I’ve been to Orange County before and bought myself an Orange County Chopper. Actually, that last part is not true, though I love the design of their bikes. I had one as a young man, a motorbike that is and it scares me to ride one now. I’d get into way too much trouble.
Anyway, this isn’t about vegan motorcycles. It’s about eating at some of the best vegan restaurants in Orange County.
Now if you read my review of the top 3 vegan Portland restaurants, you’ll know that I hadn’t actually been to any of them.
Same here. I haven’t been to these 3 vegetarian restaurants in Orange County, but I feel comfortable recommending them to you. Why? Because they’d be the first 3 vegan food joints that I’d visit the next time I was in Orange County and had enough time to eat at all 3.
In case you’re wondering how I determine vegan restaurant reviews make my list, I go to Happy Cow and then check out the vegan restaurants in that particular city. Then I take that list and check out each of the specific web pages for each restaurant.
I’m looking at menu, diversity as well as creativity in the menu. I’m looking at prices. Price alone is not that important but I do take a look at it. If a restaurant is much more expensive than the others they better have the most amazing vegan food.
I also look at reviews that I can find on the internet and I do a search through search engines to come up with any other candidates I might have missed from Happy Cow.
I put this all together and come up with a list of the best restaurants that are vegan that I’d like to eat at. It isn’t an exact science but I’ve found some gems this way that are reasonably prices, offer interesting food and have great customer reviews and experience.
Let’s get to my 3 favourite vegan Orange County restaurants. They are in no particular order. As always let me know how you liked them if you’ve been.
Au Lac Fountain Valley
Au Lac located at 16563 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley is a vegan restaurant that has been around since 1997. They are open Tuesday through Sunday inclusive and closed on Mondays and some holidays. Their hours are unusual. Lunch is served 11:33am until 3:33pm with dinner service from 5:33pm to 9:33pm.
You can also visit their kitchen for a tour after dinner service has ended.
Au Lac is quite well known in the vegetarian Orange County community and they have a wide variety of inspired Vietnamese and Chinese dishes with mock meats. They also have a rather extensive raw menu too.
Here are a couple of examples of some dishes I would try. Mi Dac Biet which is yellow noodle soup with soy seafood served in a black mushroom broth with lettuce and sprouts. Or how about Ga XaOt which is lemongrass soy chicken pan seared in chilli with garlic and shiitake sauce.
A couple of cons. The restaurant can be busy on a weekend evening and as such a bit noisy especially for those who prefer quieter dinners. Also this is a pricey dinner. And for me pricey is for an entree between $15 to $20+. I couldn’t find prices for this restaurant online but I heard it was pricey and so I imagine you’ll be spending $15 to $20 per entree. It is also located in a strip mall which is not ideal for a great date dinner location.
Bodhi Tree Vegetarian Cafe
Another vegan, Vietnamese/Chinese style restaurant offering mock meats too. If you’re down at Huntington Beach this might be one to check out. They’re located at 501 Main Street in Huntington Beach and they are open 7 days a week from 11am to 10pm. I love a vegan restaurant that is open every day of the week. Makes it so much easier to remember.
The prices for Bodhi Tree are modest if not on the cheap side depending on what you’re ordering. Modest or middle of the road restaurant prices for me are in the $8 to $12 range. Actually, I’d consider $10 to $12 to be moderate too.
At Bodhi Tree you can get entrees or main dishes from $7.95 to $15.95 which was the most expensive item on their menu. The 16 buck dish was for the Chef’s Special of Grilled Fish with Rice Paper Wraps.
But there are tons of soups, noodle dishes and sandwiches all for $5.95 to $7.95. Great option if you’re on a bit of a budget and who isn’t these days.
Most you know I’ve got a soft spot for truck food and food on the go. Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a bit of nosh but you’ve gotta run, so you pick up some food from your local vegan food truck.
The Seabird’s truck is trying to go brick and mortar. You can check out what they’re doing and how you can help – if you want – as well as vote for them for the Libby Awards at their website.
The problem with trucks is that they have wheels and they move. D’oh! So I can’t tell you the hours or the days of the week that Seabird’s is on the go. You’re best to check in on their website or take a look at their Twitter feed.
The food changes too, but they always seem to have something good. Currently there are things like Kale Salad, Potato-Jackfruit-Black Bean Taquitos and Beer Battered Avocado Tacos on the menu.
The prices are reasonable. Expect to pay between $4 and $8 for a meal. A decent sized one at that.
There are of course tons of other great vegan restaurants in Orange County that I’d want to try but these would be the first on the list. This is not meant to underestimate the deliciousness of The Loving Hut or Native Foods of which you guys have a few.
You have no idea how lucky you are down there in Orange County and the rest of California. I remember when I was a whipper snapper I was lucky to find a few twigs and berries to eat scavenging the wilds of vegana!