One more great eatery for vegetarians / vegans, and not too far from EC San Francisco, is Golden Era, O’Farrell at Jones. Like its sister restaurant in Oakland, Golden Lotus, Golden Era serves up superb veggie food, mostly in Vietnamese style. The broth for their soups is amazing, the ginger “fish” is a delight, and the House Rice Claypot, a mix of rice, vermicelli and bean thread noodles, cooked in their great soup broth and flavored with ginger and black pepper, is “to die for.” For dessert, you can get a vegan version of the French / Vietnamese classic custard dessert, flan. Except for being a bit less sweet than flan made with eggs and milk, this vegan version has both the taste and texture of the original.
Prices are reasonable, and the decor is nice. I’ve never had bad service at either Golden Era or Golden Lotus, and the organization’s goal of encouraging more people to eat a plant-based diet is necessary for the ultimate survival of life on Earth. The only downside is the location, on the edge of the SF neighborhood called the Tenderloin, but O’Farrell is a main street, and the restaurant is only a few blocks from the popular Powell Street. It’s not my favorite neighborhood, but I’ve never felt unsafe there.
Now that EC San Francisco is switching to a 45 minute lunch, Golden Era is a bit out of range, but if you are shopping near Union Square, or just want a deliciously different dinner experience, you should try it. My parents are not vegetarian, and some places we have taken them, I know they were just being polite about the food. However, if we say “Let’s eat at Golden Lotus” (Oakland is closer to their house), they run to put on their coats.