By Avneet Takhar
Vegetarians rejoice, we’ve got some hearty dishes for you to try during these chilly months! Stock your stomachs with homestyle foods that are warm and satisfying; there are plenty to choose from.
Recently opened restaurant with “mum’s recipes” on the menu, Zarak takes Afghan cuisine to an elevated level in intimate surroundings with servers clad in charming traditional waistcoats.
There are many veggie plates to try, but I’ll let you in on the ones I tasted and still savour as I write! Having never been to an Afghan restaurant before, this place is making me want to discover more of the food.
I went for the leek, scallion and spinach dumplings, topped with chive sprigs and a tomato bean sauce, a great starter to get going. Then for the main: bandejan (Farsi for eggplant), Qabuli palow (rice) and grilled bread. A myriad of flavours, I mopped every morsel of bread into the bandejan- not a crumb left.
For dessert, the rosa panna cotta with pistachio sponge and hibiscus alongside a sheer chai, also a rose colour. And of course a cocktail in keeping with the floral theme, “Gulrang Rose” a mix of grapefruit, cardamom, gin and elderflower liqueur – oh so light and refreshing.
It was an absolute delight- I’ll be back, especially since it’s in the neighbourhood.
Open from Wednesday- Sunday, 5-10pm
2102 Main St, Vancouver
Transit: Number 3 bus, stop outside Main @ E 5th Ave
You’re in good hands at The Workshop, with the group of chefs, artisans, bakers and nutritionists creating a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free foods that are Japanese-inspired.
Whether you’re stopping by for breakfast or lunch, they’ve got you! For a light bite, the smashed avo toast made on homemade yeast bread topped with chilli flakes will hit the mark. The “Hoto Udon” is a nourishing alternative if you want something more filling, a potato- leek and chickpea broth.
296 Pemberton Ave, North Vancouver
Transit: Buses R2, 255, get off at Marine Dr @ Hamilton Ave
A non-profit, vegetarian and vegan-friendly, this place is pretty special in terms of detail. Thali (an assortment of Indian foods) is served on traditional stainless dishes that are typically used in temples for ‘langar” (Punjabi word for complimentary meals that people eat as a community). And their twist on authentic cuisines is super creative.
We’re talking soy jackfruit sabzi (vegetables), Pakistani khadi (pakoras in a yogurt-based curry), pumpkin halwa (sweet dessert usually containing carrots), tapioca kheer (rice pudding) and the quintessential jalebi, baby!
They also provide a range of other global foods, including stir fry noodles with tofu, adobo (a Spanish-style marinade) and Thai coconut soup. Go dine and enjoy all the flavours.
Iskcon Temple, 5462 Marine Dr, Burnaby
Transit: Royal Oak station, walk just over 20 minutes or grab the 148 bus, and stop at Marine Dr @ 5500 Block
This Chinese restaurant has meat alternatives, tofu and veggie/ vegan plates, with bento combos available too.
You can’t go wrong with any of the plant-based baos, the vegetarian “beef” brisket stew bento in a fresh tomato sauce, or the deep-fried abalone mushrooms complete with miso sauce and tangy lime.
7771 Westminster Hwy, Richmond
Transit: A 5 minute walk from Lansdowne station
Beachy Mexican, Zapoteca is just what’s needed with the brrrr outside! Mexican foods are usually known for their meats, but this spot has a generous selection of veggie alternatives.
If sharing (or keeping leftovers for the next day) try the “Queso Fundido”, which arrives in a hot stone mortar with a mix of different cheeses, broccolini, jalapenos and pickled onions, accompanied by tortillas and pico de gallo (salsa).
15495 Marine Dr, White Rock
Transit: An 18-minute walk from White Rock Centre