The 7 Best Places to Eat Vegan on Catalina Island
They say you can find vegan options anywhere, but when you’re stuck on an island, that saying doesn’t always have merit. Catalina Island is a popular day spot about 30 miles off the coast of Orange County, California, home to a mix of tourist attractions (jetskis, parasailing, mini-golf), a casino and miles of scenic hiking trails. When you dock at Avalon from your private boat—or, more likely, the Catalina Express fleet of ships—you’ll find yourself in the middle of the tourist hotspot, but before you hit the secluded hiking trails (or do a bee line to the zipline eco-tour), fuel those adventure vibes with hearty vegan food. The herbal options aren’t too apparent, but they do exist, and here’s where to find them.
1 Catalina coffee and cookie company
For breakfast, the Catalina coffee and cookie company has taken particular care to integrate plant selection. What started as a way to accommodate people of various dietary restrictions has evolved into a full vegan menu that allows customers to customize whatever they order. Before you skip this option in search of something more substantial, note that this shop does more than just coffee and cookies. Vegan items are extensive and include popular plant-based staples such as JUST Egg, Violife cheddar and Follow Your Heart mozzarella, veggie sausage crumbles and Vegenaise, all of which can be used to create a bagel sandwich, burrito for breakfast, an avocado. toast or pizza bread. And for drinks, the various coffees and smoothies can be made vegan with oat or almond milk. There’s even an assortment of vegan baked goods such as Caffeinated Kitchen donuts imported from Long Beach, California, and banana nut bread by Le Chef in Los Angeles.
“We really added all these vegan options in February and March, so they’re relatively new,” Erin Eubank, owner of Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co., told VegNews. “It was a bit for selfish reasons, honestly. I can’t eat cheese and there’s usually not a lot of choice in other restaurants. I wanted everyone to be able to mix and match to get what they wanted. wanna.
Italian-inspired dining by the water doesn’t usually indicate an abundance of vegan options, but times have changed and even this upscale, cheese- and seafood-heavy restaurant now caters to its guests. herbal customers. The default vegan starter at M is the classic penne primavera made with fresh asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes tossed with herbs, shallots and extra virgin olive oil. Not in the mood for this particular dish? Manager Scottie Meyer says staff are happy to substitute other dishes or prepare a special order for vegans who want something off the menu.
“We can modify just about anything,” Meyer told VegNews. “We have guests from all over the world and many of them want a plant-based option. The menu includes tomato broth bases, seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs and homemade sauces made daily. The takeaway: never be afraid to ask, just do it politely.
3Coyote Joe’s Restaurant
If in doubt, Mexican joints are pretty reliable for their vegan options — rice and beans are the OG vegan staple, after all. We have confirmed Coyote Joe’s does not use broth or animal-based lard in black beans (avoid refried beans and rice; unfortunately, these items are made with lard). Although the options are limited, if you have a giant vegan burrito in hand, you really don’t need anything else. Soy Chorizo and Avocado Burrito is stuffed with plant-based chorizo, avocado, black beans, and assorted vegetables. It’s huge, filling and everything you could want after an island excursion. Pair it with a margarita and call it a good day.
For something fresh and energizing, put NDMK on your radar. It’s outwardly seafood-focused, but there are a few hidden herbal gems worth your money. Ask for the vegan poke bowl and you’ll get a healthy bowl filled with rice, veggies, avocado, and tofu. The “Spot” Burger can also be modified with a plant-based patty – just say the magic word (“vegan”). To complete your main course, add fries, a side salad, seaweed salad, rice or sautéed vegetables.
5 Cafe Metropole
Just around the corner from Catalina Coffee and Cookie Company is Café Metropole. The kitchen focuses on fresh, homemade ingredients to satisfy your hunger and fuel your busy day. Note for hikers, water sports enthusiasts, or island tourers: This is a great place to grab a packed lunch and pack for the trail or for the boat. Cafe Metropole manager Kristine Jordan recommends one of their avocado toasts (they’re huge), but if you’re packing the Smashed Chickpea with vegan mayo, chickpeas, pickles, dijon, lettuce, tomato and germs is the way to go.
“We’ve really started to see an increase in orders for our vegan options,” Kristine told VegNews. “The chickpea salad sandwich is one of our most popular dishes and you can also get a fresh avocado loaded with chickpea salad.” In addition to vegan juices, smoothies, and acai bowls, diners can enjoy the veggie sandwich or veggie panini, which are each stuffed with fresh vegetables and hummus. Finish with a dose of freshly squeezed immunity made with ginger, apple and lemon.
Some steak houses will surprise you with their vegan dishes, and by Steve is one of them. Like M, it leans more towards the high end, so check your shorts and sandals for something a little more formal. Unlike M, there’s no need to make special requests if the dedicated vegan option isn’t for you – Steve’s offers a full vegan menu with appetizers, starters and sides. Hits include the cauliflower steak dinner with creamy vegan cheese sauce and vegetarian sides; an Impossible Burger stacked with sweet potato fries; and Vegan BBQ Chicken Tenders.
seven local councils
Beyond the restaurants mentioned above, there are a handful of other noteworthy plant-based options. For something sweet, head to one of the ice cream parlors to check out their assortment of sorbets. If you’re near the Atwater Hotel on a weekend, look for the hot dog cart for its weekend-only vegan hot dog special. You can also find a quinoa and papaya salad at naughty foxvegan potato tacos Maggie’s blue roseand a refreshing tofu poke bowl by NDMK.
For more on vegan travel, read:
Here’s how to plan your next vegan vacation
Why Rochester, NY is America’s Best Small Town for Vegans
Local Guide to the Best Vegan Restaurants in San Diego
Aja Goare is a freelance writer as well as an artist and runner living in Los Angeles.