If you're foodie who dabbles in vegan food and you live in Metro Vancouver and haven't seen the article in VegNews written by the talented Kimberly Budziak then you must not have the internet or are away somewhere on an awesome yoga/silent/no internety retreat. I must have had every single one of my vegan friends repost, retweet, share and gloat about this article on places to eat delicious vegan food in Vancouver.
Now that I've added those restaurants on my bucket list I'm hoping to entice you to add these 13 New West restaurants to yours. We may not be blessed with a plethora of 100% vegan or vegetarian restaurants in this city but we do have some incredibly kind entrepreneurs who have whipped up delicious vegan options for all of us to salivate over. Without further ado, here is my list!
1. Crepe Des Amis Vegan Crepe Special and Tofutti Chocolate Ice Cream. Chef Li Lee Soon is a culinary genius. Even with a full menu of vegan crepe offerings I haven't had a "regular" crepe in months because I keep eating her incredible featured crepes that she makes up for special occasions. When Li Lee tells me I must try her latest crepe du jour sometimes I am skeptical, French Onion Soup Crepe anyone? But... I trust her ingenuity every time and devour the crepe and then I go back for more. Her latest invention the Fantastic Fraser Crepe with tofurky, hoisin bbq sause and seaweed has me salivating just thinking about it. Crepe Des Amis also serves up delicious Tofutti ice cream. The chocolate flavour is like a chocolate cake in ice cream form, it's definitely my dessert choice when I'm at River Market!
2. Coming Home Cafe Tofu Scramble with Hashbrowns and Vegan Cookies. What can I say that I haven't already said before? I love chef Michael's tofu scramble because it's delicious especially with his signature cajun salsa style. You also get a medley of veggies in your scramble and with that placed next to a side of heavenly hashbrowns fried in olive oil and covered in chives you'll be stuffed in no time. Paired with a nice cup of Kick Ass fair trade coffee and a delicious vegan cookie of the week and you are ready to face the world! You might want to wear elastic waist pants though... just saying.
3. Paradise Noodle House Garlic "Beef" Bites and Deep Fried Bananas with Ice Cream. I'm addicted to the scrumptious juicy goodness aptly named as garlic beef bites from this 100% vegan restaurant. It's embarrassing how much I love these. Especially since the order you receive is HUGE and the little chewy spheres of yumminess melt in your mouth...you just can't stop yourself from eating them all. I especially like that you can choose the amount of heat from mild to spicy and that they come on an amusing bed of lettuce. Seriously whose got room for lettuce with all the beef bites to eat? Also at Paradise is the not to be missed deep fried bananas and ice cream. Who knew such a pairing would be so exquisite...mmm bananas and ice cream. And yes I realize that technically Paradise is in Burnaby but it is right on the border so stop judging me for including it in my list okay?
4. Royal City Farmer's Market Pazzarella Pizza Truck Vegan Pizza & Blackberry Hill Cinnamon Rolls. Ah the Farmer's Market. It's the place I look forward to going every week and especially so when Pazzarella is in town! I never in my life new that pizza could taste this amazing. Pazzarella has a woodburning oven in their truck (which looks super cool) and they make this pizza that is the true meaning of perfection. The crust is thin and chewy with the little black charred bits then you have the sauce which is pleasantly flavoured but not overpowering or too sweet then they add the toppings and a sprinkling of Daiya! It works so well because all the flavours meld together to form the perfect pizza experience. It's like having an orchestra in your mouth playing Mozart. It's officially the Mozart of pizza. And when you need to get your sweet on after all the savoury goodness stop at Blackberry Hill to devour a gigantic chewy gooey vegan cinnamon roll (fair warning there are raisins in them though, ew, why?!). You'll leave the market stuffed and oh so happy. Don't forget to buy your veggies!
5. Karmavore Vegan Shop Eggless Salad Sandwich and Black Forest Cake. Mmm... eggless salad sandwich. This I thought would be easy to recreate on my own. Boy was I ever wrong. I'm not sure what they put in their eggless salad mix but it's the perfectly balanced mixture of onion/mayo/flavours that make this sandwich my favorite. Although plan on brushing your teeth after cause there is a whole lot of onion in that bad boy! The Black Forest Cake is absolutely stunning. It's beautiful and creamy and chocolatey but not too sweet. The icing is also a well guarded secret that I'm pretty sure a lot of foodies would maim to have. Although I guess that wouldn't be very vegan of them would it!
6. Wild Rice Spicy Tofu Kung Pao and Vegan Cupcake Duo. I love the spicy, flavourful dish of tofu kung pao. I believe originally it was only labelled as chicken on the menu but then those darn vegetarians/vegans decided they'd keep asking for it with tofu so they made it a menu item! The addition of peanuts makes the texture of the meal fun and fresh. Sous Chef Carolyn serves up a sweet pairing of a double chocolate cupcake and a blueberry lime cupcake all on the same plate, it's like a cupcake version of Ebony & Ivory. So technically you could share but they are so amazing why would you want to?
7. Royal Tandoori Indian Restaurant Onion Bahji and Jalfrezi Curry. Royal Tandoori's onion bahji's are as addictive (if not more so) then the delicious garlic beef bites above. Essentially they are onion rings done Indian style. The helping you receive when you order is fairly substantial so you can share it although I noticed that when I eat them with people it turns out to be this manic competition on who can eat the most before the other person notices. They are crunchy little flavour rings of Indian love. Yep you read that right. I also adore the Jalfrezi Curry, especially if I've gone awhile without eating veggies and I'm starting to suffer for it. This veggie dish is packed with vegetables and a spicy tomato sauce when paired with rice makes a really lovely meal!
8. Tamarind Hill Gado Gado (without the egg) and Tofu Goreng. If you're in the mood to turn it up a notch spice wise head over to Tamarind Hill. This restaurant has exceptional servers who are well versed in the vegan lingo. My two favorite dishes are appetizers but when ordered together make more than enough food for one. The mild veggie filled Gado Gado salad perfectly compliments the spicy as heck Tofu Goreng. So if you're skittish like me you'll keep going back and forth between dishes to tame those roasting taste buds. Both are super tasty dishes enjoyed in a fabulous uptown restaurant!
9. D Roti Shak Doubles and Vegetable Roti. I honestly had no idea what to expect when I ordered this food. Very simple names right? Would the food be equally as simple? Heck no! I love the Doubles perfect little pillows of pancake like bread with a tasty chickpea filling and you get to control the amount of spice. I think I was suppose to share this dish and admittedly I did part with one piece and that was all I was going to allow. The Vegetable Roti was also delicious and a pleasant surprise since I thought Roti was just a bread that I ate with Indian food. Guess what? It is also a soft bread stuffed with tasty tasty veggies like potatoes and flavoured beautifully with spices. I don't know which Roti came first but the Trinidadians have reinvented it magnificently!
10. Paddlewheeler Pub Deep Fried Pickles and Yam Fries. Sometimes a girl (or guy) just needs to binge on deep fried food. Then my friends go forth and seek out a table at the river side establishment of the Paddlewheeler Pub. The oldest resident of the River Market this pub has withstood the test of time and during a beautiful afternoon you can see why. With views overlooking the Fraser River and a perfect people watching spot the only thing that could top this perfection is deep fried pickles. Crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle this appetizer is a Paula Deen dream. Whoever came up with this idea is a genius and the fact that these are the only vegan deep fried pickles in town makes it worth the trip, make sure you ask for a side of bbq sauce or else it comes with chipotle mayo. If you are seriously in the mood for some fried food therapy then add a side of yam fries to that order, they are the best in town cooked to perfection and never soggy!
11. Coconut Grove Vegetable Pakoras and Masala Dosa. I had heard talk around town about a "Dosa" dish. What was this Dosa dish everyone spoke of? Where did it hail from? After a bit of detective work I discovered a Dosa restaurant hiding secretly under the Corporate Inn hotel. From the outside, you might reconsider going in, it's a little...well... seedy looking. Once you go in the restaurant though it's like you've been whisked to a South Asian paradise! I love little bites of deep fried goodness (see above post) and the vegetable pakoras fried in a chick pea batter do not disappoint! Coconut Grove prides itself on their special secretive spice blends and these pakoras live up to the expectation providing just enough umph to leave you wanting more. As the main attraction the Masala Dosa filled with a tasty spicy potato filling serves up a meal any Sri Lankan Mama would be proud of. Surrounding your luscious dosa is a flavourful vegetable stew, coconut chutney and and my favorite the tomato chutney. Mmmm... Chutney.
12. Hi, Dozo Sushi Vegetable Gyoza and BBQ Tofu Rolls. Have you ever had the experience where you order a veggie gyoza and take one bite and are like...uh oh... this is far too good to be a mixture of veggies. Then you have to wave down the waiter and ask... are you sure this is veggie? Hi Dozo's Vegetable Gyoza's are so delicious I feel guilty eating them for no apparent reason! Also on the menu are spicy BBQ Tofu Rolls which seem to be the only ones in the city. I love these so much I keep hoping to find them on other sushi restaurant menus so I can eat more of them. But alas... Hi Dozo has a patent on these innovative rolls. Not to be missed!
13. Happy Mom's Cafe Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce and Vegetable Chow Mein. Previously going under the name of "Happy Valley Chinese Kitchen" this restaurant has moved from Burnaby to New West. I'm really hoping they have a deep dark mysterious reason for changing their name, like they're in the Restaurant Witness Protection Program but it's probably not that exciting. What I really love about this restaurant is that they do not use any MSG and they use the freshest ingredients. All their vegetarian dishes are awesome because guess what? They taste like food and not a salty chemical mess. When I'm not up for cooking but am in the mood for some fresh veggie dishes to be delivered to my home who am I gonna call? Happy Mom's Cafe. Their black bean sauce is made from scratch and delivers a punch of flavour on top of perfectly steamed broccoli. Paired with a vegetable chow mein I manage to have "fast" food in a healthy good for me way. And uh... if this blog post inadvertently outed them to the Chinese Food Mafia, it wasn't my fault. I swear.
I hope you'll enjoy your next vegan meal in New Westminster, all this could be yours after a 20 minute skytrain ride from Vancouver!