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Upscale vegetarian?

I'm looking to buy a gift for a vegetarian couple and was thinking it might be nice to give a gift certificate for a nice restaurant since they have a new baby and hardly go out anymore. Any suggestions of nice restaurants that have good vegetarian options or vegetarian prix-fixe? I know Lumiere and West both have vegetarian tasting menus, but I'm trying to see what else is out there (perhaps something a bit more affordable too).

Thanks!

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      1. I just had a look at the menus at Diva at the Met and at Yew at Four Seasons. Diva has one or two solid vegetarian dishes and Diva has a slew of decent looking vege appies and a solid seafood list. (are they pesce-vege?)

        3 Replies
        1. re: fmed

          No, they don't eat fish/seafood... though they do eat eggs and dairy.

          Panz Veggie looks interesting. I definitely want to try it at some point. For this gift, though, I think I'm looking for something that could be more of a special occasion.

          1. re: twinkienic

            Most of the "high-end" restaurants (West, Lumiere, etc) will have a vegetarian tasting menu.

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            Lumiere
            2551 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K2E9, CA

            1. re: twinkienic

              Panz is very modern and nice inside. It's worth a consideration, don't judge it by the outside. The food is very good.

          2. - slightly off- topic here, but imo- i really believe that SOMEBODY ( with the requisite assets ) is missing the boat here. this town could really use a HIGH- END vegetarian restaurant. something beyond ' california neo- fusion '. talk about a niche begging to be expoited !

            19 Replies
            1. re: slugsunderfoot

              Agreed. If I have to eat another butternut squash raviolo ... or mushroom risotto ... in this town, I'll lose it.

              1. re: bluegoat

                Don't hold your breath waiting for it-Vancouver is much too small a place to support a high end vegetarian restaurant,

                1. re: Sam Salmon

                  disagree. for sure vancouver is a small city with a relatively provincial ' mindset '- but the niche i alluded to earlier DOES exist- and is waiting to be tapped. i can remember when there were no coffee bars here ( except for a couple of italian joints on commercial drive ) and- as well- when japanese food in vancouver meant heading down to powell street ! someone with a lot of capital needs to think / act progressively and take the risk - the problem here ( imo ) is pre- emptive conceptualization. one hears ' vegetarian ' and one thinks- immediately- ' the naam '. one hears ' high- end vegetarian ' and one visions ( understandably ) the naam itself relocated to coal harbour or on the fringes of crosstown. retrogressive vegetarian for the ' young, savvy, urban ' set. THAT would never work. dead in the water. just advertising itself as ' vegetarian ' alone would limit such a venture. what WOULD work, however, would be some small space in an older building- with a very lean, contemporary ambiance to it- with a STRONG emphasis on international and ' adventurous ' ( perhaps even ' obscure ' ) ingredients in their kitchen. locally- sourced food items as well. don't even market the place as ' vegetarian '.

                  1. re: slugsunderfoot

                    Yes I remember the Bad Old Days too-my negative outlook comes from dealing with people in the industry itself.

                    A large majority of Chefs/trainees/schools/suppliers/hangers on are meatheads in more ways than one.

                    There's a macho/chest beating ethos that they can't even see-to them it just is, and woe betide anyone going against that tide.

                    That's actually one of the reasons I left another local forum because of the small mindedness/limited vision of so many of Vancouver's 'finest' (insert sarcasm icon).

                    There's also the business end to consider, restaurants don't make much money on food and vegetarians don't buy much booze-a hard roe to how no matter how tasty the carrots.

                    I'd love to see someone prove me wrong and maybe if the economy turns around in a few years.......

                    1. re: Sam Salmon

                      Perhaps Vancouver does not need a "high-end" vegetarian, but more a "mid-range" vegetarian. ("High-end" is a tough sell in a city that likes to wear polarfleece and jeans when dining at West). Sort of like a Refuel - but with vegetables instead of pigs.

                      But I'm with you Sam....Vancouver's restaurant scene needs a bit more vision and imagination. They just keep beating on the same dead horses.

                      1. re: fmed

                        What's Rebar like in Victoria? I like the cookbook, but haven't been there yet. I'm imagining something mid-range, mostly veg with interesting flavours beyond ubiquitous risotto, or gloppy Naam stuff. But I wonder if it falls in the California neo-fusion niche? Not sure I'd mind if it did, but Victoria and visitors seem to sustain it. Or perhaps it is, what's the beautiful phrase: too Westcoast hipster-doofus?

                        1. re: waver

                          I have never been to Rebar. I know a number of people who have - yes...I think half of them will accuse Rebar of being Westcoast hipster-doofus. The other half like it (perhaps because they are Westcoast hipster-doofi?). It might work here.

                          1. re: fmed

                            Found a recent and positive thread here on this board:
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/635727

                            1. re: fmed

                              Maybe its unreasonable to think an all Veg restaurant could survive without drawing on the Doofi and Neo-Cali types? But does that have to exclude the normal (!?) beer/wine/cocktail drinkin' folk posting on this board?

                              1. re: waver

                                We have such a dearth of vegetarian restaurants that any decent place will attract the doofi-neo-cali types....plus, the newer ones (eg Foundation) are run by same. (It doesn't help matters that it is located on Main St).

                                Places like Foundation seem to be forged from the post-Naam aesthetic (noting the menu which highlights nachos, hummus, chili, pasta, etc.). I personally am not a fan of this kind of "search and replace" vegetarian food (eg search for "meat", and replace with "tofu".)

                                If I am dining with a vegan or vegetarian, we go to a vegetarian Indian restaurant. Even the most mediocre of these places serves food that goes down better than the stuff they serve at places like Foundation.

                                Here's a wish...Vij's is slated to move to their new digs on Cambie St (the old Arroy-D space) and Vikram has indicated a "new concept" for the current Vij's location. I think his team can execute a killer vegetarian concept.

                                1. re: fmed

                                  going waay out of the box here, and in no way a veggie resto , BUT the carnegie centre has surprisingly amazing veggie meals ( not exactly sure if there is always a veggie option) but i was blown away when i rediscovered the food at the cc, and yes it is veggie meals conceived as veg meals , not meat dishes minus the meat, and the most amazing part is that its less than $2 @ lunch, i know its not for everybody but if you care to dare you will be rewarded

                                  1. re: vandan

                                    haha , disregard my post as re-read the op and realized i totally forgot about the 'upscale' parameter

                                    1. re: vandan

                                      - thanks for that vandan. i will hit the cc soon. volunteered there a bit years ago.
                                      - SS: agree with most of your points- however, i still believe that a ( ok, adjust ) ' mid- range ' PROGRESSIVE vegetarian resto would fly in vancouver, provided it was conceptualized and marketed to the carnivores AS well as the plant- huggers. include an impressive ( altho limited ) wine selection ( organic, non- sulphite ? ) and perhaps eschew the RAW and / or VEGAN arena.

                                  2. re: fmed

                                    fmed - do you know when Vij's move is planned? Is it going to be a move, or opening a new restaurant? I'd be interested to see what they'll have on the menu.

                                    -----
                                    Vij's Restaurant
                                    1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

                                    1. re: twinkienic

                                      There is nothing solid in the rumour mill. Just "Opening Soon". I'll post an update if I hear anything.

                                    2. re: fmed

                                      Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala announce the impending move yesterday.
                                      http://www.vancouversun.com/entertain...

                                      Though they haven't announced what the actual final concept for the old place will be, Meeru states in the article:

                                      "I want something like a homey food stand with various types of healthy Indian foods and maybe involve other Indian cooks. My hands don’t do very well with dosas, for example. I’ve tried and tried.”

                                      Healthy Indian foods? Dosa? South Indian Vegetarian concept perhaps? Since she's the cook of the team, then that's what I'm betting on.

                                      1. re: fmed

                                        Funny, as I was scrolling down this thread I thought Indian would be the easiest portal to a mid-/entry high-end veggie restaurant. While Vij's (current), Maurya and The Raga are more mid-end than anything, they have the potential to elevate towards higher end more than any other cuisines presently available in Vancouver IMHO. But that move will require considerable investment and creativity way outside their current thinking to lure new customers and retain them over time.

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                                        Vij's Restaurant
                                        1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

                                    3. re: fmed

                                      I went to Rebar many, many years ago. Just looked at their website and the menu still looks the same. Great food. Atmosphere was a little Westcoast hipster-doofus, but I didn't mind. Could work as a mid-range option in Vancouver although I think it would probably need to be a little more spiffed up.

                      2. Upscale vegetarian is harder in Vancouver, but not impossible. (Would be great if this city could sustain something like Candle in New York.) As a vegetarian, I have enjoyed Lumiere, Bishops, Vij's. Have also done Diva at the Met, and the Four Seasons, but long ago, so can't comment on their current fare. (Rebar in Victoria, is not high end, but consistently good food. I dine there almost every time I am in Victoria - although Victoria seems to have an increasing number of new and tasty vegetarian and vegan restaurants.) Am trying Market at the Shangri-la this weekend, and am hopeful for their vegetarian options. Have heard that Connor Butler on Granville does good vegetarian and even vegan tasting menus, but have not been there yet.

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                        Vij's Restaurant
                        1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

                        Lumiere
                        2551 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K2E9, CA

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