In 2013 Sol Cal Café Vegan brought a new kind of dining experience to East Village in downtown San Diego. The café and juicery, which includes a market and an on-site naturopath’s office, was the brainchild of NFL left guard Jacob Bell. He teamed up with his cousin, an integrative nutritionist, to open the café because “we all deserve better options.” The health conscious eatery offers healthy, organic food at a reasonable price. Diners can also purchase superfoods, essential oils, and SoCal gear in the form of gift cards and tie-dye tee-shirts.
Sol Cal Café Ambiance
Cheery would be a good descriptor for Sol Cal Café. You get the idea before you ever enter the café. Outside you’ll see bright white and yellow tables and stools, a bench, and two vertical succulent displays. Whimsical neon-colored words and drawings adorn the glass entrance. Inside, bright white walls, a gigantic fuchsia sun/wave logo, cement flooring, and an industrial-style white ceiling create a light and airy space. Contemporary track and pendant fixtures provide additional light.
Patrons dine at simple, blue, weathered-wood tables and chairs, or at counters with glossy black ultra-modern stools. Order from the light wood service counter backed by shelves of colorful jars beneath a large wall menu. There is a lively retail display of vegan, raw, and organic offerings that adds an air of whimsy to the interior. Succulents, herbs, and plants throughout the restaurant bring natural elements into the space. The ambiance is casual, fun, and modern.
Sol Cal Café Food
If you’re looking for fresh, local, organic, gluten-free, GMO-free, dairy-free, vegan eats, Sol Cal Café Vegan in trendy East Village is your place. Everything on the menu is made in-house. Start your day with a blended coffee drink, or try a parfait made with their “other-worldly” house-made coconut yogurt, acai mousse, or chia yogurt, each layered with granola and fresh berries. If you’re looking to warm your insides, order the cacao oatmeal with steel cut oats, cacao, maple, cinnamon, and fresh fruit.
Lunch items include scrumptious lettuce cup tacos in three styles – traditional, mole, or falafel. Roasted vegetable, Mediterranean, or fajita paninis come with your choice of five inspired sides like chipotle quinoa pasta salad or raw zucchini and vegetable salad. Try their popular build-a-burger, and make it your own. Order a signature salad like the spinach panache salad with spinach plume, dried mulberries, candied onions, seasoned walnuts, and one of their six good-for-you dressings. On a chilly evening, ask for a bowl of their tomato soup with tomatoes, basil, onions, cauliflower, garlic, and oregano.
Ayurvedic elixirs support everything from youthfulness to stress relief to restful sleep. Tasty concoctions are derived from healthful ingredients like maca, turmeric, spirulina, ashwaganda, and lavender. Delicious fruit juices are packed with vitamins, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. Cold pressed organic juices are also available. Choose from three aromatic teas – an anti-inflammatory/anti-viral supertea, an Amazonian energy tea, or a skin clearing skinny tea. Smoothies are a yummy, healthy treat too. Try the Hunky Monkey with banana, date, almond butter, house-made cacao, syrup, and Sprout Living chocolate maca protein. You really can’t go wrong here for healthy alternatives to the typical dining experience.
Sol Cal Café Details
Sol Cal Café doesn’t accept reservations, but they do offer both take-out and delivery. The casual café is ADA accessible and good for vegans of all ages, including the kids. They offer garage and street parking, plus bike parking. Limited outdoor seating is available and your dog is welcome. They do not have TVs, but do offer free Wi-Fi. There is a holistic healer on-site on particular days for consultations and treatments. Most of the seating is wood or metal and may not be comfortable for every diner.
Sol Cal Café Neighborhood
East Village has lots to see and do. It is an eclectic, urban shopping destination in Downtown San Diego. You’ll find everything from thrift stores like City Digz to upscale boutique shops like wildly popular Ma Cherie, retro glam Tatyana, and chic urban G-Star Raw. Petco Park, the Padres’ $450 million state-of-the-art baseball stadium, is the unrivaled anchor of the trendy neighborhood offering the ultimate baseball experience. For outside-the-fence baseball fever with good old days prices, watch from “Park at the Park” off K Street.
The sleek, stainless steel Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge is among the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world. It takes you to the San Diego Convention Center, which sits along stunning San Diego Bay and close to Seaport Village. Another modern architectural wonder is the new San Diego Central Library on J Street between 11th Avenue and Park Boulevard. Docent guided architectural, art, or general tours are offered to the public.
For the optimum East Village experience, why not stay in a local independent hotel? Hotel Solamar is located three blocks down J Street on 6th Avenue. This hip urban hotel has a rooftop pool and terrace. Another good bet is the Hotel Indigo Downtown, an eco-chic boutique hotel a block away at 9th and Island Avenues. Its Level 9 Rooftop Bar and Lounge offers impressive views of San Diego and the PETCO Park ball field. For a glamorous adult experience, book your stay at Andaz San Diego at 6th Avenue and F Street.