The third stop of our USA trip was the awesome city of San Diego where we stayed near the insanely cool La Jolla Cove. We got to hang out and snorkel on the beach where all of these beautiful sea lions live and it was pretty much my highlight of our trip, as you all know how much I love animals!
Aside from trying to make friends with as many animals as possible, we of course also ate lots of delicious vegan food whilst in San Diego, and I’m really excited to tell you guys about one of our favourite restaurants of the entire trip today:
Amardeen Cafe ▷▷▷
When Matt and I were at University we were obsessed with a little cafe that served awesome vegan lebanese food; so we were super excited when we found out that there was a Lebanese restaurant (Amardeen Cafe) a short walk away from our hotel.
When we arrived at Amardeen Cafe we were greeted by the lovely Mark, whose parents own the restaurant. He explained to us that Amardeen serves a huge variety of authentic lebanese dishes, and that lots of them are naturally vegan. Mark very kindly offered to create a meza especially for us so that we could try out all of the vegan options Amardeen Cafe has to offer, and there were a lot of delicious dishes!
So, I’m going to chat you guys through the vegan options we tried out, and have put a little star (*) next to my 3 faves in case you need help choosing what to order as there are so many delicious options to choose from!
ROUND 1 ▷▷▷
Pita bread & pita chips – I’d never tried pita chips before, and boy have I been missing out! They were so crispy and flavourful and tasted amazing dipped in hummus!
Hummus – Amardeen’s hummus is freshly made and is definitely one of the best I’ve ever tried.
Garlic spread – this dish was another one that I’d never tried before, and for someone like me who adds garlic to pretty much everything, it’s basically the perfect spread!
Tabouleh – you all know that I’m not a huge salad lover (#badvegan), but I was definitely a fan of the tabouleh/falafel/pita bread/hummus/garlic spread combination.
Spinach fatayer – Matt was super jealous that he couldn’t try these delicious little spinach parcels (as they contain nuts) but I definitely wasn’t complaining about having to eat both of them!
Falafel* – now, as a big falafel lover I have tried a lot of different falafel, so believe me when I say that these falafels were amazing! They were light & fluffy on inside, crispy on the outside and bursting with flavour – a definite must try if you visit Amardeen Cafe!
ROUND 2 ▷▷▷
Squash kebeh – this is one of the most complex dishes to make and is traditionally made from meat, so it was really cool to be able to try out the veganised version.
Cauliflower tagine* – conversely, this dish is one of the simplest to make (just fry cauliflower & cover in tahini) but it is SO delicious and definitely one I’ll be trying to recreate at home!
ROUND 3 ▷▷▷
M’jadra – this brown lentil based dish lasted under 2 minutes around Matt (I think it’s safe to say he was a fan) but the little bit I did manage to try before he wolfed it down tasted great, especially when coupled with the moussaka.
Moussaka* – this spicy eggplant and garbanzo bean dish was so flavourful and delicious and definitely one of my favourites!
Thank you so much to Mark and his family for hosting us at their restaurant. It was awesome to have the opportunity to try out all of the delicious vegan dishes and to also learn a bit about the Lebanese traditions and culture from Mark.
If you’re in San Diego and would like to try out some authentic, vegan Lebanese cuisine, be sure to head to Amardeen Cafe and ask for them to chat you through the vegan options, I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as we did!