Note from Joy
Hi Everyone! Due to the popularity of my post on the best healthy eateries in Toronto and many people on facebook and twitter asking me for my advice on the West Coast, I decided to ask Holistic Nutritionist Annaliisa Kapp for her take on Vancouver. She gladly shared her joyful experiences at her top picks. I can't wait to head back to Vancouver and sink my teeth into some raw pizza from Indigo Food Cafe and delight my taste buds on a slice of lucuma cheesecake from Tao.
Notes: Organic Lives was the first raw/vegan restaurant I tried in Vancouver. Prior to reading any reviews or even checking out their menu online, I was well aware of their presence in the city because you will see their products everywhere! My first bite of deliciousness came at the Vancouver health show when I tried their Coconut Chocolate Macaroons. Love at first bite! Other goodies they sell at their restaurant and health food stores are chickpea miso, kale chips, young coconut meat (frozen) and loads of superfoods.
What to get: Its hard to choose. Anything with young coconut milk or meat, its kind of a thing here. The menu is very creative and most dishes I have tried have been memorable. When dining at super healthy restaurants, I usually start out with a green juice. With so many varieties of green goodness at my fingertips, its hard to resist!
Two must try dishes are the Masala Dosa, a traditional Indian dish, and the Pad Thai. The Dosa boasts beautiful Indian flavours and is served in a coconut wrap with Meethi and Coconut chutnies and a traditional sambar, leaving your taste buds singing. The Pad Thai is definitely the best I have had, their version made with young Thai coconut meat and kelp noodles. AMAZING!!
Desserts are not something you want to skip out on in this place, with names like The OMG and You Had Me at Hello. Since this place is heavily into young fresh Thai coconut meat, I tried the OMG coconut cream pie. It definitely lived up to its name!
Location: Granville Street at W. Hastings
Notes: The space is modern, sleek and inviting with plenty of vintage farm décor. The staff is uber friendly and make you feel very welcome. Although its not a super child friendly place, with no high chair or change table, the staff was very accommodating and friendly. This is a restaurant where vegans and vegetarians can happily co-exist, with a variety of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and raw items on the menu. The focus here is on whole foods and supporting local organic farmers and artisans. They also dont just substitute soy milk and tofu in place of dairy and eggs, offering tempeh, almond milk and cashew cream as healthy alternatives for strict vegans.
What to get: I absolutely loved my salad, handpicked greens with fennel, ginger poached pear, hazelnuts, roasted brussel sprouts, and orange blossom vinaigrette. Light, creative and delicious. The banana buckwheat quinoa flour pancakes with cashew vanilla cream were a hit with my two year old (and me since its huge and I had to eat the majority). Other notable items on the menu are the beetroot sunflower seeds tapenade and lentil pecan dips. I skipped the fried sangak chips they are served with and asked for fresh veggies. Even the cocktail menu doesnt disappoint with aloe infused tequila, matcha tea ice cubes and blue-green algae! Love it!!
Location: West 12th at Granville
Like the sign on the window states, hard to find, but once you do, its worth it! This small and cozy organic raw/vegan gem is tucked away in a courtyard of a big complex. The atmosphere is warm and cozy and though its a relatively small space, there are many treasures to find here. You can stock up on superfoods, crackers, kale chips, and take home your very own whole cheese cake. There is also a great little salad bar (pay by weight) that offers loads of healthy fun ingredients like sprouts, raw crackers, nuts and hemp seeds.
What to get: Like with any raw/vegan type restaurant, I opt for a fresh juice to start with. I chose the Immune Boost at Tao because I was in the mood for something gingery and delish, and that it was! I also love a good raw lasagna, and the Real Lasagna did not disappoint. Full of flavour and creamy goodness that is cashew cheese. Since the restaurant offers seven different varieties of cheesecake, it was obviously something of a must try. I usually gravitate towards chocolaty desserts, when Im indulging in raw goodness, but this time I chose the lucuma flavour. The maple like flavour of the Peruvian superfood on banana walnut crust was oh so yummy.
Location: North Vancouver, Esplanade West, in the courtyard
Notes: Organic raw vegan restaurant with a small but creative menu with a Ukrainian influence. High tea and fondue, yeas please!! Like many other conscious restaurants, the lovely and ambitious owner of the café, Lovena, is very community oriented. She offers many cooking classes, live music, theme nights and potlucks. Although the focus is on raw foods, you will find some cooked items on the menu as well.
What to get: If you havent tried a raw version of Borscht soup before, this is the place to do it. It is bursting with flavour and absolutely delicious. The pizza here is also a must try, with the perfect buckwheat crust that is so light and crispy. From the drink menu, I would recommend the coconut kefir, which is fermented young coconut water, a delicious way to get some extra probiotics into your life! For dessert, I would suggest the Trio, which includes the decadent Ganache, Coconut Cream Pie and cheese cake. Heavenly. Or if you really want to indulge, go for the raw chocolate fondue of course
Location: Kitsilano, 16th Ave.
Notes: If youre looking for a non-vegan organic restaurant that delivers local grass-fed goods, then this is the place for you. The menu changes with availability and includes many gluten-free options. You can also do some shopping here for some healing and nourishing traditional foods such as kimchii, sauerkraut and grass-fed ghee. Everything is sourced locally or made in house. You can also pop by next door to do some grocery shopping at the small but resourceful organic delivery service/store Tama.
What to get: Since this restaurant is focused on traditional foods, I tried the Superpower Kvass. Beet Kvass is a fermented beverage known for its digestive aid and immune boosting properties. I did feel my superhero powers kick in after I finished my tonic. I also tried the gluten-free vegetable quiche, which was absolutely delicious. Best crust ever! Desserts are also made in the house and vary daily, with some gluten-free options. This is a great place to stock up your fridge with raw cheeses, fermented goods and ghee.
Location: North Vancouver, Mackay Rd.
So tell use your favourite healthy eateries on the Canadian West Coast??