Ten Great Vegetarian Restaurants in OC

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Flickr user thegrocer
Orange County, for all its Republican, meat-and-potatoes reputation, has a fantastic array of vegetarian restaurants; not just vegetarian, but vegan, and from a wide variety of ethnic traditions. We have little patience with hippy-dippy vegetarian places that skimp on flavor in order to emphasize the health benefits (seriously, whose idea was that?), but fortunately we can have great vegetarian and vegan food without the preachiness.

There are at least ten more entries that could be added to this list; we could have done two dozen without really breaking a sweat... so fear not, Buddhists, animal-rights activists, and people who have learned that not every meal needs to feature five hundred grams of dead animal, and let us know your favorites!

10. Tana Ethiopian Restaurant

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Dave Lieberman
The only not-purely-vegetarian restaurant on this list, Tana earned its spot here because Ethiopians are second perhaps only to Indians in their ability to cook pulses and vegetables. A vegetable special here comes with fifteen different vegetarian stews spread around an edible plate of sour, spongy bread.

2622 W. La Palma Ave., Anaheim; 714-229-1719; tanaethio.com.

9. Au Lac

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Grace Le
There are a half-dozen Vietnamese vegetarian restaurants in Little Saigon; Au Lac was the choice for this list because its menu of "Humanese cuisine" provides common ground for Asian Buddhists and earth mother-type people to eat. There's a juice bar and a menu of raw foods, but the best thing to eat is canh chả cá thì là, "fish" (actually tofu) soup with dill and tomato.

16563 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley; 714-418-0658; aulac.com.

8. Loving Hut

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Grace Le
Loving Hut is a large chain of vegan restaurants that spread like wildfire after people noticed their first OC location, in faraway Ladera Ranch. It's the vegan equivalent of the burger-Mexican-Asian shacks that dot Orange County, with veggie burgers, Asian fare, and burritos. It's definitely the best option in the Brea Mall food court.

Overall website: lovinghut.us.
1065 Brea Mall, Brea; 714-990-2261.
19891 Brookhurst St., Huntington Beach; 714-962-6449.
27522 Antonio Pkwy., Ladera Ranch; 949-365-1077
237 S. Tustin St., Orange; 714-464-0544.

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20 comments
Faithrules99
Faithrules99

Mitasie 3 in Huntington Beach, next to Michaels Crafts, across the street from Bella Terra is amazing! They have incredible garlic rice. My favorite is to order the fried rice with the garlic rice as the base- soooo yummy and it's only $6.95. The salt & pepper tofu is also addicting, the flavors are so good! Yum!

Andrew Gruel
Andrew Gruel

I LOVE that SeaBirds is at the top. Such a great call!! Avanti is killer too. This is a well put together list. Thanks!

Joan
Joan

Good job guys.  For the most part, I agree with this list. 

I've never really liked Wheel of Life, but maybe I'll try again. 

Also, there's this great place in Huntington Beach, Vietnamese, called Mitasie 3, which you guys have probably reviewed, but I forget if I've ever read about it.  Cheap, great "chicken" pho, though the bbq pork roll is overrated, imho.  My fave in the area, and better than at least one of the Loving Huts.  Def. better than the HB Loving Hut. 

True Food Kitchen in NB had some awesome vegan desserts the other day.  Love the apple cobbler with maple ice cream. 

Xpdonahue
Xpdonahue

Wheel of Life would have made this list 10 years ago. Its garbage now. Bo De Tinh Tam Chay is after Au Lac as the best veggie asian place, Happy Family is a greasy mess.

davidt
davidt

Bo De Tinh Tam Chay should be on this list instead of Happy Veggie or Loving Hut. Probably instead of Au Lac. Au Lac is too hipster/expensive now with their funky twenty-one dollar specialty drinks. 

Get the snow peas at Bo De Tinh Tam Chay. 

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Wheel of Life fans demand a recount!

veghed
veghed

hoa sen's rice clay pot is INCREDIBLE!!

Elrawk
Elrawk

Avanti isn't 100% vegan. And the housemade ricotta definitely is not.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Wheel of LIfe over Au Lac any day of the week.  WoL has the best jasmine rice and is down to Earth. Au Lac puts on airs.

beeplogic
beeplogic

I'd take Wheel Of Life over Happy Family. 

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Right, but I don't think I claimed it was vegan, unless you're seeing something I'm not?

ahnandahnandahn
ahnandahnandahn

Au Lac does not put on an airs like the rest of these joint that sell fried tofu as healthy. You beliefs are questionable. You need to eat more raw food so you can see when people are putting on airs.

Rocket J
Rocket J

Are you seriously saying his perception is not worthy because he does not eat enough raw food? I beleive your comment actually supports 20ft's premise.

My only complaint with Au Lac is the square soup bowls and funky spoons, devilishly hard to get the last drops of soup.

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

If I eat more raw food I will definitely be putting out more air.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Ah, yes, idioms are difficult.  Here's the definition:

put on airs -- to act better than one really is; to pretend to be good or to be superior.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Has the OCW ever reviewed Wheel of Life? 

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