Being Vegan in San Francisco vs. Los Angeles: How Do They Compare?

All my life until mid-September in 2016, I’ve been a SoCal woman. I’m still natively SoCal, but it’s taken over 18 years for me to experience life in a new city (San Luis Obispo) in Central California. One area that is even more popular in California as a state would be the Bay Area. This includes San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo, Alameda, Burlingame Gate, Mission District, Union City, San Jose, and so forth. I visited twice, but living there? Didn’t think it would ever come. But now that I’m here for my internship, here we are! It’s been nearly two months since I have immersed myself in the San Francisco scene, so perhaps this comparison of Los Angeles and San Francisco in terms of vegan accommodation is not 100% fair. 40-something days here versus >18 years in Los Angeles is like comparing apples to oranges, sweet potatoes to zucchini, Cardi B to Nicki Minaj, whatever you’d like to call it.

I’ve recognized that the Bay Area is almost an entirely separate state of its own compared to the Los Angeles scene.

WHICH CITY HAS MORE?

  • Both San Francisco and Los Angeles offer QUITE the array of restaurants. From the amount of vegan guides and locators I’ve utilized, Los Angeles beats San Francisco in the quantity of 100% vegan restaurants, pop-ups, shops, and brands it has. Both contain a vast collection of places with vegan options and the number of completely vegan restaurants and eateries in the Bay Area is only growing.

ON AVERAGE, WHICH CITY HAS HIGHER-QUALITY VEGAN FOOD?

  • OOF, hitting with an extremely challenging one. To be completely honest, I don’t think I have consumed enough takeout in San Francisco to answer this fairly. Having said that, thus far, not ONE restaurant I’ve ordered from here has disappointed me or even given me a meal that isn’t above average quality. The flavor, creativity, execution, and presentation of much of these eateries and brands are SPECTACULAR, especially with local places! My itinerary from Los Angeles is heartier, but falls flat more frequently. Again, I’ll say it’s on a case-by-case basis, so do your research. Still, maybe by the end of my internship, I’ll have an actual winner!

HOW ABOUT PRICE?

  • No doubt–if you have a lot of money and you love to eat, live in San Francisco. Prices for takeout are usually >10% more expensive than in Los Angeles. I’d say this generally applies to grocery supplies, though it also depends on where you shop. If you ever come across a promo code or any coupon or discount opportunity you find, take advantage of it in San Francisco. TRUST ME.

BETTER SERVICE?

  • Can’t say I’ve experienced negative service in San Francisco, but in a time like this, I also can’t say I’ve been served very often! Granted, the waiters and waitresses I’ve encountered in the Bay Area are very kind and accommodating, but overall interaction is limited. Similarly to which city has higher-quality food, I haven’t experienced enough here to answer this fairly.
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WHERE CAN YOU BUY VEGAN-FRIENDLY GROCERIES MORE EASILY (at a reasonable budget)?

  • It’s a tie. Both cities have their own health foods stores, large-chain supermarkets, foreign markets, convenience stores, and so forth that offer an equal amount of products. Having said that, I have come across many vegan items in fridges and shelves that are completely unique to each area, but they generally balance each other out.

WHICH CITY HAS A LARGER VEGAN POPULATION?

  • Hmm, let’s just say my social life in San Francisco is…well, half asleep. I know a LOT of vegans via social media who live in Northern California but are hours away and/or have busy schedules like me, so it’s a struggle to meet up. 😦 However, there are a lot of online networks based in the Bay Area dedicated to cultivating vegan communities, but my personal bet is going to be Los Angeles.

That’s all I got this week! Thank you so much for checking in and being super patient with my posting frequency!


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