Vancouver is ripe with choices for the vegan traveler. There are plenty of restaurants that cater specifically to vegans, and many others that are vegan friendly. I don’t know another city where there are so many options! Being vegan or vegetarian has almost become a part of the culture in Vancouver.
I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian for the matter. However, my father is vegan and I know plenty of people who are as well. I happily eat anything as long as it tastes good and I’m always up for food adventures. It was hard narrowing it down to a few that I really like, but here are my top picks for vegan Vancouver.
A Kitsilano institution known for its delicious breakfast, the Naam has been serving up its tasty vegan and vegetarian dishes for over 30 years. A taste of their miso gravy is a must. Try it slathered on their dragon bowl or over their sesame fries.
While they’re not strictly vegan, they’re very vegan friendly and you can easily substitute tofu and tempeh for any eggs or dairy. Items that are vegan are marked on the menu. What’s even better is that they’re open 24 hours a day for when you get your miso gravy craving at 3 o’clock in the morning!
Nuba has a fantastic philosophy towards food. A Lebanese restaurant, they can be found in a couple of neighbourhoods around Vancouver serving up local and organic foods where possible. While they’re not a fully vegan restaurant, they offer plenty of items for the vegan eater. Everything is clearly marked on the menu and there are often vegan options for meals that are otherwise vegetarian. I was able to bring my vegan father for a meal and had no problems.
The best and most addictive item on the menu is their roasted cauliflower, humbly named Najib’s special (on the right in the above photo). As a certain chip commercial goes, once you pop, you can’t stop. Only this is healthier. Don’t bother with the appetizer and head straight for the plate which comes with a salad, hummus and rice or potatoes. You won’t want to be sharing these once you start.
Other items on the menu are delicious too. I especially enjoy their falafel and eggplant stew. If you’re a big eater, or sharing with others, La Feast (see above), is a great option as it gives you a taste of the best of Nuba.
- Address: various locations in Gastown, Kitsilano, Mount Pleasant and Yaletown
- Foursquare; Facebook; website
Chau Veggie Express
Chau Veggie express is a vegetarian eatery serving primarily vegan dishes inspired by their Vietnamese roots. Located outside of the city centre on Victoria Drive, Chau Veggie Express serves up vegan versions of classic Vietnamese dishes. Think bowls of deliciously overflowing noodles served with a variety of vegetables and sauces. I especially love the names of their dishes. Will you be “Sliding Down the Sand Dunes” and enjoying your rice noodles in a peanut satay sauce or will you be “Ploughing the Rice Fields” while eating your rice noodles with an assortment of seasonal vegetables and tofu?
Regardless, you’re in for a tasty treat. Their produce is sourced locally so you know you’re going to be eating well while supporting the local food community. Oh, and be sure to take home a bottle of their vegan “fish” sauce!
If you’re looking for a high end vegan eating experience then you must go to The Acorn. Located on Main St., The Acorn offers all the class and deliciousness of a fine dining restaurant in a vegan environment.
The menu is ever changing, usually depending on the season. Every time I’ve gone, there has been something completely different on the menu. Items are clearly marked as vegan, gluten-free or raw. Their desserts are simply amazing. Order the Harvest, and you’ll get the dish of the day – whatever the chef has dreamed up that day using the best of local and seasonal produce. The surprise is half the fun! Regardless, I have never been disappointed by a dish. They come out looking elegant and taste so good. It’s incredible how much flavour can be put into the dish.
Go early as the restaurant is small and it can quickly fill up. They only take reservations for tables of six or more. Or, if you prefer, go late (after 10pm) and get access to their special bar menu where you can have a taster of many of their dishes.
Budgies was a surprise discovery when I worked in the neighbourhood. Yelp conveniently informed me of this place being right around the corner, and yet, I had never even seen it. Blink as you walk by and you can easily miss it. The storefront doesn’t scream “come in and eat here”, but you’ll be so glad you did.
With tacos, quesadillas and nachos on the menu, Budgies has more to offer than just its namesake, but it’s the massive burrito they make to go there for. Measuring 10 or 12 inches long (30cm), there is a lot of food in one of these. To make something vegan that isn’t already, you can substitute the dairy for guacamole for no extra charge (which is amazing!) and you got yourself a filling and quick vegan meal.
There are plenty of other vegan places around Vancouver from food carts to restaurants of various cuisines, from high end establishments to quick grab and go places. It seems like with each passing week there are more and more vegan friendly restaurants popping up. If you’re vegan, Vancouver is a food paradise and you’ll certainly have plenty of choices!
If you’re planning a vegan trip across Canada, don’t forget to check out our vegan guide to Toronto too!
Adelina is a curious globetrotter and food lover. She enjoys telling stories through her writing and camera all while eating her way around the world. She has lived abroad in the Netherlands and Hungary and is now an online marketer based in Vancouver, Canada. Follow along as she decides her next adventure on her blog and connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.
*All photos in this post were provided by Adelina unless otherwise credited.*
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