Vegetarian in Vancouver
By Hollie Rose
Dining out can be a stressful experience for vegetarians, especially when they’re away from home and are not familiar with the current location’s best meat-free restaurants. Luckily, Vancouver is a haven for vegetarians and has a plethora of fantastic veggie options for visitors to choose from. Gone are the days of being restricted to one boring vegetarian option; now travelling veggie lovers can eat happily at cool cafes and restaurants all around the city and soak up a fun and friendly Canadian atmosphere at the same time. Read on for six locales to grab some top notch, meat-free nosh on your next visit to Vancouver.
With a set up that’s all arctic white and feminine, Heirloom Vegetarian is a fresh, bright, clean space that offers purely vegetarian meals with some raw, vegan and gluten-free options available. The restaurant chooses organic, Fair Trade and local ingredients in a bid to make ethically conscious business choices. Portion sizes are generous, the presentation is beautiful, the wine list interesting and the music is well-chosen. With a Chef whose past experience includes working as a private chef to Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s family, as well as cooking for Jack Nicholson, Sean Penn, Sting and even Kermit the Frog’s puppeteer, the food is certainly delicious. Heirloom offers free Wi-Fi, late-night dining, craft beers and a menu that’s designed to suit not only vegetarians but also their dining companions who need to eat more greens.
Dharma Kitchen offers wonderfully fresh and uncomplicated food from its West Broadway-at-Alma location. A Buddhist vegan restaurant that focuses on Asian cuisine, the philosophy at Dharma revolves around good karma for all, sustainable development and benefitting the environment by combining ancient wisdom in its ingredients with modern cooking practices. (The name Dharma comes from the fundamentals of the Buddhist philosophy and way of life). Known for its homemade chai — said to be the city’s best — Dharma Kitchen provides a mellow, meditative dining atmosphere perfectly suited for the spiritual mind.
Tera V Burger is not like other fast-food hangouts. It doesn’t use burger patties made from the lowest-grade ground beef or mystery fish, but rather top-quality vegetarian ingredients. With a mission to provide healthy, delicious veggie burgers that will satisfy vegetarians but also turn a meat eater into a believer, owner Jagmohan Basran wants to help the earth and reduce animal cruelty, environmental degradation and human health problems. He dreams of transforming his single store into a worldwide chain of vegetarian outlets that offer specialties such as the ‘No Bull’ burger and Tera V’s signature fruit smoothies. With a menu that has vegan options (plus a sign that encourages customers to ‘ask to make it vegan’) Tera V offers something for every palate. The decor is clean and modern, with lots of wood and a backlit photographic mural on one wall, plus the restaurant uses biodegradable packaging and is wheelchair-accessible.
Using ethical, local and healthy ingredients, Panz Veggie is a vegan Chinese restaurant that serves up affordable yet fresh, tasty and light dishes. With a Chinese name that translates to ‘compassion’, the restaurant is tucked away in downtown Vancouver and offers a truly relaxing atmosphere. Never in a rush, the staff won’t hurry you to finish and move on, but rather, they will serve you tea long after you’ve completed your meal so that you can finish your conversations and have plenty of chill time before heading off again.
A funky vegetarian Mexican restaurant where all tacos can be ‘veganized’, Bandidas offers large community table seating and a purely sustainable ethos — the owners even make use of a bike trailer for any restaurant transportation needs. This Vancouver haunt is known for its awesome brunches, spicy hot chocolate and yummy handmade tortillas and tacos.
A restaurant to nourish your body, Gorilla Foods only offers organic, raw, vegan and gluten-free cuisine that is super healthy and satisfies hunger. From raw pizza, lasagne and chocolate fudge, to fresh juices and more, this eat-in and takeaway restaurant will turn any meal into a healthy choice.
While there are plenty of cities in North America where it can be hard to be a vegetarian, Vancouver is not one of them. Very veggie friendly, especially for those in the know, Vancouver offers a wealth of healthy dining options that both satisfy and delight.
Hollie Rose is a travel writer and foodie with a passion for vegetarian cuisine, holistic medicine and yoga. She loves to keep up-to-date with the latest travel news and recommends you look for flights to Vancouver on Expedia.