10 Vancouver restaurants for those who love their veggies

Credit to Author: Joseph Ruttle| Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2019 16:00:17 +0000

Special to Postmedia Network

We love our veggies, and we bet you do, too. More and more of us are eschewing meat for a variety of reasons, be they ethical, environmental, health-related or simply because modern vegetarian cooking just tastes so darn good. Even those of us who still like a good ribeye steak once in a while are embracing our brussels sprouts and roasted cauliflower. And why not, when there are so many places preparing vegetables so deliciously?

Vancouver has a plenitude of veg-friendly restaurants; here are some of our favourites.

3995 Main St.


Shortly after it opened, The Acorn landed among enRoute magazine’s top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2013; since then, the accolades have not stopped rolling in. Big 7 Travel recently named it the No. 1 vegan-friendly restaurant in the world; previously, Daily Meal named it the globe’s second best vegetarian and CNN included it in its top 10 vegetarian destinations. All credit to founder Shira Blustein and especially head chef Brian Luptak, who has transformed the skills he picked up cooking in some of Canada’s top hotels into beautiful, sophisticated, mostly vegan dining.

1889 Powell St.


We’d swing by Aleph for the deeply flavourful muhamarra, falafel and shakshuka anyway, but we’ll keep coming back for the philosophy of this welcoming Middle Eastern restaurant — and the story behind it. From the time he was seven until he was 18, owner Haitham El Khatib lived in a vast refugee camp in Lebanon, his Palestinian family caught up in the wars and politics that have torn that region of the world apart. After arriving in Vancouver and working in crisis management, he found healing in food, and opened this vegetarian restaurant with a menu that connects all of the Middle East. Expect a huge selection of traditional and modern mezze, mains and sweets.

Vegetarian nachos with all the fixin’s at Bandidas Taqueria. Submitted / Courtesy of Bandidas Taqueria

2781 Commercial Dr.


Vegetarian tacos and burritos? Yes, please! At this Mexican-inspired vegetarian restaurant, everything is made from scratch, from the limes that are squeezed daily for the Margaritas to the freshly pressed tortillas. Breakfast and brunch are served every day, and the menu features a spectacular variety of dishes including three different customizable nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas and tacos. All your guac and salsa needs will be met.

Vegetarian breakfast tacos at Bandidas Taqueria. Submitted / Courtesy of Bandidas Taqueria

A selection of the casual vegan comfort food on the menu at Beetbox. Amy Ho / for Beetbox

1074 Davie St.


This new, completely plant-based venture comes from Justin Tisdall and Bryan Satterford, the team behind Chinatown’s popular Juke Fried Chicken. It’s all easy-going comfort food on this menu – burgers, fries, sandwiches like the crispy fried “Chick-Un,” salads, roasted veg and a plethora of other sides. Counter service makes it easy to dine in or take out, but you’ll want to stay for the excellent selection of vegan wine, beer and especially the well-made cocktails from bar star Sabrine Dhaliwal.

Fennel Salad Nasturtium Olive Oil Foam, one of the vegetarian dishes featured in the restaurant cookbook Burdock & Co. by Andrea Carlson (Appetite by Random House). Janis Nicolay / for Random House

2702 Main St.


OK, so Burdock isn’t technically a vegetarian restaurant, but there is surely no other chef in Vancouver who can match Andrea Carlson’s deft way with produce. She is a passionate organic gardener and champion of local farmers and foragers; she also creates sophisticated and beautiful plates of food. Her menu always features a generous serving of vegan and vegetarian dishes like squash cannelloni with mushroom cream or grain risotto with potato puree and aged miso. Plus: Carlson also oversees Harvest Community Foods, a hyper-local grocery store that supports local farmers through its non-profit CSA program, and also features a café serving noodle bowls and salad.

Chef Andrea Carlson displays a bunch of radicchio in her new restaurant cookbook, Burdock & Co. (Appetite by Random House). Janis Nicolay / for Random House

1509 West 12th Ave. | 1390 Marine Dr., West Vancouver


When the stylish and modern Heirloom opened on West 12th in 2012, it announced that vegetarian dining had come a long way from its shaggy carob and lentil past. This is fully contemporary dining, in two beautiful locations that serve both vegan and vegetarian dishes, all ingredients sourced locally, organically and ethically when possible. Think bowls, salads, omelettes and snacks like the artichoke tacos and Korean fried cauliflower.

3080 Main St.


As the name suggests, at this restaurant, it’s all about kindness – to ourselves, each other and the planet. This vegan restaurant serves smoothies, bowls, flatbreads and the like. Think pesto-veg flatbread or the Mediterranean bowl filled with falafel, quinoa, veggies and eggplant dip. It is also a zero-waste establishment that sources second-hand dishware and asks customers to bring their own containers and cutlery. Good for you; good for the environment.

140 – 125 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver


As you explore North Van’s quickly evolving Shipyards District, be sure to stop in at this all-vegetarian grocery store for a smoothie, pizza, burger or veggie bowl to enjoy while you sit on the pier and check out the harbour view. Breakfasts include chia puddings and avocado toasts; beverages range from a bulletproof matcha elixir to kombucha on tap and all your traditional coffee drinks. Plus you can fill your pantry with goodies from the grocery store to enjoy later on.

Veggie burger and fries from MeeT Restaurants. Submitted / Courtesy of MeeT Restaurants

1165 Mainland St. | 4288 Main St. | 12 Water St.


This fast-growing chainlet was founded in 2013 by Vancouver restaurant veterans Jason Antony, Ivo Staiano and Linda Antony, who wanted to create a place that served nourishing, affordable and delicious vegetarian comfort food. Antony brought her experience cooking at Vij’s to an international menu of dishes like the beer-battered sweet-chili cauliflower and “butter chikkin” bowl. The huge menu also features plenty of craft cocktails, beer and wine, so it’s safe to say that MeeT is as much fun as you can have while eating your veggies.

2724 West 4th Ave.


No list of Vancouver vegetarian eateries would be complete without The Naam, the city’s oldest natural foods restaurant and still one of its most popular. It opened in 1968, when 4th Avenue was the Rainbow Road, haven to counterculture types of all stripes. It was designed to be as much hippie hangout as it was restaurant, and is still open 24 hours a day, every day except Christmas. The menu is loaded with burgers, wraps, omelettes, stir fries and salads, but the classic choice here is one of the hearty Dragon Bowls, including a breakfast variation.

Joanne Sasvari is a Vancouver-based food and drink writer and the author of the Vancouver Eats cookbook.