It’s time to shed unwanted poundage and get back into those jeans and jorts in time for spring and summer. What better way than to throw more veggies into the mix? Here’s a quick list of 24 places to eat clean and green in Silicon Valley.
This local Mexi-Asian fusion chain is probably better known for its knockout margarita swirls than cuisine but hold the phone. Aqui offers up one of the healthiest and most innovative menus in the South Bay for a very reasonable price, as most meals run in the $10-12 range.
They use sustainable, locally sourced and seasonal ingredients to make dishes like the broccoli and asiago risotto cakes ($9.5) and the spicy mango sesame tofu ($9.5). They also have 17 vegan items to go along with their traditional protein offerings.
Bowl of Heaven
1040 Grant Rd Ste 300, Mountain View
Featuring açaí bowls, smoothies, and fresh-pressed juices, Bowl of Heaven in Mountain View is a one-stop-shop for one’s daily dose of fruits and veggies. Their popular Red Zinger ($9-11) açaí bowl—açaí, mango, pineapple, blueberries, raspberries, lime, ginger, granola, honey, and coconut water—makes for a great day starter or light lunch. Among the smoothies and juices, the Hulk-n-ator stands out as a hearty concoction of lemon, parsley, kale, spinach, and carrots. Another location can be found in Fremont.
855 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
Calafia was a favorite of the late, great Steve Jobs, and it’s the brainchild of former Google head chef and Grateful Dead personal chef Charlie Ayers. While not exclusively vegetarian/vegan, the restaurant serves farm-to-table gourmet: and it has a large, veghead-friendly menu that includes roasted wild mushroom tacos ($17) and the New Mexico chili simmered tofu avocado roll ($18). It is also one of the few places that makes a legit vegan pizza, called the New Vegan Love Fest ($16).
2301 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose
For more than 50 years, Falafel’s Drive-In has been a bastion for South Bay vegetarians on the go. Their falafel sandwich and fresh banana shake combo ($10) may be better suited for a calorie cheat day, but they’re a recipe for vegetarian nirvana.
Up the ante and get the pita chips ($4), which are the deep-fried ends of pita bread mixed in a crack-like za’atar spice blend. One bite and you’ll be hooked.
Specializing in Chinese vegan cuisine, Garden Fresh chefs Robert Liang and Paul Hsueh have perfected their recipes over decades. Their fried black pepper chicken ($9-13) is terrific and the soy chicken will have one seriously questioning if it’s really vegan. The kung pao eggplant ($9-11) is another spicy house specialty that will have patrons in tears as they reach for more.
3245 S White Rd, San Jose
This quaint family-owned restaurant in Evergreen specializes in vegetarian Vietnamese food. A warm, inviting staff helps guide patrons through a terrific feast of Viet favorites—with a veggie twist. Try their Thai lemon leaf chicken pho ($10) for a tangy fusion on a classic dish.
Good Karma Artisan Ales & Café
37 S First St, San Jose
This vegan alehouse has a menu that spans the globe and features a strong selection of more than 20 craft beers ($4-9) on tap from (mostly) local breweries. If one’s palate craves heat, then get a chana masala and Jamaican jerk combo plate ($9.50) and be prepared for a one-way ticket to Spicy Town.
The Green Barn
190 Ranch Dr, Milpitas
The Green Barn offers up a wonderful amalgamation of vegetarian cuisines ranging from ubiquitous Southeast Asian food to Middle Eastern kabobs ($12). The house specialty is the shaking soy nuggets ($11); these deep-fried chunks of tofu are drenched in a sweet and savory sauce that keeps customers coming back for more—upgrade the dish with the tomato rice ($2).
Green Bites Café
1290 S Bascom Ave, San Jose
Want to start eating healthier at home but boiling water seems too exhausting? Green Bites Café offers a solution. To go along with dine-in service, they also have meal-prep service in either 10-, 15- or 40-meal sets. All one has to do is take them home, heat and serve. Green Bites also has a specialized menu for bodybuilders and other extreme fitness enthusiasts.
1711 Branham Ln, Ste A9, San Jose
This family-owned hole-in-the-wall, located in a random Cambrian Park strip mall, specializes in American and Mexican comfort food. All their dishes are vegan, made-to-order and packed with flavor. The cauliflower buffalo bites ($8) are phenomenal, with a nice, firm texture, and are served with a classic spicy buffalo sauce.
However, the house specialty is young jackfruit carnitas ($12), slow-cooked and seasoned just right with a blend of Mexican herbs and spices. The dish comes as a burrito, taco or enchilada.
This venerable chain has been around since 1974 with multiple locations throughout the South Bay. Probably best known for their “world-famous” blueberry coffee cake ($3), which is extraordinary, they also have an amazing smoothie bar. Their original smoothie ($5.75) has been a cornerstone of the restaurants since their inception; it features berries, milk, fro-yo, and honey to get the day started on the right foot.
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1597 Meridian Ave, San Jose
This meal-prep service offers up plates to suit every taste, from vegetarian and paleo to gluten-free and even kids meals. Order online and they’ll even deliver (Monday through Friday), or just pickup in-store. All meals reheat in two minutes, and Lean Feast will even provide the macros for each meal if one so desires. They also offer a dining area for walk-in meals in a Chipotle-style setup.
167 N Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto
Lyfe Kitchen offers up gourmet cuisine in a fast-casual environment. While not a dedicated vegetarian restaurant, they do have plenty of options to keep the local omnivore population happy. The roasted vegetable tacos ($11) features portobello mushrooms and butternut squash topped with a chipotle aioli, and if one’s saved up the calories, the chocolate banana caramel crunch ($4.5) is not only delicious but vegan to boot.
Merit Vegan Cuisine
548 Lawrence Expy, Sunnyvale
This all-vegan restaurant serves up Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Chinese and Japanese fare in a serene and casual setting. Their house special rice clay pot ($12) is a symphony for the senses: the smell of herbs and ginger will tantalize the tongue and olfactory, as the sound of sizzling rice captivates the ears.
Mint & Basil
Photo credit: mintnbasil.com
This local chain’s menu has Southeast Asian flavors, with influences from Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand. Their autumn rolls ($6) with vegan sausage are a perfect emulation of the popular Vietnamese nem nuong cuon, and their ginger chicken ($10), with its tangy flavor, will convert even the most hardcore meatatarian.
150 S First St Ste 103, San Jose
This hole-in-the-wall juice joint is tucked away just across from the Fairmont Hotel. They specialize in ready-made fresh, cold-pressed juices ($8) as well as a custom-blend option. Pro tip: the custom-blend options come served in glass bottles while the ready-made is in plastic.
Off The Stick Fresh Grill
927 E Arques Ave #121, Sunnyvale
Inspired by their mother’s dramatic weight loss through a drastic diet change, brothers Chris and Rob LaBouff were inspired to open Off the Stick to help others eat healthier and more naturally.
Their Mediterranean-inspired menu caters to a lot of different diets including vegetarian, paleo, and even macro diets. They also offer meal prep services for those who want to eat healthily but don’t have the time.
1109 Lincoln Ave Ste 10, San Jose
A literal one-stop-shop for all things healthy, The Source has all the usual goods like smoothies, cold-pressed juices, salads, and açaí bowls—but that’s where it stops. They’re unique in offering cleanses healing crystals, literature, health workshops, and an apothecary of Chinese herbs and medicines administered by their resident practitioner. For those keeping it simple, the avocado toast ($9) served on levain bread makes for a hearty breakfast. The Source also serves up Santa Cruz favorite Verve Coffee, and they have whole beans for sale.
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Now open at 32nd + Park: a new kind of sweetgreen built around transparency. Designed to get you closer to the source of your food, the people who make it, and the farmers who grow it. Come for the exclusive menu, stay for the tasting counter, retail market, and concierge ordering. 100% of opening day proceeds will benefit #sginschools, our partnership with @FoodCorps to reimagine the school cafeteria. #FollowYourGreens
This national salad chain behaves like anything but that, as they’re proud to cater to locavores—those who make a conscious decision to eat foods grown or harvested within a 100-mile radius of a restaurant’s location. Their small, curated menu offers up high-quality salads as well as “warm bowls” for those looking for a bit more substance. Their curry cauliflower ($12) and guacamole greens ($12) are two of the more popular dishes.
Tofoo Com Chay
388 E Santa Clara St, San Jose
While vegetarian Vietnamese food (hint: look for the words “com chay”) isn’t exactly a new concept, it is rare to find one that is exclusively vegan. Tofoo Com Chay serves up everyone’s favorite Viet soups with a vegan twist. Their bamboo veggie “chicken” soup ($7) has a nice peppery kick and a rich stock that surprisingly tastes like chicken.
And their veggie roti drumsticks ($4) are comprised of a soybean paste and topped with a mushroom glaze that’s strangely addicting. The best part: one can get a soup and app for just over $10. That’s good for the waistline and the wallet.
True Food Kitchen
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One of my favorite spots in Palo Alto @true_food_kitchen #TrueFoodKitchen #PaloAlto #California #USA #instapic #instaphoto #popofcolor #wallart #walldecor #blogger #lifestyle #lifestyleblog #lifestyleblogger #lblogger #bloggerlife #restaurant #restaurantweek #restaurantdesign #blog Founded & Owned by @sliusb 👸🏾
180 El Camino Real Ste 1140, Palo Alto
This chain is the brainchild of renowned health author Dr. Andrew Weil and restaurateur Sam Fox. Started with the simple concept that tasty food can also be healthy food, True Food Kitchen features a rotating menu based on seasonal fruits and vegetables.
The restaurant even caters to the obstinate carnivore. Edamame dumplings ($12) and one of their rotating seasonal cocktails—made with fresh-pressed fruit and veggie juice, as well as organic spirits—should be on everyone’s list of resolutions.
This West Coast chain—with 30 locations and counting—has done its part to try to bring vegan into the mainstream American diet. Their Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich ($10.95) has a nice, satisfying crunch and spicy heat from the chipotle mayo, and the All Hail Kale ($9.95) salad—served with agave-roasted walnuts—is a can’t-miss crowd pleaser.
Vitamina Juices & Blends
387 S First St, San Jose
It’s amazing how a simple thing like juice can become totally corrupted by extra dairy, sugar and who knows what else to pack “flavor” but mostly calories. Vitamina seeks to end that by offering up the purest and fresh set juice blends with no added concentrates, pulps or any other nonsense. Their ingredient list is short and simple. The Green Lorito ($8 for 20 ounces) features apple, ginger, cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, kale and lime to help cleanse the body from all the holiday treats, and that extra beer—or three—from last night.
1085 E Brokaw Rd, San Jose
Perhaps one of the healthiest and most inexpensive lunch options around, these Vietnamese-inspired bowls done Chipotle-style run $6-10 depending on one’s choice of protein. First pick a base (rice, noodles or salad), add a protein, choose from any—or all 12—of their veggies, sauce it up and enjoy. As an added treat, try the mushroom spring rolls ($4).