A Vegan's Guide to the Vancouver Restaurant Scene
The vegan community in Vancouver is expanding like never before and each month there seems to be a slew of new plant-based restaurants opening up. Personally, I love it. Another restaurant opening its doors means a whole new menu to taste, more dishes to sample, and another recipe to recreate at home. Although I've only been living in Vancouver for one year as a UBC student, I've tried my fair share of vegan restaurants. The following are a list of some of my all-time favourites:
Dharma Kitchen was a savour on those Sunday evenings when I was so tired of the repetitive and bland caf food, and all I wanted was a hearty and flavourful vegan meal. Thank goodness for the app DoorDash, because Dharma Kitchen was my go-to restaurant when ordering food straight to my university. When placing an order or visiting the restaurant, make sure to check out their abundance of nourishing dishes, including their huge potato bowls, tasty tempeh burgers, and unreal sweet rice pudding. Pro tip: Dharma Kitchen offers a daily "Tea & Study Hour" from 2:00pm-5:00pm where you can get a cup of chai tea and rice pudding for only $5.70!
This small Vancouver-based chain is truly the place that carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores can all enjoy eating together. Tractor is a modern cafeteria-style restaurant that is known for their wide variety of ready-made veggie salads and add-on high quality proteins that are freshly prepared upon ordering at the counter. More than that, this restaurant has fast service, is well-priced, and most importantly, the food always tastes extraordinarily fresh. Pro-tip: If you're looking to eat at Tractor for breakfast, the locations on Robson Street and Burrard Street are your two options!
Known as a "locavore's haven", this Commercial Drive hip, vegan hotspot should not be missed. Every time I eat here, I can't help but browse through their fully-stocked grocery section, flip through pages of their plant-based recipe books, and oggle at their fridge full of vegan delights. I love supporting this restaurant because the food is totally organic, the cafe follows a Zero Waste policy, and many of the goods are locally-sourced, certified fairtrade, and top-quality. This cafe is definitely a place to catchup with old friends over a Falafel Collard Wrap, relax with family while indulging in a Blueberry Lemon Pie, or spend the afternoon bliss-free while sipping on the Banini Smoothie. Pro-tip: Subscribe to Eternal Abundance online for updates and receive 10% off your next market purchase!
Melu, a healthy quick-serve cafe, is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver and is ideal for anyone looking for a grab & go nutrient-filled breakfast, lunch, or dinner to fuel you for a full work day. I have tried many of their guilt-free health bars and a couple of their superfood smoothies, all of which have been absolutely delicious. Melu is owned by two totally inspiring young women and I can definitely sense the passion that goes into each and every one of their health-conscious creations. I have one request, open another location closer to UBC! Pro-tip: Melu offers cleanse packages that can be delivered throughout Metro Vancouver!
As a self-proclaimed acai expert, the award for the best acai bowl in Van goes to Radicle Juice. The consistency of their bowls are top notch, the taste strikes the perfect balance between tangy and sweet, and the textured toppings takes the bowls to the next level. Not only does Radicle Juice offer acai bowls, but they also have Pitaya Bowls (AKA pink dragon fruit) on their menu! This is a rare find in the Canadian smoothie bowl scene. Pro tip: If you decide to head over to Radicle Juice, make sure to bring along your laptop as the upstairs of the cafe offers a great study space!
If you are spending time in North Vancouver, this popular cafe is a must-try. Buddha-Full has a cool, cozy, and warm atmosphere where the staff are always smiling and the all-vegan menu is exploding with flavour. From the caesar salad with smoked tempeh to the avo toast topped with sunflower sprouts, you can't go wrong with any item you order. I heard this space opened up a second location in Northwoods Village, I can't wait to visit! Pro tip: This innovative restaurant has an online "Skip The Line" feature so your food is ready once you arrive!
I'm not quite sure why more people in the Vancouver vegan community have yet to try Vital Supply Co because their wholesome food is outstanding and the presentation of each dish doesn't disappoint either. My absolute favourite menu item is the baked apple and pear oatmeal: perfectly crispy on the outside, warm on the inside, and topped with homemade creamy coconut yogurt... this is what breakfast dreams are made of! Pro tip: Vital Supply Co. specializes in meal plans from 5 days to 10 weeks to kick unhealthy habits and hit the reset!
Situated inside the cutest cabin-like wooden structure on Bowen Island, Branch & Butter serves gourmet toast and Earnest Ice Cream, basically the best combination to exist. Personally, I'm not normally a huge toast fan, but who wouldn't enjoy a thick slice of sourdough toast toast from The Birds & The Beets topped with inventive local ingredients? As one of the few places on the island with vegan options, this cute yet chic cafe is a great addition. Pro tip: Branch & Butter does not guarantee they will be open on Mondays and Tuesday, so definitely plan to go sometime Wednesday through Sunday!