Category Archives: Vancouver

Vancouver’s Best Veggie Burgers

Lentil Burger at Splitz Grill in Vancouver
Splitz Grill lentil burger. Photo by SweetOnVeg

Splitz Grill – Main and 26th
Splitz is a burger bar reminiscent of a Subway – you choose your patty and then choose your premium (with a cost) additions or your regular ingredients. Their spicy lentil patty is fantastic and makes for a huge burger – you probably shouldn’t order fries, as I have never even finished the burger itself, no matter how hungry I am. For spreads, you are not just restricted to mustard – they have babaganoush and hummus for us vegans. Add onions, mushrooms, and an array of veg, plus other sauces, for one of the most satisfying, massive veggie burgers in town.

Sweet Cherubim – Commercial and Napier
Sweet C’s is an Indian vegetarian place. They serve some cheese, but other than that are completely vegan. And their veggie burger is the best one in town, in my opinion. It takes about 15 minutes for them to make it for you, but trust me, it’s worth it. Have it with avocado and their exceptional tofu-dill cream dressing. It’s a patty chock-full of veg and spice.

Roundel Cafe – Hastings and Nanaimo
The Roundel Cafe has only two vegan options – a tofu scramble and a veggie burger. Both use essentially the same flavour palate, teriyaki and black sesame with tofu. Both are exceptional. Order their veggie burger with avocado instead of mayo and cheese, and delight in its texture and flavour. This burger is mostly tofu and veg, with a unique flavour.

Fine Vegan Dining in Vancouver: Where to Take a Date

There are plenty of vegan-friendly spots in Vancouver, but most of them are on the casual, “funky” side. Sometimes, you want a fancy meal – maybe it’s your anniversary, or you want to impress your parents. Kaylie and I are asked fairly often where a vegan can take a date for a good meal and a decent drink. We promise that all of the following restaurants won’t play obnoxiously loud hip-hop, have terrible service, or smell like nag champa.

The price points noted below are for, approximately, a complete meal including a shared appetizer and dessert, and one entree each, plus a bottle of wine or some cocktails and tip.

Radha – Main at Union – $80

Note: RADHA IS CLOSED for the time being. Visit their website for updates.
Radha has a seasonally changing menu as well as a menu of constants. They have a raw special every day and always have a raw dessert as well as two non-raw dessert options. Their menu is primarily made up of organic, seasonal vegetables. Every dish is delicious, creative, and beautifully presented, and the beautiful brick-and-hardwood space has a gorgeous view of the city from its Main Street facing windows. For a set price, you can mix and match one appetizer, one entree, and one dessert. They also have a great organic, vegan wine list, as well as kombucha and some other fancy mixed non-alcoholic beverages. On Fridays and Saturdays expect chilled out live entertainment.
The catch? It’s only open 6 – 10pm, Wednesday through Sunday.

Grub – Main at 28th – $80

This incredible concept restaurant is a tiny hole in the wall with a patio. They have a decent drinks list and one of their selling features is three different types of Pimm’s punch. The thing that makes Grub so special, however, is that they offer one appetizer, entree, and dessert daily from each of a number of categories – seafood, chicken, beef, vegetarian, and vegan, for example. So if you visit Grub, you will only have one choice, but it’ll be creative and beautifully presented. You won’t have the same thing twice there, plus your dining companions can choose to eat non-vegan if they’d like to.

Nuba – Cambie and Hastings, or at The Waldorf Hotel, McLean and Hastings – $50+

Easily the least expensive establishment on the list. Nuba has multiple locations but it is their Hastings Street restaurants that are best for a date. Service is impeccable and non-intrusive, and the menu is very vegan friendly. The food is Lebanese-style. For a date, I’d recommend getting mezze platters of three of the vegan options and sharing – there’s something about sharing food that facilitates conversation and connection. Their drink list isn’t cheap but is very creative. The baklava here is loaded with butter, but they do occasionally have vegan desserts, as far as I know.

Wild Rice – Pender at Abbott – $60+

Wild Rice has quite a few vegan options, and while their menu changes every so often, they have a commitment to a dairy-free kitchen, so their vegetarian options are always vegan – they’re clearly marked. They also serve fish and chicken. They provide for tofu substitutions on some chicken dishes. This place is pretty hip and has a drink list to match; it’s also a bit more upscale than the other restaurants on this list, as far as clientele goes.

Vij’s – West 11th Avenue at Granville – $100+

Vij’s is an upscale Indian restaurant that is called the best Indian food in Vancouver by anyone who’s eaten there. There are several vegan items on the menu, and the staff is extraordinarily knowledgeable about vegan options. Most of the amuse bouche items that are passed around to waiting patrons are vegan as well – which is a good thing, because Vij’s doesn’t take reservations, and arriving any time after their 5:30pm opening time guarantees a wait of up to a few hours. Trust us – it’s worth it. The food is carefully, beautifully prepared. Each dish is a work of art with years of expertise behind it. If you want to save a little bit of money and time by sacrificing a bit of quality, visit Vij’s Rangoli next door.

Photo from Nuba at The Waldorf Hotel

Holy Link-o-Rama, the Vancouver Vegan Community is Exploding in March! (Exploding in a Good Way.)

There is so much vegan awesomeness going on in Vancouver right now that I can hardly handle it. Even though Kaylie, my co-blogger and love muffin, got on a plane to SFO (aka VeganSaurus-land) today, there is much to be excited about in the Canadian vegan mecca in which I live.

First of all, there’s the impending opening of a vegan bakery called Edible Flours. Unfortunately, it’s not in my part of town. Fortunately, I have been blessed with both a bicycle and a bus pass, as well as legs that work reasonably well, so I can go there. I hope you are in a similarly fortunate situation.

Also very very soon, there will be a vegan shoe store called Nice Shoes opening in East Van – and lucky me, I got to meet the woman behind it when she ate my delicious second-place Social Bites meal on February 19th. Speaking of Social Bites, the head honcho of that little community foodie operation, Annika, is looking for hobby chefs interested in cooking a vegan meal around the Commercial Drive area for April or May. I recommend being a part of this event – it was amazing!

And on we go – on Wednesday March 9th, Vancouver’s only totally vegan (and not totally raw) restaurant is hosting a vegan bake sale as a fundraiser for the BCSPCA. Yum.

Finally (did I miss anything else?), we here at Vegan Mischief are taking reservations for our next brunch on March 19th, 2011. If you’d like to attend, let us know how many are in your party and whether you’d like to come at 10, 11, 12, or 1, and we’ll get back to you with all relevant details. The theme will be French, and I have heard that there may be freshly baked vegan croissants involved. Contact us for a reservation.

Vegan Brunch in Vancouver: Vegan Mischief Saturdays

For more information about Vancouver Vegan Brunch, click here.

vegan mischief saturday brunch at perch - basil sundried tomato tofu scramble with toast potato cakes and organic greens
I know you think I’m biased, but I’ve tried every tofu scramble
in Vancouver and this one is the best. The best.

Anyway, all that said, we would love to see each and every one of our Vancouver readers each and every Saturday for brunch between 10 and 2. I’ll be there, bringing you coffee and lighting up your life with conversation, while my business partner slaves away in the kitchen on your food.

Don’t come on Sunday! Perch isn’t open! But please, please come on Saturday!

vegan mischief saturday brunch at perch - tofu benny with potato cakes and organic greens

Oh yeah – there are two soy-free vegan brunch options as well as three gluten-free vegan brunch options! That is pretty cool, I think.

Solly’s Bagelry: Vegan Restaurant Review in Vancouver, BC

solly's bagelry
Vegetable sandwich with homous at Solly’s Bagelry

Solly’s is an honest-to-goodness Jewish bagelry. There are three locations, all of which I’ve been to – check their website for details. The homey atmosphere and great service aren’t the only reason to visit. I suspect that it is because Solly’s is a true Jewish bakery that their bagels are made without egg or egg wash – unlike some other locally made bagels. Yep, that means that almost all of their bagels are vegan. I believe they have a cheese bagel, but you could have figured that one out without anyone’s help, I imagine.

I crave Solly’s decently priced and incredibly filling veggie bagelwich fairly regularly. It’s an open-faced sandwich piled high with vegetables and served with a choice of spreads – the vegan choice is homous – that’s slathered on so thickly it oozes out the bagel’s centre. A handful of chips seals the deal. You can dip them in the dropped homous. This sandwich has actually never disappointed me, and I’ve had it at all three locations multiple times. You can choose from a variety of bagels, or I believe they also serve it on bread.

That’s not the only option for vegans at Solly’s – they always have a vegan soup on, in addition to their daily chicken matzoh. I’ve heard that their knishes are vegan, as well, though I have no idea what a knish is and have obviously not tried one. They also have veggie dogs, I think.

The thing that sells me most about Solly’s is that they have taken steps to cater to vegans. It clearly says “vegan” on their menu and all the staff have always been knowledgeable about vegan options. You can’t beat friendly service that’s open to dietary restrictions.

Restaurant Review: The Whip, Vancouver Main & 6th

The Whip Restaurant & Gallery
Photo By Rick Green

We live approximately one block from The Whip, and finally after living that distance from it for a couple of months we finally decided to visit.  We were greeted with smiles, sat down, and both ordered drinks.  We were going to eat, but didn’t feel like eating a veggie burger (but I’ve heard their black bean patty is to die for). So we ordered the spring rolls as an appetizer and said we would return for the tofu scram one day.

The Whip still held itself up to my high standards, until our appetizer came out. I took a bite, looked at Malloreigh, looked again at the ridiculous price, $8, and practically had a meltdown. The spring rolls had obviously come from somewhere like Costco because they were made with crappy frozen veggies and hadn’t been cooked throughly enough because they were still cold in the middle. It was obvious that they had come out of a freezer package and had been quickly thrown in a deep fryer by an inattentive cook.

Our server asked us how they were and my response was “alright”, which I feel is completely acceptable without causing a fuss. He rolled his eyes at me and went back to his little kitchen shaking his cute little hips in his cute little hipster shorts.  Now, I know that I’m picky, but if you are going to charge $8 for four store-bought frozen spring rolls please make sure they are cooked throughly, especially when it’s slow in the restaurant. No excuse.

After our first experience, Malloreigh had to practically twist my arm to get me to try the tofu scramble – but she insisted so we could review it for our Vancouver tofu scramble list.  All I can say is bland, no veggies and bland. Just because I like tofu scram doesn’t mean that I want to pay to eat a brick of plain tofu.

I won’t be back to The Whip because it doesn’t have enough vegan options, has pretentious servers, and isn’t worth my time unless for a drink.

against the wall
(At least it’s in a beautiful building.)

Where to Get the Best Vegan Nachos in Vancouver, BC

loving hut nachos
Pictured: Loving Hut nachos

The definitive list of places to get vegan nachos in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.

Perch – Powell St at Commercial Drive
Served atop a bed of homous and covered in toppings and Daiya, these nachos are probably my favourite in the city. They’re served with salsa and the homous makes even the last few chips, after you’ve eaten all the cheese, delicious and not worth wasting. This tower of nachos is not cheap, however; it’ll cost you $14 (HST included) for this feast, but it will fill you and two friends up.

The Naam – West Fourth Ave at MacDonald St
The Naam will always be well-attended, but it’s not because their nachos are amazing. First of all, I don’t like the chips – they’re similar to the really cheap, flavourless ones that my thrifty parents always buy. Secondly, these nachos are piled high but not layered, so after you eat the top layer you have a bunch of dry, boring chips. Skip them and order sesame fries with miso gravy for your appetizer instead.

Bandidas Taqueria – Commercial Drive at East 12th Avenue
Also not cheap, but fairly massive, Bandidas were my favourite nachos in town before Perch came along. Bandidas is the only place where you can get three different types of nachos. Their vegan sour cream is delicious, and the savoury crumbled tofu they use on one of their nacho incarnations is great too. It fools omnivores who think it is some sort of ground meat, though we vegans know it’s far, far tastier.
Note: I’ve ordered nachos at Bandidas three times and each time they came out non-vegan before we sent them back and got vegan ones made. I don’t know if they’ve corrected this communication issue because I haven’t gotten nachos there in about a year, but it’s something to watch out for.

Loving Hut – West Broadway just west of Cambie
These nachos, pictured above in size small, have potential – they include the classic vegan nacho flavours of sundried tomatoes and come with a vegan sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. The sour cream is more like a mayo spread – it doesn’t have the lightness of sour cream – and there wasn’t nearly enough guac when I ordered them, nor enough cheese, but they are okay.

Vegan Restaurant Review: Loving Hut Vancouver

Loving Hut’s Vancouver location opened rather quietly in late spring 2010, to very little fanfare. In fact, I found it impossible to find it or confirm it was there at all for the first few weeks, despite rumours that it was; and then, when I finally found the address and visited, found it was closed at odd hours. Finally, however, I was able to visit and have now been three times – certainly enough to write a review.

Despite sharing a name (and cult philosophy) with a whole slew of restaurants around the world, the Vancouver Loving Hut is very different. From what I can see on their website, most Loving Huts serve vegan Asian food – but the Vancouver restaurant serves only vegan Western food. In fact, most of their dishes are more like veganized pub food than anything else – gyoza, chicken nuggets, yam fries, poutine, pizza, and salads, among a couple other dishes. Their menu is growing slowly, but is still quite limited, and nothing like the one I found online.

loving hut pizza

Having tried all of the vegan pizza in Vancouver, I can say with certainty that Loving Hut’s is probably the best. Their crust is thick and fluffy, and there are a lot of toppings on the pizza. For $4.25, you get two slices, as well as a dipping sauce (this one, the Ocean Love, came with garlic cream sauce). There are four different types of pizza, each sounding fully delicious. There’s not too much Daiya on the pizza – just enough to hold down the toppings.

The pizza is probably Loving Hut’s best dish, however. Everything else is decent, but not really exciting or interesting. Kaylie, who is a pickier foodie than me, has trouble choosing anything off the menu not because of too much choice but because nothing sounds interesting or complex to make.

I think the Vancouver Loving Hut, with its pub-food fare, would do a lot better were it a bit dim and dark, had a television playing sports, and had beer on tap. As it is, it’s a good choice if you work in the area, but not really a place you want to take your friends or a date for a meal.

12th Annual Taste of Health Festival

On October 23, Vancouver’s vegan and vegan-conscious community will come together for the twelfth time for the Taste of Health Festival. I’ve attended this festival a couple of times and have always found it delightful, inspiring, and full of free samples of locally produced vegan products. Often there are vendor specials, too – one year I walked away with two wheels of Sheese for $10. What a deal.

The event is happening at the Masonic Hall on West 8th near Granville St.

Mark your attendance and get details at the Facebook event or visit its page on EarthSave. The event is free for EarthSave members, or $5 for non-member attendees; there will be speakers, demonstrations, food vending, and (the best part) vegans everywhere! (I bet you didn’t realize there were so many of us!)

There’s also a gala (tickets $25 before September 23) featuring keynote speaker John Robbins and hors d’oeuvres served by Organic Lives. This is where you will find all the swishy well-to-do vegans in town, so if you are hoping to marry rich and environmental-conscious, the $25 ticket is a good investment. (I am only saying this because I attended the gala a few years ago and everyone was dressed really nicely.)

Anyway, you should go to Taste of Health, because we will be there, and you should bring your non-vegan parent, lover, child, or friend, to help inspire them down the path of granola-with-nondairy-milk-alternative.

Vancouver Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurant Review: Bandidas Taqueria

The Ronny Russell @ Bandidas in Vancouver
SweetOnVeg Photo

Bandidas is nearly perfect. I could list my few and far between complaints first but that would hardly be fair!

The food at Bandidas is always great and you get a lot for what you pay for. The prices are reasonable. I never feel ripped off and I always feel full and satisfied. They can veganize just about everything, which I totally appreciate. It seems like everyone I bring here loves it.

They have a few default-vegan items, like the Ronny Russell, just in case you’re not into faux cheese. They recently switched to Daiya, which means vegan nachos, cheesy baked burritos and enchiladas, and cheese-covered tofu scramble breakfasts.

Tuesdays their tequila lemonade is only $4. It’s basically a cheap margarita and it’s damn delicious, plus it’s served in a mason jar. How charming! The daily specials are nice too. I always give myself an internal high five when the Camillo tacos are on special. They’re breaded spicy walnuts – delicious. Their tortilla soup is delightful. Their nachos are big wide plates of delicious, and are my second favourite vegan nachos in town. They are certainly better than the Naam’s.

Brunch at Bandidas is too good for words. One complaint is that most of the menu items are the same ingredients organized differently, but they all taste good. I usually just order the “breakfast” made vegan because it’s the cheapest, but when I feel like splurging I get a veganized Hicks Benny.

Endless coffee. Cute servers. There used to be a girl working there who fairly regularly screwed up orders and brought us things non-vegan, but I haven’t seen her in some time, and haven’t had a problem with the veganity of my food since she last served my table. Still, be on your toes and make sure that the server knows you want your item vegan!

They also have delicious brownies that are vegan. A vegan dessert option is rare and delightful, so if you happen to have space left in your digestive system after that burrito, I recommend the brownies.