For vegans in the know, Vancouver's vegan-friendly restaurants offer a wealth of options that both satisfy and delight
Dining out, especially with friends, can be one of the more stressful aspects of being a vegan. First, you have to find a place that caters to your meat-free, dairy-free diet; then, you have to convince your meat-hungry friends to join you there. For anyone who's tried, it can be a hard sell.
But why should dining out be so difficult? Eating and socializing should be pleasurable, not a hassle.
Luckily for those in Vancouver, eating vegan is not so hard when you know where to go. The city is filled with a variety of restaurants offering vegan and meat dishes on the same menu.
Check out our list below. While these aren't all 100 percent vegan, they all have delicious vegan options on their menus. The ones that are completely vegan are marked with a V. The list is ever-evolving, so we invite you to add comments with your favourite spots!
Vancouver vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants
The Naam – Yes, yes, everyone knows The Naam. Open late, offering a wide range of vegan options (Mmmm, the Naam Bowl!), we keep coming back even though the service is epically slow!
All India Sweets & Restaurant – My friend Meera swears by the cheap vegetarian buffet at this little Indian restaurant on Main St.
Budgie's Burritos – Near the intersection of Main and Kingsway (on Kingsway), these will knock your socks off! Try the potato – you won't be sorry!
Whole Vegetarian – Housed in what was formerly Bo Kong (a Main Street favourite), we haven't tried Whole Vegetarian yet but will the next time we're in the mood for Chinese fake meat dishes.
Gorilla Food – Organic, vegan, raw and downtown. Just be sure to go between 11 and 6 p.m. V
Radha Yoga & Eatery – Wednesday through Saturday, find incredible organic, local vegan (and often raw) dishes at this restaurant-slash-community-yoga-studio. (Reservations are recommended.) V
Cafe deux Soleils – Come here for a yummy vegan breakfast on the weekend or for their awesome vegan cookies when you need an afternoon pick-me-up! Their focaccia sandwich with sunflower seed/sundried tomato pate is yummy too.
Slickety Jim's – Speaking of breakfast, Slickety Jim's has one vegan option on its brunch menu and, lawwwd, it is worth the trip! [Update: A fire in 2009 forced this Main St institution to close until a new location could be found and monies raised. The new location is at Main between 18th and 19th Aves and will open in March 2011.]
Habit – Another Main St spot, this place is great for gathering with vegan and non-vegan friends who appreciate well-crafted food, excellent flavouring, local wine and feeling cool. Now with a new menu.
Cafe Kathmandu – For Nepalese food made with the freshest of ingredients and served with a smile, head to this Commercial Dr neighbourhood restaurant.
Dharma Kitchen – This is how we cook in my house: curry spices, nuts and a bounty of fresh veggies. I don't get to come to this West Broadway vegan restaurant often enough! V
Foundation Lounge – The creative menu makes this place a real treat, especially as the aprons behind the counter increasingly become more adept at their trade. Best bet: black beans and rice with banana.
Dumplings from Cafe Kathmandu
The Truffle Cafe at Eternal Abundance – For a whiff of one of the greatest smells on the planet, walk, no, run through these doors NOW! V
Planet Veg – When you're at Kits Beach and you're in the mood for something light and satisfying, grab a wrap on Cornwall.
Saravana Bhavan – Oh, yeah! South Indian food on Broadway at Oak! Great service and plenty of space for a crowd. (This chain also has restaurants in India.)
Sejuiced – Going healthy? Head to West 4th for a fresh fresh salad, some fresh fresh juice and maybe even a fresh fresh smoothie. V
Sweet Cherubim – A great little grocery and food counter on Commercial Dr and THE BEST SAMOSAS IN VANCOUVER! However, it's best to steer clear of the tepid subjis on display...
Jamaican Pizza Jerk – A favourite of my partner's, owner Chef Bounty serves several vegan dishes, including vegan rotis on Thursdays, and carefully selects only the freshest, non-GM products. His vegan pizzas and Irie bowls are a particular treat; my favourite is the Peter Tosh with vegan ham. Ask about the akee!
Nuba – Lebanese food at its most scrumptious! Get the Najib’s Special!
Sha Lin Noodle House – Amazing hand-cut noodles and pan-fried dumplings. The curried-flavoured tofu and cutting noodles are a great vegan option, and the fried eggplant and tomatoes are addictive. [Update: 1 Mar 2011 – Another victim to fire, Sha Lin is now closed... tears... big fat tears...]
Annapurna – Reader suggested, and for good reason. Head to this West 4th vegetarian Indian restaurant for consistently delicious food.
Bodhi Choi Heung Vegetarian Restaurant – With a name that means "delicious enlightened food," this Fraser St spot is one of the few Chinese Buddhist veggie restaurants in Vancouver, offering 132 vegan options.
Hon's Wun Tun House – Hong Kong diner food with a dedicated vegetarian option, offering a good selection of fake meat dishes. Locations include Robson, Chinatown, Richmond, New Westminster and Coquitlam.
The Jamaican Pizza Jerk's Irie bowl
Fassil Ethiopian Resturant – Ethiopian food is great for groups, especially when some eat meat and others don't. And few do it better in Vancouver than the wonderfully friendly staff at Fassil. Try the vegetarian platter for two or three people.
Bandidas Taqueria – Expect vegetarian and vegan tacos on pillowy-soft, handmade tortillas; fresh ingredients; cold local brew and a good collection of current and nostalgic indie tunes. Plus, they culture their own vegan sour cream! Here, the mandate is pure sustainability—the owners even use a bike trailer for all restaurant transport. A great Commercial Dr hangout.
Grand View Szechuan Restaurant – This lovely little spot on Fraser (near King Ed) delights every time. The ingredients are very fresh and the flavours mouthwatering. Forgo the usual black bean sauce and ask for the authentic Szechuan (pronounced Se-twan) sauce of garlic and chillies. The kind owners make you feel right at home.
3G Vegetarian Restaurant – This restaurant extension of the fake-meat depot Veggie Flavour serves up a mean plate of "chicken" drumsticks. The extensive Chinese vegetarian menu is entirely meat-free but some of the fake meats may contain dairy. The fresh squeezed juices are a great touch. They also do dim sum on the weekends.
Grub – Word on the street is this Main Street favourite uses seasonally fresh ingredients to serve up two vegetarian entrees every day, one of which is always vegan. They even offer a daily vegan dessert!
Organic Lives – A little piece of raw, organic, vegan heaven, serving up nutrient-rich creative meals to hungry vegans and vegetarians, celiacs and otherwise health conscious Vancouverites in the know. You'll get the chocolate macaroons if you know what's good for you. Near Cambie at Quebec and East 2nd Ave.
Vegan/vegetarian restaurant guides
Vancouver Vegetarian Association – A great local resource for finding good vegan eats!
EarthSave Canada Veg Directory – Vancouver vegan, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurant guide
HappyCow – Worldwide vegetarian and vegan restaurant guide
Tell Granville Online about your favourite vegan spots around town!
And be sure to check the comment form below for our reader's top recommended vegan restaurants. Once Granville staff have vetted each reader pick, we'll add those most worthy to the list above.
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[Updated: 9 Feb 2011]