We drove from Vancouver, BC, to Canmore, AB, and back—and had a total blast doing it.
A lot of people seem to think it’s a challenge to eat fully plant-based or to adopt a vegan lifestyle. And don’t get me wrong, it is a bit of extra work scouting out places that have legitimate vegan options (and not just substitutes)—but it’s still totally do-able. Even while travelling or road-tripping!
The rise in veganism and plant-based diets is far reaching, and we’re really excited to see more and more options popping up everywhere. It's especially encouraging to find these options in places you wouldn't have expected.
I’m going to give an overview of some places we stopped along our route, and others that I researched and wanted to try, but didn’t get a chance to. This is by no means an exhaustive list. For simplicity, I’ll organize each option by city/town along the way from Vancouver to Alberta.
Driving into the great Canadian Rockies, and eating vegan all the way.
Disclaimer: I’m only highlighting restaurants/grocery stores that have primarily vegan options, because that’s what we mostly gravitate towards. Although we do sometimes go places where we can make substitutions or enjoy that one vegan option on the menu, we prefer multiple choices, so we try to stick to places that are mainly vegan or all vegan—this may not always be possible when travelling, and when it comes down to it, flexibility is always key.
Lastly, we generally strive to find the hole-in-the wall type places, aim to support local businesses whenever we can, and truly care about what we put into our bodies. We do our best to focus on an organic diet free of chemicals or preservatives, and find joy in supporting businesses that do the same.
On a whim, we stopped at Dharma Garden Veggie Deli on our way through Vancouver, and let me tell you: it was heavenly! Having travelled extensively in Vietnam, we love our Quan Chay (vegetarian) Vietnamese food. And I mean love. This place had a pretty limited menu, but the options they did have were fantastic. We got the vegan Phở, Bánh mì, and a rice noodle dish (sort of like bún). It was super cheap, fresh, and tasty. The best part is that this establishment is run by monks—it was super authentic, and somewhere we will absolutely return to whenever we get the chance.
Walking the seawall in Vancouver's Stanley Park.
Other restaurants I've wanted to visit for ages to visit include: Chickpea, MeeT, The Acorn, Heirloom, and basically every place that Erin Ireland and Anna Pippus have recommended on their blogs. I also recommend Virtuous Pie—we tried it in Portland last summer, and I assume it's similar in Vancouver. They're also going to be opening a location in our home city of Victoria soon (hurray!).
On our way through Abbotsford we really wanted to stop in and try the goodies at the Sprouted Oven. Unfortunately, they were closed (who closes down on a Saturday!?). I’ve heard great things about this place, so we'll need to try again in the future.
I checked out the Naked Cafe last summer while in Kelowna and was really impressed with the all-vegan menu. They carry the Beyond Meat Burger, and have a range of tasty vegan comfort foods like burgers and fries. Even my non-vegan friend loved it! I got the Mushroom Mozza Burger. Highly recommend!
When we first arrived in Kamloops, we had assumed we would only be able to find good vegan options at The Chopped Leaf. However, it turns out that we didn’t even stop there. We ended up discovering Nature’s Fare, an organic-focused grocery store that also has an amazing smoothie bar and deli.
Nature's Fare has an amazing smoothie selection. Via @JaniceGreeen.
It’s not all vegan here, but a surprising amount of their product was vegan (and reasonably priced). All produce and ingredients are organic, and everything we got here was absolutely delicious. 10/10 for Nature’s Fare. All food is clearly labeled if vegan or GF.
A local marmot munching on some grass by the river in Kamloops. Says he's pretty much vegan.
I lived in Salmon Arm for some time in my teen years, and of course, 10 years ago there weren’t really any vegan options around. In 2018, the all-vegan Smudge Whole Food Noshery opened in the downtown core, so we decided to check it out on the way home from Alberta. While I loved the stylish and cozy interior, and the fact that everything was fully vegan, I wasn’t super excited about their food menu options. We ended up grabbing a couple of smoothies that we rated at about 6/10. I’d still say check them out if you’re passing through and hungry!
We stopped in briefly on our way home at The Modern Bakeshop and Cafe, and were able to find a few vegan options on their menu including a vegan samosa and a few baked goodies. I didn’t get anything, but Dan said he really enjoyed the samosa!
Another option I would have loved to try was Dose Cafe. Note, as far as we could tell there was only a Save-on-Foods in Revelstoke for groceries.
I can’t say enough good things about Eat Pure Mountain Market in Golden. We loved this place, and stopped here two times for produce, snacks and their amazing smoothies (the smoothies are amazing!).
Eat Pure Mountain Market - a place we couldn't get enough of. Via @JaniceGreeen.
They also carry all organic produce, lots of great body care products, supplements, and—did I mention—smoothies that are to-die-for.
When in Banff, we headed for Ramen Arashi because it was seriously cold and we needed something filling and hearty to warm us up! Ramen Arashi, a local favourite, did not disappoint—we subbed rice noodles in the place of the egg noodles, and really enjoyed our ramen! 10/10. I also felt that this was a very authentic experience!
At one point, we also stopped in for a treat at Wild Flour, which had some good vegan baked goodies—although they were a little on the oily side for us, they were still delicious. Also, very busy!
Another option we had marked down was Nourish Bistro and the Banff Farmers Market, however the market was closed until later in the season, and unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit Nourish! It seems there are lots of other options in Banff for vegans as well, so check them out on Happy Cow.
I loved the town of Canmore, and part of that was the availability of wholesome, plant-based options. The two places we ate at were The Grizzly Paw Pub and CommuniTEA Cafe. I fell in love with CommuniTEA as soon as I walked in. I mean, 80 varieties of tea and a menu full of vegan options—what’s not to love?! Dan enjoyed the clearly marked vegan options at the The Grizzly Paw Pub.
Some local omnivores making their way across the road.
Other places we were dying to check out but were too full to eat at: Rocky Mountain Bagel Co., Toniq Juice Bar, and Kind Kitchen. Next time, Canmore!
So there you have it! A semi-complete guide to eating your way through the Canadian Rockies as a vegan. As always, we used Happy Cow to help us find most of these options, and when that failed we used referrals from locals or good ole’ Google reviews. As a backup, we also packed a lot of vegan snacks for the road, which is always super handy to have when options are limited! I’ll be writing a post soon that includes all of my hacks for travel as a vegan, so make sure to follow @AllFarness on Instagram (and find me at @JaniceGreeen).
Do you have a favourite vegan place in the interior or in the Rocky Mountains? Comment below and let me know.
Until next time & with light,