From fine dining to casual fare, many of these hidden gems boast unassuming exteriors that don’t tell the true story of the incredible food inside. Give them a chance, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Gold Vine Grill – The newest addition to Somerset and Fair Play boasts fine dining in a casual setting. The seasonal menu always features vegan-friendly options, including dairy-free risotto, creative salads like Beet and Blueberry Pasta, and a roster of incredible homemade desserts. Chef Lisa, pictured above, is a classically trained chef who takes pride in using ingredients from El Dorado County, including antioxidant-rich microgreens and other unique vegetables.
Enchanted Forest – Set within an enchanted Celtic Forest along Placerville’s Main Street is a dining experience you must see to believe. Think magically lit glittery resin streams tucked within Nature Fort Booths and Enchanted Trees! It specializes in both savory and sweet fondue, including vegan-friendly chocolate and vegan cheese options. Don’t miss the popular Stuffed Portabella Mushroom filled with perfectly cooked and seasoned lentils, vegan Italian sausage, fire-roasted bell peppers, onions, and marinara sauce, topped with vegan mozzarella and a balsamic glaze. The Eggplant Lasagna and Braised Mushroom and Roots Dinner should not be overlooked!
Pies of the World – Enchanted Forest’s sister restaurant offers three pie options that can be made vegan: Hippy, Japanese, and Thai. The Hippy boasts caramelized balsamic onions, brown rice, portobello mushrooms, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, and a side of pesto sauce. The Japanese pie is made with mashed yam in the stuffing, and Thai comes with mango sauce on the side.
Bamiyan Afghan Restaurant – Authentic Afghan cuisine in the heart of El Dorado Hills? True story and Bamiyan is a popular place for good reason, with a fantastic array of dishes, including lots of homemade vegetarian and vegan options. The soup, samosas, and hummus are all made with flavorful spice combinations that you can’t find anywhere.
Timmy’s Brown Bag – A small sandwich shop just a few steps off Placerville’s Main Street with super friendly staff and a great vibe. They don’t have anything specifically vegan, but they have several sandwiches that they convert to vegan if asked. Just let them know when you order, and they’ll set it up, no problem. Pro Tip: Check out the Falafel Sandwich.
Placerville Food Co-Op – The small natural foods grocery store on Placerville Drive sells organic and local produce and fresh juices. It has a terrific deli in the back, along with a full salad bar, grab-and-go sandwiches, and a display case of yummy options.
Freshies Ohana – Located in a nondescript mini-mall in the heart of South Lake Tahoe, Freshies’ genuine Hawaiian cuisine has made it a popular local spot for years. All menu items are gluten-free unless noted otherwise, and they offer both vegan and vegan upon-request dishes. You don’t have to be a vegetarian or vegan to appreciate the crispy tempeh wings, Erik’s Croquettes, Vegetarian Philly sandwich, and Tofu Scampi.
Wally’s Pizza Bar – This Cameron Park-based pizzeria and restaurant boasts a menu that vegans and vegetarians will enjoy, including the popular Pear and Gorgonzola pizza. It features crisp Bosc pears, creamy Daiya cheese, and fresh sliced red onion are baked to perfection over vegan pesto, finished with arugula tossed in a hint of citrus dressing.