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Oct 20, 2010 12:51 PM

Vancouver lactose free options - anniversary dinner?

Hi all,

I've lurked for a long time (mostly looking for recipe and cookware info) but I feel compelled to post as I've not been successful on my own; forgive me if this has already been asked.

I'll be meeting my lactose intolerant girlfriend in Vancouver for our one year anniversary, and I'm trying to find a "date night" restaurant with a more-than-normal variety of lactose free options for her. Preferably more than a bistro or casual cafe, I'm interested in something a bit (or more) upscale with great dishes. We'll be staying downtown and I'd like to avoid Indian, Chinese and Thai (all of which we both have often). I'd appreciate knowing of anywhere that has great dairy-free desserts as well.

On a side note, what are your thoughts on Naam and My Local Cafe for lunchtime culinary forays? Are there any other hidden vegan or gluten-free gems that are worth a bike ride to visit?

Thanks in advance for considering.

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  1. I would highly recommend Chambar for a great date night restaurant that can cater very well to lactose/dairy free dietary requirements. They often even have a non-dairy option identified on their dessert list. If they don't, they are always happy to do a sorbet or fruit dessert off-menu.

    My other recommendation for really great non-dairy desserts is Wild Rice. I don't actually like the regular menu there but they offer non-dairy versions of desserts like creme brulee and "cheesecake" which, as someone who had a serious dairy allergy, I'd never been able to have before. It's only a two block walk from Chambar so you could also go there for dinner first and then to Wild Rice for after dinner drinks and dessert.

    Personally, I don't think the Naam is worth a special trip. Whole Foods has a great selection of vegan and gluten-free options at their West 8th & Cambie location.

    The Naam Restaurant
    2724 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K, CA

    Wild Rice
    117 West Pender Street, Vancouver, BC V6B1S4, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: islandgirl

      One vegan place that I've had good luck at is Dharma Kitchen on Broadway near Alma. You have to be a bit careful what you order but they do a really nice lemon grass tofu dish and their salads are lovely too. Big portions in a rather Zen setting. Can't speak to dessert options there...

      Dharma Kitchen
      3667W Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6R2B8, CA

      1. re: grayelf

        Not The Naam-very poor overall is a polite way to describe the place.

        1. re: Sam Salmon

          Nuba on Hastings would suit-lots of vegan option in a unique charming restaurant.

          Nuba Cafe
          322 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B1K6, CA

        2. re: grayelf

          I also had a great meal once at Chai Gallery (also on Broadway near Alma) with lots of vegan and vegetarian options. Not really a fine-dining or date night option but an interesting evening out.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. Thanks everyone for the great recommendations. You helped me refine and add to my list, and it worked out perfectly.

          We ended up at Nuba for dinner, and while it was hot and crowded (not necessarily a bad thing), the food was good, and I was pleasantly surprised at the low price point. Other standouts included Medina for weekend brunch (many non-dairy options there, added to great food and presentation if you can stand the wait for a seat) and Peaceful Restaurant on Broadway, which we were steered into by a random local on the street who must have known we were hungry. Seeing the seats full of Chinese customers reassured me. The noodles converted me. It was absolutely great and the best accidental find of the trip.

          We've got Dharma and Pourhouse on our list for the next trip, for certain.

          Thanks to everyone who responded with ideas; it was a great success!

          1 Reply
          1. re: matchswain

            Glad you discovered Peaceful which is a favourite of many regulars on this board - Including myself. I love many of their dishes, but I think my favourite is their famous beef roll (which I am sure is lactose-free). Try it next time you are here. (It's also a good thing you strayed from one of your original requirements of no Chinese, Thai, or Indian!)

          2. You should try Maple Grill on Broadway and Maple. I really like it. The service is great, it is elegant and no dairy. I am not allergic to dairy but I choose not to eat it. This restaurant serves meat and has no dairy because of religious dietary laws of not mixing milk and meat. So no worries of anything having dairy products in it, including dessert.