4 Must-Visit Vegan Restaurants in Vancouver
Vancouver has quickly become a vegan's paradise. Over the last couple years, the number of new, vegan-friendly restaurants have exploded - in the best way possible. This article highlights my personal fave four that meet the needs of four different desires: the classic go-to spot for weekend brunches, the contemporary (but definitely not stuffy) fine dining locale, the super healthy all-raw downtown oasis, and the kitschy new comfort food 'cabin'.
1. Bandidas Taqueria
Bandidas Taqueria on Commercial Drive is my go-to vegan restaurant in Vancouver. The healthy, tasty, locally-sourced produce, affordability, funky interior, and great location means that this restaurant pretty much checks off all the boxes of vegan restaurant awesomeness. Serving both vegetarian and vegan options, Bandidas Taqueria serves up creative mexican dishes that ooze with cozy warmth and pack delicious flavours. And I'm not the only one who calls this place mecca. Expect to wait for your table as it's rare to arrive and not find a line-up of hungry customers waiting for a table. It's worth it though! In addition to serving up delicious, cruelty-free food, Bandidas also values being as environmentally low-impact as they can. They use compostable packaging, make you bring your own to-go coffee cup, and use a bike with a trailer to pick up local produce and supplies. As for specific menu items, the Ronny Russell burrito is my all-time fave, and my partner considers no visit complete without the House Salad with all the extra fixings. However, I don't think I've ever been disappointed with any item on the menu so knock yourself out with the choices when you go. Address and info: 2781 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 1V6 (604) 568-8224.
2. The Acorn Restaurant & Bar
The Acorn Restaurant & Bar is a fairly new restaurant in Vancouver, and oh sweet Jesus, am I ever glad it opened up. Head Chef Brian Skinner creates mind-blowing, mouth-watering works of art that meet the dietary needs of vegetarians, vegans, raw foodies, and gluten free eaters. I follow Brian on Instagram and his photos of his new kitchen creations are probably the biggest thing that makes me regret leaving Vancouver for Eastern Canada. Chef Skinner hasn't had any trouble getting noticed. Most recently, his restaurant made it into Air Canada's EnRoute Top Ten Best New Restaurants In Canada list. The Acorn doesn't take reservations, but if you arrive and need to wait, you're welcome to stroll through the Main Street neighbourhood around the restaurant and the staff will call you when your table is ready. A classy, modern, intriguing interior, alongside the gorgeous plates of food makes this a perfect date-night spot as well as a great evening cocktail location. Love, love, love this restaurant! Highly recommend! E 24th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P3 (604) 566-9001.
3. Gorilla Food
I didn't know Gorilla Food existed until I began dating my partner. He used to work at this unexpected downtown hippy raw food spot and after bringing me there for a date, I was hooked (on him and the restaurant). Gorilla Food has everything a raw foodie desires: life-giving juices, gorgeously nutritious salads, classic raw 'pizzas' and 'burgers', and a buffet of yummy desserts. Chef Aaron Ash recently published his book, , to fantastic reviews. Located right downtown in a surprise cellar location, the interior of this restaurant has the earthiness and warmth that you'd expect from a raw food eatery, and attracts earthy alternative-types and corporate business folk alike. Find it here: 101-436 Richards St., Vancouver, BC, Canada V6B 2Z3, 604-684-3663. Gorilla Food: Living and Eating Organic, Vegan and Raw
4. The Black Lodge
I only visited The Black Lodge once before I left Vancouver. One of the newest vegan restaurants on the block (if not the newest) The Black Lodge is located near Kingsway and Fraser. Less than two blocks away from my old living spot, I really wish this place had opened earlier. It would have easily become my regular go-to spot for beers and cocktails and vegan comfort food. This place knocks other kitschy restaurants out of the park with it's amazing Twin Peaks-inspired interior that transports you from the paved urban jungle of the city to quirky, old-time cabin as soon as you enter it's doors. If you're looking for healthy, raw vegan food choices, this isn't your spot, but if you're in the mood for classic comfort items like vegan smokies and poutine, look no further. The Black Lodge is easily Vancouver's coolest new restaurant addition. 630 Kingsway, Vancouver, British Columbia V5T 3K4, (604) 620-7070.