Go green: Upscale vegetarian restaurants in Vancouver

Ever since Greenpeace and the hippy revolution, Vancouver has been a haven for those practicing a vegetarian lifestyle. But no longer content with dusty lentils and dense nut loaf, plant-focused foodies are demanding sophistication and fine-dining. These restaurants have heeded their call.

The Acorn Restaurant

3995 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P3

Quickly gaining accolades (enRoute named it among the 10 best new restaurants in Canada), this South Main restaurant entices with every item on its menu. You can’t lose with any of the gorgeously presented plates of vegetables created by chefs Rob Clarke and Brian Luptak. There’s little protein to be found, but the precise focus on one or two perfect ingredients makes each dish shine. Casual but sophisticated, this is a must-try for any foodie. Seats at the bar are where it’s at.

Burdock & Co Restaurant

2702 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E8

Not strictly a vegetarian restaurant, this produce-forward, beautifully designed establishment, spearheaded by Andrea Carlson (an early adopter of the 100 Mile Diet in her cooking), has no lack of plant-based dishes to choose from. Smallish plates, all meant for sharing, means you get to sample many of her incredible creations like fried collard greens and grits, with smoked ricotta, yolk and charred garlic scapes or kale and ricotta gnudi, with Castelevatrano olive and walnut gremolata. Check out their interesting wine list, too.

West Restaurant + Bar

2881 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3J4

One of Vancouver’s most highly rated restaurants, West is on this list for its vegetarian tasting menu — which should be on anyone’s dining experience bucket list. Nine impeccable courses arrive one after the other, each with a perfect wine pairing and offered by some of the classiest service in town. The selection changes with the seasons, but expect expertly crafted amuse bouches, appetizers, two mains, a selection of cheeses, a pre-dessert (!) and dessert-dessert. Vegetarians were never treated so well.

Heirloom Restaurant

1509 12th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6J 2E2

Bright, sunny, high ceilinged and dotted with artful plant life, this South Granville eatery exudes healthfulness. Cheery servers happily bring lemon-scented water and are deeply knowledgeable about what’s on offer. Their extensive breakfast menu is available till 4 pm, lunch items are substantial and dinner is casual — think enchiladas, burgers and jambalaya. Everything is organic and there are many gluten-free and vegan options. This is feel-good eating from morning till night.

The Rumpus Room

2301 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3C9

Ok, so not upscale, but ever popular with the Mount Pleasant crowd (and vegetarians from farther afield), this Main Street restaurant with a revolutionary feel has fun with its food. Its uniquely written menu — some items require interpretation — offers salads, sandwiches, noodle bowls and many different burgers. Nacho plates are as big as your table and some of the best around. Sip from Mason jars and order the Catered Affair for a taste of everything. And don’t mind the wait.

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