Vegan Restaurant Review: Herbivore, Berkeley CA

Herbivore Shawarma

by Jen, San Francisco CA

One of my favorite vegan restaurants in Berkeley is Herbivore (with locations in San Francisco as well).  Herbivore offers affordable and filling meals -many entrees can be shared. Breakfast is served from 9am-2pm daily, during which you can try the southwestern tofu scramble, corn cakes, pancakes or French toast. The lunch/dinner menu is quite diverse, but they do some dishes much better than others. 

I recommend staying away from most “Asian” dishes and sticking with the lentil loaf and sandwiches, such as the Shawarma—my personal favorite at Herbivore. Traditionally, Shawarma is made with lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, and/or beef and served with flatbread, hummus, and tahini (a creamy dressing made from sesame seeds).  At herbivore, they prepare the shawarma with either soy or seiten (wheat protein with a meaty texture), seasoned onions, tomatoes, hummus, hot sauce, pickles & tahini in lavash (flat bread) and serve it with a salad.  It is delicious, and I know many omnivores who frequent Herbivore specifically for this dish.  I prefer it with seiten and if you want to make it whole grain, you can request a whole wheat tortilla instead of lavash. 

This is a recipe that is easy enough to replicate at home.  Recipes for “vegan shawarma” are plentiful online, and seiten or other vegetable proteins are available at some large grocery chains, but certainly at specialty grocery stores.  A tip for making seitan or soy “meats” taste even better is to brown them in vegetable oil before adding them to the wrap. 

Herbivore also has some nice vegan desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth including a vegan carrot cake, a variety of milkshakes, and mudslide ice cream.  I recommend sharing, since portions can be large.  Bottom line: Herbivore is a solid choice for brunch, lunch, or a casual dinner-- especially for vegetarians & vegans.

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