BREAKFAST

Over 100 Restaurants & Shops

Last Update in July 2021! We’ve created this ever-growing guide to restaurants, bakeries, cafes, ice cream shops, and stores in San Diego that are friendly to dairy-free diners. It’s a collection based on research and reader recommendations (send yours!) that’s divided into restaurants & shops by city (first) and major chains found throughout the state (second). And we’ve started a section for specialty dairy-free foods produced in this state.

We Update Continuously! You can ignore the original date on this post going forward. We update the information below whenever we’re alerted to a new recommendation, change, or closure.

Dairy-Free Guide to the San Diego California Area - Oceanside, Carlsbad, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Chula Vista, and Beyond! With vegan and gluten-free options.Photo from The Plot in Oceanside, California

Dairy-Free San Diego Area: Recommended Restaurants & Shops

We’ve listed these recommendations alphabetically by city and then by the restaurant or shop name. For large chains with locations throughout the state, see the Major Restaurant & Grocery Chains section below. We have dedicated posts with dairy-free details for many of the big guys.

⭐️ = Restaurant is either dairy-free, has a dairy-free menu, has dairy-free labels on their menu(s), or lists top allergens with menu items. (At the time of our last review.)

Carlsbad

  • Benihana – See our Benihana Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Blaze Pizza – See our Blaze Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Burger Lounge – This SoCal chain serves grass-fed burgers alongside a whole menu of vegan burgers. They offer vegan buns, dairy-free cheese, and bunless paleo and keto options. Select locations (check in advance) offer dairy-free milkshakes and root beer floats made with cashew milk ice cream.
  • Choice Juicery ⭐️ – Their entire menu is dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, and plant-based. They make superfood smoothies and smoothie bowls, salads, nachos, bowls, toasts, healthy snacks, flavored mylks (like blue majik coconut milk, strawberry almond milk, and more), juices, and more.
  • Everbowl – They specialize in cool, creamy superfood bowls, including acai, pitaya, blue majik, and more, layered with various other bases and toppings. Almost their entire menu is dairy free (they do offer whey protein) and vegan (they have honey and bee pollen as options).
  • Haagen Dazs – See our Haagen Dazs Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Luna Grill – Luna Grill does include vegan icons on their menu, and there are a few options. But they also have a great allergen guide that reveals numerous milk-free menu items. The desserts are off-limits, but there are many kabobs, salads, and small bites to choose from.
  • Jimbo’s – This is an expensive, but very nice place to shop for natural, organic, and special diet foods. They offer many gourmet brands and alternatives.
  • Pick Up Stix – This quick-serve Asian restaurants has dozens of outposts in the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Use caution when ordering, as some surprising dishes contain dairy, like the lettuce wraps, won ton soup, fried rice, beef and broccoli, garlick chicken, and a handful of other dishes. But they offer a complete allergen chart and dozens of dairy-free appetizers and entrees to choose from.
  • Pressed Juicery – See our Pressed Juicery Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • The Habit Burger – See our Habit Burger Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Veggie Grill ⭐️ – This vegan fast-casual restaurant chain serves burgers, sandwiches, bowls, salads, and plant-based variations on popular dishes. Their selection ranges from fresh and healthy to comfort food. They also have a menu of desserts.

Carlsbad – LegoLand

  • Burger Stop – The burgers and fries are made without dairy, and they offer an allergy-friendly bun for egg-free and gluten-free needs.
  • Castle Burgers & Ice Cream – The burgers and fries are made without dairy, and they offer an allergy-friendly bun for egg-free and gluten-free needs. They typically offer a dairy-free sorbet for dessert.
  • Churros con Chocolate – You can order churros sin chocolate, which are dairy-free (but contain egg).
  • Everything is Ramen – In the past, the on-site ramen shop has had a couple dairy-free ramen options. Check on the current menu.
  • Fun Town’s Urban Kitchen – Dairy-free kids can get their chicken tender and hot dog fix at this spot.
  • Granny’s Apple Fries – The apple fries themselves are made without dairy, gluten, or egg, but you do have to skip the whip.
  • Knights Smokehouse BBQ – If you need a full meal, this is a great spot for various dairy-free, barbecue meats. That said, their sides do contain dairy, but you can custom order a salad.
  • Ninja Kitchen – Use caution, many menu items surprisingly contain dairy. But you can order the pork belly or chicken bao buns.
  • Ocean Journey Cafe – Burgers and sandwiches without cheese are the best dairy-free options at this stop.
  • Pizza & Pasta Buffet – If you’re happy with pasta marinara and a simple salad bar, then this should be your lunch stop.
  • The Garden Deli & Cafe – This is a great place to stop in for sandwiches. They can make most of their sandwiches without dairy, and have gluten-free bread available.

Food Allergy Notes: Guests with food allergies or intolerances are now allowed to bring food items into LegoLand. Most of their restaurants can reportedly accommodate food allergies and other special diet needs, but you must speak with an on-duty chef or manager of the restaurant when ordering. They do offer a dietary guide for their restaurants.

Chula Vista

  • Barons Market – This grocery store has a big selection of specialty foods, including gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • Blaze Pizza – See our Blaze Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Flame Broiler ⭐️ – They contacted us to announce they run a completely dairy-free restaurant chain. It’s a counter-serve spot that makes healthy Asian-style rice bowls free of MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats. Their simple menu let’s you choose your based and protein(s), and your order is served without sauce. You then add your sauce(s) of choice, as desired.They have vegan, gluten-free, and allergy-friendly options and a kid’s size.
  • Luna Grill – Luna Grill does include vegan icons on their menu, and there are a few options. But they also have a great allergen guide that reveals numerous milk-free menu items. The desserts are off-limits, but there are many kabobs, salads, and small bites to choose from.
  • Poki One N Half ⭐️ – This fresh, clean local chain is known for quality, and they confirmed that everything on their poke bowl and burrito menu is dairy-free (they occasionally offer a dessert that contains dairy). They also offer tofu for a vegan alternative.

Coronado

  • Buona Forchetta – They have inset vegan menus for salad, pasta, and pizza. The pastas include a few sauce options, and the pizzas have an option for vegan cheese. Most pizzas can be ordered dairy-free, and they have build your own pasta options.
  • Burger Lounge – This SoCal chain serves grass-fed burgers alongside a whole menu of vegan burgers. They offer vegan buns, dairy-free cheese, and bunless paleo and keto options. Select locations (check in advance) offer dairy-free milkshakes and root beer floats made with cashew milk ice cream.

Del Mar

  • Burger Lounge – This SoCal chain serves grass-fed burgers alongside a whole menu of vegan burgers. They offer vegan buns, dairy-free cheese, and bunless paleo and keto options. Select locations (check in advance) offer dairy-free milkshakes and root beer floats made with cashew milk ice cream.
  • Nectarine Grove ⭐️ – This is a 100% gluten-free and organic cafe and bakery that also labels their menu for dairy-free, egg-free, paleo, and vegan guests. Their menu at this location is a little more petite than their Encinitas location, but it still includes breakfasts, sandwiches, pizzas, a coffee bar, and more.
  • Parakeet Juicery ⭐️ – There’s no shortage of juice shops in California, but this one is reportedly dairy-free. Their menu includes juices, smoothies, and smoothie bowls with various superfood boosts.

El Cajon

  • Luna Grill – Luna Grill does include vegan icons on their menu, and there are a few options. But they also have a great allergen guide that reveals numerous milk-free menu items. The desserts are off-limits, but there are many kabobs, salads, and small bites to choose from.
  • Phil’s BBQ – They have a full allergy menu with lots of dairy-free options. In fact, most of their menu is, or can be ordered dairy-free (no cheese), nut-free, and peanut-free, including their burger and sandwich buns. They also have gluten-free options.

Encinitas

  • Blaze Pizza – See our Blaze Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Broad Street Dough Co. – They have a whole range of doughnut flavors that can be ordered vegan and gluten-free.
  • Buona Forchetta – They have inset vegan menus for salad, pasta, and pizza. The pastas include a few sauce options, and the pizzas have an option for vegan cheese. Most pizzas can be ordered dairy-free, and they have build your own pasta options.
  • Cali Cream Homemade Ice Cream – They scoop a few dairy-free flavors daily, typically with fruity ices or sorbet and some creamier flavors, like pistachio or coffee.
  • Choice Juicery ⭐️ – Their entire menu is dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, and plant-based. They make superfood smoothies and smoothie bowls, salads, nachos, bowls, toasts, healthy snacks, flavored mylks (like blue majik coconut milk, strawberry almond milk, and more), juices, and more.
  • EVE Encinitas ⭐️ – The name stands for “Encinitas Vegan Experience.” This vegan cafe and juicery is known for their big menu of buddha bowls, flatbreads, burgers, burritos, acai bowls, and more.
  • Everbowl – They specialize in cool, creamy superfood bowls, including acai, pitaya, blue majik, and more, layered with various other bases and toppings. Almost their entire menu is dairy free (they do offer whey protein) and vegan (they have honey and bee pollen as options).
  • Healthy Creations Cafe ⭐️ – Most items at this gluten-free restaurant can be ordered dairy free. They label vegan, paleo, and additional dairy-free items on the menu. The options include sweet and savory breakfasts, sandwiches, paninis (with cashew mozzarella), wraps, salads, bowls, and smoothies. They even offer house-made cashew milk for their smoothies, smoothie bowls, and acai bowls.
  • Luna Grill – Luna Grill does include vegan icons on their menu, and there are a few options. But they also have a great allergen guide that reveals numerous milk-free menu items. The desserts are off-limits, but there are many kabobs, salads, and small bites to choose from.
  • Modern Times Far West Lounge ⭐️ – Sophia of Veggies Don’t Bite recommended this plant based brewery. “Great beer and bar like food.”
  • Nectarine Grove ⭐️ – This is a 100% gluten-free and organic cafe and bakery that also labels their menu for dairy-free, egg-free, paleo, and vegan guests. Most of their menu is, or can be ordered, dairy-free, including breakfasts, toasts, burgers, pizzas, salads, and more. They also offer baked goodies, dairy-free cheeses, and coffee drinks.
  • Nekter Juice Bar – See our Nekter Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Plant Power Fast Food ⭐️ – As the name implies, this is a vegan, quick-serve restaurant. The menu has many great options for burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, small bites, drinks, and even desserts. The latter includes old fashioned “milkshakes,” “cheesecakes,” chocolate chip cookies, and soft serve “ice cream.”
  • Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant ⭐️ -This vegetarian Thai food restaurants is reportedly dairy free. They have egg as an option in some dishes, but they state that no other animal products are used in their food.  And they include labels for gluten-free options (hint: there are many!). The menu is expansive, with vegetable-forward riffs on every Thai food favorite. They even have vegan desserts, like ice cream and a coconut creme brulee.
  • The Habit Burger – See our Habit Burger Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.

Escondido

  • Donutgram – They don’t have vegan donuts on the shelves, but take orders by the dozen for them.
  • Everbowl – They specialize in cool, creamy superfood bowls, including acai, pitaya, blue majik, and more, layered with various other bases and toppings. Almost their entire menu is dairy free (they do offer whey protein) and vegan (they have honey and bee pollen as options).
  • Jimbo’s – This is an expensive, but very nice place to shop for natural, organic, and special diet foods. They offer many gourmet brands and alternatives.
  • Pick Up Stix – This quick-serve Asian restaurants has dozens of outposts in the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Use caution when ordering, as some surprising dishes contain dairy, like the lettuce wraps, won ton soup, fried rice, beef and broccoli, garlick chicken, and a handful of other dishes. But they offer a complete allergen chart and dozens of dairy-free appetizers and entrees to choose from.

La Mesa

  • Cucina Basilico ⭐️ – This restaurant serves traditional cuisine from northern Italy, right down to the homemade pasta. They label dairy-free and gluten-free options right on their menu, with quite a few options for all.
  • Dark Horse Coffee Roasters – They pour very popular coffee, and can serve it with your choice of oat milk, almond milk, or soymilk. They even have kombucha and kefir soda for beverage alternatives. But the really draw here is their alter-ego, Skinny Donuts Vegan Craft Donuts.
  • Pick Up Stix – This quick-serve Asian restaurants has dozens of outposts in the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Use caution when ordering, as some surprising dishes contain dairy, like the lettuce wraps, won ton soup, fried rice, beef and broccoli, garlick chicken, and a handful of other dishes. But they offer a complete allergen chart and dozens of dairy-free appetizers and entrees to choose from.
  • The Habit Burger – See our Habit Burger Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.

Oceanside

  • Everbowl – They specialize in cool, creamy superfood bowls, including acai, pitaya, blue majik, and more, layered with various other bases and toppings. Almost their entire menu is dairy free (they do offer whey protein) and vegan (they have honey and bee pollen as options).
  • Pick Up Stix – This quick-serve Asian restaurants has dozens of outposts in the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Use caution when ordering, as some surprising dishes contain dairy, like the lettuce wraps, won ton soup, fried rice, beef and broccoli, garlick chicken, and a handful of other dishes. But they offer a complete allergen chart and dozens of dairy-free appetizers and entrees to choose from.
  • Snopel’s Bakeshop ⭐️ – They don’t have a storefront, but you can order and pick up from this vegan bakery. They do sell goodies to local restaurants, too.
  • The Habit Burger – See our Habit Burger Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • The Plot ⭐️ – Thank you to Sophia of Veggies Don’t Bite for this recommendation. “This is all plant based and so amazing. They also reduce waste by reusing things for other recipes, like they use pulp from veggies to make sushi filling. It’s insane.”
  • The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza – Their menu is littered with vegan options, including appetizers, burgers, tacos, pizza (they do have vegan mozzarella), and more. They have a couple additional dairy-free menu items, and most of their pizzas, burgers, and tacos can be custom ordered dairy-free.

Poway

  • Everbowl – They specialize in cool, creamy superfood bowls, including acai, pitaya, blue majik, and more, layered with various other bases and toppings. Almost their entire menu is dairy free (they do offer whey protein) and vegan (they have honey and bee pollen as options).
  • Luna Grill – Luna Grill does include vegan icons on their menu, and there are a few options. But they also have a great allergen guide that reveals numerous milk-free menu items. The desserts are off-limits, but there are many kabobs, salads, and small bites to choose from.

San Diego

  • Ambrogio15 – We originally found this restaurant because it was rated #1 on TripAdvisor for ALL restaurants in San Diego. Ambrogio15 tosses authentic Milan-style pizza on paper-thin crust, made from imported organic flour. The vegan pizza on their menu is cheeseless, because it’s that good. You can order other dairy-free pizzas cheeseless or with vegan mozzarella.
  • Barons Market – This grocery store has a big selection of specialty foods, including gluten-free and dairy-free.
  • Bean Sprouts Cafe – Located in The New Children’s Museum, this cafe caters to tots with fun food, and they have a full allergen guide with several dairy-free options!
  • Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops – See our Ben & Jerry’s Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Benihana – See our Benihana Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Blaze Pizza – See our Blaze Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Bobboi Natural Gelato – They have four vegan gelato flavors on rotation, including pistaccio and dark chocolate.
  • Buona Forchetta – They have inset vegan menus for salad, pasta, and pizza. The pastas include a few sauce options, and the pizzas have an option for vegan cheese. Most pizzas can be ordered dairy-free, and they have build your own pasta options.
  • Burger Lounge – This SoCal chain serves grass-fed burgers alongside a whole menu of vegan burgers. They offer vegan buns, dairy-free cheese, and bunless paleo and keto options. Select locations (check in advance) offer dairy-free milkshakes and root beer floats made with cashew milk ice cream.
  • Cafe 160 – Situated near the Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport, this local, fresh, organic-focused restaurant also strives to be allergy-friendly. They have a big menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, bowls, breakfasts, and coffee drinks, with ample paleo, vegan, and gluten-free options. They also serve gluten-free bread for no extra charge, have vegan pesto, offer paleo coconut wraps, prepare vegan desserts, and even make their own dairy-free cashew milk daily.
  • Cafe21 – The cuisine at this trendy cafe is Mediterranean with a from-scratch, farm-to-table spin. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options are labeled on their brunch and lunch menus, and there is a good smattering for each type of diner.
  • Cafe Gratitude ⭐️ – This plant-based, dairy-free, local restaurant chain serves internationally-inspired bowls, sandwiches, salads, wraps, and even comfort cuisine like lasagna and enchiladas. They also have a vegan dessert menu.
  • Cali Cream Homemade Ice Cream – They scoop a few dairy-free flavors daily, typically with fruity ices or sorbet and some creamier flavors, like pistachio or coffee.
  • Choice Juicery ⭐️ – Their entire menu is dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, and plant-based. They make superfood smoothies and smoothie bowls, salads, nachos, bowls, toasts, healthy snacks, flavored mylks (like blue majik coconut milk, strawberry almond milk, and more), juices, and more.
  • Civico 1845 – It isn’t often that you find an Italian restaurant with a complete vegan menu. Vegetables, creamy sauces, and dairy-free cheeses take center stage with ravioli, gnocchi, and lasagna among the options. They even have vegan desserts that go beyond sorbetto. Additional menu items can be made “just” dairy-free.
  • Clean and Colorful Kitchen – This is a meal, dessert, and snack delivery service that focuses heavily on plant-based foods. Most of their menu items are dairy-free and gluten-free, and many are vegan.
  • Cocina Calavera ⭐️ – Their kitchen is “100%” dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free. They serve a very full, Mexican-inspired menu, with enchiladas, street tacos, burritos, and so much more. Vegan options are available.
  • Cucina Basilico ⭐️ – This restaurant serves traditional cuisine from northern Italy, right down to the homemade pasta. They label dairy-free and gluten-free options right on their menu, with quite a few options for all.
  • Cupcakes Squared – As the name implies, their cupcakes are square. They offer a gluten-free and vegan chocolate cupcake daily, paleo muffins, and do take custom orders.
  • Dark Horse Coffee Roasters – They pour very popular coffee, and can serve it with your choice of oat milk, almond milk, or soymilk. They even have kombucha and kefir soda for beverage alternatives. But the really draw here is their alter-ego, Skinny Donuts Vegan Craft Donuts, which are served daily.
  • Donna Jean Restaurant ⭐️ – This 100% vegan restaurant serves comfort food with Italian flare. The menu includes healthier options for ravioli, mac ‘n cheese, and Caesar salads. And they have a big menu of pizzas (gluten-free optional) with an array of dairy-free cheeses, vegan meats, and unique toppings. They also offer desserts and weekend brunch.
  • Donut Panic – This is a local bagel and donut shop makes both vegan and non-vegan donuts in very inspired flavors. The vegan varieties change with each baking cycle, but usually include some raised, cake, filled, and fritter options. If it’s a bagel day, you can choose between hummus, vegan cream cheese, or vegan butter as your spread.
  • Eclipse Chocolate Bar & Bistro – Their vegan selection includes truffles, drinking chocolate, and chocolate bars (including build-your-own options). They also have a vegan olive oil almond torte that receives rave reviews. And they do have a savory side, with meal kits and an array of local foods.
  • Everbowl – They specialize in cool, creamy superfood bowls, including acai, pitaya, blue majik, and more, layered with various other bases and toppings. Almost their entire menu is dairy free (they do offer whey protein) and vegan (they have honey and bee pollen as options).
  • Evolution Fast Food – There’s no guessing with the Evolution menu. Everything from the three types of burger patties to the “chicken” tenders to the milkshakes is completely dairy-free and vegan. They have a surprisingly big menu of healthier sandwiches, Mexican food, and sweets with lots of raw food options too.
  • Extraordinary Desserts – They offer vegan cookies, brownies, cakes, scones, coconut milk ice cream, and sundaes on their dessert menu. You can also get dairy-free, gluten-free Cocodas. On the savory side, they have a full cafe menu, which includes vegan sandwiches (like grilled cheese and paninis) and Caesar salad, and several other items that can be ordered dairy free.
  • Flame Broiler ⭐️ – They contacted us to announce they run a completely dairy-free restaurant chain. It’s a counter-serve spot that makes healthy Asian-style rice bowls free of MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats. Their simple menu let’s you choose your based and protein(s), and your order is served without sauce. You then add your sauce(s) of choice, as desired.They have vegan, gluten-free, and allergy-friendly options and a kid’s size.
  • Fresh Brothers – This pizza, salad, and wing chain has locations dotted around Southern California. They offer a vegan menu with dairy-free cheese (and meat alternatives), so almost any pizza or salad can be made dairy-free. They also offer vegan wings, vegan dessert nots, and vegan and gluten-free brownies.
  • Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop – They’ve added dairy-free Coconut Bliss Madagascan Vanilla ice cream to their scoop menu. They also offer floats, and select dairy-free toppings for sundaes. In the chocolate shop, check out their hot cocoa mixes, they have options made without dairy.
  • Greystone Prime Steakhouse & Seafood ⭐️ – We were excited to see the menu at this fine-dining restaurant. Dairy-free and gluten-free are clearly labeled with quite a few steak and seafood dishes to choose from. Their vegan selection is limited, but they have a separate vegetarian menu with one popular vegan dinner option.
  • Grains Cafe ⭐️ – I love how they call this place “rustic-chic.” It does have a modern mountain feel, and a purely vegan menu to match. The cuisine is a big mix of earthy greens, internationally-inspired dishes, and comfort food twists. On the menu you can find popcorn “chicken” and Philly cheesesteaks alongside boisterous green salads.
  • Haagen Dazs – See our Haagen Dazs Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Hodad’s – This casual local burger joint has a list of their ingredients with allergen information on it. And from what we could tell, all of their buns (for burgers), breads (their butter alternative is listed as dairy-free), chicken (including chicken strips!), and fries (but not the onion rings!) are dairy-free and egg-free. Just be sure to ask about shared fryers if potential fryer cross-contamination is a concern for you. They also offer a vegan patty (their vegi-patty contains dairy).
  • Holy Matcha ⭐️ – This Instagram-worthy shop is a pink dream with splashes of green matcha in nearly every menu item. Their shop is a completely dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan, and their most popular sweets include baked donuts, soft serve, and waffles. Their beverages include horchata and “Milk Matcha” lattes in various seasonal flavors.
  • Ike’s Sandwich Shops – See our Ike’s Dairy-Free Info for full details.
  • Jimbo’s – This is an expensive, but very nice place to shop for natural, organic, and special diet foods. They offer many gourmet brands and alternatives.
  • Jyoti-Bihanga – Relax in this spiritual restaurant run by students of Sri Chinmoy. The menu is completely vegetarian with vegan and gluten-free options clearly labeled. It offers a light and varied assortment of appetizers, wraps, soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and even desserts.
  • Kindred ⭐️ – This eccentric bar serves exclusively vegan fare while cranking out death metal music. Their drink menu is unique and extensive, and the food includes a neat little array of snacks, sandwiches, and a few other entrees. On the weekends you can enjoy their brunch, which includes indulgences like cinnamon rolls, French toast, and Benedict.
  • Kula – This vegan, gluten-free ice cream maker is opening a shop, but they also deliver directly to customers locally. They sell various flavors, made with coconut milk, and also make custom order ice cream cakes.
  • Lazy Acres – Expect very high prices but lots of dairy-free products at this local market. They also have poke, sushi, juice, and coffee bars on site.
  • Lighthouse Ice Cream – This beachside shop offers dairy-free scoops, including coconut milk vanilla, soy-based flavors from Double Rainbow, and fruity sorbets. You can enjoy it on a plain or sugar cone, or blended into a vegan milkshake.
  • Loving Hut ⭐️ – See our Loving Hut post for details.
  • Luna Grill – Luna Grill does include vegan icons on their menu, and there are a few options. But they also have a great allergen guide that reveals numerous milk-free menu items. The desserts are off-limits, but there are many kabobs, salads, and small bites to choose from.
  • Mission Square Market ⭐️ – This is more of a corner store, but they offer a vegan deli and quite a few vegan convenience foods.
  • Native Foods Cafe ⭐️ – This is a plant-based, dairy-free restaurant chain with extensive collection of burgers, bowls, salads, wraps, and more with regional flavor influences from the U.S., Mexico, and Asia. They also have a sizable dessert menu.
  • Nekter Juice Bar – See our Nekter Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Nibble Chocolate ⭐️ – This modern chocolate shop is completely dairy-free and vegan. They offer chocolate bars, truffles, and depending on the day, you might find house-made frozen desserts and baked goods, like banana bread, brownies, and mini red velvet bunt cakes. They are located in Old Town, Little Italy, and at the local farmer’s markets.
  • Nomad Donuts – Gourmet donuts and bagels are baked up by the dozen at this popular sweet spot. They make about a dozen vegan donut flavors daily, and offer a few flavors of vegan cream cheese to schmear on your favorite bagel. They also offer various bagel sandwich options.
  • NoW Cafe ⭐️ – Proceeds from this wee little cafe benefit the NoWorriesMovement for animal protection and their animal sanctuary in Austin, Texas. So the menu is completely vegan, and it includes light bites, like toasts, paninis, salads, smoothies, and acai bowls.
  • Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market – This coop packs a lot into a modest space, and offers plenty of vegan foods.
  • Paleo Treats ⭐️ – Raw chocolate and grain-free granola-like bites are the specialty at this wholesome, dairy-free, gluten-free shop. They do use eggs (baked) in some items, and honey is there primary sweetener, so these desserts aren’t recommended for strict vegans.
  • Parakeet Juicery ⭐️ – There’s no shortage of juice shops in California, but this one is reportedly dairy-free. Their menu includes juices, smoothies, and smoothie bowls with various superfood boosts.
  • Peace Pies ⭐️ – Peace Pies is beyond vegan. They’re an “eco-raw” restaurant, serving ample greens and a broad range of “healthified” entrees. They also serve an assortment of not-so-sinful dessert, like the Conscious Cheesecake and Alive Apple Pie.
  • Pesto Italian Craft Kitchen – They serve a couple dairy-free pasta dishes, and have a vegan pizza on the menu made with Daiya dairy-free mozzarella. Most pizzas can be ordered dairy-free, and some paninis, calzones, salads, and pizza fries can also be custom ordered without dairy.
  • Phil’s BBQ – They have a full allergy menu with lots of dairy-free options. In fact, most of their menu is, or can be ordered dairy-free (no cheese), nut-free, and peanut-free, including their burger and sandwich buns. They also have gluten-free options.
  • Philz Coffee – See our Philz Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Pho 5th Avenue – Most Vietnamese restaurants are predominantly dairy-free, but this is the one we ate at in San Diego. It has a nice, clean atmosphere, and the food had excellent flavors. They also cater to vegan clientele with a full vegetarian menu of pho, banh mi, spring rolls, and more.
  • Pick Up Stix – This quick-serve Asian restaurants has dozens of outposts in the greater Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Use caution when ordering, as some surprising dishes contain dairy, like the lettuce wraps, won ton soup, fried rice, beef and broccoli, garlick chicken, and a handful of other dishes. But they offer a complete allergen chart and dozens of dairy-free appetizers and entrees to choose from.
  • Plant Based Meals ⭐️ – This is a healthy, vegan meal delivery service for the San Diego area.
  • Plant Power Fast Food ⭐️ – As the name implies, this is a vegan, quick-serve restaurant. The menu has many great options for burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, small bites, drinks, and even desserts. The latter includes old fashioned “milkshakes,” “cheesecakes,” chocolate chip cookies, and soft serve “ice cream.”
  • Plumeria Vegetarian Restaurant ⭐️ -This vegetarian Thai food restaurants is reportedly dairy free. They have egg as an option in some dishes, but they state that no other animal products are used in their food.  And they include labels for gluten-free options (hint: there are many!). The menu is expansive, with vegetable-forward riffs on every Thai food favorite. They even have vegan desserts, like ice cream and a coconut creme brulee.
  • Poki One N Half ⭐️ – This fresh, clean local chain is known for quality, and they confirmed that everything on their poke bowl and burrito menu is dairy-free (they occasionally offer a dessert that contains dairy). They also offer tofu for a vegan alternative.
  • Powerhaus – This healthy pizza-centric spot also serves wraps, salads, smoothies, and kombucha on tap. Their menu is labeled for gluten-free and vegan guests, and pretty much everything on the menu is or can be ordered dairy-free. They offer several pizza crusts, dairy-free sauce, and vegan cashew mozzarella.
  • Pressed Juicery – See our Pressed Juicery Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Ranchos Cocina – Their huge menu of beloved Mexican dishes includes vegan options for nearly everything. They even serve vegan breakfast with options like a vegan breakfast burrito with tofu scramble and house made tempeh sausage. Dairy-free diners will also like the option for Daiya dairy-free cheese alternative and the fact that they serve dairy-free milk beverages.
  • Red House Pizza – This local spot has a very full vegan menu. It includes starters like vegan cheesy garlic bread (made with Daiya cheese alternative) and numerous vegan pizza options with various crusts (including gluten-free) and plant-based meats to choose from. Most other pizzas can be custom ordered dairy-free. They also have a unique beverage menu with craft beers, craft sodas, and a selection of tea.
  • Saffron Thai – We actually tried this restaurant at the San Diego airport. That location is no longer open, but they still have their main restaurant in the Mission Hills area. The food is excellent, mostly dairy free, and they happily cater to health and special diet needs.
  • Sally’s Fish House & Bar – This upscale eatery is located at the Grand Hyatt on the waterfront, and they go above and beyond with menu labels for dairy-free, gluten-free (they actually label “celiac-safe!”), vegetarian, and contains shellfish. The dairy-free options include some small plates, happy hour options, sushi and sashimi dishes. But they’ve also told us that can easily make most of their dishes dairy-free upon request. They serve a very full and varied menu of surf and turf dishes.
  • Salt & Straw – See our Salt & Straw Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Sattvik Foods – This vegetarian Indian restaurant has many vegan options that they are happy to help you with. The atmosphere is very casual, the location isn’t fancy, and the prices are modest. But the food receives raves from many repeat customers.
  • Seasons 52 – See our Seasons 52 Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Second Nature – This health-conscious modern eatery serves a lot of vegan and vegetarian options alongside organic eggs, organic chicken, grass-fed beef, and sustainably-sourced salmon. Additional items can be ordered dairy-free upon request.
  • Snooze A.M. Eatery – They serve some plant-powered, dairy-free menu items, like vegan pancakes, tofu scramble, porridge, and buddha bowls. Some additional dishes can be custom ordered dairy free.
  • Soulshine ⭐️ – This airy vegan market and cafe serves fresh California cuisine with house made dairy-free cremas and a nut-free cheeze sauce. It’s also a great spot for coffee, tea, or kombucha, and they offer several beverages featuring turmeric. Their unique desserts are not to be missed, including mango mousse, spicy cacao brownies, and cashew cheesecake.
  • Starry Lane Bakery ⭐️ – This bakery is free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shellfish, and all artificial food dyes. And their goodies are vegan to boot! They’re open midday into the evening with a big line-up of cookies, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, scones, and more. They also take special orders and design custom cakes.
  • Subterranean Coffee Boutique – You’ll find more than good coffee at this modest cafe. They also have a full breakfast, sandwich, and salad menu with vegan and gluten-free options. And they serve egg dishes that are steamed without oils or milk! Additional dairy-free options include vegan donuts, smoothies, and lattes made with one of their many dairy-free milk beverages.
  • Sushi 2 – In addition to traditional dairy-free sushi items, this restaurant has a full vegan sushi menu, which boasts creative sauces, vegetables, toppings, and even tempura. And they serve quite a bit more beyond sushi – from ramen to wings.
  • Sweetfin – This Southern California poke chain serves a menu that’s almost purely dairy-free, and even includes a couple flavors of plant-based Dream Pops for dessert.  They also have a few plant-based bowls on the menu and offer a plethora of fresh toppings for building your own.
  • Tender Greens – Salads, bowls, sandwiches, and build-your-own plates are the specialty at this quintessentially California chain. Their menu boasts fresh and healthful cuisine with ample dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and other special diet options. They have locations dotted all over the great Los Angeles area, and a couple spots in Orange County.
  • The Gluten-Fee Baking Co – They have a great allergen filter on their website and offer a big menu of dairy-free options. They include cookies, donuts, cinnamon rolls, bagels, cakes, and more. They also have vegan options.
  • The Habit Burger – See our Habit Burger Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • The Yasai ⭐️ – This is another recommendation from Sophia of Veggies Don’t Bite. “The Yasai in Clairemont area in San Diego is an all vegan Japanese restaurant that’s incredible. They also have Asian inspired small bites. I haven’t had anything I didn’t like.”
  • Tocaya Organica – The base menu at this healthy Mexican chain is vegan, but you then choose your protein and/or cheese of choice. They serve salads, bowls, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, soups, and sides, and have dairy-free meats, plant-based meat alternatives, vegan cremas, and cheese alternatives available.
  • Trilogy Sanctuary ⭐️ – This is an organic, gluten-free, vegan cafe at a yoga studio. They serve smoothies and a broad selection of healthy entrees for late breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • True Food Kitchen – See our True Food Kitchen Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.
  • Veganic Thai Cafe ⭐️ – This vegan restaurant has all the same dishes as most other Thai restaurants, but with more vegetables, tofu, and mock meats, which are well-loved by vegans and omnivores alike. It also helps to take the guess work out for dairy-free diners – yes, Thai cuisine can harbor dairy!
  • Veggie Grill ⭐️ – This vegan fast-casual restaurant chain serves burgers, sandwiches, bowls, salads, and plant-based variations on popular dishes. Their selection ranges from fresh and healthy to comfort food. They also have a menu of desserts.
  • Veggilish – If you’re downtown or near Balboa Park, then this is a great healthy lunch option. It’s a build-your-own-bowl type of place and they told us that everything on the menu is dairy-free, except the Chipotle Dressing and the cheese (obviously!). All of the dressings, besides the chipotle, are also vegan, and they have many gluten-free options.
  • WorldBeat Cafe – Located inside the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park, this vegetarian restaurant serves an intriguing mix of African, Caribbean, and American cuisine. The sips are as eclectic as the eats, with moringa smoothies, Jamaican ginger beer, cane soda, and even kombucha on tap. Most of the menu is vegan, and they do have vegan desserts, like ice cream and sometimes cupcakes.
  • Zpizza – They offer Daiya vegan cheese alternative, use vegan dough, offer a vegan, gluten-free pizza crust, and have Beyond Meat crumbles. You can also choose organic tomato sauce, housemade marinara sauce, or housemade roasted garlic sauce, and top it with any of their dairy-free toppings (most of them).

San Diego – Airport (SAN)

San Diego – SeaWorld

  • Calypso Bay Smokehouse – This is “SeaWorld San Diego’s Designated Allergen Friendly Location.” They are specifically trained to handle allergy orders at this casual, quick-serve BBQ spot. But keep in mind, their menu is quite small, so dairy-free options are very specific.

More Dairy-Free Finds in the Park: For snacks, they have a coffee shop serving Starbucks on-site that offers almond milk, fresh fruit, and a few pre-packaged options. I’ve also heard reports of some delicious vegan cookies (be on the hunt!), Dole Whip, and dairy-free slushies at SeaWorld San Diego.

Food Allergy Notes for SeaWorld: SeaWorld California has worked with FARE to create an allergy-friendly park. They do not allow you to carry outside food throughout the park, but do allow you to leave it in your car and re-enter the park as needed. When you head to any of their in-park restaurants, ask the cashier for a supervisor. The manager or supervisor at each restaurant should be trained in food allergy management, and can help guide your order. We’ve heard from many park attendees that they do a great job. Their chefs are trained to prevent cross contact when cooking meals for allergic diners.

San Marcos

  • Buona Forchetta – They have inset vegan menus for salad, pasta, and pizza. The pastas include a few sauce options, and the pizzas have an option for vegan cheese. Most pizzas can be ordered dairy-free, and they have build your own pasta options.
  • Everbowl – They specialize in cool, creamy superfood bowls, including acai, pitaya, blue majik, and more, layered with various other bases and toppings. Almost their entire menu is dairy free (they do offer whey protein) and vegan (they have honey and bee pollen as options).
  • The Habit Burger – See our Habit Burger Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.

Santee

  • Everbowl – They specialize in cool, creamy superfood bowls, including acai, pitaya, blue majik, and more, layered with various other bases and toppings. Almost their entire menu is dairy free (they do offer whey protein) and vegan (they have honey and bee pollen as options).
  • Phil’s BBQ – They have a full allergy menu with lots of dairy-free options. In fact, most of their menu is, or can be ordered dairy-free (no cheese), nut-free, and peanut-free, including their burger and sandwich buns. They also have gluten-free options.

Solana Beach

  • Choice Juicery ⭐️ – Their entire menu is dairy-free, gluten-free, organic, and plant-based. They make superfood smoothies and smoothie bowls, salads, nachos, bowls, toasts, healthy snacks, flavored mylks (like blue majik coconut milk, strawberry almond milk, and more), juices, and more.
  • The Habit Burger – See our Habit Burger Dairy-Free Menu Guide for full details.

Vista

  • Flame Broiler ⭐️ – They contacted us to announce they run a completely dairy-free restaurant chain. It’s a counter-serve spot that makes healthy Asian-style rice bowls free of MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats. Their simple menu let’s you choose your based and protein(s), and your order is served without sauce. You then add your sauce(s) of choice, as desired.They have vegan, gluten-free, and allergy-friendly options and a kid’s size.

Dairy-Free Guide to the San Diego California Area - Oceanside, Carlsbad, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Chula Vista, and Beyond! With vegan and gluten-free options. Photo from Flame Broiler in Chula Vista, San Diego, and Vista, California

Restaurant & Grocery Chains found throughout San Diego

Some recommended restaurant and store chains are getting too big for our city listing britches. They have many locations, or are rapidly growing, and you might stumble across them in a number of towns in this state. Click on them for more dairy-free details.

Thus far, we’ve been able to add all chains to their respective cities above!

Dairy-Free Guide to the San Diego California Area - Oceanside, Carlsbad, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Chula Vista, and Beyond! With vegan and gluten-free options.Photo from Second Nature in San Diego, California

Local Dairy-Free Food & Drink Producers in San Diego

These dairy-free friendly companies don’t have their own retail location, but are in San Diego. So you have a good chance of finding their products at grocery stores, restaurants, and/or other shops in this state. Keep an eye out!

  • Arctic Zero – This low sugar ice cream company has a dairy-free line, and we bet you can find more flavors of it in their home-region of San Diego.
  • Bitchin – This sauce company makes a whole range of creamy, nut-based, plant-based, dairy-free dips and sauces in sweet and savory flavors.
  • Botko – You can find their dairy-free, grain-free crackers in stores, or order them online – local delivery in San Diego is also available.
  • Kula – This vegan, gluten-free ice cream maker sells their pints in local stores, and at farmer’s markets. But they also deliver locally.
  • Nana’s Cookie Company – They make various healthy, dairy-free cookies in whole grain, gluten-free, and keto varieties.
  • Once Upon a Farm – Co-founder Jennifer Garner has made this kids pouch company famous, but we like them for their dairy-free options.

Dairy-Free Guide to the San Diego California Area - Oceanside, Carlsbad, La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Chula Vista, and Beyond! With vegan and gluten-free options.Photo from Dark Horse Coffee Roasters and Skinny Donuts in San Diego and La Mesa, California

This Guide is Continuously Updated with Recommendations

We welcome you to recommend other dairy-free friendly restaurants. Leave a comment or contact us and tell us why you like a certain restaurant. Restaurant owners and employees are also invited to reach out and let us know how you welcome dairy-free customers.

Please kindly let us know in the comments if any of these restaurants close. We want to keep this list current for you, but aren’t always notified when a restaurant closes. Let us know and we will quickly update!

This Guide is for Informational Purposes Only

Menus, ingredients, kitchen procedures, management, and restaurants are subject to change at any time. Always read the menu and discuss your dietary needs with the staff before ordering. Make sure that they can accommodate your situation.

There is always a risk for potential cross-contamination of allergens in any commercial kitchen. If cross-contamination is an issue for you, always speak with the manager to ensure that your meal can be safely prepared. Listings here do not guarantee that a restaurant is safe enough for your individual needs. Only you can make that decision.

For More Dairy-Free Guidance, Get Go Dairy Free!

Go Dairy Free 2nd Edition - The Ultimate Guide and Cookbook for Dairy-Free Living with Over 250 Recipes!

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