7 Best Vegetarian Places in Catalina Island

They say you can find vegetarian options anywhere, but when you’re stuck on an island, that saying doesn’t always have an edge. Catalina Island is a popular daytime spot about 30 miles off the coast of Orange County, California home to a mix of attractions (waterslides, parasailing, and mini golf), a casino, and miles of scenic hiking trails. When docked in Avalon from your own boat—or more likely from the appropriate Catalina Express fleet of ships—you’ll find yourself in the middle of a tourist attraction, but before you hit the secluded hiking trails (or make a bee line to an eco-zipline tour), feed those adventurous feelings with some Delicious plant foods. Plant-based options aren’t overly obvious, but they do exist, and here’s where to find them.

Catalina coffee

1 Catalina Coffee & Cookie Company

For breakfast, the Catalina Coffee and Cookie Company took special care to incorporate a vegetarian selection. What started as a way to accommodate people with different dietary restrictions has evolved into a full vegan menu that allows customers to customize anything they order. Before you scroll this one in search of something more substantial, note that this store does more than just coffee and cookies. The vegan items are extensive and include popular vegan staples like JUST Egg, Violife cheddar, Follow Your Heart Mozzarella, Veggie Sausage Crumbs, and Vegenaise—all of which can be used to build a stuffed bread sandwich, breakfast burrito, avocado toast or pizza bread. And for drinks, different types of coffee and vegetable juices can be made with oat or almond milk. There are even a variety of vegan baked goods like caffeinated muffins imported from Long Beach, California and banana nut bread by Le Chef in Los Angeles.

“We really added all of these vegan options in February and March, so it’s relatively new,” Catalina Coffee and Cookie Co owner Erin Eubank told VegNews. “Honestly it was for selfish reasons. I can’t eat cheese and usually there isn’t much to choose from in other restaurants. I wanted everyone to be able to mix and match to get what they wanted.”

MAja Gor

2M

Waterfront-inspired dining doesn’t usually signify an abundance of vegetarian options, but times have changed, and even this upscale cheesy, seafood restaurant now caters to its vegetarian clientele. The default vegetarian appetizer at M is the classic penne primavera made with fresh asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes with herbs, shallots, and extra virgin olive oil. Not in the mood for that specific dish? Manager Scotty Meyer says the staff are happy to make substitutions for other dishes or put together a special order for vegetarians who want something off the menu.

We can edit just about anything,” Meyer told VegNews. “We have guests from all over the world and many want a vegetarian option. The menu features tomato broth bases, seasonal vegetables, fresh herbs and homemade sauces daily.” Bottom line: never be afraid to ask, just do it politely.

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3Coyote Go Restaurant

When in doubt, Mexican Knuckles are fairly reliable for their vegan options—rice and beans are an OG vegan staple, after all. We’ve confirmed that Coyote Joe’s does not use animal broth or tallow in its black beans (avoid beans and rice; unfortunately, these items are made with lard). Although the options are limited, if you have a giant vegan burrito on hand, there’s nothing else you really need. The Soy Chorizo ​​and Avocado Burrito is stuffed with vegetable chorizo, avoidance, black beans, and a variety of vegetables. It’s huge, full and everything you could want after an island trip. Pair that with a margarita and call it a good day.

4NDMK

For something new and energizing, put NDMK on your radar. It is ostensibly focused on seafood, but there are a few hidden gems of plant origin that are worth your money. Order the Vegetarian Poke Bowl and you’ll get a healthy bowl full of rice, veggies, avocado, and tofu. The ‘Spot’ burger can also be modified with a vegan patty – just say the magic word (“vegetarian”). To complement your main food, add french fries, a side salad, seaweed salad, rice, or sauteed vegetables.

Vegetarian NewsMetropole Cafe

5 Metropole Cafe

The Metropole Café is located near the Catalina Coffee and Cookie Company. The kitchen focuses on fresh, homemade ingredients made to satisfy your hunger and fuel your day filled with excitement. Note to hikers, water sports enthusiasts, or island tour-goers: This is a great place to have lunch on the go and pack for the trail or boat. Café Metropole manager Christine Jordan recommends one of the avocado toasts (they’re huge), but if you’re packing a lot, mashed chickpeas with vegan mayonnaise, hummus, pickles, dijon, lettuce, tomatoes, and sprouts is the way to go.

“We’re already starting to see an increase in orders for our vegetarian options,” Kristen told VegNews. “The chickpea salad sandwich is one of our most popular items and you can also get fresh avocado loaded with chickpea salad.” Along with vegetable juices, smoothies, and acai bowls, diners can enjoy a veggie sandwich or a vegetarian panini, which is filled with fresh vegetables and chickpeas. Finish it off with a freshly squeezed immune booster made with ginger, apple, and lemon.

6Steve’s Steak House

Some steakhouses will surprise you with their vegetarian dishes, and Steves is one of them. Like the M, it leans more toward the high end, so check your shorts and sandals for something more formal. Unlike M, there’s no need to order specials if the custom vegan option doesn’t work for you – Steve offers a full vegan menu complete with appetizers, entrees and sides. Events include a cauliflower steak dinner with creamy vegan cheese sauce and vegetable sides. Impossible burger stacked with sweet potato fries; Vegetarian BBQ Chicken Tenders.

vegetarian.  Catalina avocadoAja Gor

7 local tips

Besides the restaurants listed above, there are a few other vegetarian options worth noting. For something sweet, swing by any of the ice cream parlors to check out a variety of soft drinks. If you’re near the Atwater Hotel on the weekend, find a sausage cart for their weekend-only vegan hot dog. You can also find quinoa and papaya salad at Naughty Fox, vegan-style potato tacos from Maggie’s Blue Rose, and a bowl of refreshing tofu from NDMK.

For more information on vegan travel, read:
Here’s how to pack for your next vegetarian vacation
Why Rochester, NY is the Best Small Town in America for Vegetarians
A Local Guide to San Diego’s Best Vegetarian Restaurants

Aja Goare is a freelance writer, artist, and runner living in Los Angeles.

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