Tag Archives: restaurant

Eating Vegan in San Francisco

Before we even booked our flights to San Francisco we were planning where to eat. Our vegetarian friends have raved about the deliciousness the city has to offer. By the time we arrived we had 4 reservations booked for our 4 days in San Francisco. Three of the restaurants were totally vegan and one was vegetarian.

Here are our favourites:

Millennium Oakland – 5/5
Millenium Oakland
We were really impressed by the inventive vegan food in this nice, cozy restaurant. It was easy to get to on the BART with an interesting looking neighbourhood around it (which we didn’t have time to explore). Everything was good, although the main courses outshone the appetizer and desserts.
Millennium Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Greens – 5/5
Greens San Francisco
The first thing you notice about Greens is the beautiful dining room with giant wood sculptures and a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. But the food alone makes it worth the visit. Everything has so many elements to it and yet somehow it was simple and delicious. We had to trudge through the rain and dark to get there. I’d recommend trying to go when it’s lighter out and you can see the bridge better.
Greens Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Citizen Fox – 4.5/5
Citizen Fox Brunch
Currently only in a temporary location in the Mission with limited hours, it seemed like a fully-formed restaurant with great food, nice decor, and professional staff. We went for brunch and got to enjoy many breakfast classics that vegans usually don’t get to eat like eggs benedict, a reuben sandwich, and waffles with fried ‘chicken’. They even had a live band playing quietly in the corner.
Citizen Fox Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vik’s Chaat Corner – 4/5

This one wasn’t planned. Our Berkeley friend brought us here knowing we were nostalgic for our time in India. It was the most authentic Indian chaat house we’ve been to since being back. There was a simple menu with all the classic Indian snack options (like cholle bhature, bhel puri, and dosas) cooked up at different stations where you picked up your food. It’s located off-the-beaten path in an industrial part of Berkeley, but worth the visit at lunch if you’re nearby.
Viks Chaat Corner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gracias Madre – 3.5/5
Gracias Madre
We cook a lot of vegan Mexican food at home, so we were excited to try somewhere that actually served up cashew cream and vegan tamales. The food was good, but none of the flavours or dishes really stood out. It was the only place we went where none of us finished our meals (because of the quantity not the quality).
Gracias Madre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eating Vegan in Montreal

On our recent trip to Montreal we were delighted to discover that the city is a hotbed for vegan cuisine. Who knew? We had a chance to eat at six vegetarian restaurants (five of them strictly vegan), with a long wishlist of places we didn’t have time to visit. Normally I would rank the restaurants we visited, but all of them excellent with little separating our favourites (Aux Vivres and Lola Rosa) from the rest.

  • Aux Vivres
    Aux Vivres is a vegan restaurant with mass appeal and wide acclaim, but when I see menu items like veggie butter, vegelox, and coconut bacon I’m always a bit leery. Happily these weren’t overly processed soy knockoffs. The veggie butter was mostly nutritional yeast and the lox was made from carrot pulp and herbs, with a bit of liquid smoke (recipe). For dinner, we had the Aux Vivres burger and an Indian platter. Both were excellent. I highly recommend trying to get a seat on the awesome patio behind the restaurant, as the main seating area is loud.
    Aux Vivres Appetizer Aux Vivres on Urbanspoon
  • Lola Rosa
    I really loved the atmosphere at Lola Rosa. The tables are old, wooden desks with drawers that customers have stuffed full of love letters and poems. We found a paper fortune teller that said: “choose the menu item you least considered, everything is amazing” and then “actually, just get the nachos“. So we did, and they lived up to the anonymous hype. Everything is vegetarian with lots of vegan options, often substituting Daiya for cheese.
    Lola Rosa Nachos Lola Rosa Cafe on Urbanspoon
  • Propulsion
    A great little vegan restaurant in the gay village with a fabulous patio in the summer. We sat outside and ate our lunch while a nearby quartet played classical music. The menu was a bit confusing (language barrier?). We tried ordering a salad, but although they’re on the menu, salads apparently aren’t available. We got a quinoa bowl and tempeh sandwich, which were both hearty and delicious.
    Propulsion Lunch Propulsion Cantine Végétalienne on Urbanspoon
  • Invitation V
    Excellent food but ridiculously slow service. Our meal took 3 hours, including an hour wait between the appetizers and entrees. Everything is vegan. The appetizers and mains were good (especially the crabless cakes and hot pot) but the desserts were disappointing. I’ve had much better vegan crème brûlée and as much as I like kale, it was overpowering in the kale-chocolate cake.
    Invitation V Dinner Invitation V on Urbanspoon
  • Green Panther
    Simple but tasty vegan food. We tried the veggie burgers, Poppin’ Carrots cake, and a Peanut Munch Break cookie. They have more than one location, but this one is in a cluster of vegan restaurants, along with Crudessence and Cafe Verdure, between Mcgill and Concordia University.
    green panther The Green Panther on Urbanspoon
  • Crudessence
    Crudessence’s Golden Square Mile location is located next door to the Green Panther. Everything is raw and vegan. We sampled the desserts, all of which were superb. We didn’t get a chance to try any of the entrees, but they looked good.
    Crudessence Dessert Crudessence Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Eating Vegan in Toronto

Vegan Platter
Toronto has a lot of great restaurant options for vegans. We discovered some great new restaurants on our most recent trip, but the highlight was a visit to Fabbrica.

We got the rock star treatment. Celebrity chef Missy Hui, winner of Chopped, prepared a 3-course vegan feast for us. You could really taste the quality of the ingredients being served up. Missy really knows how to cook. Wood-fired mushroom pizza, grilled vegetables, braised greens, fried polenta, and chocolate fudge. All of it mouthwatering.
Amazing Fabricca FoodVegan Dessert

The other places we ate:
Tabülè – Tasty Lebanese food with an almost identical menu to Nuba in Vancouver.
Hot Beans – Vegan taco and burrito shop in Kensington Market. Really liked the jackfruit taco. The mac and cheese burrito was oddly good.
Lola’s Kitchen – Healthy meals for meat-eaters and vegetarians. The Israeli Couscous Bowl was a hit.
Mamma’s Pizza – Pizza chain that now offers vegan pizza with Daiya cheese.
Vegan TacosMammas Vegan Pizza

Dark Table Restaurant Review

DarkTable
Eating at Dark Table was probably the most unique dining experience I’ve ever had. The food was really good but it was the setting that made dinner special – complete darkness. It’s amazing how lack of sight changes how you experience food. My sense of taste wasn’t super-enhanced, but it made exploring what was on my plate more of an adventure.

Our server, Albert, was awesome – ensuring we had everything and talking us through the meal. He’s blind, as are most of the wait staff. The Dark Table menu doesn’t specifically mention it, but you can order a vegan or vegetarian surprise. If you order a drink, I recommend something in a bottom-heavy glass. I knocked my glass of wine over midway through the meal – and I have no idea what kind of mess it created.

I highly recommended Dark Table. I don’t want to spoil the experience with too many details. Go check it out for yourself.
Dark Table on Urbanspoon

Graze Restaurant Review

Graze Perogies
I had really high expectations for Graze – a completely vegan, upscale restaurant that opened in Vancouver a few months ago. There is a lot to like – the service is excellent, the atmosphere is relaxed, the portions are huge, and the prices are reasonable. The downside? I found their take on comfort food to be uncomfortably heavy, and my wife got sick afterwards from what she thinks was bad fiddleheads.

Graze TartBetween four of us, we ordered a tart, ravioili, two orders of the perogies, and a dip board to start. The dips were all a bit dry and hard to spread. The entrees were good but rich and very dense. Maybe that’s what comfort food is supposed to be, but I could have used some fresh vegetables.

The perogies were my highlight. I’ve searched long and hard for vegan perogies and these were excellent. Although after 10 dense perogies smothered in a rich cheeze sauce I was ready to burst, so I never got a chance to try any of the desserts.

I want to go back and give them another try, although my wife can’t forget the bad fiddleheads. I think part of the problem was what we ordered. If we replaced one of the entrees with a salad we would probably have been ok. I noticed the new Meatless Monday fixed price menu options are a lot more balanced.
Graze Menu Graze Meatless Mondays Graze on Urbanspoon

Slow Bean – Cheap Vegan Eats in the DTES

The Nines Slow Bean & Culture Club

As of May 24, 2013, The Slow Bean is closed.

I noticed this new vegan restaurant on Pender a month ago, but I’ve been afraid to go in. Maybe it’s the setting (a former car rental shop in the downtown eastside) or the signage (what’s with the giant cat?), but something made me hesitate. I’m pleased to say my fears were unwarranted.

The Slow Bean Menu
I finally ventured in last week. The inside of the restaurant isn’t nearly as sketchy as the outside. It’s actually relaxing and comfortable, which is good because you’ll need a minute to read the super confusing menu chalked on the wall. I couldn’t figure it out, so I let someone else order first and then said “I’ll have what he’s having.”

Sammie and Soup
What I got was a vegan sammie (a.k.a. grilled vegetable sandwich), a side salad, tortilla soup, and a muffin. All of which were excellent. The food is healthy, filling, and most of all flavourful. My order took a long time to prepare (20 minutes), and apparently the nachos take a lot longer. I think the two young women who run the restaurant have some process kinks to work out, but they do know how to make good vegan food.

A few notes on the menu:
– It says “soy cheese”, but they actually use Daiya Cheese (at least on my sandwich), which doesn’t contain soy.
– Contrary to the giant “Vegan” sign on the outside, not everything on the menu is. The quiche contains eggs (but it is vegetarian), which confused the lady who ordered after me.

I liked the Slow Bean, and I’ll be back. I’m sure the menu and ordering process will improve as the owners gain more experience.
The Slow Bean on Urbanspoon Meow?

Eating Vegan on Kauai

Vegan Pizza at At Merriman's
We had no problem eating vegan on Kauai. I was prepared to add some seafood to my diet, but it wasn’t necessary. There are lots of restaurants with good vegan options. A lot of the best restaurants we ate at championed farm-to-fork eating, serving up ingredients grown locally.

We often cooked two meals a day for ourselves (one benefit to staying somewhere with a kitchen) and ate out once. We bought fruit at the farmers markets and most of our groceries at the Papaya’s Natural Foods in Kapaa. They have an amazing selection of vegan products and local produce (which is surprisingly hard to find), and the prices weren’t outrageous. They carry a lot of products made in Kauai, including a vegan pudding that Emily fell in love with.

Here are the restaurants that have the best vegan options, listed by preference:
1. Postcards CaféPostcards Café on Urbanspoon – A charming restaurant in Hanalei. Their menu doesn’t have any meat (only fish) or refined sugar, and they use a lot of fruit they grow themselves. The Sombrero was probably the best meal we had all week. (Tripadvisor)

2. The Garden Cafe at Common GroundThe Garden Cafe at Common Ground Kauai on Urbanspoon – You don’t get more local than eating on a farm. The Garden Cafe serves up amazing fresh food a picturesque open-air cafe. The taro fries were to-die-for and the daily special salad was extremely flavourful. (Tripadvisor)

3. Merriman’sMerriman's Poipu on Urbanspoon – A mostly seafood restaurant, but they have a few vegan options that surprised us for their quality. They’re located in an upscale outdoor mall in Poipu. The Vegan Pizza and Portobello Burger were both excellent. We added avocado and pineapple to our burger which made it comically difficult to eat, but very tasty. (Tripadvisor)

4. Caffè CocoCaffè Coco on Urbanspoon – A quaint vegetarian and seafood restaurant hidden off the road in Kapaa. They have the most vegan/vegetarian menu items of any restaurant in Kauai. We really enjoyed the Coconut Macnut Tofu, Vietnamese Summer Rolls, and Thai Curried Pumpkin Soup. The Purple Sweet Potato Samosa was disappointing – it’s just mashed taro in a pastry shell. It could use some texture and spices. (Tripadvisor)

5. Beach HouseBeach House on Urbanspoon – One of Kauai’s fanciest restaurants with amazing sunset views. And they have a vegan menu! Emily really liked the Grilled Tofu and the curry sauce it was served with. I was disappointed with my Roasted Beet dish – it lacked flavour and the steamed arugula was gross. (Tripadvisor)

6. Tiki TacosTiki Tacos Kauai on Urbanspoon – We went here to try the fish tacos (breaking our vegan diet for one meal), but we were disappointed. The “Best Fish Taco” was ok, but it didn’t have a lot of flavour. The vegan Tiki Fire Vegetables taco was a lot better. (Tripadvisor)

7. Shivalik Indian CuisineShivalik Indian Cuisine on Urbanspoon – Average Indian food. Nothing that special. They do have a number of vegetarian options and the prices are reasonable. (Tripadvisor).

The Sombrero at Postcards Cafe Awesome Lunch at the Garden at Common Ground Caffe Coco Dinner Portobello Burger at Merriman's Vegan Food at the Beach House Restaurant Tiki Tacos Homemade Dinner and Wine Hawaiian Smoothies
The Garden at Common Ground