Shangrila Vegetarian Restaurant
Shangrila is one of many restaurants along San Francisco’s Irving Street in the Sunset district. Irving street is like a mall food court, but better, starting at 7th ave all the way down to La Playa (about 40 blocks) you can find just about any type of cuisine and some great neighborhood bars, too. For healthy Chinese vegan eating Shangrila is the best restaurant in this area and probably all of San Francisco. The wait staff was friendly and invited us to seat ourselves so we chose an open table next to the only window. We were served some sort of herbal tea and the staff made sure our cups were never empty.
Everything here is vegan, organic and based on a taoist “macrobiotic” diet. They even have an herbal section on the menu with dishes intended to target different areas and ailments. Anyways, on top of tea and water they started us off with a small plate of pickled veggies like cabbage and onion. I can’t remember or didn’t recognize what else was in there, but it was all surprisingly delicious. We could have probably eaten two plates of these pickled delights.
As an appetizer we ordered fried won tons that were nice and crispy and came with a flavorful red sauce. An order of six won tons cost under five dollars, which I am ALL about.
Now, I had heard this was an impressive dish so naturally we had to order it. From looking at the menu you wouldn’t get any indication that the Imitation Sweet and Sour Pork was served in a pineapple, which adds some extra magic and an air of non-pretension to it. This dish was packed with fake pork, pineapple, onion and other veggies. While it was delicious and pleased my visual senses, it was not the tastiest thing we ordered.
We got an order of Mixed Vegetable Fried Rice to pour our main entrees over, but it was amazing even on its own. Seriously, this was probably the best fried rice I’ve ever had. It was loaded with peas, carrots, green onion, tofu and some other magical ingredients I’ve never had in fried rice before. With little-to-no descriptions of the ingredients in each dish on the menu we spent half the meal just trying to guess what was in what we were eating. I still don’t know, but I would eat it again. Every. Day.
The other entree we got was this Veggie Chicken with Cashew Nuts with mushrooms, peppers, white onion, green onion and STUFF! I DON’T KNOW! Try it! I love cashew dishes like this where the nuts are soft enough to pierce with a fork, but still have some crunch when you bite down. This dish tickled my particular fancy because of how salty it was and how varied the textures were. Did I mention each dish we ordered was under ten dollars? Amazing.
Finally, we finished the meal after having eaten way too much. They brought us some orange wedges and fortune cookies to top things off. My boyfriend and I had this meal a few weeks before we left San Francisco so I am sorry to say I only got to come here once. My fortune from this day read “the near future holds a gift of contentment” which was exactly what I needed to hear as we were gearing up to say goodbye. All in all it was a magical meal and I would highly recommend Shangrila to anyone living in or visiting San Francisco.