• herbivore: does it rule or does it blow?

    May 8th, 2009quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), san francisco

    up north in san francisco and berkely, there’s an entirely vegan restaurant with three locations called herbivore. one glance at their menu makes herbivore look like heaven—they’ve got tons of brunch selections, a 2 page lunch and dinner menu with several types of cuisine, loads of desserts, and even tap beer. it would seriously take me months of eating there regularly to try everything, and it all sounds delicious.

    i have been to herbivore and blogged about it a couple times in the past for both breakfast and lunch, and thoroughly enjoyed both of my meals. however, every single person i know who lives in SF thinks herbivore sucks balls. the word on the street, according to friends of mine who live up there, is that the only decent things at herbivore are the shwarma and the brunch items. the pad thai is supposedly noodles with a load of peanut butter dumped on them, and the fake meats are store-bought packages from white wave. so i took her advice on my recent visit and stuck to the brunch.

    sausage biscuit: with house potatoes, mushroom gravy and avocado-tomato salad. $8.25

    sausage biscuit: with house potatoes, mushroom gravy and avocado-tomato salad. $8.25

    i ordered the sausage biscuit, which tasted amazingly like the “sausage rolls” from london i fell in love with at beetroot. the flaky pastry was filled with chunky soy meat…i wish i could find more stuff like this at los angeles vegan restaurants. the breakfast potatoes were just superb as well—slightly burnt and a tad oily with tasty seasoning. my only complaint about this dish is that the sausage biscuit was a bit small (especially for 8 bucks), and it came with a salad which is a bit odd at breakfast-time. whateves, i was overall pretty happy with it.

    mudslide ice cream from maggie mudd. $4.75

    mudslide ice cream from maggie mudd. $4.75

    since i didn’t make it to maggie mudd on my trip, i decided to grab a scoop of their ice cream which is sold at herbivore. it was a bit of a ripoff at $4.75 (i come from the land of huge portions of scoops for 2 bucks), but i gotta say it was damn good. the mudslide flavor was super chunky and the ice cream was really thick and dense. i can’t wait until the day i can visit maggie mudd and go wild with a slap up sundae. this ice cream deserves to be done right! still, i’ll take what i can get, and herbivore’s serving hit the spot.

    so overall my experiences at herbivore have been pretty good, although i haven’t ordered any of the “sucky” menu items. i will continue to stick to the brunch offerings when i visit there, and of course the amazing shwarma, which rocks my world.

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11 responses to “herbivore: does it rule or does it blow?” RSS icon

  • I’ve been there once. I thought it was good but not great.

  • I was thinking about typing up a long comment about how bad Herbivore is but here, just look at my Yelp review.


  • Having grown up in Los Angeles, and lived in San Francisco for the past couple years, I would say that what vegan Thai is to Los Angeles, Herbivore is perhaps to San Francisco. Serviceable, but generally not amazing vegan comfort food that is somewhat ubiquitous (since there are two locations in SF, one in Berkeley). Also, the food can be somewhat inconsistent. One time I had a breakfast burrito that was delicious and flavorful, another time it was bland city!

  • I’m a lover, not a hater. Been there on every visit to the bay area over the past few years, both SF locations and Berkeley, and I’ve enjoyed everything I got to try… breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t hold it to the level of being INCREDIBLE, but it’s way tasty. Especially the schwarma. And don’t get me going on the blueberry cornbread. Just don’t.

    Maybe if I lived there I’d be bored with it by now. Probably not.

  • miss anthrope

    nebraska – i loved your yelp review. i think you used the word “decent” a few times, and that’s exactly how i would describe herbivore. overall decent, except for the brilliant shwarma!

  • I had very high vegan hopes on my trip to SF last year and especially for Herbivore. I was mostly underwhelmed. Herbivore was just fine, to be sure, but it didn’t blow my mind. I ordered seitan skewers for 13 bucks and got like 3 cubes of seitan. Maggie Mudd’s is AMAZING and was my favorite food event in SF. The cookies at Herbivore tasted dusty and stale.

    But I guess no city can live up to your vegan expectations when you go to Portland first. That was my mistake. I went to Portland and then flew to SF a few days later. What a letdown after the vegan mecca that is Portland!!

  • I need to take a trip to SF to eat at all these places I’ve been hearing about for years. I’m so behind!

  • Herbivore is okay and very uneven. If you stick to the better options (sandwiches and brunch), then you’ll like it alright. If you go for a noodle or Asian-inspired dish, caveat emptor.

    As the folks before me noted, the best adjectives to describe Herbivore are: okay, uneven, decent, boring, bland, and serviceable. Not a glowing recommendation.

  • “the mcdonalds of veggie food”

  • I ate at herbivore last spring. I unfortunately had the pad thai. It turned out to be noodles in a creamy tomato/peanut sauce. Definitely not what I was expecting.

    Try Jay’s Cheesesteaks across the corner. They do a seitan version of all the cheesesteaks on the menu.

  • TheOrdinaryBoy

    Yes, this exactly right! Everyone in SF knows that herbivore is horrible. inconsistent between locations, shitty service. half of the food that comes out is pretty much inedible. it is the lastttttt resort definitely. Schwarma is the only okayish thing. And it seems very true that visitors seem to really like it for some reason. I have no idea why! and their prices keep rising?

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