• amazing vegan eats at source in san francisco, and the hottest sauce of my life.


    recently the husband and i took a 4 day trip to san francisco, and we ate and drank far more than any person should. in our culinary adventures, one of our favorite discoveries was the somewhat new vegetarian restaurant, source. to say that we enjoyed our meal at this place would be a severe understatement. we’re officially smitten, and i’m looking for excuses to book bay-area travel just so i can get another taste of this restaurant.

    source started out on a great foot. we arrived at around 6pm and the place was somewhat busy but not uncomfortable. they have an order and pay at the counter policy, which is my favorite! no waiting around and trying to get a server’s attention, no time gap between finishing the meal and leaving. source also rules due to the fact that it’s an all vegetarian restaurant, and EVERY ITEM can be made vegan! this isn’t obvious on their website, but it’s true! all the pizzas? veganizable. the mac and cheese? that can be vegan, duh. the lasagna? vegan version available. plus, all the desserts (and there are many!) are already vegan. other than a totally vegan restaurant, this is definitely my favorite model. (just be sure to ALWAYS specify vegan when you eat at source. play it safe!)

    the menu at source is massive, so we had a pretty hard time deciding what to order. we were determined to have a slap up feast though, and finally settled on the “buffalo cluck” as an appetizer. all the fake meaty menu items at source have cutesy names that echo the sounds of the emulated animal. cluck for chicken style meat, moo for fake beef, quack for duck and so on.

    buffalo cluck with slaw and sweet jalapeño chutney. $5.95

    the buffalo cluck was outstanding. i’m not sure what the brand of meat substitute was, but what made this dish special was the tangy and spicy sauce. complete vegan finger-lickin’ goodness. our meal was about to get really interesting though. when i approached the condiments counter to grab a bottle of hot sauce, the chef ran out from the kitchen and was all, “you like spicy food?” i told him of course i do, “i put hot sauce on everything!” he asked if i’d like to try some of his special homemade sauce that he keeps in back…the extra extra hot stuff. i said i’d love to, but first he insisted that i sign a waiver. i honestly thought he was joking…i needed to complete a legal document just to eat his hot sauce? he was dead serious though, and emerged from the kitchen moments later with a typed up form for me to sign and a tray of assorted chili pastes. we were in business.

    this stuff is so hot, legal documentation is involved.

    he explained to us what was in each sauce, and how they went up in terms of hotness from “20% to 50%”…whatever that means. a mixture of roasted habanero, ghost chili, and jalapeno, this stuff BLEW MY HEAD OFF. seriously, i can normally hang with huge amounts of ANY hot sauce you put before me, but a tiny bit of this stuff on the end of my fork was enough to last several bites. we used this stuff with our entire meal, and we couldn’t even get through half of it. anyways, on to the rest of the food!

    cluck and artichoke hearts & roasted garlic, caramelized onions, baby spinach and creamy sauce. served with fries and soup or salad. (veganized) $11.95

    my husband ordered a vegan version of the cluck and artichoke hearts sandwich. this came with meaty soy chicken, artichoke hearts, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, baby spinach, and a thick creamy sauce. i often say that a sandwich is only as good as its bread, and the bread on this thing was exceptional. we are talking home-baked and perfectly crusty on the outside yet warm and soft in the middle. the fillings in the sandwich were tip top as well, from the warm roasted vegetables to the fresh leaves and seasoned “cluck”. it came with a generous side of chunky french fries, as well as a choice of soup or salad.

    curry lentil soup

    the soup of the day was curry lentil stew, which sounded way too good to pass up. i’m happy to report that it was delicious—a great comforting choice on a chilly SF evening.

    country shepherds pie: moo, assorted fresh vegetables with caramelized & toasted onion mashed potatoes. $12.95 (plus, it's served with a giant and awesome hunk of bread)

    for my main meal, i went with the shepherd’s pie, a huge dish of vegan beef and assorted vegetables in brown sauce covered with crispy onion mashed potatoes. oh my WORD. this is one of the best things i’ve eaten in ages. first off, it was enormous. you can kind of get an idea of the size of it in the first picture at the top of the post. it also came with what seemed like half a loaf of amazing bread (the same stuff used for the sandwich), lightly drizzled with olive oil. the pie filling itself was extra hearty with loads of soy beef and chunky vegetables such as carrots, celery, squash and onions. what really stood out about this dish though, was the mashed potato topping that seemed to be piped on in thick layers. it was super crisp on the outside but hot and fluffy in the middle. there are so many menu items i’d like to try at source, but i don’t know how i can resist ordering this again…it’s honestly one of the most special entrees i’ve ever eaten. the shepherd’s pie could probably comfortably feed two people…but i ate the entire thing on my own. unfortunately i didn’t leave room for any amazing vegan desserts (they had twinkies, brownies, pies, and mousse), but i figure i’ll be in san francisco again soon enough and i’ll make up for it then.

    if you are ever in the bay area, please add source to your “must visit” list. i honestly can’t speak highly enough of this restaurant. from the delicious food, to the relaxed atmosphere, to the friendly staff and versatile menu, i love everything about this place. and for a capsicum addict like me, being required to sign a legal document in order to try some super spicy hot sauce is a thrill i’ll remember for years to come. well done, source. i love you!

    1 division street
    san francisco, CA 94103
    open daily 11am – 10pm

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18 responses to “amazing vegan eats at source in san francisco, and the hottest sauce of my life.” RSS icon

  • That sheep’s pie looks pretty incredible. I don’t know of any restaurants selling stuff like that in LA.

  • that shepherd’s pie looks awfully similar to pot pie. POT PIEEEEE!

  • Source is my new favorite restaurant. I’d be tempted to eat there every day if I lived closer and could afford it! The owner is really nice too.

  • Oh good god. This post made me SO hungry. Gahhh!

  • Thanks QG for the tip, going tomorrow for lunch!

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    ^ That thing looks so good. Everything in the photos looks good actually. Thanks for the review!!:-)

  • That pie looks outrageous! Agh!

  • wow, that Shepard’s Pie is going on my bucket list.

  • YUM!

    We heard you were in town. Sorry we didn’t get to chat at Cinnaholic. Next time?


  • New viewer to your food blog. I usually don’t like foodies cause all that I know are…meat eaters (for lack of better terms)…, but seeing a vegan foodie just makes me insainly happy and hungry. haha. Thank you for sharing your eats. =P

  • When the hot sauce tray comes out from the kitchen, it’s always serious. This place has apparently taken it to another level!

  • san francisco ftw.

  • I think I want to get down with some shepherd’s pie or pizza here.

  • i’m with everyone on that pie!

  • but what exactly is a multi-dimensional dining experience?!?!

  • Just wanna let you know that I went to Source last night from San Jose based on this review and it was incredible. I now have a reason to visit SF regularly. I’m a vegetarian (not vegan), but I ordered all vegan and loved it. Their vegan cheese rules.

  • Thank you so much for recommending this restaurant! I went to San Fran last week for the first time, and hit up Source, Plant Cafe, Judahlicious, Love N Haight Deli, and Ike’s Place!

    I was having a very difficult time deciding what to go with at Source, and the nice owner? manager? helped me decipher the menu. I told him it was my first time there and possibly my last, since I was from LA. He asked how I heard of Source, and I mentioned quarrygirl. He instantly got a smile on his face and said I was the second person from LA to come in from quarrygirl’s recommendation. After I sat down, he brought me out a giant plate of hummus, falafel, tahini, and cucumber salad ALL ON THE HOUSE!!! It was so delicious, and so healthy tasting. I ordered the special of the night, a penne with cluck- also amazing.

    Apparently name droppin quarrygirl is a great way to get some free food 🙂


  • I also went here because of this review, but I didn’t mention it to the staff. Dang, I should have.Maybe I’d have gotten some free hummous! :p

    Anyways, my meal was awesome. I got the veganized chile cluck pizza which was deliiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiish.

    XO to QG for finding this place!

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