Although much easier today than it was 20 years ago, being vegan is difficult in an area where most restaurants cater to meat and potato lovers. Luckily, there are a few spots vegans can flock to where they can trust that their food is handled in a way that caters to their needs.
In Orange County, there are many options for quick and clean bites, healthy desserts and a casual atmosphere to hang out.
Perhaps closest to a formal restaurant is Fullerton’s Rutabegorz, a place that specializes in healthy, mainly vegan and vegetarian dishes. Everything is made fresh and in house, and the atmosphere is reminiscent of a dining room with soft lighting, wooden tables and eccentric art adorning the walls.
The staff is friendly and attentive, welcoming everyone from toddlers to wine or beer drinkers. On top of their variety (their menu is like a short novel), Rutabegorz has a different dip special every month for only 45 cents with the purchase of a meal.
A slightly more casual spot for vegans in Fullerton is Green Bliss – The Cafe. While many students swing by this eatery for its pour-over coffee and variety of hot teas and lattes, Green Bliss has a kitchen with a variety of quick and tasty vegan food to fuel a study session. In addition to the food and drinks, Green Bliss also has live music every once in awhile.
Diners can sit in bar-style seating and sip on coffee or tea, enjoy their meal at a booth or table or take everything outside to relax in the communal courtyard.
Green Tomato Grill
Brea is home to the Green Tomato Grill, another quick-bite place with a nice atmosphere. The menu caters to carnivores as well, but each vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free dish is properly marked so diners can easily differentiate between them. The menu has everything from a vegan char burger to a blackened calamari burrito.
Guests are also given the option to create their own bowl, choosing the base, protein, vegetable toppings and dressing. Staying true to the name, fried green tomatoes are available as a snack or appetizer for more adventurous eaters.
Freesoulcaffé is located in Tustin and uses entirely plant-based ingredients to assemble its menu. Diners are treated to quick service, a modern yet rustic atmosphere and small plates of delicious vegan creations.
The atmosphere feels very farm-to-table with dark wood tables, dim lighting and a quaint patio area adorned with lush plants. Here, diners are given the option to add sides to their main entrees, convenient for those in need of a more filling meal.
It hasn’t always been easy to be vegan or vegetarian in Orange County, but it’s safe to say it’s becoming increasingly more convenient. Whether vegan or carnivore, these spots have dishes that cater to anyone who likes a tasty meal and welcoming environment.