, putting the emphasis on getting ingredients of high quality. They have options for meat eaters and vegans alike. I also love this place because their founder is unbelievably nice. I gushed about the cashew herb spread on Insta and they reached out to me with the recipe (I cannot make it like they do!! but that kind of of service to their customer is UNREAL!!). Order the Grilled Chicken Pesto (if you’re a meat eater – all their meats are organic), the Sprout Probiotic Salad for that CASHEW HERB SPREAD (sub ranch for vinaigrette dressing if you’re vegan), and get a kombucha on tap to wash it all down.
- Second Nature, Pacific Beach
One of my favorite go-to restaurants, Second Nature is always a crowd pleaser. Their staff is always really friendly, they have a great outdoor space, and they allow dogs. I’ve tried almost everything off the menu (that doesn’t have meat) and have loved almost everything (the chipotle lime cauliflower tacos were not my favorite tbh). Order: the Coconut Thai Curry bowl, the Grass Fed burger with a side of truffle fries, or the Mediterranean Salad.
- Eve*, Encinitas
I only recently tried Eve and DANG do I wish I had gone sooner. It took me forever to choose what to order because they have such a big menu with the most creative and decadent, yet healthy, vegan menu. I’m not even sure that I can narrow it down to tell you want to order but here’s a couple: the Jackfruit tacos (anything with avo crema really), the Legendary Hero bowl (braised kale, Brussels sprouts, beets, carrots, hemp seeds, brown rice, walnuts, with a tahini sauce…I mean……), or the buffalo ranch cauliflower flatbread if you’re trying to convince someone vegan food is delicious too 😉
- True Foods, Westfield UTC & Fashion Valley
San Diego now has two True Foods, one at the Westfield UTC mall and one at Fashion Valley mall. Don’t be fooled, this is no Panda Express mall food court kinda food. True Foods is founded by Dr. Andrew Weil (aka the integrative nutrition guru) and focuses on using food as medicine, while also making it delicious. The space is light and bright and welcoming and the menu has everything. Order the Ancient Grains bowl (vegan), the grass fed burger (very non-vegan), with a pizza to share (would recommend the spinach and mushroom for a vegan option and chicken sausage for non-vegan).
- Café Gratitude*, Little Italy
I used to live within walking distance to Café Gratitude and those were the days! Parking is always a little limited in Little Italy but Café G is WORTH IT. An all vegan restaurant that even the staunchest anti-vegan eater (aka maybe your bf?) will find something they love. The space is super cute (insta worthy for sure) and the menu has a little bit of everything. While they have brunch food as well, I prefer to go for dinner. Order: the Eclectic Buffalo Cauliflower to share, the Mucho Mexican bowl for your bf, and the Whole Macrobiotic Bowl. Other favorites: Magical Black Bean Burger, Pure Asian Kale and Wakame Salad, and the Ecstatic Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
- Flowerchild, Del Mar
A very insta-worthy restaurant space, FlowerChild has brightly painted walls with peace signs, flowers, and fun designs. Their food is just as cheery. This is a great place to go with a group, especially if people have different eating desires because they have everything from all vegan salads, to build your own plates, to familiar (but fun) items like a smoked turkey sandwich with gouda and avocado hummus. My favorite / suggested order: the Forbidden Rice or Mother Earth Bowl with your protein of choice if desired (grass fed steak, chicken, non-gmo tofu).
- Kindred*, South Park
If you’re feeling like a hipster, Kindred is the place for you. Located in South Park the restaurant has pink wallpaper, wolf skulls on the walls, marble tables and black seating – it’s a vibe. Their food is all vegan but no basic kale salads in sight. They serve dinner here as well but brunch is really where it’s at. Order: Pancakes (comes with unreal whipped coconut cream) and the Benedict (a vegan remake that’s so worth trying).
- Freshii, Downtown & Pacific Beach
Ok so this isn’t really a sit down place, but we’re all busy and we’re all lazy sometimes too. Freshii to the rescue, this place has literally everything and anything you could want salad, wraps, or bowl wise. It’s an easy, inexpensive meal in a pinch. Order: really whatever you want because they have everything, but I love the umami bowl that has brown rice, avocado, edamame, mushrooms, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, hemp seeds, and a ginger miso dressing. SO good!
Ok so those are my top 10. San Diego has SO many healthy places so this list could have easily been 5x the length. Have any San Diego specific blog requests? Leave em below!
* = all vegan restaurant