As someone with food intolerances and allergies, I know what it’s like to go to a restaurant my friends picked out and cross my fingers, hoping there will be at least one item on the menu I can eat. Said item will probably be a naked salad with iceberg lettuce and two slices of tomato. I’ll probably pay $10 for it. Best of all, I will be labeled as “that” friend: the one who spends five minutes ordering because she has to ask for no cheese, no bacon, a different dressing… and don’t forget to take off the croutons!
I am growing tired of constantly paying too much money for mediocre food while my friends feast on burgers for half the price of my lousy water lettuce. Here is a list of hidden gems scattered throughout our beautiful city, where you will be full and happy while still getting your money’s worth.
1466 Haight St.
This modern restaurant is just a quick 15-minute walk away from main campus. It offers a huge selection of soy-free and gluten-free burger patties. Customers can add avocados, vegan eggs and seaweed french fries. Plus, vegan ice cream is served for dessert. Student discounts are available Monday through Thursday from 1:00-4:00 p.m. You will leave feeling full with an iced mango lemonade in your hand to help power through the rest of the day.
2211 Mission St.
Always bustling with foodies, make sure to reserve a table ahead of time when dining at this popular Mission restaurant. Every item on the menu is 100 percent vegan, and the corn tortillas are locally produced at the organic Be Love Farm in Pleasants Valley, Calif. They even have live mariachi band performances on the weekends!
Ferry Building, One Ferry Building #32
Who doesn’t want a nice cinnamon roll or muffin in the morning to start the weekend off right? This quaint shop is located among the bustling restaurants and shops that occupy the Ferry Building. Not only does Mariposa make allergen-friendly baked goods — they also have lunch items such as empanadas. Grab a snack here and find a bench by the water to relax while you enjoy your food.
2123 Fillmore St, 1881 Geary Blvd, 925 Larkin St.
With three locations throughout San Francisco, this restaurant has gained tremendous popularity — and for good reason! The breakfast and lunch menus are filled with smoothie bowls, pancakes, oatmeal, salads and everything in between. There is always a line out the door, so make sure you come early enough to snatch your goodies before they are gone.
1977 Union St.
Thankfully, Vegan Picnic has made it possible for me to enjoy grilled cheese sandwiches again! Grilled cheese used to be my favorite food when I was a kid, but with the food intolerances I have since discovered, I had not eaten one in over six years. Located on Union Street near lots of popular shops and coffee spots, Vegan Picnic offers plenty of vegan and gluten-free items as well as a grab-and-go section. The food is affordable and delicious — and did I mention they have vegan donuts?