While creating a home-cooked meal can be incredibly satisfying and intimate, there’s just something about going out to eat at a restaurant and not having any dishes to do when you get home.
This is especially true when the family is in town and those plates can pile up at an exponential rate!
As Christmas inches closer and you begin tallying up the number of people joining your holiday festivities, the wheels may be turning and churning in regards to how you’ll be feeding them. This is especially challenging when you’ll be cooking a vegan meal.
Instead, this year, how about taking the whole ordeal out?
Many restaurants may close their doors for the holidays, yet a handful decide to keep their doors open and take advantage of those families looking to spice up their traditions with something new from their kitchens. No matter where you live, there will be at least one establishment welcoming you in!
Here are a few cities across the country with restaurants offering vegan-friendly Christmas Eve or Christmas Day meals!
Sacramento is a highly underrated city. It’s easy to see how it gets lost in the swell of eclectic attractions in California — when you’ve got vibrant San Francisco, trendy Los Angeles, and chill San Diego, hitting up the non-beach adjacent Sacramento may seem like a step in the wrong direction. Yet, Sacramento is quickly growing into a food mecca for Northern California. Not only is the diversity of food options growing, but vegan establishments and vegan-friendly menus are popping up left and right. If you find yourself in the Golden State this holiday season, consider taking your Christmas celebrations to these restaurants offering vegan-friendly culinary fare!
If you’re in Sacramento for Christmas and you’re looking for a great spot to enjoy a delicious vegan italian Christmas Eve or Christmas day meal, stop by Buca di Beppo. While the joint isn’t an entirely vegan establishment, they do offering a few great vegan options to round out a meal.
As a vegan eater, what can you order?
Start off the meal with the bruschetta, — make sure to ask them to hold the cheese — then put in a special request Pasta Puttanesca, — “penne pasta with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, black Kalamata olives, green olives, and capers” — and make sure to go with the marinara sauce or the garlic olive oil. There’s also a “create your own pasta” option, giving you all the power, and a few vegan sides including a mixed green salad, — make sure to “substitute the Italian dressing for oil and vinegar” — steamed green beans, and broccoli.
2. Bombay Bar & Grill
Another great spot to find vegan options, Bombay Bar & Grill is also one of those great restaurants that keep their doors open on Christmas day. Known as a cornerstone in the Sacramento community, the Bombay Bar & Grill “has been recognized for its outstanding Indian cuisine, excellent service, and friendly staff.” The owners also focus on using only the highest-quality and freshest of ingredients.
When it comes to choosing those vegan options out of the non-vegan options, there are a handful to select from including the “Chana Masala (garbanzo beans), Cauliflower and Potatoes, Alu Baigan (potatoes and eggplant), Alu Mutter (potatoes and green peas), Bhindi Masal (okra), and Dal (lentils).” They also have a full vegetarian appetizer menu with Alu Tikki, Somosas, and Pakora, as well as a vegetable dish menu. Make sure to ask the waiter to verify that your vegetarian dishes are also vegan!
The Capitol Garage is one of those super unique, lively, and, yes, vegan-friendly establishments open during the Christmas holiday. The restaurant was designed around a simple concept, “to provide Sacramento with a music venue for an emerging punk scene,” yet grew into a larger establishment at 15th and K street where a full menu is served alongside history from the punk era.
Serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, the Capitol Garage has full vegan offerings for each menu including delightful dishes for brunch and lunch — such as tofu wings, green tacos, pancakes, veggie burritos, and a northwest spinach salad — and dinner alternatives — such as sweet and spicy fries, the spring salad, a portabella po boy, and a jungle burrito.
Capitol Garage will be offering a special Christma Eve Brunch menu — served from nine in the morning until three in the afternoon, “with bottomless mimosas” and a Chrismas Eve Dinner menu — available from 4:30 in the afternoon until 8:30 in the evening with a special dinner offering of $50 dinner for two including two appetizers, two entrees, and a shared dessert.
2. San Diego
The sprawl of San Diego not only offers beautiful weather daily, but it’s also becoming one of the burgeoning culinary metropolia of California. A wide variety of culture brings out the best variety of the city, yet it’s the focus on healthy plant-based foods that have really taken the city by storm. Christmas is the perfect time to bring the family together for something new! Try out one of these plant-based restaurants this holiday season.
A truly special and intimate little restaurant located in Encinitas, Valentina brings a family-owned feel to their casual, yet high-class eatery. This unique wine bat and restaurants serves an “eclectic mix of seasonal plates curated by a passion for travel, and inspired by the classic styles of Mexico, Spain, and France.”
Make reservations for this Christmas Eve and bring the family for a pre-fixe dinner and wine pairing event! For $49 per person (plus $25 if you want the wine pairing), you’ll have a variety of vegan and non-vegan options that should suit the family at large. Vegan options on the pre-fixe menu include Fennel & Frisée Salad (ask for this dish without the pancetta), Vegan Fettucine, and a Vegan Coffee to finish.
2. The Purple Mint
The Purple Mint not only has that sweet and plant-friendly name, but they also stand for all the good things you’d want in a plant-based restaurant. Their menu reflects “healthy eating, healthy living, and [promotes] a vegan lifestyle.” Located in San Diego, The Purple Mint “offers a diverse menu ranging from varied beverages and savory entrées to sweet desserts baked fresh daily.”
Yet, this vegan restaurant isn’t your typical spot. They infuse their vegan culinary fare with Asian fusion, meaning you can get find all of those regularly meat-heavy dishes completely meat-free!
Plus, The Purple Mint is open Christmas Eve! Take your family out to dinner before Santa comes and get some of your favorite Asian-inspired dishes such as “Crispy Egg Rolls, Lemon Grass Chicken, and Yam & Sweet Potato Curry … made from meatless strips and soy protein.”
A great place to take your Christmas Eve celebration! True Food Kitchen is a restaurant “inspired by the philosophy that food should make you feel better, not worse.” What makes this establishment so unique? Along with a collective of chefs and restaurateurs, there’s also an integrative medicine doctor behind the scenes helping to create delicious and highly nutritious meals. Integrative medicine believes that “delicious dining and conscious nutrition can go hand in hand, without sacrificing flavor, creativity, or indulgence.”
Their menu rotates regularly, relying on seasonal ingredients sourced at the peak of their freshness. While they are not strictly vegan, True Foods Kitchen offers a variety of diet-friendly options including vegan, vegetarian, keto, and paleo.
Portland is the land of plenty … when it comes to finding food that fits your lifestyle that is. This city is not only liberal-spun, but it also has a restaurant or eatery for any human desire. From vegan to keto to paleo to grain-free and more. Therefore, finding a few vegan-friendly shops that were offering Christmas culinary fare was not difficult! Yet, from the slew of options, here are a few of the most unique and festive.
While you may not be able to stop by on Christmas day, Homegrown Smoker offers absolutely amazing vegan-friendly holiday boxes for pick up. So, what are they? Homegrown Smoker is a vegan barbeque and comfort food joint. Basically, pick up any of your favorite barbeque classics 100 percent veganized.
Homegrown Smoker will be offering two different holiday boxes this year.
The Holiday Roast — one 2-pound seitan holiday roast (Beif or H’yam) and a sauce (Creamy Horseradish for Beif + Ginger-Maple Glaze for H’yam). You can also go all-in on the Holiday Box — one 2-pound holiday seitan roast (H’yam or Beif), two sides (Roasted Herbed Root Vegetables, Baked MacNoCheese, Hearty Stuffing, Cauli-Potato Mash), and two sauces (Creamy Horseradish, Ginger-Maple Glaze, Smoked Mushroom Gravy, Citrus Cranberry).
Opened in 2018 by James Bear Award-winning Chef Vitaly Paley (his 5th restaurant!), Rosa Rosa has become a prime eatery in Downtown Portland. This underscored restaurant “takes inspiration from the rich culinary traditions born across the Ottoman and Roman Empires, from the Caucasus Mountains to the Mediterranean Sea.”
Open on Christmas day from seven in the morning to nine at night, Rosa Rosa has a delicious menu filled with vegetarian options such as Spiced Chickpea Soup, the Mezze Platter, Gathered Greens, Braised Autumn Greens, and Grilled Delicata Squash. Make sure to let your waiter know if you’re looking for vegan-specific culinary fare and they can direct you to the appropriate vegetarian and vegan options.
3. Kung POW!
Looking to get some delicious Asian-inspired vegan-friendly food on Christmas day? Well, if you’re in Oregon for the holidays stop by Kung POW! located just outside the city border of Portland. Run by Vo Chiem, a restaurant veteran of 25 years, Kung POW! offers a simplistic approach with bold flavors and vegan-friendly options.
With a diverse and large menu, everyone in the family will be able to find something that fits their taste buds on Christmas day. Vegan options include Vegan Soy Curls Potstickers, Dry Sautéed Green Beans, Sichuan Eggplant, Broccoli or Soy Curls Tofu, Mongolian Soy Curls, Judy’s Noodles, and Red Curry Soy Curls Noodles.
Yes, it’s true, I’m biased as I’m from Denver! With that said, this small-big city is really coming into its own in regards to the culinary fare. Each week there are old and new restaurants both closing and opening, trying new foods and new ways of serving said foods, a mecca of experimentation. When it comes to Christmas, trying your hand at the Denver eatery scene may lead you to wonderful traditional foods, as well as new diverse, delicious options!
If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience on Christmas Eve, check out Ophelia’s Electric Soap Box in downtown Denver. A once brothel has been turned into a complete dining and entertainment experience. Complete with orchestra type seating around a stage where live music is played, this Christmas Eve experience will definitely rock!
Plus, Ophelia’s Electric Soap Box will be open for Christmas Eve!
While they aren’t a 100 percent vegan dining experience, Ophelia’s kitchen offers a wide variety of vegan dishes. Start your meal with an appetizer or small plate such as hummus, Cuban plantains, fried guacamole, french fries, and asparagus. Next, choose from a slew of entrees that are either vegan to begin with or can be made vegan such as the Kale and Brussels Cobb, the Mushroom Duxelle flatbread, or the Impossible Burger.
Looking for a little Mexican food for your Christmas day meal? If you’re in Denver for the holidays, head down to the Kachina Cantina, located right in Lower Downtown. Self-prescribed as a “free-spirited, modern cantina providing an escape in the LoDo district of Denver,” Kachina brings flavors and inspiration from the “Four Corners region of Southwest America and Baja Mexico.”
Offering the standard culinary fare such as “guacamoles and salsas, and the seven different types of tacos with your choice of corn tortillas, flour tortillas, bibb lettuce wrap or Navajo fry bread,” plus a wide variety of cocktails including agua frescas, artisan agave spirits, and smoky margaritas, everyone in the family will find something they enjoy here!
Kachina Cantina offers a slew of vegetarian-friendly food options including Crispy Cauliflower, Traditional Guacamole, Salsa Verde, Casa Greens, Roasted Vegetable Relleno, Brussels Sprouts, and Platanos Fritos. If you’re looking for vegan-inspired foods, make sure to check with your waiter for the appropriate options for you!
Technically, this little vegan eatery is located just on the outskirts of Denver in a city called Arvada, yet it still has to make the list! Located in the super cute and vibrant Olde Town Arvada, this is the first vegan restaurant to grace the historic center’s streets. While So Radish is not 100 percent vegan, it focuses solely on plant-based, mostly vegan culinary fare with a few side meat options for friends or family members who may not be vegan dieters.
This is what makes this restaurant perfect for your Christmas Eve celebration!
Bring the entire family and find something for everyone. From fried avocado, sweet and spicy fried Brussels sprouts, and hearty “crab” cakes, to full entrees such as BBQ jackfruit, mushroom cheesesteaks, spicy peanut tofu, and fried cauliflower tacos.
Austin is a city burgeoning with vivacity. Even though this city is known as an epicenter for music, Austin is quickly becoming a culinary hot spot attracting talented chefs, entrepreneurs, and restauranteurs who seek to open the newest, freshest, and most desirable eatery. This is also true when it comes to finding menus that cater to different diets such as vegan. Many restaurants are beginning to not only incorporate vegan options, but some restaurants have gone fully vegan! This Christmas, try a few of these vegan-friendly Austin hot spots.
1. Skull & Cakebones
Maybe you’re not into the whole Christmas meal at a restaurant, but what about some delicious baked goods to round out the meal?
Skull & Cakebones is one of those amazing Austin-based gems that “specializes in all-natural products that are vegan, non-GMO, and incorporate local flavors.” What’s their goal? To have customers “snarf down [their] baked goods then watch their faces explode with disbelief when they find out it’s vegan.” Not only do they offer vegan-friendly culinary foods, but they “take pride in quality control and use as many local, fair trade and organic ingredients” as possible.
Their menu is of course loaded with baked goods including gooey cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, savory pockets, and scones, but they also have a full menu of delicious food!
If you’ve got family coming into town and you’re looking for that perfect place filled with Austin-rich history and culinary fare for everyone, then head over to Threadgill’s.
Opened in the early 1900s as the place for traveling musicians to grab a drink after their gigs, Threadgill’s has persisted (with a little help from legendary Austin City Councilman Lowell Lebermann Jr.) becoming a full-blown eatery with a variety of locations.
Along with history, this restaurant offers a large menu to meet the needs of all types of patrons. What’s truly great? Threadgill’s now offers a variety of vegan-friendly options (marked with the “V”) including the Dinner Salad, Texas Black-Eyed Pea Caviar, Sweet Potato Fries, Red Beans and Rice, Corn-off-the-Cob, Steamed Broccoli, and Turnip Greens.
Lin Asian Bar + Dim Sum is a great place to take the family (or even just yourself) for a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day feast!
Chef Ling brings her passion from Fuzhou City, Fujian Province where she grew up and her culinary skills from New York City to create the delicious and traditional menu at Lin Asian Bar + Dim Sum. Ling not only focuses on sourcing ingredients locally from small businesses and local farmers, but her goal is to be “the first Asian Bar Restaurant in Austin Texas” that offers traditional Chinese cuisine “with better and healthier ingredients.”
Plus, Lin Asian Bar + Dim Sum offers a variety of vegan options (indicated with the “VE”) including Sautéed Seasonal Vegetable with Tofu, Mustard Green with Minced Garlic, Sautéed Baby Bak Choi with Japanese Shiitake Mushroom, Vegetable Dumpling, and Steam Spinach Dumpling, to name just a few!
We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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