The Foundation is a Vancouver vegetarian institution. It’s relentlessly popular – there are lineups pretty much every night and no, they don’t take reservations. It’s also relentlessly badmouthed, for a number of different reasons. Still, we all keep going there; we all keep pouring our money into Foundy and enjoying what we get out of it.
The best thing about this place is that it’s cheap. Lunchtime entrees run about $7 – $8 and supper is around $10. You get a tonne of food for your money – I’ve never still been hungry after eating at The Foundation – and the drink specials are cheap and excellent. They serve local beer at decent prices, and have a soup special (invariably vegan), a “restless” side dish, and a nacho special every day. Unfortunately, the nachos are smothered in dairy cheese, but that’s part of what makes The Foundation so popular. Try the sangria – pricy but incredible on a late spring day, or really, any day.
The word “vegan” doesn’t really appear on the menu, but when the servers are asked, they’ll usually tell you that unless something obviously isn’t vegan (if it says “cheese” right on it), it is. That’s not strictly true. After maybe three years of eating at this place, I found out that their veggie bacon is made of egg whites, and most of their curry sauces contain honey. However, if you send your order in and say it’s vegan, the kitchen can probably sub for maple syrup.
The service at Foundation is… well… it varies. So does the quality of the food. And sometimes you sit there for 45 minutes starving your head off before you’re served. The music is really loud and it’s always hip-hop. The place is packed with too-cool hipsters, and they’re not half as cool as the people who work there. You have to wait in line for 20 minutes sometimes. There are obnoxious quotes on the walls about making the world a better place.
Still, I love The Foundation. Their yam dip is incredible, the homous is even better, and for a dollar more you can combine them into the YAMMUS plate (my invention, c. 2005 – you’re welcome). Some other favourite choices: The Tropic Option is a spicy fruit curry with mangos and bananas and strawberries; it’s my #1. The OPPP is a peanut-pesto-pasta delight, vegan, delicious, with broccoli. The Serial Salad is grains and fruit and salad and is incredibly satisfying. Also, try the Mango Forte, the Pa-Pasta-Ya (my friend Tara, who cooks at Foundation, eats this when she craves Kraft Dinner [Mac’n’Cheese]), the Sesamum Salad, and, if they have it (they rarely do), the Vegan Sugar Pie. Nuff said.
Conclusion: I have some friends who refuse to go to The Foundation because of the awful service, the awful atmosphere, the awful people, or some combination of all three. I totally understand that. However, I still visit at least once a month and have for years, and that’s not likely to stop. Plus, they’re open til midnight on weekdays and 2am on weekends. Perfect for after-drunk nosh. Stay strong, vegans, and don’t order those nachos.