So you want to go vegan? Or vegetarian? Or maybe you just want to dive into the world of plant based foods out of pure curiosity. Either one is great! Making vegan/vegetarian food at home is the easy part; it’s trying to find somewhere suitable to go out and eat that’s the problem. Now let’s add a couple carnivores to the equation and shit blows up. Trust me on this one… I thought I would make a list of places in Calgary where you can find options! Some of these places are purely vegan based, some vegetarian based and others just have an amazing selection for those who have food or dietary restrictions.
1. The Coup/The Ethical Vegetarian (924 17th Avenue SW)
The COUP is an ethical vegetarian restaurant with an “intimate atmosphere” They serve fresh organic local foods and drinks in the heart of downtown.
Definitely one of my favourites vegetarian restaurants in Calgary. They have tons of options to choose from out of their breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. Be sure to let them know you’re vegan and they will switch out the cheese, and milk products to Daiya cheese, and the milk for either soy, almond, or coconut.
In the picture below is the the messy jessy which is a scrambled egg or smoked tofu on hash browns with tomato, onion, bell pepper, capers, sundried tomato & seasonal greens, topped with miso gravy, pumpkin & sunflower seeds. I also got a side of mushroom bacon, and a butternut squash soup.
2. Hearts Choices Vegan Thai Café (9679 Macleod Trail, SE)
This is also one of my favourite places in Calgary. They offer Thai vegan food as well as vegan groceries. This place is great to sit down for a quick bite or even just for some takeout. They also have an amazing selection of vegan groceries including mock meats (black pepper beef, sweet & sour pork, Gardein products) coconut bacon, chocolate and mozzarella croissants, cupcakes and more. You can check out their booth at the Calgary Farmers Market as well as their food truck. Check out their website for more information.
BBQ chicken burger with beyond meat chicken, the tomato cheddar flavoured chao cheese, mustard, lettuce, tomato and it’s served with potato chips and slaw.
In the picture below is one of my other favourite dishes which is the vermicelli noodle soup dish with vegan beef, and salad rolls with vegan shrimp.
3. Planet Organic Market (4916, 130th, SE)
There’s a variety of tasty, wholesome foods to choose from including roasted vegetable salads, vegan desserts and other delicious surprises you won’t find in your regular deli.
So this is a place I go to when I need a quick to-go meal. They have quite the selection of ready to go foods, as well as a smoothie bar. Some options include vegan breakfast burritos, Thai tofu wraps, tofu “steaks”, veggie patties, vegetarian lasagna, vegan shepherd’s pie, as well as lots of salad options including kale salad, and potato salad.
One thing I will also mention is in the frozen section they have the most amazing selection of vegan foods including taquitos (santé fe chicken flavor are MY FAVOURITE) burritos, vegan shrimp, scallops, chicken tenders, pizza, ice cream, and LOTS more.
4. Community Natural Foods (Chinook station market, SW)
Similar to planet organic they too have a great to-go selection of already prepped foods. Everyday their hot food section changes but I’ve seen options such as vegan curry, lasagna, vegetarian quesadillas and more. They also have 2 soups always ready to go, and one I’ve noticed is always vegan. There are also pre-packaged goods beside it.
In the already prepped section they usually have a walnut taco salad, as well as Thai tofu salad wraps. GET THEM!
5. Vietnamese Restaurants
I don’t know about you guys but I LOVE Vietnamese food. ESPECIALLY after a night of drinking..
Here is a list of my favourite ones to go to:
NEM Delight (Take out & delivery, 13750 Bow Bottom Trail, SE)
They have an entire vegetarian menu, and it shows you which items can be made vegan. Some options include veggie salad rolls, spring rolls, rice noodle soup, crispy lemongrass tofu, curry satay tofu, veggie fried rice, and vermicelli.
Viet Thai Bistro (15566 McIvor Blvd – Copperfield, SE)
Found this place recently and the food was absolutely amazing. They too have a vegetarian section that can be easily modified to remove any dairy or eggs.
Tamarind Vietnamese Grill & Noodle House (1111 6th Ave, SW)
100 % vegan Asian restaurant.
They have the most options out of all the places I’ve named thus far. Ranging from appetizers, to salads, soups, noodle soups, vermicelli, and other rice and noodle dishes. They also have mock meat options. THIS IS A MUST TRY!
Veggie Pad Thai with rice noodles in a house special tamarind sauce, served with tofu, sprouts, assorted veggies – topped with freshly roasted peanuts.
6. Original Joes (Locations all over Calgary)
You probably didn’t expect this one did you? Well you’ll be thrilled to know that they even have a separate vegan/vegetarian menu! Some options include a quinoa mushroom burger (contains cheese) and the bun has egg, hummus and chips, lettuce wraps (contain egg), and they even have soy chicken. If I’m being honest, I really don’t like the taste or texture of their soy chicken. Sorry OJ’s, thanks for trying…
Below is also one of my favourite salads from Original Joes, it has chopped romaine hearts, rice noodles in a thai peanut vinaigrette topped with citrus soy chicken, mandarin oranges, red onions, pea shoots, cashews, and fresh cilantro.
7. Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (McKenzie Towne, and 4th Street SW)
Another one of my absolute favourite places. If you know me then you know how much I LOVE pizza. Famoso offers a vegan cheese option for no additional cost.
Fungi pizza – I substitute the cheese for vegan cheese, add pineapple, and arugula, and they will sauté the caramelized onions in olive oil instead as well as substitute the base sauce (which has cream) to a bianca sauce (which is vegan).
*They also have non-dairy sorbets for dessert
8. Avatara Pizza (3rd Ave, NW)
“Local, seasonal & organic or spray free when possible; proven to be better for our health, the environment, & the local economy.”
Another great pizza place that has dairy free, vegan pizza options. They pride themselves in having 70% of their menu vegetarian with the option of adding meat. They have a vegan mozzarella option for all pizzas.
Guru pizza – Butter “chicken” sauce, vegan mozzarella, mushrooms, organic sweet peppers, organic red onions, mango chutney drizzle and cilantro.
9. Buddha’s Veggie (5802 Macleod Trail, SE)
They offer a “unique fusion cusine-canton, szechuan, peking, thai, malay, singapore, and more.”
* Recently found out a lot of their food has casein in it – therefore most of the items are not vegan (check with them)
This WAS my go-to place when I felt like some greasy Chinese food. They have a meat and veggie menu option. They have typical Chinese food items such as ginger beef, sweet and sour pork, veggie dumplings, black pepper beef etc. Their menu has TONS of options!
Dry ribs – They have regular and spicy, and I swear to you they taste SO much like meat. I served these at a vegan pot luck I had and they were quite the hit.
Below is the ginger “beef”, sweet & sour “pork,” dry “ribs,” black pepper “beef,” and strawberry spare “rib,” pastries.
10. Blue Star Diner (809 – 1 Ave NE)
This is a cute little diner that offers quite a lot of vegan options. They also highlight what’s vegan on the menu. Some options include a delicious bowl with chickpea fritters, or tofu as well as a veggie burger.
The journey bowl with thai green curry sauce, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, kale, carrot, beet, cilantro, avocado, sriracha tofunaise and either +chickpea fritters or fried tofu.
11. Café Koi (1011 1st Street, SW)
Koi is a downtown restaurant that features live music, visual art, and Asian-fusion cuisine. They offer a show almost every night.
They have a wide variety of vegan options, that are highlighted on the menu. Some options include dumplings, rice bowls, ginger tofu, yam wedges, veggie burgers, noodle dishes, and of course salads.
Pan seared veggie dumplings with citrus soy dip.
12. Open Sesame (6920 Macleod Trail, SE)
This is a great place for vegans/vegaterians as they have the option of a customizable stir-fry dish. You can add tofu, or leave it as a veggie stirfry. The base of the can be either jasmine rice, coconut rice, brown rice, mushroom fried rice, shanghai wheat noodles, rice noodles, vermicelli noodles, or chow mein noodles. After choosing your protein and base you head on over to the stir-fry bar and pick your vegetables and sauces.
*They will even fry yours in a separate wok from where they fry the meat if you let them know you’re a vegetarian/vegan.
A custom stir-fry with tofu! I like to add lettuce wraps as well.
13. Oak Tree Tavern (124 10 St NW)
Found this gem recently! It’s good for groups, is kid friendly, and they also have a great outdoor patio!
They have quite a few menu items you can customize to be vegan as well as having their very own vegan burger, a mixed bean salad, hummus, and they even have dill pickle soup! Let them know you’re vegan, they are very helpful!
The vegan burger with housemade onion jam, fresh pea shoots, and a confit garlic chutney.
14. Reds Diner (4th Street, SW)
Although they don’t have many options this is a place a lot of my friends like to go to and I THOROUGHLY enjoy their tofu scramble enough to add it to this list 🙂
Vegan tofu scramble with spinach, roasted rep peppers, tomato, and fresh fruit.
15. Broken City (613, 11th Ave, SW)
Now this is definitely Calgary’s vegan hidden gem. They have so many options for vegetarians and vegans including cauliflower wings with 9 different flavours to choose from. They also have vegan chilli, chickpea fries, a grilled veggie salad with the option to add tofu, a falafel wrap, a vegan burger, and a vegan breakfast bowl with hash browns.
Cauliflower “wings” and you can a pick a flavour from; teriyaki, honey garlic, BBQ, chipotle, suicide, salt & pepper, lemon pepper, apple bourbon BBQ, all dressed.
16. Indian Food
Indian cuisine is a vegan’s FRIEND! In fact, you may find that Indian restaurants are some of the best places to dine with non-vegan friends and family, as well as other vegans of course.
Some things to remember when visiting an Indian restaurant as a vegan:
Check if the restaurant you are visiting uses ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil.
If it’s a buffet set-up menu I suggest ordering straight from the menu.
Items to watch out for: yogurt, cream and paneer cheese.
Check if their naan bread is vegan (sometimes made with yogurt)
Poppadom/papadum, chapatti, puri/poori and rotti are all vegan, so you can order as many of those as you like.
Most of the sauces and chutneys are vegan, except for raita which is made from yogurt.
Vegetable samosas and vegetable pakoras are both vegan and a great appetizer
Some of my favourite places to go to:
Clay Oven East Indian Cuisine (26 ST. N.E.)
They have a vegetable dish menu which is all vegetarian and can be modified to vegan.
Kabli Channa which is a chickpea dish blended with a light curry sauce topped with onions and tomatoes.
Moti Mahal (14th Ave SW & Midpark Way, SE)
They also have a vegetable dish menu which you can modify to be vegan.
The Masoor dhal which is yellow lentils cooked with curry leaves, mustard seeds and cauliflower.
Himalayan (32nd Street on 17th Ave, SW)
They have quite a unique menu ranging from vegetable dumplings, rice crepes, Himalayan tofu, chickpea curry, and other vegetables dishes.
Five Rivers Indian Cuisine (11 Castleridge Blvd NE)
They have an all day Indian vegetarian buffet for $12.00.
“Five Rivers Indian Cuisine is 100% vegetarian, and they don’t cook meat, fish, shellfish, eggs or use animal fats; however, they DO cook with milk, cream, butter, cheese, and Canadian dairy products.”
Just ask your server which items do not contain dairy products, and just do some modifications.
17. Ten Foot Henry (1209 1st street SW)
I decided to add this to the list because it’s in the heart of downtown and a good place to enjoy with friends of all kinds (meat eaters, vegetarians, and vegans). They have a vegetable menu which includes dishes such as roasted carrots, collard greens, pickled melon, baked yam, the henry salad, salt roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, and citrus green beans. They also have a spaghetti you can customize to be vegan/vegetarian.
The salt roasted potatoes.
18. Earls Kitchen + Bar (Locations all over Calgary)
This is a great place to go to for everyone. They have quite a few options you can customize to be vegan/vegetarian including the dynamite rolls which I get with just veggies, and soy sauce on the side. I don’t get the sauce it comes with (one is eel sauce, the other is sirracha mayo). Other options include the warm kale salad with tofu, no cheese and ask for a different dressing that doesn’t contain dairy if you’re vegan. My favourite dishes are the bibimbap with no egg, add tofu and the hunan kung pao with tofu but recently found out that noodles contain egg now, ask for rice instead.
No shocker here.. the Bibimbap which is a hot stone rice bowl, with carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, and sesame chili sauce, and ask for no egg if you’re vegan. I’m so obsessed with this dish that I’ve actually had 3 in one day. NO LIE!!
19. Dirt Belly (3, 1111 – 3rd Street SE)
“Grown up veg, for grown up taste buds.”
Dirt belly is a great healthy option for vegetarians and vegans. They offer a “salad scoop” option where you pick your salad and then add the protein you wish. They offer a vedge patty, and avocado with smoked paprika and chili flakes. Be sure to check out their cold-pressed juices!
20. Jack Astors (9823 MacLeod Trail SW)
I remember going here as a kid and being so excited to be able to write on the tables! It’s got a sports bar feel but is also suitable for families. I recently discovered that they have the option to add tofu! Some options to choose from include hot plate fajitas, or lettuce wraps and add tofu. They also have some bowls that you can substitute the meat for tofu such as the pad Thai bowl, miso sesame rice bowl, and the Bombay curry bowl. They also have a veggie burger called “hold the beef.” I’m not too sure on if the bun, or the patty itself is vegan so definitely ask. You would also need to ask to hold the mayo based aioli sauce and the goat cheese.
The Fajitas with peppers, onion, shredded lettuce, salsa, and warm tortillas, I always add guacamole and tofu.
22. Cactus Club (All over Calgary)
This is another great place to enjoy with friends. They have an amazing cocktail menu as well. Some options for vegans and vegetarians include Szechuan lettuce wraps with no chicken, edamame beans, yam fries, butternut squash soup (vegetarian), quinoa salad, portobello mushroom fajitas, and they have a garden burger (there is cheese in the patty) sorry vegans.
The Portobello mushroom fajitas , with black beans, fire roasted tomato salsa, grilled cajun vegetables.
23. Veg-In YYC (215 6 Avenue, SE)
“The idea behind opening up Veg-In YYC was based on a difficulty in finding pure vegan and vegetarian, homemade, and natural cuisine. We provide healthy and delicious food by transforming new and traditional recipes. We believe eating better leads to a happy and long life.”
Options range from salads including a vegan caesar salad, veggitos (veggie burritos served on a tortilla with mango chutney) burgers including the smashed samosa burger, and a black bean burger, naan-izzas (their signature naan pizzas) then they have some original creations like the regular potato and yam potato poutine as well as a samosa poutine. For dessert you can indulge in a Daiya vegan cheesecake! HEAVEN!
A crunchy yam poutine with vegan butter chicken style sauce.
24. Paper Street (630 8 Ave SW)
A great place to enjoy with friends over some wine and unique food. On Saturdays they have half price wine, champagne and always have good music. They have a few items that can be made vegan/vegetarian including salads, a few appetizers including the korean fried cauliflower with cucumber in a light batter, a rice and noodle bowl, and my favourite item which takes us down to the must try..
Roasted cauliflower tacos with salsa verde, and braised cabbage.
25. Heaven Artisan GF Cuisine (1013 17th Ave, SW)
I LOVE this place. They have a few vegan options, and everything is gluten free.
Special Vegan 3 Arepa, which is a Venezuelan traditional bread, made out of white corn flour, is round like a pita pocket, stuffed like a sandwich, and eaten like a burger with grilled tofu, sesame seeds, tapenade, and arugula.
26. The Village Flatbread Co. (2511 17 Ave SW)
They have vegan cheese!!!
The Kensington pizza, with tomato Sauce, vegan mozzarella, smashed corn tortilla chips, black bean & corn chili, and cilantro.
27. Roni’s Kitchen (1011 1 street SW, Beltline)
“Roni’s Kitchen offers specialty vegetarian and vegan cuisine from far away lands to curious and eager Calgarians. Our excellent staff is hand picked and works beautifully together to bring you a special cooking and dinning experience. We make everything from scratch and with lots of love. We support local farms and organic foods.”
Roni also does small group vegan cooking classes! I highly recommend them, it’s super fun, and SUPER delicious. I’ve done the Mediterranean, and the thai class and both were amazing.
28. Anejo (2, 2116 – 4th Street SW)
This is one of my favourite Mexican restaurants in Calgary, not to mention, they have amazing wine, and margaritas.
Table side made guacamole and fire roasted salsa, plus the black bean burritos, and mushroom tacos.
29. Sushi (TONS in Calgary, my favourite is Sushi Ginza)
There are still many varieties of sushi vegetarians/vegans can enjoy. In fact, sushi rice itself is vegan (rice, rice vinegar, salt, sugar, kombu seaweed, and sometimes sweet rice wine), so just select vegetarian/vegan toppings for your sushi. I love avocado rolls, yam rolls, cucumber rolls, tofu dishes, bean cakes, and sometimes places will have special vegetable rolls.
30. Raw Eatery & Market (1145 Kensington Crescent, NW)
Their menu is absolutely amazing, and so creative. Items include linguine with julienned raw parsnip and carrot in a Brazil nut “mozzarella” and roasted red pepper sauce. Served with chickpea “meatballs,” or how about the broken burrito with sweet potato, quinoa, sunflower seed taco “meat,” pico de gallo, guacamole, all drizzled in a cashew “sour cream.” HOW AMAZING DOES THIS SOUND!?
This is also a great place to go with friends with all types of dietary restrictions or preferences. They have a few options that can be veganized, as well as having tofu in house so you are able to substitute in for protein. Some dishes they have for vegans are edamame, tacos, rice bowls, and noodle dishes.
** their rices contain butter (only vegan one is the sushi rice)
The dragon bowl with teriyaki tofu, sushi rice, vegetables, red cabbage, no spicy yogurt.
FAST-FOOD TYPE PLACES
31. Gordos Pizza (4817 Centre St NW)
I love when I find pizza places that carry vegan cheese, Gordos being one of them! They use Daiya dairy-free cheese.
32. Panago (All over Calgary)
Another place that carries vegan cheese, also Daiya.
33. Freshii (All over Calgary)
Freshii has tons of options for vegetarians, and vegans. Nothing on their menu has meat on it unless you add it. Choices of protein include falafel and tofu. Vegans will need to modify to remove dairy, and cheese. Items range from rice bowls, burritos, soups, collard green wraps, smoothies, and fresh juices.
The tex-mex burrito with falafel, brown rice, avocado, ask for no cheese, black beans, corn, salsa fresca, and I add teriyaki sauce.
34. Taco Bell (All over Calgary)
Check out the video below on how to order vegan at Taco Bell, done by the Vegan Bros.
35. Cultures (All over Calgary)
Their food is fast and fresh but is not considered “fast-food.” All of our their salads and sandwihes are made from scratch throughout the day from their kitchen. It’s easy to veganize items here and they even have tempeh. Items range from sandwiches, soups, salads, bowls, and smoothies.
The bali bowl with organic tempeh, baby spinach, carrots, edamame, red cabbage, and asian sesame dressing.
36. Edo (All over Calgary)
“Edo Japan restaurant started with the simple idea of serving traditional Japanese Teppan-style meals using fresh, quality ingredients and our signature Teriyaki sauce (a recipe that remains a closely guarded secret even today).”
They have the option to add tofu to any of their items, as well as edamame beans and vegetable sushi.
37. Fat Burger (All over Calgary)
Looking for a fast-food type burger joint that you can also sit down at and enjoy a beer? Fat Burger has customizable burgers including a veggie patty. Not sure on if the bun is dairy-free you would need to let them know you’re vegan.
38. Subway (All over Calgary)
Subway has vegan protein options including falafel as well as veggie patties at certain locations. Keep your eyes peeled!
Here is a list done by PETA on How to eat vegan at Subway.
39. Burger King (All over Calgary)
The BK Veggie burger used to be vegan, but these days the soy-based patty has dairy, and eggs. The bun is also not vegan. Luckily, Burger King’s new French Fries are vegan. So if you’re vegetarian this is a great place for you to get some fast-food.
40. A&W (All over Calgary)
Another fast food joint that has a veggie burger option (Canada only), however it contains milk and eggs. The fries and sweet potato fries are vegan, but check with individual locations to see if they are cooked in the same fryer as meat if that concerns you.
41. Baked From the Heart (3522 1st St NW)
“They specialize in gluten, dairy and egg-free baked goods made with love!”
Anything from cookies, to muffins, mini loaves, and cake!
Check out their Facebook for more information.