(a.k.a. Where to Take Your Vegetarian Date Out to Eat)
I’ve been a vegetarian my whole life without any vegetarian friends, so it’s safe to say I’ve been preparing to write this post for a lifetime. While there are a lot of great vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver, most non-vegetarians aren’t as open to that (stereotypes of vegetarian food, ugh). On top of that, many “normal” restaurants have boring and limited choices for us plant lovers.
Here are a few of my favourite places to eat out in the city that will appeal to both vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Steamworks Brew Pub Brewery
375 Water St. (steamworks.com/brew-pub)
Everyone likes a brew pub, so this is an easy suggestion to please anyone. I suggest this place for vegetarians for one reason alone: their veggie burger (feature photo) is unreal. It’s made of quinoa and roasted veggies, and the middle is stuffed with smoked cheddar cheese. Plus it’s on a ciabatta bun with pesto mayo. Basically, this burger could convert anyone.
1108 Davie St., and 6428 Fraser St. (http://www.samuraisushi.ca)
If you don’t like sushi, you’re crazy. This place is cheap and the rolls are HUGE… I’m talking double the size of some rolls I’ve ordered before. The vegetable roll is amazing because it even includes inari (deep-fried tofu skin) along with all the standard veggies, but the real star is the spicy agedashi tofu. The sauce is somewhat peanut buttery, and just downright drool-worthy.
Yolk’s Restaurant and Commissary
1298 East Hastings St. (yolks.ca/restaurant/)
This is my favourite brunch place, and they do it seven days a week (what every place should do). I usually get the vegetarian option of the free-range egg sandwich, which is portobello mushroom, arugula, and aioli. Then I opt for the aged white cheddar, and get it with the truffle-lemon hashbrowns instead of bread. It’s essentially a pile of happiness, especially alongside a mimosa. My best friend gets chicken & waffles and everyone wins.
East is East
3243 W Broadway, and 4433 Main St. (www.eastiseast.ca)
This is my favourite restaurant in the city, bar none. They serve food from regions all along the Silk Route, so you get everything from North African to Indian to Thai. For a (student budget) splurge evening with friends, go for the Chai Feast. It includes rice, boulani (an amazing flatbread), sauces, soups and salads, and tapas-size main dishes. You choose what you would like, and then you order anything else you want as you go along. It’s essentially all-you-can-eat, but a bit more civil. All the sides and starters are vegetarian, and about half of the main dishes (don’t miss the Afghan eggplant). I once spent 3 hours here with a friend, just eating and listening to the live world music they have every night.
And a few all-vegetarian honourable mentions where you won’t even miss the meat…
Bandidas Taqueria (Mexican; 2781 Commercial Drive, www.bandidastaqueria.com)
Chau’s VeggiExpress (Vietnamese Fusion; 5052 Victoria Drive, www.chowatchau.ca)
Meet on Main (Comfort Food; 4288 Main Street, www.meetonmain.com)
Featured photo by Anna Burk