The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines vegan as:

"a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products; also : one who abstains from using animal products (as leather)"

Vegan Basics

For information on being vegan, eating advice, recipes and a listing of almost every American vegan product on the market (not limited to food) you may find Vegan Basics (Guide)(PDF file) useful. It's designed for any person who is curious of the vegan lifestyle and offers a comprehensive list of foods that are vegan and "accidentally vegan" (products which were not intended to be vegan but are vegan by their ingredients). It was project that PeteHernandez worked on at Viva!USA.

Vegan Restaurant Options

  • Blaze Pizza - Has a vegan cheese option (no extra charge) as well as gluten-free crust. Red sauce is vegan.
  • Burgers and Brew - They have tofu and portabello burgers on their menu, and both are very tasty. They probably cook them on the meat grill, but it's a great place to go with mixed company (veg & non-veg).
  • Chickpeas - Very vegan-friendly Mediterranean food. Excellent falafel.
  • Chipotle - The tofu-based Sofritas is vegan. It's pretty damn good.
  • Davis Food Co-op - Has many vegan deli items, including sushi, tamales, samosas, burritos, salads, and you can substitute hummus for cheese in some sandwiches and dips. For those who don't eat honey, I would read the ingredients on Co-op items. I remember seeing a salad dressing at the salad bar marked as vegan that has honey, so be sure to be aware when getting Co-op made stuff. 
  • Delta of Venus - They have a huge selection of wonderful vegan food, including sandwiches, omelettes, and even Caribbean dinner options.
  • Ding How - Has an entire vegetarian menu, most items on it are vegan but make sure to ask, and ask for no egg.
  • Foodnome - Many home restaurants are run by local vegans trying to increase the amount of options in our community.
  • Ikedas - Their tamales are vegan and some of their pies. Many other spreads and fresh produce are vegan.
  • Ike's Place - has a number of vegan sandwiches on the menu, and many substitutions to make sandwiches vegan are also possible.
  • Kathmandu Kitchen - Has a vegan platter ("The Vegan Thali") on their menu.
  • Let Them Eat Cake - Has one vegan cupcake flavor available on Mondays and another on Fridays
  • Namaste Nepal - Has a vegan thali (platter) on their dine-in menu (menu on their website is the more limited take-out menu)
  • Natural Food Works, Farmer's Kitchen Cafe - Has various vegan options. Try their bio-regional salad. The Rosa's Black Bean Soup is yummy, and the tacos are great.
  • Nugget Market - You can order a custom veggie sandwich with hummus instead of mayo spread. You can substitute avocado for meat.
  • Original Steve's - Has a veggie mozzarella, vegan thin crust option, and a vegan red sauce.
  • Pinkberry - Now has a mango sorbet option.
  • Raja's - Has a number of vegan dishes, just ask if you're not sure. The dinner menu includes a vegan section and they explicitly label their lunch buffet dishes as vegan. Although the owner Taranbir is vegetarian, he is quite sensitive to the needs of the vegan community.
  • Red 88 Noodle Bar - Has a vegan soup bowl that could easily feed two! Delicious veggies, tofu and glass noodles. I haven't actually asked and verified all the ingredients, however.
  • Sam's Mediterranean - Their falafel sandwich is excellent. Fried food isn't good for you, but their falafel and fries sure are tasty. The tahini sauce is veg. The dolmas are amazing too.
  • Stone's Cafe & Catering - Stones has confirmed that their veggie patty is vegan.
  • Taqueria Davis - They have a vegan burrito with veggie rice, grilled vegetables, guacamole, pico de gallo, and your choice of beans.
  • Taqueria Guadalajara - The manager says that they have changed their recipes for rice and beans to make them vegetarian. They have removed chorizo from the beans and use vegetable stock in the beans. The guacamole is dairy-free as well.
  • Thai Recipes - Thai Restaurant with a big vegetarian section. None of the veg items have fish sauce and are by default vegan (assuming they have no milk eggs or cheese).
  • Three Ladies Cafe - emphasizes vegan/vegetarian options.
  • Yolo Berry Yogurt - Always has a non-dairy sorbet option
  • Woodstock's Pizza - Their pizza sauce is vegan. When ordering a cheeseless pizza be sure to ask for extra sauce- it's free and makes it extra good. They also can add daiya cheeze to any pizza. They will also substitute anything you want for no extra charge.
  • UC Davis Dining Commons - All items on their menu are marked blue for vegan. Cuarto Dining Commons also has an exceptional salad bar and lots of fun vegan options. The Dining Commons also offer vegan Coconut Bliss ice cream on request. If you don't see it in the ice cream freezer, then ask an employee for some. All Dining Commons also offer a vegan corner, complete with nutritional yeast, an organic seed mixture and lots of vegan-friendly dips and spreads!

see also vegetarian restaurants

Free Vegan Food

  • Free soy milk and cookies at the MU/Quad tables from 12:30 to 1:30 on finals days (in 2007, December 10-15), given just to take a load off of stressed-out students!
  • The Seventh Day Adventists and guests have a free vegan/vegetarian meal on Saturdays (the Sabbath Day), where each one brings a dish or something to share with others.

Vegan on the Cheap/ Fast Food Vegan

  • Coffee House - Depending on the day, you can find reasonably priced vegan dishes. For a list of their daily hot food items (vegan items are marked accordingly) click Here.
  • In-N-Out - You can order a "Veggie Burger", simply a burger without their meat and cheese. Make sure to ask for no special sauce if you order it "animal style." as the spread contains mayo. I've confirmed the buns as vegan with the company.
    • Asking for something "animal style" will also get you cheese on it. You can ask for something animal style without cheese or special sauce which will get you just grilled onions (which are cooked on the grill where the patties are, essentially in meat juice, not rec'd) but you *will* be charged for "animal style".
  • Fluffy Donuts
  • Taco Bell - You can order any item off the menu and have them replace the beef with beans, free of charge. You can also order the item "fresco style" which means replacing the cheese with a vegan pico de gallo salsa. Adding guacamole is also delicious and highly recommended.

Vegan shopping in Davis

  • Davis Food Co-op - By far is the most vegan friendly store for groceries, cosmetics and household products.
  • Ethnic Markets - Sell various soy, gluten, and legume based products.
  • International Food Market - Has soy products "Dhanraj Nutrela" that can be cooked up to be faux meats, great if you're low on cash! 
  • Trader Joe's - Many vegan items. Ingredients are usually simple and they don't try to be sneaky about adding animal products into foods in which they would normally be unexpected.
  • Local produce, dips, sauces, etc. can be bought at the Farmers Market, Ikedas, and Pedrick Produce.
  • Mainstream Supermarkets like Safeway, Save-Mart, and the Target frozen section have small but substantial natural food sections in which you can buy soy products.

Product Lines

Vegan recipes/cookbooks

Vegan Bum-Outs

  • Davis Food Co-op - The empanadas at the co-op are not vegan; they have butter in the crust.
  • Natural Food Works - "All the gluten-free bread we make isn't vegan, most contain egg whites. And be careful, the Gluten Free pizza dough contains gelatin (for a binding agent) so its not vegetarian. I work here, so the info is reliable. But do try the Vegan Tamales...they are YUMMY!" —JessicaElb
  • Bistro 33 - Veggie burger patty has cheese in it.

Vegan advice

Vegan Basics (Guide) has a ton of helpful advice for beginning vegans.

Products to be mindful of:


  • eggs
  • dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • honey (bees)
  • gelatin (from animal bone)
    • avoid jello, starburst, skittles, sour cream, marshmallows, Extra Polar Ice gum, some gummy bears
      • Skittles from the Czech Republic and Starburst from England do not contain gelatin.
      • Supposedly Skittles are now both gluten-free and gelatin-free (but check the packaging, it states so at the end of the ingredients, this is a relatively new thing) and supposedly Mars Inc. tests on animals, which isn't very vegan.
    • note: most camera film is made from gelatin.
  • nougat (contains egg white)
  • Marzipan - some marzipans are made with egg whites, some are not, check the ingredients.
  • lipase (from calves, lambs, or kids—a enzyme used in food processing)
  • A lot of wine and beer is not vegan - anyone know about hard alcohol?
    • almost all cheap and imported beers and wines are filtered with isinglass (derived from fish) or bone char. Some are even processed with small amounts of eggs, cream, and milk. a list of vegan alcohol can be found at vegan porn

* Barnivore is the ultimate vegan alcohol resource!

  • White flour and white sugar- supposedly the calcium carbonate used to bleach these products can derive from animal bones. Can anyone provide a primary source to confirm or deny this claim?
  • Chocolate - yes its true. apparently the refined sugar in it is made using a process involving animal bone charcoal.
  • Sugar - some brands of refined cane sugar are made with a process using animal bone charcoal to "scrub" it clean of impurities, color, flavors, and minerals. C&H used to be vegan (as of 2001), but not Imperial. All sugar derived from sugar beets is vegan (not filtered with bone char). This is also true of common "Brown sugar" which is <i>indeed</i> white sugar before the brown (molasses) is added back in, according to my FST 10 professor.
    • The "This is also true" in the last sentence is ambiguous. I'm guessing that brown sugar has been filtered with bone char, but it isn't clear due to the position of the sentence.
  • Watch out for casein. Always read ingredients! It's a milk protein and they slip it into vegetarian cheeses. The only vegetarian cheese that is really vegan is Tofutti. There are also some vegan cheeses such as Daiya but just make sure to check.
    • Vegan gourmet "cheese" is also completely vegan (made by Follow Your Heart, the people that make Vegenaise).


  • elastin (from cows, in skin care products)
  • hyaluronic (from animal umbilical cords, skin care oils)
  • musk oil (from muskdeer, beavers, muskrats, etc—fragrance obtained by whipping genitals)
  • premarin (taken from pregnant horses, an estrogen supplement)
  • For those of you who are concerned about vegan beauty products, this site provides a fairly comprehensive and accurate list (though not all Aubrey Organics products are vegan anymore, bummer)

Famous Davis Vegans

Check out VivaUSA! an animal rights organization based out of Davis!

Vegan Poems

Sweet, Sweet Appetizer by MichaelGiardina Primal rage is the strangest vegan salad. It’s nothing extraordinary, slightly superstitious, and indefinable by meat-loving company who fear the ingredients. So, my guilt intensifies, so slick with sweat, afraid The tofu will slip from their grasp when they squeeze. The food falling crashes through salad forests, echoes through the lawn, and police reports are filed when my brush rustles. They think I have tried to kill them, so I run northwest on a curve Hoping they won’t follow the trail of turmeric root. But I am a creature of many senses, trying to cut them off, force them out to the more and better. These are my opportunities for attack, striking before they understand. It’s primordial survival, instinct. I don’t need to think for this quiet military action of my eye spying telltale trouble. My backpack is filled with veggies, dangerous weapons that Demand retreat. Unfortunately my guests were not fast enough to overtake the unknown enemy, to retreat. I fire. He tried the gluten. This time he fires. Twice into the brush. Man down. He misses, for I am so full of sunlight that I blind. They always leave badly wounded, muscles aching, soul singed, heart thumping, surprised to hear that I had secretly sautéed a few jumbo shrimp into that tasty little mix. Sweet danger, unknown variety of disturbing weeds.


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I'd be open to adding some recipes or food recommendations - have a few of those and I'm sure others do too. — CristinaDeptula

2005-03-13 20:12:54   Just as Vegetarians endure going through mainstream menus and food-listings to figure out what they can eat, Vegans have to go through Vegetarian menus to figure out what they can eat. I am sympathetic to a seperate Vegan list, provided it really focused on what options Vegans have in Davis. At the outset it would seem to be a pretty small list, but I think some vegans are very creative and perhaps could share some of that creativity here. —JaimeRaba

2005-03-13 20:18:17   Try the Delta of Venus - they have some wonderful tofu dishes and sandwiches. Also the samosas and the empanadas at the Co-Op are vegan, and you can substitute hummus for cheese in some sandwiches and dips. And there's a wonderful product called the "Egg Replacer" available at the Co-Op, which I would get even if I were not vegan since it's powdered and in a cardboard box. There's no risk that it will make a huge mess all over the sidewalk if my shopping bag were to break while I carried it home on my bike, as real eggs could. —CristinaDeptula

2005-03-23 04:34:55   at least someone's being productive. i take back 10% of the mean things i've ever said about vegans. —ArlenAbraham

2005-05-16 03:46:55   Hey guys. I used to live in Mountain View, where a small little vegan restaurant existed that served mimicked beef, pork, and pretty much every other meat. The consistency of the sweet and sour pork was amazingly close to real pork, a little chewie but soft... some grisle-like material on the inside. The beef was long and slender like broccoli beef. I've heard people say this is made from tofu, others from gluten. Could someone explain how they make these tasty fake meats. Is it possible to make them at home in your own kitchen? I'd love to try.—MichaelGiardina

  • Your descriptions sound very much like Gluten (Seitan). I've never bought any really good gluten products in Davis, but I suspect they can be found at the Davis Food Co-op. SF Market in Sac has a wide variety of gluten products that are ultra-yummy. Most are in cans (labeled curried gluten, vegetarian mock abalone, vegetarian mock duck). I suspect they have some fresher products, but I'm not certain. As for making them at home, do you mean cook with them, or make them from scratch? If the latter, unlike paneer cheese and tofu, I suspect its quite a time consuming and specialized process. But I don't know that for a fact ...
  • While I'm not vegan, my sister was for many years, and I picked up some knowledge of non-meat foods from her... Fake meats are made from either seitan or bean curd, which tofu is made from. I've never made seitan myself, but I've eaten homemade. It's kinda weird, but I don't think it's too difficult. Here's a recipe from a Veggie website that looks promising. Also, bulgar wheat is a good substitute for ground beaf in dishes like chili. It cooks like rice, but is larger and has a more substantial texture... Let me know if you make the seitan and it turns out well! —ss
    • Wow, thats an amazingly simple and inexpensive recipe! I'll have to try it sometime. I also found for how to make gluten based fake chicken and steak. I don't know the quality of these recipes though— they make use of Nutritional Yeast and Bragg's Liquid Aminos. I don't mean to knock these products, but I doubt they're ingredients in what you ate at the Mountainview Restaurant. CraigBrozinsky
      • No way! Braggs and Nutritional Yeast (also called Brewer's Yeast) are two staples in any vegan's diet—well, any that I know, anyway! Brewer's Yeast is seriously yummy on rice, veggies, and popcorn, and animals—at least the cats and dogs I've known—really like it too. I once left a bag of Brewers yeast on the counter, and my two kittens tore into it and ate it up—it's just that tasty! Hmmm... Is yeast alive? Does that mean it isn't vegan? — ss
        • Even though yeast is alive, it's not animal so it is vegan. In the same way that flax and vegetables are alive (also vegan). So go yeast! —BobbyGray
        • Yeah, my bad— I was assuming MG was referring to an Asian restaurant, but there was nothing really to base that on. The Asian restaurants where I've eaten gluten didn't have a Vegan feel as much as a substitute-gluten-for-meat feel. They didn't even have a brown rice option. As such, I really didn't expect them to embrace vegan products such as Braggs, Nutritional Yeast, etc. While I'm writing, can anyone recommend a good vegan cookbook? I've become allergic to Soy, and can't enjoy many of the tasty vegan recipes I used to like.CraigBrozinsky
  • I'm going to bet Seitan is what I was talking about. I'll have to take a look at SF-Market to see what they have. Somehow I didn't imagine it being in a can... but who am I to judge? Any other Seitan tips? Man, I feel like i'm quoting the bible or an orbital track.
    • I eat it straight out of the can, but they're really good when added to stir fries. I should mention that the ones I mentioned above wouldn't fool anyone into thinking they're meat— they're sizable cubes that have a pretty big moisture content, so they're kind of halfway betwen meat and tofu texture. Braising or grilling might make them more meat like if that's what you're looking for. Alternatively, there must be fresher products that are already meat like in texture. Please comment here if you find them!
  • For fake steak strips try Soy Strips from the bulk bins at the co-op. They'll take on whatever flavor you give them and they are awesome!!! I like them in burritos, fajitas, and sandwiches so far. -JackHaskel
    • Where are these bulk bins? I'm only familiar with the salsa and the tofu bins. MichaelGiardina
      • Pretty much the entire left side of the store (as you come in) are bulk bins. The soy strips are near the dehydrated soups and chocolate chips in one of the vertical dispensers opposite the rice cakes.
        • Oh, so you have to cook them, boil them, etc?
          • yes

2006-04-20 10:13:09   Actually the empanadas at the co-op are NOT vegan; they have butter in the crust. They've been carrying vegan tamales, and the samosas as well as a variety of the salads (and usually half of the lunch buffet) are vegan. Also if you're looking for a butter substitute, go and get Earth Balance. Doesn't even taste like a substitute. —EmmaCoats(vegan by association)

2006-08-12 16:52:05   If the Hot Food Line at the CoHo doesn't have a vegan option, our black beans, refried beans, tortillas, and spanish rice have all been confirmed vegan. Once you take the cheese out, our vegetarian burritos are also vegan by default. In addition, during the school year, our salad bar (duh) is an option, and the tofu salad was just recently changed to use veganaise instead of mayonaise. No word on the bread in the sandwiches or the bagels yet, but I will look into them. —TaylorMoseley

2006-12-20 13:39:11   I'm not sure if it's worth its own section, but I have questions about specific items at restaurants being vegan. Most pizza can be done vegan without cheese, but some place sneak cheezy bits into the sauce. Anyone know where it's ok? And do any pizza places offer soy or vegan cheezes? Does anyone have any other questions about the veganality of items that a restaurant employee, owner, or regular customer could answer? —ScottWeintraub

2007-02-10 18:50:29   Cenario's makes vegan pizza if you ask them to. They take out the cheese and fool around with the veggie pizza. —VictoriaGimpelevich

2009-01-16 12:25:09   Most days, the Coffee House Bakery has a vegan treat for sale. It's usually one of their jam "Bozo Bars" or peanut butter rice krispie treats, but sometimes they have vegan fudge bars. Yum! (The fudge bars contain coconut, so if that's one of your foods to avoid, be aware.) —LizPhillips

2009-06-03 20:55:25   how about the veg burrito (no cheese or sour cream of course) at Del Taco... and I think that the Guad is now making their rice with vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. —NicoletteD

2010-02-07 19:20:52   John Natsoulas Gallery Cafe now has vegan potato knishes/rustic pies. They have a cornstarch glaze, not egg. They also offer delicious gluten-free/vegan chocolate chip cookies, as well as raspberry-spelt vegan scones. —RuthFankushen

2010-08-05 20:18:35   Davis Noodle City is listed under Vegan Restaurant Options as having rice noodles, and it's also listed under Vegan Bum-Outs as having only egg noodles. Someone should find out the solution to this contradiction next time he/she visits DNC. —TheShah

2010-08-05 22:51:39   This page is Glines status —StevenDaubert

2012-07-28 02:25:08   I am a hardcore meat eater. Yet, my girlfriend dragged me to this place in Elk Grove called Loving Hut — an all vegan restaurant. I've got to say, I was quite impressed. The food was quite delicious. There is a location off of Stockton Boulevard, too. —CecilioPadilla

2015-09-25 00:27:55   So is there any place in Davis to get any kind of hot vegan pizza by the slice? —linux_vegan