One of the best vegan restaurants in San Francisco is Gracias Madre, a Mexican restaurant in the Mission District owned by the same owners of Cafe Gratitude. I first dined here when they opened in 2009 and was impressed, but not overly so. Asking around, it seemed like everyone regarded this as one of the top restaurants still, so I swung by to meet a friend for lunch on a Thursday.
This restaurant is really stunning from it's Mexican-style clay front to its huge wooden tables inside. We arrived right when they opened and were the first ones inside.
I thought we'd get to choose from their incredible regular menu, but beware, there is a very pared down menu for lunch. I started by ordering a fresh green juice to cleanse my body from the night before.
For lunch, I tried the Bowl Uno. This delicious meal was loaded with tempeh chorizo, black beans, guacamole, brown rice, and pico de gallo over lettuce and served with cashew cream. Additionally, their housemade sauces could be added, further increasing the flavor. This dish was so simple, yet so good.
My friend ordered the Gorditas -- lightly fried potato masa cakes topped with salsa verda, avocado, and cashew cream. He liked them just fine and I found them to be a nice light appetizer.
That was all we had. My bowl was fairly expensive at $12 and the gorditas were too at $11. But, they do specialize in fresh, locally grown, organic ingredients so you get what you pay for. The service was fine and the food was good. I'd come back, but next time, it'll be for dinner.
2211 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110