Food is magic. It can cross language barriers, you can make friends over a meal, it can be a way to show love and around the dinner table, families can spend quality time catching up. One of the best things about this modern world is that there are so many food options for everyone no matter what your dietary needs or preferences are. These days, restaurants and grocery stores have a wide variety of options for those customers who either require or prefer to eat a plant-based diet – and on easy-going Vancouver Island, we have tons of options for vegetarians and vegans who are visiting.
Sidney by the Sea is a beautiful little town and if you’re staying at Heron View Cottage and Patricia Bay Beach House, this quaint, seaside town is also home to tons of great restaurants that happily include vegetarian and vegan options on their menus. Can we all agree that there aren’t many things in life as wonderful as pizza? While you’re in Sidney, you’re in luck because one of the best little pizza places on the Island, Woodshed Pizza happens to be located right in the heart of Sidney’s downtown. At this little pizza place, customers can substitute a vegan nut based cheese for the traditional mozzarella on any pizza, brava! What’s a trip to the seaside without a lunch of fish and chips? Now normally, this traditional English fare is off limits to those who have a plant based lifestyle, but no longer! Fish on 5th has a full, vegan menu from fish and chips to burgers which is probably why this eatery is so popular! If you’re looking for something with some kick, Sabhai Thai is a long-standing favourite in Sidney. With sensational flavours and fresh ingredients, Sabhai Thai offers tons of delicious veggie dishes that can also be made vegan. If you’re not in the mood to go out to eat, grab some groceries at the local Thrifty Foods who specializes in excellent products and great customer service. Here you can find tons of vegan meat and dairy substitutes as well as incredibly fresh produce to make amazing home-cooked veggie meals.
With its laid-back, pseudo-hippie vibes there’s no better city to find excellent plant-forward fare on Vancouver Island. No matter if you’re staying close to downtown at Marina View Executive Condo, these spots are a must-visit for any veggie lover! First up on our plant-based favourites list is the mindfully curated menu at Be Love. Using almost entirely organic, seasonal ingredients, everything on the menu at Be Love is made without wheat, gluten, dairy and processed sugar – which is pretty amazing considering how delicious everything is! One of the vegetarian staples in the capital city is Rebar in Bastion Square. At this long-standing, low-key vegetarian restaurant, you can find smoothies and delicious, filling, comfort food made with fresh, local ingredients. In the mood for something a little more chic? Aura offers stunning views of the Inner Harbour, great ambience, an impressive drinks list and a food menu that is hard to beat. No matter if you’re there for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Aura has mouth-watering vegetarian dishes that can be easily modified to be vegan. For the hottest vegetarian breakfasts in town, you’ll need to visit Fuego! With a huge, excellently executed Mexican and Latin American inspired menu, Fuego is a great place to go to spice up your morning. If you’re looking to stock up the fridge while you’re in town make a trip to The Market on Yates for an incredible selection of fresh, local produce, tons of meat and dairy substitutes and a huge selection of local products. If you’re looking for really exceptional meat substitutes though, you must visit the Very Good Butchers. Located in the Victoria Public Market, this ingenious ‘butcher shop’ makes flavourful, perfectly seasoned vegan sausages, burgers, taco filling, short-ribs and more.
Cowichan Valley & Parksville
Just twenty minutes north of Victoria and a five minute drive from Malahat Mountain House, nestled in the forest, with the most astonishing views you’ll find some of the best dining on all of Vancouver Island at Alpina Restaurant. With a thoughtful, European inspired menu and plenty of vegetarian options, this is the perfect place for an unforgettable meal. A little further north, just ten minutes from Cowichan Bay Oceanfront Estate and thirty minutes from Lake Cowichan Escape is a local hub downtown Duncan called The Duncan Garage Cafe & Bakery. Here you can find local, organic, vegetarian lunches, desserts and snacks that are completely in-house-made. This small, quirky, bustling little community spot is not only a great place to stop for delicious, healthy food, it also has a little market, health and vitamin store and a bookstore! If you’re staying at Cowichan Bay Oceanfront Estate, you’re in luck because one of the best places to stop for the freshest, local groceries and a large selection of speciality items is Great Greens Farm Market. While you’re staying in Ravenwood Cottage, Lefty’s is a must for a laid-back, diner atmosphere and delicious comfort-food with lots of vegetarian options and vegan friendly modifications. For something a little more upscale near Nanoose Bay Country Home, Chameleon’s is the highest rated restaurant in Parksville and offers delicious vegetarian options. If you’re looking for specialty groceries while you’re at Columbia Beach House, the best place to find them is Heaven On Earth Natural Foods. Here you can find organic produce, fair trade chocolate and dairy alternatives – everything you need to make a delicious, plant-based dinner in comfort.
On Vancouver Island, you can find absolutely delicious vegetarian and vegan food that will impress the most devout vegan and the most fervent carnivore alike. Bon appetite!