The West Coast isn't necessarily the vegetarian capital of Canada, let alone the land of delivery restaurants, but there is a respectable array of gems scattered throughout the Vancouver area that foodies and vegans alike can adore. The following doesn't just include a particular all-vegan bakery, but also a unique Kitsilano Bistro and retailer/café that provides exceptional vegetarian (and full vegan) options to treat your body the way it ought to be treated.
Cupcakes and Cakes by Edible Flours
Located at 2280 West Broadway, between Vine and Yew, Edible Flours is an exceptional vegan option for any sweet tooth, vegan or not. The pioneering idea, that of a vegan baker, was spearheaded by husband-and-wife duo Alli Neville and Paul Briggs a few years ago. And the two have never looked back.
We tested the idea at the Kitsilano Farmer's Market and the Trout Lake Market, says Briggs.
Originally from New York, the couple moved to Vancouver to raise their kids and to shade themselves from the high costs of living back east. While Vancouver's not the greatest location change when it comes to cheap living, the notion of vegan baking has grown into a popular choice, especially among those who wish to remain egg- and dairy-free. Plus, this is a great spot for gluten-free, sugar-free, and wheat-free eating. And the fare still packs big, sumptuous flavour.
Briggs adds that the cinnamon rolls and croissants are something else, and he encourages anyone stopping in to try them if they haven't already. Another marquee product is the chocolate chip sandwich. Just the mere sight of the delectable treat makes your mouth water and tastebuds scream for a morsel. The specialty bakery even offers hand-crafted chocolates and all-vegan chocolate bars — items that are difficult to find anywhere else.
But even better, Edible Flours offers delivery Tuesday through Saturday from an environmentally friendly courier, eeko Couriers, with applicable surcharges depending on day and distance. See edibleflours.ca for full details.
Yak Yeti Bistro front by Felice L.
Yak & Yeti Bistro
This is a fine bistro located in the Kitsilano area (2958 W 4th Ave.) of Vancouver. Open 5:00 p.m. each day, Yak & Yeti offer a truly exquisite menu. Yes, exquisite. With soups, salads, mains with names like "Yak Momo" and "Aalu Achaar," you can immediately recognize that this is authentic and exceptional Nepalese cuisine.
Shiva Marahatta, head chef and part owner of Yak & Yeti, says the family-owned business — while relatively new to the neighbourhood, having just settled in a year ago as of late October — has received a good local reception.
The food is authentic, explains Marahatta, with all the spices, aromas, and flavours common to the South Asian country of about 27 million people.
One of the more popular vegetarian dishes is the Momo,
Marahatta says, quickly mentioning it is a common street food native to the Himalayas.
The Chatpate is another quality vegetarian dish considered a national food of Nepal, Marahatta explains. The dish delivers a sweet and tangy barrage of flavour in a mix of chickpeas, puffed rice, potatoes, and herbs.
Dine-in or takeout dishes offer diversity with traditional touches to enlighten modern palates. The jackfruit curry, a veggie entrée, as well as the tofu chili, are big hits that Marahatta recommends any newcomer to Nepalese cuisine ought to try, vegetarian or not.
Yak & Yeti provides delivery service as well, but with the only drawback being that they accept cash payment only. The delivery boundary runs from UBC to Granville Street, roughly a 10 kilometre radius from the restaurant, with no deliveries available Mondays. A $40 minimum is required for deliveries to over four kilometres away.
Yak Yeti Dumplings by Mark D.
Marahatta also said Yak & Yeti will be accepting all formal payment types soon (major credit cards, Interac) and plans to launch a new menu sometime in the coming months.
Plus, Yak & Yeti will be taking part in a Lower Mainland meal share program, which means some of the revenue gathered through specific menu items will go directly toward helping the disadvantaged.
Gorilla Foods is a fully vegan, raw food restaurant with two locations, at 477 Powell Street and 436 Richards Street, in Vancouver. The chain, now ten years old in Vancouver, offers a full range in services for take-out, dine-in, and event catering.
Gorilla Food Smoothies via Facebook
Aaron Ash, owner and operator of the health food chain, says Gorilla Foods combines two important areas of his life: cooking and politics.
I became a vegetarian because of animal rights and human rights,
says Ash, who started working inside a friend's food truck 17 years ago, which helped to spark this current, now-decade-long endeavour.
Customers are treated to organic ingredients and an exceptional juice bar at two store locations that emphasize creativity and health, both core pillars in Ash's modern cuisine. With fresh takes on salads, from appetizing Thai fresh wraps to jungle coleslaw, the options are delightful creations that are nutritious, original, and unlike anything at any other chain restaurant.
Ash says corporate orders can be placed online, through Food.ee, for delivery. Those orders carry a $100.00 minimum, though Ash quickly added that general customers can call Gorilla Foods directly and place an order with no strict minimum required.
We will take it case by case, says Ash. But because we're a small business, time and circumstance must be considered on delivery options.
Though, he says, just recently, he custom-cooked an order for just over $50.00 and delivered it locally.
It really depends on some factors, Ash says.
Gorilla Food via Facebook
There is usually a driver around, for instance, Ash explains, but not always, and if the distance is deemed too far for the amount being ordered, he may advise the customer to pick their order up in-store.
As a restaurant and retailer of quality food ingredients, the company is certainly paving a path toward heightened vegetarian and vegan eating that takes advantage of organic and raw fare. Furthermore, owner/operator Ash understands the value in going the extra distance, so the next time you're up for some healthy alternatives to the fast food pyramid of junk, give Gorilla Foods a call.
Notable Mention: Eternal Abundance
Now, Eternal Abundance doesn't provide delivery service, but the all-organic grocer-turned-vegan-café deserves recognition nonetheless as one of Vancouver's true vegetarian gems. The business prioritizes local and fair-trade options while also providing exotic options the likes of almond milk and alkaline water.
Eternal Abundance Vegetarian Food by Rina Chong
Alexandra Brigham, general manager of Eternal Abundance, says the location started as a grocery, first originating with two locations back east in Toronto.
We try to ensure minimal waste, so there is a cycle from the grocery to café to achieve just that, says Brigham.
A popular choice is the marvellous mushroom burger and kale caesar, accompanied by the following description:
A glorious union of black and green kale and romaine lettuce tossed in macadamian caesar dressing, sprinkled with rawmesan and crawtons.
An appetizing dish, to say the least.
Eternal Abundance also offers an amazing line of fresh juices and smoothies. These can be paired with most vegetarian dished or consumed as a standalone.
You can add E3 live organic additives as well, says Brigham. These can help mood balancing and mental cleansing. An enriched smoothie, especially the wheatgrass, is a very popular choice, says Brigham.
But all of our clientele isn't vegan. We also get customers who just want something healthy.
As we've mentioned, Eternal Abundance (1025 Commercial Drive) doesn't deliver, but it's worthy of a notable mention. The range of choices and fresh, no-waste mantra deserve a spot on any top vegetarian restaurant list for Vancouver.
Taste of different worlds
While vegan and vegetarian cuisine isn't for everyone, the locations above provide top-quality choices for the healthiest of eaters.
By no means an exhaustive selection, the eateries we've chosen are nonetheless some of the finest vegetarian gems in the Vancouver market that any foodie ought try. Certainly there's a dish to tickle that veggie fancy. Dare to explore!