Chances are that if you asked for vegetarian food in a restaurant (or household for that matter) more than, let’s say, 5 years ago, you were told something like: “yeah, we can take the chicken out of the salad or maybe a burger without…the burger?” It wasn’t ideal.
Luckily things have changed noticeably — for those who choose not to eat meat (vegetarian and the countless sub-categories of vegetarianism), or are more extreme and consume no animal products at all (vegan), or those who simply want to eat healthier, have grown tired of meat, or maybe just want to change it up, there are great options that don’t require any flavour or substance compromise in Edmonton.
First things first, the décor in here is tremendous. Chic urban café meets bohemian farmer’s market. After what can be a worthwhile wait (especially on weekends, specifically at brunch), you’ll likely be sat between an uppercase V vegan and a power couple eating (awesomely) healthy. As Vancouver’s psych-metal band Black Mountain played, I ordered water and the Toona Wonton Tacos with Chili Lime to start. These mouthwatering little beauties disguise the often-bland taste of Tofu superbly. From here I (somewhat mistakenly considering there were 5 filling tacos) grabbed a Purple Cabbage Lemon Chickpea Falafel and Spicy Tahini. Sneakily spicy with tremendously fresh lemon zest, this isn’t your store bought falafel. I was left hoping my stomach would forget it was full so I could order all over again.
Pegged a conscious eatery and yoga studio, Noorish can probably be best summed up by their diverse offerings. Wanting to feel invigorated from a cocktail? How about the Komucha Cocktail? Ready for the spice? Hit up their Dueling Flowers (mouthwatering grilled cauliflower and charred broccoli in a Satay sauce). Ready to unwind? Head for a soothing flow yoga class downstairs. Feeling the vibe, I went for the Buddha Bowl — a refreshing, coconut-laden green curry over a quinoa-rice bed. Incredible. The fully plant-based, delicately crafted menu along with the very sensible and deliberately delightful ambiance makes for an incredibly Zen date night.
It’s easy to go on and on about the Alberta-only beer and spirits menu (and I did before) but lost in this tremendous, rotating list of amazement is the full vegetarian (can be vegan) menu. I opted (many, many times) for the John Candy Canadian Coconut Bacon pizza — a no compromises, in fact better, take on the Hawaiian pizza. Another tremendous option: Steph Curry 3 Pointer pizza. Through and through, it’s pub food done really well. I took a meat-eating friend to Arcadia and he was mad with happiness. It’s that good.
The Buckingham Pub
With a kitchen brought to you by the great team at the Sailin’ On vegan food truck, The Buck does everything you’ve ever wanted in a pub: absurdly good daily drink and food specials, with an atmosphere completely void of pretension (maybe you expected it when you heard vegan). Without hesitation, I went for the BBQ Bac’n Cheeseburger. A black bean burger, draped in toppings and Sailin’ On’s signature Coconut Bacon. To seal the deal I went for Mexi Fries which you must Mexi Try... er, but seriously. Remember Taco Bell’s Mexi Fries? Like that, but with soy-based ground round instead of… whatever the big bell used.