Are there any good vegan restaurants in St. Augustine?
We got that question from a guest last week, and I thought it was a good one to answer online as well.
First, I’m going to share where NOT to go, and that’s Present Moment Cafe. Present Moment was a vegan cafe that offered lots of raw choices for lunch and dinner. The food was good, but I don’t want you to go there because they closed in November! I continue to see them come up in lots of online searches, so when people ask about vegan restaurants in St. Augustine, my first comment is not to go to Present Moment!
But here are some places you should definitely go:
My favorite vegan options in town are at The Floridian on Spanish Street (walkable from the inn). They have the best salads in town, and always have lots of interesting ingredients (the gala salad has roasted sweet potatoes plus apples and pecans). Sometimes they serve their salads with a little cheese, but you can ask to have that left off. They have the BEST fried green tomatoes, and make them in a sandwich. They also have tempeh tacos at lunchtime, and their soup of the day seems to be vegan more often than not–there was a vegan soup option the last three times I ate there. www.thefloridianstaug.com.
Back 40 Urban Cafe
My other favorite is a little outside of town, and requires getting in the car. It’s the Back 40 Urban Cafe, on Old Dixie Highway. They make the best salsa in the world. You can get the avocado roasted red pepper taco, and ask for no cilantro sauce. I’m actually not sure what’s in the sauce, but I’m assuming dairy because it’s white and quite creamy. But with their famous salsa, you won’t miss any sauces. Their vegetarian chili is out of this world good–it is usually vegan, although some of the toppings it’s served with (sour cream, shredded cheddar jack cheese) are dairy. You can easily ask to hold the toppings. They make a good black bean hummus as well. www.back40cafe.com.
If you want to stay in town for food, you can go to Crave’s new restaurant space on King Street. Crave was a very popular food truck parked off of Riberia, and just moved to a restaurant space at the end of 2020. Their new space is west on King Street–about two blocks or so from the center square where Flagler College, the Lightner Museum, and the Casa Monica Hotel. If you think it’s too far to walk, Crave has a nice parking lot behind their building, where they also offer curbside pick up. There aren’t a ton of hot options on the menu, but everything is super fresh and delicious. www.cravestaug.com.
Right on Hypolita Street, Casa Maya is a tequila bar and Mexican Seafood Grille. While it might not sound like a good spot for vegan dishes, it is. For dinner, they have a Na-Kaab Tempeh entree that includes tempeh marinated in adobo and achiote, lots of veggies, black beans, Spanish rice, and plantains. It’s an earthy combination with lots of flavor. You can also add tempeh to any of their salads. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the homemade guacamole–it is the best in town, either with or without a drop of their hottest sauce on top of each bite (seriously, don’t be a hero–just start with a drop to try it). Their corn chips are large and housemade, and perfect to break into pieces for a mouthful of yum. casamayasta.com
If you’re vegan, don’t forget to let us know when you make your reservation. We make a really good baked vegan baked oatmeal (shown above), a yummy overnight oats that tastes like dessert, as well as tofu cups that really taste like eggs. And a few weeks ago we made what was essentially a huge vegan peanut butter cup, with an oatmeal and peanut butter base, and a dark chocolate center. If any of those sounds particularly good to you, let us know–we don’t always have everything in stock, so if you’d like to try a recipe, just give us a head’s up about 10 days before your stay. We’ll try our best to have your request when you come!