Many chefs regard non-meat-eating customers as irksome nuisances, said Gregory Dicum in The New York Times. As a result, vegetarians and vegans, who avoid all animal products (including eggs and cheese), often find themselves staring at a menu on which the only meatless dish is a “hackneyed grilled portobello.” In San Francisco, though, meatless cooking is treated as a cuisine, rather than as a neurosis. These establishments offer some of the city’s best vegetarian dishes:
This popular restaurant overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge was the first to establish vegetarian food “as a cuisine in America.” Today, typical dishes include an appetizer of mesquite-grilled Blossom Bluff peaches with arugula, watercress, mascarpone, and sage honey; and mesquite-grilled brochettes served with a “savory, rich tofu” on pistachio-studded couscous. Fort Mason Center, (415) 771-6222
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“The gold standard of American vegan cuisine.” Creative preparations range from a cream of sweet corn and lobster mushrooms to a shredded Indian Red peach salad with heirloom lettuce, green papaya, chili-dusted peanuts, and a light Thai dressing that “blossoms on the tongue like a bouquet.” 580 Geary St., (415) 345-3900
The hearty corn cakes here come smothered in black beans, salsa, and guacamole. 983 Valencia St., (415) 826-5657
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