When I moved to Vancouver in 2016, I spent a whole year living off spoonfuls of peanut butter and various forms of potatoes in a dorm room. It was a diet largely attributed to being a college student responsible for stocking my own fridge and pantry for the first time, but even more so with not yet knowing what vegan eats were available to me in my new city, nor where to start looking.
Six years later, asking me about the best vegan food in Vancouver is like asking a Parisian Disneyland employee about all of the proposals they’ve ever seen—you’d better take off your coat and stay awhile, because I’ve sampled it all, and Vancouver is on top of its vegan game.
1 Heirloom Vegetarian Restaurant
Plant-based brunch has seriously leveled-up over the past few years. Remember when finding non-dairy milk for your coffee was a struggle? Now even Starbucks has five different options for plant-based milk. For that classic glorious weekend brunch in Vancouver, Heirloom Vegetarian Restaurant wears the crown, hands down. Available from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, its vegan buttermilk pancakes and Truffle Mushroom Benny with turmeric tofu—accompanied by a fresh-pressed grapefruit mimosa—can cure anyone’s Sunday scaries.
2 MeeT in Gastown
If that brunch craving hits during the week, MeeT in Gastown is waiting with a piña colada mimosa and piles of perfect breakfast potatoes. The Philly Cheez-Steak Hash, double-battered oyster mushroom “Chick’un” & Waffles, and slew of bennies can be noshed from 1pm to 4pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 4pm on weekends. Not to mention, their lunch and dinner menus are loaded with hearty poutines, burgers, Mac n’ Cheez, and the best taco salad this side of the California border.
3 Kind Cafe & Eatery
If you’re looking for a quick bite, Kind Cafe & Eatery in Mount Pleasant is the spot to stop. Grab a tasty carrot lox bagel, one of the fabulous flatbreads, or your choice of a variety of TurF (a local health-minded café) baked goodies to keep your body fueled on those busy days. Kind is equally revered for its zero-waste model as much as its fresh eats and specialty lattes, so don’t forget your tupperware and reusable mug! If you do, no sweat, they’ll provide you with one for a small fee which is reimbursed when you bring it back. No need to forgo sustainability for something scrumptious!
4 Pizzeria Grano
There’s nothing like a global pandemic to really put the impetus on finding good takeout. Pizzeria Grano specializes in plant-based Vera Pizza Napoletana—meaning it’s literally certified in the art of “true” Neapolitan pizza. The hand-stretched dough, cashew mozzarella, and plant-based gorgonzola are positively perfetto—a must-try for pizza lovers, plant-based or not.
5 Ogenki Sushi
What’s better than all-you-can-eat vegan sushi? All-you-can-eat vegan sushi from the comfort of your couch. We all learned that during lockdown—pick a “treat yourself night” and order a ton. The dedicated vegan menu boasts incredible options such as Red “Tuna” Nigiri made with marinated tomato and Seared “Crab” Oshizushi. Recently partnered with Reusables, the takeout containers are now available in zero-waste packaging.
Nightshade is made for dining out. Located in the heart of Yaletown, this fine establishment provides an unforgettable culinary experience from the first sip to the last spoon-scrape of the crème brûlée dish. The menu is vegetable-focused—particularly highlighting the nightshade family (yes, the name is literal) of eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, red spices, and others. Expect dishes such as Crispy Cassava with mint purée and spicy red curry aioli, Agnolotti stuffed with cheeses from local plant-based creamery Blue Heron, and Zucchini and Roasted Celeriac garnished with a ratatouille.
If you’re looking to cheers over some jaw-dropping dishes in a more premium-casual atmosphere, MILA’s innovative approach to exquisite plant-based comfort foods is sure to satisfy. Located in Vancouver’s Chinatown, the fun and flavourful menu spans familiar favorites including burgers, noodles, sushi, tacos, and smashed chips with miso butter so delicious you’ll be licking them clean!
8 Innocent Ice Cream Parlour
Vancouver boasts so many delicious vegan desserts that no sweet-tooth craving ever goes unfulfilled—so long as you know where to look. When the sunless days of Vancouver winter have passed and those ice cream cravings hit anew, Innocent Ice Cream Parlour will be back in business. Opening up in March, this rave-worthy spot is known for its thick, gluten-free Nice Cream cookie sandwiches. With four different cookie varieties and an abundance of dairy-free ice cream flavors to choose from, there are more combinations than days of the week.
9 Level V Bakery / Whisk Matcha Cafe
Don’t forget a vegan croissant with that cup of matcha—this Mount Pleasant shared space offers both. The Level V bakery and Whisk Matcha Cafe cohabitate the storefront, pairing vegan pastries and baked goods with artisan-crafted matcha beverages. Level V is also the spot for celebration desserts. Order at least three days in advance to secure a crowd-pleasing tiramisu, moist matcha cake, or tantalizing Earl Grey cake.
For more vegan Vancouver eats, read:
Vancouver Gets Its First Vegan Cheese ShopFried Chicken Shop Owners Open Vegan Eatery in VancouverVancouver Hospital Has a Vegan Vending Machine
Amanda Thacker is a charming dinner party guest and novice sewist who writes about people, art, and sustainability from her home in Vancouver, BC.