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La Vida Vegan: A Sea of Greens

A seafood spot with more than fish on the menu.
Photo By Sam Wells

By Odette Cressler

The Dishes
Seasonal Empanadas, Mushroom Taco, and Cauliflower Ceviche

The Spot
1901 Columbia Street

When you follow a particular diet, you have to be ever the discerning diner, and when I walked into Sirena, a Latin-style seafood restaurant located in Little Italy just a block from the hype of India Street, I had to investigate if there were any plant-based options at all. Much to my surprise, one of the chefs is a passionate vegan committed to creating innovative, seafood-inspired vegan dishes.

Two appetizers, two salads, and two entrées on the menu are already vegan, and the staff informed me that a few others could also be veganized upon request. Instead of committing to one large entrée, I opted for three small dishes: a citrus mushroom taco served in a housemade tortilla with carrot aioli, a yellow pepper and roasted garlic empanada with a housemade pastry dough, and a raw cauliflower ceviche with avocado marinated in a green tomatillo sauce.

Everything was delicious and reminiscent of Crossroads in L.A., one of the best vegan restaurants I have ever tried. The plating was beautiful, and the flavors paid tribute to traditional seafood—fresh, herbal, citrusy.

The restaurant has a family feel, with the chefs running food to the tables and explaining each component of the dishes in detail. The menu may be seafood, but it’s the kind of place a vegan could sit and stay a while.

Restaurant Review: Sirena

Restaurant Review: Sirena

A VEGAN DELIGHT: “Raw” carrot cake with cashew custard, orange purée, berry sauce, and orange sorbet

TIP: Save room for dessert. The divine raw carrot cake is served with cashew-lemon frosting and a scoop of orange sorbet. It’s the best vegan dessert I have tried in San Diego.

Click here for a full review of Sirena.

La Vida Vegan: A Sea of Greens

Photo By Sam Wells

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1230 Columbia Street, Suite 800,

San Diego, CA