Great Vegetarian Places to Eat in Isla Vista

There’s no denying that the food scene in IV is pretty unique. It's only in IV that signature foods such as buffalo chicken cheese fries and macaroni and cheese bread bowls have come into fruition. Though these distinctive foods speak to the uniqueness that is IV itself, not everyone can enjoy them because of dietary restrictions. Yet, there are restaurants in IV that cater to all types of diets for one to indulge in the wonders of IV food, no matter their dietary requirements.

When I first became vegetarian, I wrongfully assumed I would never get to eat out with my friends anymore unless I wanted to order a salad. But after actually taking the time to try several food places in IV, I was pleasantly surprised to find that many of them were pretty accommodating.

So here are a few restaurants in IV that I’ve found carry a good amount of vegetarian or vegan options that are worth checking out:

Bagel Café: Whether you’re craving a breakfast bagel before class, or at 2am on a Saturday, Bagel Café has both flexible hours and a huge range of vegetarian menu items. The best part is that they have both sweet AND savory bagels to suit a range of tastes. Their pricing is pretty on par with IV standards; a bagel will run you anywhere from four to eight dollars, depending on what you get. The only major disadvantage is that there's no vegan cream cheese (I asked), which I really think they should consider since they have so many cream cheese flavors already.

Image via Yelp

Ike’s Place: Ike’s Place uses imitation meat and dairy in their vegan sandwiches and they don’t just limit you to one type of fake animal product. They have vegan turkey, bacon, fried chicken, you name it, they probably have a meatless version of it. Ike’s has a whole entire separate menu that caters to vegetarians and they indicate which of their vegetarian sandwiches can be made vegan upon request. The price varies depending on the type of sandwich you get, but there's no cost difference between the vegetarian and meat options.

Super Cuca’s: This is probably the cheapest food option on the list. They have two different five-dollar burritos that are vegetarian. A classic bean, rice and cheese burrito, and a breakfast burrito. They also have daily specials that include veggie nachos that are five dollars cheaper than Freebirds. If you ask, they can also substitute the “choice of meat” for mushrooms in their burritos. While there are a variety of vegetarian foods on the menu, Super Cuca’s does lack any real vegan options as most of their food contains cheese.

Caje: Best known for it’s amazing coffee, Caje also sells breakfast food like bagels and acai bowls that are relatively underrated. Their bagels are mostly savory, so they're a solid option for lunch as well. Though they're a few dollars more, I would consider them more filling than bagel café.  

South Coast Deli: This menu has a pretty pitiful vegetarian section. There are only three vegetarian sandwiches to choose from (one of them being a grilled cheese), and a few salads without meat in them. However, their Eggplant Sammie is worth noting, and is a much better option than Subway for filling that sandwich craving. Still, for the same price you can get a much larger sandwich from Ike’s.

Blaze Pizza: Super basic, but Blaze deserves a mention because of how customizable their pizzas can be. I usually just load up on all the veggies they have, and my pizza turns out to be extremely filling. They also always have vegan “fried chicken” bites if you’re looking to spice up your pizza. I tried their vegan cheese a few months ago, but I did'nt see it the last time I went, so I'm not sure if they discontinued it. Building your own pizza costs a little under ten dollars, but that price range is to be expected for IV restaurants.