Vegans of San Francisco may still be shedding a tear over this month’s closure of famed restaurant Millennium. But fear not, tofu-lovers. There’s a new veggie hotspot in town, and it’s offering up one of the city’s most beloved cuisines—Japanese food, ramen included—in fully meatless fashion.
Shizen, a completely vegan restaurant in the heart of the Mission district, is the newest project from the team that brought us Tataki Sushi and Sake Bar—the lower Pac Heights eatery emphasizes sustainable seafood practices, and now the Tataki team has taken on the challenge of preparing authentic Japanese dishes free of seafood, meat, dairy, or any other animal byproduct.
Shizen partner Casson Trenor told Tablehopper that “the aim in the kitchen is to give vegetables and vegan dishes the same level of attention and respect as seafood”. In a city full of non-meat eaters, that’s an appreciated sentiment.
Enjoy an array of meal options including kale and beet salads, smoked bean curd and grilled mushroom skewers, and intricate sushi rolls like ‘The Candlestick’, made up of spicy tofuna (that's faux tuna for those not privy to vegan speak), avocado, and chili tobiko. A major menu highlight is the ramen, a dish rarely found in vegan form. Offered in shio, shoyu, and spicy garlic miso broths, Shizen’s ramen is mouthwatering at first glance. With bamboo shoots, fresh noodles made in-house daily, and soy-based egg substitute, this ramen might just be (gasp!) better than the real stuff.
The food isn’t the only sleek and impeccably presented aspect of Shizen. With its minimalist wood décor and long, glass-lined dining hall, the restaurant is fresh and modern for both the eyes and the taste buds. 370 14th Street, 5pm-10pm daily.