Herbivore is exactly what I was hoping to find during my trip to San Francisco. It is a warm, mildly trendy, reasonably priced vegan restaurant with a large, varied, and delicious menu.
Started the meal off with a Green Papaya salad, which I love but generally have a hard time finding without fish sauce. Here it was huge... perhaps more dinner proportioned than appetizer proportioned. It was a little on the bland side, could have used some more lime and spice, but we managed to enhance it a bit with table condiments (lemon wedges, crushed chili flakes, black pepper and salt) and make it really good.
Our dinners each came with a wonderfully large side salad, which consisted of mixed greens, tomatoes, and beets in a garlicky vinaigrette.
The menu was so appetizing we both had a tough time choosing. I ended up with the lentil loaf with mushroom gravy, tomato sesame salsa, mashed potatoes, and a humongous pile of sauteed red chard.
He got the grilled portobello mushroom over creamy polenta with sauteed spinach.
We both ordered sort of "meat and potatoes" style food, but the menu was all over the place. There were lots of Asian influences (Indonesian noodles salad, sweet and sour soup, Kung Pao tofu, red curry, etc), Italian influences (lasagna, ravioli, gnocchi, other pastas), Middle Eastern (moussaka and falafel) etc. Just about everything sounded amazingly delicious, and never felt like it was doing any weird compensation for want of meat or dairy.
The quantities were huge, and the value felt fantastic. Makes me wish I had a bit more time in San Francisco to go back and try some more things!