Words by Jessica Percy Campbell (@Veganvacationista)
While veganism was once considered a fringe lifestyle reserved exclusively for the hippie crowd, people from all walks of life are now consuming fewer animal products. This is just one of the many reasons why our local vegan scene is currently booming in Victoria. Whether you’re concerned about your health, the environment, or animal welfare, these days, there are tons of creative vegan-friendly options to explore in this city.
Read on for our list of Victoria’s best vegan restaurants:
Fern Café and Bakery
First things first. Fern is the spot to indulge in fabulous vegan cinnamon buns and doughnuts. Aside from baked goods and Discovery coffee, they also offer a full food menu with fantastic options such as the Buttermilk Pancakes or the Buffalo Chickun Burger (best accompanied with a side poutine). Having only recently celebrated their second anniversary last fall, Fern’s menu has continued to evolve with exciting dishes and features. With a Red Seal chef in the kitchen and the full weight of community support behind them, the little-café-that-could is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Throughout the pandemic, this mom and pop shop transitioned to takeout and delivery (through Doordash and Uber Eats) without skipping a beat. Go Fern!
Fun fact: Fern is the very first 100% vegan café and bakery in Victoria.
Following its successes in Vancouver and Portland, it’s no surprise that the local foodie crowd was excited to see this legendary restaurant set up shop in Victoria as well. Beyond the classics like the Margherita pizza with cashew “mozzarella,” Virtuous Pie brings a creative flair to their plant-based pizzas. Try the spicy Stranger Wings pizza topped with buffalo cauliflower bites and “blue cheese” drizzle. VP has also just released their spring menu which features new items such as the Thai Noodle Salad and the Carne Asada pizza topped with seasoned “steak” made from soy curls. From the trendy décor to the friendly service (oh, and did I mention the ice cream?) this is one vegan restaurant that truly lives up to the hype. Currently available for takeout, Tutti delivery, and patio dining.
Fun fact: Virtuous Pie has great vegan cocktails, too. Try the VP shaft!
Lotus Pond Vegetarian Restaurant
Let’s not forget to pay our respects to the OGs at Lotus Pond! Don’t let the “vegetarian” in the name fool you, this is actually a 100% vegan restaurant. Serving up an entirely plant-based menu for 20 years before it was trendy, Lotus Pond is nothing if not humble. This is a family-run business with affordable prices and an enormous menu full of noteworthy dishes. Some popular choices include the Pineapple and Lemon Soya Balls or the Lemon Mock Chicken. Of course, Lotus Pond meals are best served with a spring roll and a wonton noodle soup to start (order the combo). In the pre-pandemic days, they also used to host a great lunch buffet which will hopefully be returning in the near future. For now, takeout and restaurant delivery are still available.
Fun Fact: Lotus Pond is a Buddhist restaurant, so they don’t use garlic, onion, chives, leeks, or shallots in any of their dishes.
The Very Good Butchers
When The Very Good Butchers set up shop in the Victoria Public Market a few years ago, they had to close early on their first day as they promptly sold out of everything. Safe to say, the demand for a vegan butcher in this city is high. From “sausages,” to “pepperoni,” to “ribs,” The Very Good Butchers sell everything that a typical butcher might—the only difference is all of their products are 100% plant-based. Or, as they would put it, they “butcher beans.” This deli counter also offers a full lunch menu with a variety of choices such as the Crispy Strip Caesar or The Very Big Mac. A brunch menu is available on weekends where the Royal Treatment lox and cream cheese benny made with Save Da Sea “smoked salmon” is highly recommended. Currently available for takeout or delivery on Skip the Dishes.
Fun fact: The Very Good Butchers will soon be expanding and moving to a new fully-licenced location with a patio at 515 Chatham Street.
As previously mentioned in a recent Tasting Victoria article, Delhi has now transitioned to a fully plant-based menu after the owners themselves went vegan. Open for lunch from Tuesday to Friday, Delhi serves up authentic Indian dishes such as Lentil Dahl, Chana Masala, and a hearty Vegetable Medley. Each meal comes with a tasty piece of naan bread and is best served with a chai tea oat milk latte. The chef is reportedly working on a vegan “butter chicken” recipe, which is sure to be extremely popular. Delhi also offers a plant-based food package of 12 meals which could be perfect for an outdoor gathering with your bubble. Currently available for takeout or delivery on Tutti. They have now set up a little outdoor patio as well.
Fun Fact: Owners Belle and Jason met working on movie sets and can give you the inside scoop about all kinds of celebrities!
Green Cuisine Vegetarian Restaurant
Last but not least, this community staple has been around since 1990. Green Cuisine Vegetarian Restaurant is a pay-by-weight buffet that offers a wide variety of whole foods plant-based dishes, soups, sandwiches, sweets, and more. You can even find their house-made organic tempeh at various stores around town, including the Zero Waste Emporium. They also serve up an array of excellent pizzas such as the Greek pizza with tofu “feta” or the Jalapeno Popper pizza with almond and cashew “cheese.” Located in the heart of Victoria’s downtown Market Square, this is a great spot to grab a vegan gelato on a sunny afternoon walkabout. Currently available for takeout or delivery on Tutti.
Fun Fact: Green Cuisine is placed #1 for vegan options in Victoria on Happy Cow.
Check out these vegan restaurants today and follow along to see more vegan options in Victoria! Please share your favourites as well.