With veganism being the top search trend in Canada in 2017—as well as the preliminary draft of Canada’s new food guide, released by the Canadian government, favouring plant-based foods— it looks like this “fad” is here to stay.
But what about on Vancouver Island specifically? With the island being as small as it is, are plant-based dishes shooed out in favour of more mainstream dairy and
meat-based meals? If you’re a tourist dropping in this cruise ship season, will you be out of luck if you have a dairy sensitivity or plant-based preference?
Against all odds, no. In fact, it’s the opposite: Vancouver Island—and Victoria specifically—is brimming with delectable restaurants that cater to your every dietary needs.
With The Joint’s dazzling array of both traditional and allergen-sensitive pizzas, West Coast Waffle’s vegan-friendly sweet and savoury waffles, and Rebar’s exotic selections of plant-based wine, juice, and beer, Victoria will delight both habitual and curious taste buds alike.
As the co-founder of the Vancouver Island Vegan Association, Corie Kielbiski has happily practiced veganism in Victoria for five years. “We are so lucky in Victoria to have
some delicious food options,” she says. “The Very Good Butchers burst onto the food scene in 2016 with their delicious and entirely plant-based menu, which offers burgers, sausages, poutine, pizza, cauliflower “wings”, and more. There is also the legendary Green Cuisine, our all-vegan buffet in Market Square.”
She continues, “Victoria is definitely one of the easiest places to be plant-based.” Then, wistfully, with a tinge of humour: “Even though Victoria has an abundance of vegan options, we are sorely missing a vegan doughnut shop—but we do have some talented entrepreneurs in the community, so we hope one day that dream will come true.”
Despite the lack of dairy-free doughnuts, long-term Victoria resident Kenji Fuse also advocates for the diversity of local restaurants. “The Very Good Butchers is probably my favourite vegan restaurant,” he says, “but when I crave vegan junk food, I usually hit Lotus Pond. I also like the vegan burrito at Tacofino.”
Even old-school favourites like the brunch-based Jam Café and the well-loved burger joint, The Pink Bicycle, offer at least one mouth-watering option to accommodate your entire party. Just stepped off the plane and are searching for your first plant-based fix? No problem. Have a child, spouse, or friend who struggles with a dairy or meat-protein sensitivity? Victoria restaurants demand no sacrifices; whether you are craving Japanese, Mexican, Italian, or a good old-fashioned burger and fries, you’ve come to the right place.