Welcome to Oh Veg

We live in a food capital—a glorious, inspiring, indulgent, panoply of the best food the world has to offer, dished up with a health-conscious local twist, and a second helping of seasonally fresh, locally grown and made goodness.

San Francisco, the Bay Area, and our fair city of Berkeley especially, are fantastic eating towns. Collectively, this is a great place to be a vegetarian, become a vegetarian, or entertain visiting vegetarians.

I’m completely serious when I say that many local restaurants, great and small, completely neglect their vegetarian, vegan, and health-conscious guests. We’re like an afterthought, if any thought was given at all. Some of the fanciest restaurants (and I mean you, "Fancy Restaurant") don’t even bother to list a vegetarian entrée on the menu. Worse, they act like it’s a special ordeal when the waiter has to check with the chef if they can specially make something without ox tail, fois gras, and fish heads, filled with cheese.

Despite the few disappointing holdouts, by and large, the Bay Area is an exceptionally vegetarian-friendly place to eat out. That’s true enough to me that I consider eating anywhere outside of the Bay Area as foreign travel: bring your pocket two-language dictionary and leave your high expectations at the border of Mendocino, the East Bay Hills, San Leandro and South San Francisco. (Peninsula, no disrespect, I hardly know you—prove me wrong.)

Why do we need another restaurant review blog?

Sure, you can Yelp!, Chow, Chow Hound, BooRah, Urban Spoon, or City Search* your way into community-sourced restaurant reviews and ratings, but how can you find out from The Web what their vegetarian selection might be like?
*Does anyone actually still use City Search?

We love and support the vegetarian restaurant websites, and we rely on them too. Bay Area Vegetarians, Happy Cow, VegDining, Vegetarian Restaurants, VegGuide, are all doing a wonderful service. Keep the faith. Yet most of these and similar sites list only specialty vegetarian restaurants, catering to vegetarian tourists, or people who specifically want to support their local, like-minded folks. Respect.

But what Kathryn and I are after here, with this site, is something different. We often find fantastic vegetarian, and vegan food, at ethnic restaurants, neighborhood places, and even the well-known restaurants that specialize in something entirely different. When we go out with friends to a nice meal, or visit the local mom and pop restaurant, the hole-in-the-wall eateries, and the small-business take out places that are everywhere around here, we quickly figure out whether or not a place is vegetarian or vegan friendly, and how much selection they offer. That’s something the other sites rarely discuss.

Our goal is to offer our own restaurant reviews and discuss our local, favorite places, from a personal, vegetarian perspective.

Of course we’re partial to our local favorites and special places, and we hope you will be too!

A little back story

We originally attempted to start this food blog in 2008, after the successful launch of VegJapan (our Vegetarians-in-Japan travel-blog, check it out!). We wanted to share our experiences as two strict vegetarians dining in Berkeley, Albany, Oakland, and San Francisco; our places, our neighborhoods, our experiences and our stories.

Here we have an explanation of the Ratings System used on this site, and here the Rules, Terms and Conditions used on this site are explained.

If you have a different view, or want to tip us off to a great place we haven’t discussed, please drop us a line. And feel free to leave a comment on the restaurant pages. We know that finding out how vegetarian-friendly a place is can be difficult without going there yourself. We hope to convey that information in these pages, adding more over time.

So, Cheers, Itadakimasu, Buon Appetito, Saluté, and dig in!

—Ken Goldberg & Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg, January 2010.

Ken & Kathryn Goldberg

Ken & Kathryn in Berkeley, California


About the Authors

Ken and Kathryn are the authors of VegJapan, a vegetarian TravelBlog in Japan.


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