9 Must-Try Vegan Restaurants in Oakland
Oakland is a hub for so many things, but I just recently found out that vegan restaurants is on that list! Although I’ve lived in California for majority of my life, I had never spent a significant amount of time in Oakland. So naturally, I decided to take advantage of my remote work environment and drive up to Oakland and eat my way through the city! I ended up stumbling upon so many gems in the city that I knew I had to share.
So whether you’re looking for the best vegan fried chicken this vegan has ever had, Filipino inspired fusion food that will event satisfy your non-vegan friends, or authentic Singaporean dishes from a proudly Queer-owned all vegan restaurant, make your way out to Oakland to be just as amazed by the Oakland vegan scene as I was!
Must-Try Vegan Restaurants in Oakland
1. Don’t Be Chick’n
Location: 1327 Peralta St, Oakland, CA 94607
Phone number: N/A
Website: Don’t Be Chick’n
Price range: $$$$$ (a sandwich is over $20)
Remember “Changes” by Ginuwine? Well, that’s what pops into my head whenever I think about Don’t Be Chick’n because “My whole life has changed…”. I’ve had my fair share of vegan chicken over the past dozen years or so as a vegan. None… and I mean, NONE have been able to touch the chicken strips that I had at Don’t Be Chick’n!
I don’t even think it’s about which vegan chicken has tasted the most like animal-based chicken, because to be honest, I don’t remember, nor do I care. I’m saying that this vegan chicken was the best I’ve ever had for its juiciness, tenderness, crispiness, and flavor-ness.
I was skeptical at first when I saw how expensive everything was on the menu. I’m willing to put in on bomb food, especially from a Black-owned vegan business, but those prices still hurt a lil’ bit to even look at. Then they didn’t have the mac and cheese or the collard greens when I first visited, so I almost gave up on them. I ended up getting a 3 piece chick’n strip and when I tell you that I savored every bite…
Even called a friend so he could witness the greatness with me. I went back within an hour because I just needed to have more, but they had already packed up and left. You might be thinking that I’m doing the most, but it gets worse! I pushed back my departure time 6 hours the next day JUST to get some more Don’t Be Chick’n. Turns out, their truck was down that day, so I didn’t even get a plate! I legit cried over vegan chicken strips that day. I wish I were joking!
In case you were wondering, I drove all the way back up to the Bay from LA to be reunited with my chick’n strips and they were just as good the second time around! I also tried their fries and mac and cheese on my second visit. The fries were just fries and the mac and cheese was underwhelming, but those chicken strips… FIRE! Now that you know how much I loved those 3 chicken strips, please go try them out!
2. Souley Vegan
Location: 301 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
Phone number: 510-922-1615
Website: Souley Vegan
Price range: $$$$$ (most entrees are ~$15)
I’ll never forget the first time I walked into Souley Vegan. I had been visiting the Oakland back in 2014 and pulled up to Souley Vegan to support one of the Black-owned vegan restaurants that I stumbled upon online. As soon as I walked in, I gasped at a humongous family portrait on the wall!
There was a little kid that looked 90% just like one of my sisters, and an adult that looked 95% just like her biological father! I just knew it had to be someone related, so I called my sister to check. Turns out, there’s no blood there, but ever since, I’ve considered Chef Tamearra Dyson to be a cousin. And boy oh boy can my cousin throw down on some vegan Creole food!
Chef Dyson has been on a roll since I first tried her food. She’s opened up ghost kitchens in LA and Las Vegas, won Beat Bobby Flay, has been featured in all sorts of publications, and likely has a bunch of other accomplishments that I’m not even aware of from stalking the Souley Vegan Instagram page. Like this hot link that don’t even really look like a hot link. It’s still bomb, and an accomplishment in itself!
I’ve eaten at Souley vegan many times across both their Oakland and LA locations. I’ve worked my way through a lot of their menu and have tried their Southern Fried Tofu, Country Collard Greens, Louisanna Black Eyed Peas, Mac & Cheeze, Cinnamon Brown Sugar Yams, Spicy Buffalo Seitan Strips, Seitan Steaks With Gravy & Mash, Potato Salad, and Louisianna Hot Link. The list goes on, but I think you get the point.
The items that I tell folks to try are the Spicy Buffalo Seitan Strips, Mac and Cheese, and Cinnamon Brown Sugar Yams. If you’re craving greens, but don’t want to spend hours making them, their Country Collard Greens will hit the spot as well. So if you’re looking for some soul food with a creole twist, or just looking to support a Black-owned vegan business in Oakland, I highly recommend checking out Souley Vegan!
3. Vegan Mob
Location: 500 Lake Park Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Phone number: 415-513-5120
Website: Vegan Mob
Price range: $$$$$ (most entrees are ~$20)
Something about Vegan Mob feels very welcoming and homey to me. It feels like they’re actually part of the community because each time I’ve passed by, there have been artists selling items right in front of Vegan Mob and playing music, which makes dealing with the long line of other hungry guests more enjoyable. Vegan Mob was definitely one of the busiest vegan restaurants that I visited in Oakland, and for good reason.
This is another Black-owned vegan restaurant to support in Oakland, with an extensive menu including soul food staples like their Smackaroni and Greens, cookout classics like their Potato Salad and Rib Tips, and some seemingly rogue items like their Barbequito and Lumpia & Garlic Rice.
I decided to go with a combo plate to try a lil’ bit of everything. The mock meat part of the Spicy Fried Chicken was like an airey, spongey seitan. It definitely wasn’t my favorite part of the meal or favorite vegan fried chicken (check Don’t Be Chick’n above), so thank goodness I ordered the Mobba’Q Spaghetti! The BBQ sauce made it slightly sweet and a perfect side for this meal. The Greens were good too, but I’ll just say that the Smackaroni didn’t have me smackin’ and I unfortunately wouldn’t describe it as smackin’.
My all-time favorite desserts are sweet potato pie, banana pudding, and peach cobbler. Maybe I just have bad luck, but in the rare occurrences that I find a vegan version of my fav desserts at a restaurant, there’s usually some wild price attached that I’m not willing to pay. I was in luck at Vegan Mob though, because their sweet potato pie was $5, which I was willing to pay to have one of my favorite desserts!
I feel like it’s hard to mess up sweet potato pie, so me saying that I devoured this mini pie might not be saying much. Just know that it didn’t last too long after I took a picture of it though!
4. Timeless Coffee
Piedmont Location: 4252 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
Piedmont phone number: 510-985-1360
Downtown location: 1700 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94612
Downtown phone number: 510-879-6112
Website: Timeless Coffee
Price range: $$$$$ (a latte is ~$5)
If you’re looking for an all-vegan coffee shop to have some nice drinks with a pastry or grab-and-go sandwich of your choosing, head over to Timeless Coffee. However, if you’re looking for a place to get some work done while you enjoy a coffee or tea beverage and a pastry, you might want to keep it pushin’ because there is no wifi at Timeless. Nevertheless, I saw plenty of people in the coffee shop typing away on their laptops.
I love being in environments where I get to do things that vegans typically can’t do, like just walking into a coffee shop and ordering any pastry out of the cabinet. Therefore I went to Timeless every day I was in town! I enjoyed all of the pastries that I tried. The one thing on the menu that I decided wasn’t for me was a cheese egg quiche with hashbrowns in it. I just didn’t like the consistency of the egg portion, but I’m not gon’ knock it because quiches just might not be my thing. The pastries are where it’s at though!
5. Malibu’s Burgers
Location: 3905 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611
Phone number: 510-879-7362
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive item is $19)
Black-owned restaurants have the vegan market on lock in Oakland! Malibu’s Burgers is another Black-owned business in Oakland, serving up burgers, sandwiches, fries, and shakes. They use Impossible for their vegan burger patties, Just Egg as their vegan egg, Follow Your Heart for their vegan cheese, and Good Catch for their vegan fish. They also support another local vegan business by offering Pastelillos from Casa Borinqueña, a vegan Puerto Rican restaurant in Oakland.
With so many heavy hitters on the menu, it was hard to make a decision. I watched another table’s food come out and decided on the La LuLu Chick’n Sandwich because of how bomb the vegan fried chicken looked. The La LuLu comes with a crispy fried chick’n patty, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions, and BBQ sauce on a brioche bun. If it ain’t on a brioche bun, I ‘ont want it!
Just everything about the La LuLu Chicken Sandwich was amazing, down to the BBQ sauce. The seitan for the chicken sandwich was the perfect consistency and seasoned really well. The vegan bacon added the right amount of saltiness to the tanginess of the BBQ sauce and the coolness of the lettuce and tomato. I continued eyeballing plates as they were served to folks, and it looks like you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu at Malibu’s Burgers!
6. Taqueria La Venganza
Location: Inside Emporium, 1805 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone number: 510-250-9630
Website: Taqueria La Venganza
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is $17)
I’ve been following this restaurant all around Cali for nearly a decade. The first time I tried Chef Raul Medina’s food was at a pop-up in a bar in Santa Ana in 2014. I don’t remember how I first heard about his bomb tacos, but once I did, I went out of my way to get them. I even changed the location of a meet-up with friends just so we could try his tacos at his one-day pop-up.
Since then, I tried to grab his food a few times on the rare occasions that he goes down to SoCal, but his tacos are so amazing that people wait in line for hours for his food! Eventually though, I was reunited when I made it up to Oakland! Word on the street is that folks in LA will soon be able to order his food from a brick-and-mortar location, so I’ll be patiently waiting for opening day!
Back to the food though! I’ve only tried the tacos and rice and beans, but his tacos are amazing and made from mock meat recipes that he’s perfected over the years. If you follow him on Instagram, you literally get to watch him trying out new ideas to include on his menu. He had a ramen stint where he was on a quest to make the best vegan ramen and a season where he showed how he perfected his vegan grilled chicken.
I don’t even remember which tacos I ordered, but they were all bomb! I asked them to hook me up with a trio of the 3 most popular tacos and they took care of me!
Even bigger than how bomb his food is, I appreciated Chef Raul Medina’s passion for veganizing Mexican dishes and uplifting his people and culture. I speak about him as if I’ve actually met the man, but you can tell through his posts on Instagram that he’s down for the people and very passionate about all that he does. So whether you go to Taqueria La Venganza for the bomb food or to support a Mexican vegan restaurant owner that’s passionate about putting on for the people, you won’t be disappointed!
7. Lion Dance Cafe
Location: 380 17th St, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone number: N/A
Website: Lion Dance Cafe
Price range: $$$$$ (most expensive entree is ~$17)
My last stop on my self-guided Oakland food tour was at Lion Dance Cafe, which is a vegan Singaporean restaurant in Downtown Oakland that is proudly Queer-owned!
Singapore itself is a melting pot of cultures. Therefore, the food in Singapore is inspired by many different cultures including Chinese, Malaysian, Indonesian, and Indian cuisines. The dishes at Lion Dance Cafe are a testament to this mix with items like Jackfruit Rendang, Laksa, and Mushroom Goreng on their menu.
Lion Dance Cafe prioritizes using locally grown products to make most of its ingredients in-house. That includes items ranging from their own seitan to sambal. Each plate is packed with flavors that all come together to create a carefully orchestrated party for your taste buds.
The only way that I can describe the food at Lion Dance Cafe is as bright, fresh, and colorful. Like, it actually tastes colorful! I’m not even sure how else to put it, so you just need to go try it for yourself!
Bonus: Must-Try Vegan-friendly Restaurants in Oakland
8. Señor Sisig: Vegan-Friendly
I accidentally stumbled upon Señor Sisig, and I’m sure glad that I did! It’s a Filipino fusion restaurant that started out as a vegan food truck and later added meat to its menu. I won’t even knock them for going over to the animal based dark side, because they still have a whole vegan menu with options like tacos, burritos, specialty fries, rice dishes, and salads. What’s even more impressive is their list of vegan protein options, including pork, chicken, tocino (pork fat/bacon), and longanisa chorizo (spicy sausage).
Not only do they have lots of options, but the flavors in their food were A-1! Biting into one of their burritos for the first time was like watching the Bad Boy Reunion at the BET Awards in 2015. You’re just excited to see Diddy walk out (have a full vegan menu), then Mase and 112 get on stage (you taste the vegan sour cream, guac, and fries).
You’re just getting your life as the show continues to climax. Just when you think it can’t get any better, Lil’ Kim slowly pops up out of the floor (you get a taste of that longanisa) and everyone goes buck wild! You don’t even care that Diddy almost fell through the floor or that Mase messed up his lines (the vegan cheese isn’t melted and you got sauce all over the place). You still enjoyed your experience and are left satisfied. Hopefully that resonated with you, because I don’t know how else to describe it. Regardless though, you just need to try them out!
Pictures of the food don’t do it justice because it just looks like some stuff tossed in a tortilla. Your taste buds will think differently though! If the restaurant were fully vegan, they surely would have placed much higher on my list!
9. Curbside Creamery: Vegan-Friendly
Location: 482 49th St, Oakland, CA 94609
Phone number: 510-250-9804
Website: Curbside Creamery
Price range: $$$$$ (a scoop is ~$5)
I’m not that big of an ice cream fan, but I’m here for a good scoop of vegan mint n chip, butter pecan, or pistachio ice cream. Back in my pre-vegan days, I was that kid that went on the Thrifty’s Ice Cream field trip with her class and was the only one to order a cup of butter pecan while literally every other 5-year-old ordered the new cookies n cream flavor. Some say I like nasty flavors, I just say that I have a mature palette.
So when I saw that Curbside Creamery had a vegan pistachio flavor, I skipped right on over! I also like soft serve ice cream, but the only vegan soft serve flavor they had that day was not calling my name at all. The pistachio was made of a cashew milk base and had a delicious creamy texture with the perfect amount of pistachios sprinkled throughout.
They change out their flavors, so be sure to check their site if you’re craving something specific. I often steer clear of vegan-friendly spots when I have a choice because I’m not trying to get caught up in any mistakes or cross-contamination that has me consuming animal products. The menu board at Curbside Creamery and the freezer glass in-store are clearly labeled with vegan options. The staff is also very knowledgeable about the vegan options as well and will use a clean scooper for your ice cream.
They also have vegan cones with sugar, cake, gluten-free, regular waffle, and chocolate waffle as options. They have more vegan cone options than lots of other vegan-friendly spots have vegan ice cream flavors!
Map of 9 Must-Try Vegan Restaurants in Oakland
Conclusion: 9 Must-Try Vegan Restaurants in Oakland
When it’s all said and done, I fell in love with Oakland and its long list of amazing vegan restaurants! And that’s saying a lot coming from this Southern Californian that believes that SoCal is better than the Bay in all ways possible. Side note, check out my 17 Best Vegan Restaurants in Los Angeles post to check out some vegan spots in SoCal.
My favorite spots in the city serve vegan cuisines ranging from Filipino, Singaporean, Mexican, and soul food. I only talked about my favorites in this post, but there’s a little bit of everything for everyone. Craving vegan Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Italian options? They’ve got that. Sweet tooth getting the best of you and you want some donuts, cakes, or cookies? They’ve got that covered too.
Get out there and enjoy vegan Oakland! Let me know what you think and/or if you recommend I try out your favorite spot!