Between New Year’s resolutions and the after-effects of an extra indulgent holiday season, it seems the average Canadian's interest in plant-based cuisine has begun to pique as of late.
While the movement toward nutritious and conscious eating isn’t exactly new in Canada, the spectrum of options currently on offer throughout the country is more plentiful and diverse than ever before.
From plant-based plays on comfort food classics from hotspots like BeetBox and V Burger to elevated entrees at Aleph Eatery and The Moth Cafe, here are eight interesting restaurant concepts offering delicious vegan fare across Western Canada.
Aleph Eatery (Vancouver, B.C.)
Constantly rated among Vancouver’s best restaurants - vegan or otherwise - Aleph Eatery offers a slew of Middle Eastern-inspired dishes that are light, healthy, and comforting. From turmeric cauliflower and enoki mushroom tacos to housemade chimichurri and muhammara, Aleph seamlessly bridges cultures and cuisines for an addictingly delicious result.
BeetBox (Vancouver, B.C.)
In October of 2019, after having solidified its status as one of Vancouver’s top Southern-style fried chicken eateries, Juke Fried Chicken did what few expected and closed the doors to Little Juke to make way for BeetBox.
Since then, BeetBox has been one of the city’s most popular plant-based providers, serving up creative and comforting dishes like the Chick-Un sandwich (breaded and fried setan, miso aioli, shaved cabbage, spicy pickled cucumber) and the crispy gordita (picked and fresh slaw with avocado dressing, crispy corn tortilla, zesty queso, mixed oyster mushrooms, black beans).
Virtuous Pie (Victoria and Vancouver)
The Virtuous Pie franchise began pushing the boundaries of plant-based dining well before it became trendy, and judging by the response to their various expansions throughout B.C. and beyond, they were clearly onto something big.
In addition to dairy-free ice cream and a selection of plant-based starters and sides, Virtuous Pie’s proverbial piece de resistance comes in the form of delicious handcrafted pizzas made with three-day hand-stretched dough, artisanal nut-based cheeses, and a range of fresh local ingredients.
The Moth Cafe (Edmonton, AB)
The sister restaurant to Edmonton’s decades-long vegan institution Cafe Mosaics, The Moth Cafe serves up a selection of small bites, all-day breakfast, and desserts, along with a vast lineup of plant-based libations, including kombucha, dairy-free coffee and tea, cocktails, wine, and beer.
Additionally, in response to recent restrictions, The Moth has also assembled a list of house favourites that can be purchased in bulk, such as the yellow curry sauce, the black lychee chai concentrate, faux fish sauce, and more.
Tamarind Vietnamese Grill and Noodle House (Calgary, AB)
Tamarind Vietnamese Grill and Noodle House became fully vegan back in 2015 and has been one of Calgary’s premier plant-based providers ever since. Tamarind offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian Vietnamese dishes, including vegetable-base pho, savoury crepes, lemongrass tofu, pad Thai, and much more. Their housemade tofu is found in the majority of their dishes and is supremely tasty.
V Burger (Calgary, AB)
Calgary’s first official vegan fast food concept opened this past summer to a very warm reception, thanks in large part to chef Andrea Harling’s simple yet satisfying menu of reinterpreted fast food favourites like plant-based burgers, “chicken” nuggets, milkshakes, and “poutine”.
Chef Harling spent months in the leadup to V Burger’s opening perfecting the restaurant’s plant-based, fast-casual style of cuisine, and nearly everything on the menu resembles - both in appearance and flavour - that which you’d find in a traditional fast food joint.
Gud Eats (Saskatoon and Regina)
Owned by Chris Cole, Gud Eats is a slightly off-the-beaten-track eatery in Saskatoon that has been been serving up delicious vegan fare since 2017. Last spring–amidst the ever-looming cloud of the pandemic–Gud Eats expanded to Regina, where it has also been met with much fanfare.
With classic comfort food options such as faux-chicken burgers, popcorn chicken poutine, and dairy-free ice cream, it’s no wonder both locations have continued to thrive despite the obvious hurdles.
Roughage Eatery (Winnipeg, MB)
Lasagna rolls, nachos, popcorn chicken, and deli sandwiches are just a few of the delectable plant-based offerings that make up Roughage Eatery’s wide selection of vegan comfort foods.
Led by chef Jessie Hodel, Roughage has been steadily changing how Manitobans view vegan cuisine since 2019, offering fresh, flavourful and elevated interpretations of fast-casual favourites.