By Vesanto Melina with Nancy Callan
Vancouver is the first Canadian city to embrace “Meatless Monday,” encouraging residents to forego meat one day a week for the sake of the planet and their health. Whether you choose an entirely vegetarian restaurant or one that includes plant-based options our fair city offers a lot to the adventurous and to those who prefer more familiar menu items on Monday or any day.
Kitsilano’s many possibilities include:
The Eatery, www.theeatery.ca, 3431 W Broadway (dinner; lunch on weekends) with funky surroundings and many new creative, plant-based variations on Japanese favourites. For a taste of paradise, try their Mango Paradise Roll.
For a less adventurous quick bite, check out Tera V Burger http://www.teravburger.com/ 2961 West Broadway (lunch and supper) where their No Bull Burger has been known to fool many a meat eater.
The mother and daughter who run Indigo Food Café www.indigofood.org/ 2589 W 16th Ave (lunch and supper Tues to Sat, reservations Fri & Sat, 604-537-7288) offer both raw and cooked cuisine, with each menu item a masterpiece of creativity and flavour. Try their perogies or call in advance to order High Tea, a multi-tiered tray of bite sized sweet and savory treats.
Golden Aura http://goldenaura.ca/, 2680 W. Broadway, Sun to Wed 11- 7pm, Thurs to Sat 11- 9pm. a new addition to Vancouver’s raw scene, has a delicious variation of Pad Thai.
Heading to East Vancouver, options include Chinese cuisine at
Po Kong at 1334 Kingsway (lunch and supper) (the pressed mushroom stems are surprisingly meatlike) or
Bodhi Choi Heung at 3932 Fraser St (lunch and supper) where the (veggie) pepper steak with green beans is a favourite.
You’ll also discover Vietnamese vegetarian restaurants: the new
Veggiebowl 2222 Kingsway, (604) 620-7672 (breakfast, lunch, and supper),
Three Jewels at 1179 Commercial Dr (604) 568-5425, Three Jewels Vermicelli, Spicy lemongrass tofu on rice, and
Chau Veggie Express, 5052 Victoria Drive (near 33rd between 34 and 35 ave) http://www.chowatchau.ca (lunch and supper). The latter’s Vietnamese sandwich, Family of Five on a Scooter, is not to be missed!
East Van has a selection of Ethiopian restaurants, such as
Axum, 1279 E Hastings St, dinner, (604) 253-2986. For a mere $10, enjoy the veggie sampler plate, eaten by hand with the famous flat sourdough bread injera.
Or for an inspiring glimpse of ethical food preparation, visit
Graze restaurant at 3980 Fraser Street where they grow their own herbs and vegetables, collect rainwater for later use, compost, and generate solar hot water! Their Antipasti and the Dip Board are each a fabulous adventure to share with friends.
Nuba (www.nuba.ca) has several locations: 207 West Hastings Street in Gastown open noon to 4:30 and then 5 pm to late 604.688.1655;
1206 Seymour Street in Yaletown open noon to 9 Mon to Sat 778.371.3266; plus
3116 West Broadway in Kitsilano 604.336.1797, open noon to 4:30 Mon to Sun, then 5 pm to late Mon to Sat;
146 East 3rd Avenue in Mount Pleasant 604.568.6727 (lunch and supper). La Feast is a two person plate, with a variety of plant-based Lebanese specialties. Najib’s Special, their cauliflower dish, was described in a news article as one of the hundred things you should try before you die.
Ba Bo Jai Chinese & Vegetarian Cuisine (formerly Whole Vegetarian restaurant) has outstanding food; truly superb. Their menu is mixed if you also have people in your group who want a nonvegetarian menu item. 1018 Beach Ave.,Vancouver, BC V6E 1T7 Tel: 604.569.0928 This is a favorite with my family. Wonderful service; excellent vegan menu. They have free parking too, in a covered lot next to the restaurant and under the bridge.
Gorilla Food http://gorillafood.com/ 101-436 Richards St. (lunch and supper) has an extensive, tasty raw menu and warm-hearted staff.
In Marpole, Cravings www.cravings.ca/ 8808 Osler Street (Oak St. and 72nd Ave – Behind the Coast Hotel) 604-261-7779, (daily lunch and supper; weekend brunch) makes eating out with a group with diverse dietary needs stress-free as they cater to those with gluten sensitivity, those who want plant-based food, or to those choosing non-vegetarian items. Their tasty veggie stir-fry far surpasses expectations.
In New Westminster, the vegan café Karmavore www.karmavore.ca 610 Columbia St (11 to 7 pm; weekends to 9 pm) features some dishes, including a raw food selection, baked items, burgers, and deli food for take-out.
In North Vancouver, Pasparos Taverna www.pasparos.com 132 West 3rd Street (604) 980-0331 (daily 4 pm to 10:30 pm) has hearty Vegan Moussaka. There also are fine raw food restaurants: Café by Tao and Buddha-Full.
As you head to the Fraser Valley, try Wendel’s Café in Fort Langley 103-9233 Glover Road, 604.513.2238, 7:30 am to 10:00 pm daily and the
Jungle Juice Company at 259A Wallace Street in Hope BC (604) 869-3363, http://junglejuiceco.tumblr.com/.
For more, see www.vegdining.com and www.happycow.net.
If you’d like to dine in good company and explore some delicious food, try Meatless Meetup (www.meetup.com/MeatlessMeetup). Each month features restaurant meals, potlucks, and more. With many non-vegetarian members, all those simply wanting to sample healthy, tasty food are most welcome. There’s never been a better time to do a little culinary exploration on the veggie side.
Vesanto Melina is a Registered Dietitian, consultant, and author, www.nutrispeak.com; 604-882-6782. Nancy Callan organizes Meatless Meetup.