Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.
I am excited to be starting the new year with a new blogpost!
As some of you might have seen on my Instagram page, Sam and I were in British Columbia for the first two weeks of 2019. After the busyness of November and December, we really wanted to take some time away just the two of us to travel, relax, hike some mountains and eat some delicious vegan food.
Because Sam’s family was already on the West Coast, it seemed like the perfect place to travel to. Four years ago, we did a road trip across Canada - from Montreal all the way to British Columbia (BC)! We had loved BC, but did not explore it as much as we would have wanted. Plus, back then, we were not vegan so our memory of the delicious food scene revolved mainly around sushi and fish tacos.
This time, we wanted to try out as many restaurants in the BC vegan food scene as we could! After two weeks of indulging, decadent food, I am back home and wanted to share with you some of our trip’s culinary highlights. For the purpose of this article, I will focus on Vancouver as it was the city with the most vegan options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and sweets. Let’s jump right into it!
After reading rave reviews about this restaurant, Heirloom was on the top of our list of places to try in Vancouver. We went there for brunch and both enjoyed a plate of Smashed Avocado Benny. The plate came with the most delicious crispy potatoes and a flavourful kale and pickled red onion salad! In case you were wondering, the eggs in these dishes was replaced with tofu. Our experience at Heirloom was so good that we actually went back with a friend of ours! The second time around, we had the Veggie Benedict and their French Toast, served with a berry compote and a cashew cream. Once again, everything was divine! My only regret about this restaurant – to not have tried their dinner menu...
Lunch and Dinner
Two words. VEGAN. PIZZA. I mean what more could you ask for?! Their pizzas have incredibly thin and crispy crusts and the flavours are simply to die for! Sam and I went there with his parents and had the chance to try quite a few of their pizzas on the menu:
The Superfunghi (made with cashew mozzarella, herbed potato cream, truffle almond ricotta, wild mushrooms and rocket)
The Stranger Wings (made with Bianca sauce, spicy buffalo cauliflower, crisp fried shallots, blue cheese drizzle, scallion)
The Chorizo + Artichoke (made with San Marzano sauce, spicy chorizo, cashew mozzarella, roast artichokes + fennel, hot honey, lemon almond ricotta)
The Curry Mile (made with butter chickpea curry, kale, mint raita, roasted cashews, red onion, side mango chutney)
My personal favorites were the Superfunghi and the Stranger Wings! PRO TIP: try their homemade plant-based ice cream – creamy and decadent, it is the best way to end a pizzalicious evening!
MeeT in Gastown
You cannot go to Vancouver and not stop at MeeT. It is literally the paradise of vegan comfort food! We had read all the amazing reviews about this place, but part of us thought this restaurant could potentially be overhyped. We were SO wrong! Every single dish we tried was bursting with flavour! We loved that the menu was extensive and diverse: from poutines to salads, burgers, mac and cheese and even butter chicken, anyone can find something that will trigger their tastebuds at MeeT! On our end, Sam and I did not really take to healthy route; we were going out to INDULGE. The highlights of our meal were their Oyster Mushroom Kalamari, their Sweet Chili Cauliflower, the TeeM Poutine and finally their Angry Burg. Honestly, this restaurant is a must. Even if you are not planning to overindulge and are looking for a healthier meal, they have plenty of options and based on how delicious all the food we tried was I am sure even their salads and bowls are out of this world!
This cute restaurant on Main St is best known for its Southern Fried Artichoke Sandwich. It’s so popular that it is even the first picture on the restaurant’s landing page! Here’s a glimpse of what you find inside: battered + fried to perfection artichoke, eggplant bacon, creamy avocado mousse, fresh purple cabbage coleslaw, spicy mayo, cheddar cheese (can be substituted for vegan cheese) and jalapeno pepper! This sandwich is so good, Sam and I had it two days in a row!
East is East
On our last night in Vancouver, we wanted to eat something a little different than what we had tried before. After looking through various ‘’Best Vegan Restaurants in Vancouver’’ lists, we decided we would go to East is East. Walking into the restaurant, we felt transported to the Middle East, with the lovely live music, the Himalayan Rock Salt walls and the beautiful Persian rugs hanging on wall. The menu itself was quite extensive and because we love to try many different dishes, we opted for the Chai Feast, which allowed us to try their boulani, Afghan Eggplant Curry, Alu Goobi, Mango & Butternut Squash Stew and Creamy Mushroom & Eggplant Stew. Every single dish was mind-blowingly delicious! We ended our meal with their warm Soy Masala Chai, which, within a few sips, stole hot chocolate’s status of the number one hot drink!
Think vegan donuts, 10 flavours of vegan donut! P.A.R.A.D.I.S.E. (for me anyways...) We went to Cartems 3 out of the 5 days we were in Vancouver. Every time, we tried a different flavour and each time, we fell in love with this local restaurant a little more. My favourite flavours were:
Coconut Cream (a lychee glazed yeast donut stuffed with coconut custard and topped with shredded coconut)
Earl Grey (a cake donut infused with organic Earl Grey and topped with an Earl Grey glaze and rose petals)
Vanilla Bean (a classic pillowy yeast donut topped with a luscious vanilla bean glaze – simple, classic, delicious)
Edible Flours is a small bakery specializing in gluten free baking. They offer a wide range of baked goods from classic chocolate chip cookies to decadent cupcakes. Try their vegan cinnamon rolls – they are all a cinnamon roll should be: doughy, sweet and oh so satisfying!
Looking for a vegan alternative to gelato? Umaluma is YOUR spot! They have the most incredible flavours including Black Sesame, Coffee Toffee, Passion Fruit Baobab, Mojito Magic, Mahalo Macadamia Nut and even Pistachio! I hadn’t had pistachio ice cream since I turned vegan and this was truly a highlight. Creamy, silky smooth and decadent, I could probably have it every single day...
Bonus : Vegan Delight in Salt Spring
Morningside Organic Café
Although Morningside Organic is not in Vancouver, I wanted to include it on my list as it was truly a highlight during our trip. Located on Salt Spring Island, this organic and vegan café (and bookstore!) serves delicious vegan food. Sam and I tried their Burger and their Bagel Sandwich. Both were quite decadent, but incredibly satisfying, packed with unique flavours and included some delicious Miyoko’s vegan cheese. Their gluten free baked goods were also exquisite, particularly the brownies – fudgy, melt in your mouth perfection!
On that note, if you guys have any recommendations of vegan restaurants to try on the West Coast, leave them in the comments below. I will definitely take note of them for my future travels! Cheers!