SAN DIEGO — Whether you seek vegan options everywhere you go or only dabble in plant-based fare, San Diego foodies have access to one of the best options in the country, according to Yelp.
That ranking was based on a variety of factors, including the number of reviews on Yelp’s platform and the positivity of those ratings. As of Wednesday afternoon, Thanh Tinh Chay had a sterling five-star average for its nearly 500 reviews.
The little shop boasts an extensive menu of over 100 authentic Vietnamese dishes. Chefs make eggless noodles, tofu and bread in-house. The restaurant also makes its own mock meat, which serves as a point of emphasis in many of the dishes.
Reviewers raved about the BBQ “pork” banh mi sandwich, crispy “chicken” with eggplant, the vegan flan and “mooncakes” — delectable gluten-free desserts that come in fresh taro and fresh coconut flavors. The restaurant proudly showcased its Kung Pao “beef” and crispy “shrimp” on Instagram.
Like many of your favorite Thai or Vietnamese joints around town, you can select a spicy level from 1-10 for many of the dishes. And everybody knows that even a four or a five can bring the heat, depending on your taste.
“Best Vietnamese food I’ve ever had,” wrote one Yelp reviewer, identified as Nang N. “Whether you’re vegan or not, it’d be hard for anyone to dislike the food.”
“If I could give 6 stars I would! I’ve been vegan for 10 years now, and this is BY FAR the best vegan food in San Diego,” raved Angelo C., from Kearny Mesa. “They make their own meats AND bread, you cannot go wrong with that. All the flavors are incredible and go together so well.”
Reached by phone, a representative said the family-owned restaurant appreciated the support and was proud to serve such happy customers.
The shop is located at 4591 El Cajon Boulevard and open from about 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day, except for Wednesday, when it closes. You can place phone orders with the restaurant and find it on several delivery apps. Learn more on Thanh Tinh Chay’s website.
Another San Diego restaurant cracked Yelp’s list of the best 100 vegan restaurants: GreensPlease, a charming shop in Poway serving juices, smoothies and coffees along with savory dishes. The store, located at 12202 Poway Road, ranked 54th on the review company’s list.
The whole food dishes at GreensPlease include a southwestern chickpea bowl and vegan nachos. Among the shop’s specialty drinks, green smoothies are complemented by wellness shots, cold brews and juice cleanses.
“The flavor is to die for. I wish I could eat here every day because honestly I would be the happiest and healthiest person to walk this beautiful earth,” said Sarah C., in a recent review.
Yelp recently highlighted the two eateries in recognition of Earth Day, quickly approaching on April 22. Experts say adopting even a partially plant-based diet can benefit the environment, due to the way that cattle grazing and other meat-raising practices produce greenhouse gases.