A meat-free diet is anything but boring. In Surf City USA®, chefs are offering a taste of the rainbow with their colorful plant-based cuisine, from orange-glazed soy chicken to bright green lettuce wraps to a golden curry stew. Diverse, delicious and oh-so-decadent, these elevated vegetarian dishes are bursting with fresh flavor and creative preparations. Whether you’ve been a vegetarian for years or enjoy the occasional meatless Monday, here’s a guide to nine of the best restaurants serving vegetarian cuisine in Huntington Beach.
1. Secret Spot
It’s no secret this harbor-adjacent eatery is a favorite of locals seeking casual vegan and vegetarian dining options. With an all-day breakfast menu, you can get your fill of morning staples like fluffy blueberry mango pancakes or hearty burritos that wrap beans, eggs, cheese and salsa up in your choice of tortilla. If eggs are off the table for you, try the veggie-packed vegan rizo burrito with tofu, red peppers and taco sauce. A medley of salads, sandwiches and soups are available for lunch and dinner, including the Italian melt featuring grilled portobello mushroom, roasted red pepper, basil pesto and melted provolone cheese on sourdough.
A standout among downtown dining options, Good Vibes is not your average vegan restaurant. Using ingredients sourced straight from local farmers’ markets, the dishes here are pure comfort food — not to mention, every dish served is 100-percent vegan. A globally inspired menu includes delights like the spicy vodka rigatoni made using almond cream and chicken katsu bowl with breaded soy and Japanese curry. Don't skip a sip from the juice bar!
Tacos, wraps and gourmet sandwiches on Dutch crunch bread will send vegetarian taste buds soaring out of this world. Crunchy, breaded soy proteins are heavenly alternatives to the real deal in dishes like the Law of Karma, a southern-fried bacon tossed with Cajun seasoning and served ranch or hickory barbecue dipping sauce. Ultimate Liberation fish tacos are a must-try, with the crispy protein slathered in a creamy, spicy chipotle sauce and tucked into a warm corn tortilla.
4. Mitasie 3
Your favorite Asian fusion flavors — think broccoli beef, lemongrass chicken and Hong Kong chow fun — are reimagined at this Edinger Avenue restaurant as vegetarian and vegan entrees, soups, house specials and noodle dishes. For a lighter bite, sample vegan tuna sushi or summer rolls featuring vermicelli, mint, avocado, bean sprout and cucumber wrapped in delicate rice paper and served with a peanut sauce.
This healthy eating haven on Goldenwest Street is great if you’re traveling with a meat eater in tow. The create-your-own options and specialty bowls, which include flavor profiles like miso, barbecue, Thai peanut and chimichurri, give diners an opportunity to choose their own protein. Vegetarians should try the crispy cauliflower, a chef’s special that is so popular it became a staple on the permanent menu. It’s also available as an appetizer, served with spicy buffalo or vegan ranch and a side of carrots and celery.
6. Loving Hut
The casual Beach Boulevard chain is beloved for its vegan Vietnamese delicacies, like banh mi and golden vermicelli, a half-salad and half-noodle dish served with bean sprouts, cucumber mint, roasted peanuts and a crispy golden roll. But there are vegetarian dishes to satisfy every craving, from soy shrimp nuggets to American-style Beyond burgers. There’s even a tofu lasagna packed with layers of soy protein beef, zucchini mushroom and broccoli that pairs well with a crusty slice of garlic bread.
In Pacific City, this authentic Vietnamese restaurant serves up a classic dish, vegetarian style. Build your own pho with vegan-friendly rice noodles, seasonal veggies and organic tofu simmering in a piping-hot bowl of herb-infused vegetable broth (Tip: After sampling the light broth, reach for the Sriracha to add an extra kick). While your meat-eating companions might enjoy a selection of street snacks, vegetarians need to try an order of specialty spring rolls, a treat of tofu, lettuce, mint, perilla leaves, pickled carrots and daikon wrapped in gluten-free rice paper and served with a peanut dipping sauce.
While this healthy downtown restaurant isn’t vegetarian-exclusive, there’s no shortage of options for meat-free diners who stop by to pick up breakfast or lunch. Nutrient-rich acai bowls and smoothies are great post-workout with ingredients like fresh fruit, peanut butter, chia seeds, chocolate and vanilla protein, and almond milk. For a protein-packed pick at lunchtime, try a bowl with vegetarian turkey or the cali chop featuring avocado, quinoa, black beans and veggies tossed in an avocado cilantro dressing. Most salads are vegetarian-friendly, with decadent dressings ranging from creamy tahini and raspberry vinaigrette to a vegan cashew Caesar.
Surf City USA’s only all-vegan Japanese cuisine is a must-visit destination for traveling vegetarians. The charming restaurant in Huntington Harbour Mall is owned and operated by husband and wife Akira and Ana Nakao, who prepare and serve earth-conscious dishes like spicy miso ramen and lettuce wraps offered with thinly sliced vegan barbecue meat, five-grain rice and sprouts. Upgrade your evening with one of the spice-laden Japanese curries, featuring marinated vegan beef, grilled or oven-baked crispy chicken, tofu, or pan-fried tempeh served with a medley of organic vegetables. (As a result of a devastating fire in January 2022 that injured co-owner Ana Nakao, VegiLicious is currently closed. The owners hope to reopen the restaurant soon following Ana’s recovery.)