La Belle Verte would be listed under vegan restaurants, save for the relatively recent inclusion of goat cheese on its menu (a few desserts also contain honey). Other than that, the food here is deliciously vegan. It’s well-presented, healthy, creative, colourful and flavourful. There are many raw and gluten-free options. The ambiance is very casual and bohemian, and not so much a fine dining environment. La Belle Verte also sells its own line of kale chips, dehydrated crackers, salad dressings and more, which are excellent. Dine in and take out available. Closed on Sunday. © pamelatourigny.com
The Table is long-time a vegetarian restaurant, which offers cafeteria-style hot and cold buffet items, seven days a week for both lunch and dinner. The menu switches each week, although there are some items that are always there, including their famed tofu fritters with onion chutney. You can take as much – or as little – as you’d like, but you pay by weight. The beauty is that you completely control it! About two thirds or so of the menu is vegan, and the focus is on healthy and organic options. The Table also has several coolers, from which it sells its heat and serve entrees. Take out or dine in. Its owner, Simon Saab, is a generous contributor to the veg community, and has sponsored Ottawa Veg Fest since its inception. © pamelatourigny.com
The Green Door is Ottawa’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, founded in 1988. It offers cafeteria-style hot and cold buffet items, six days a week (closed onMonday). It is wildly popular, even with non-veg people, and expanded about a year ago to increase the seating substantially. It is licensed, so you can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with your meal. The menu switches up each week, but some items are always available, such as customer favourite tofu and veggie stir fry. You can take as much – or as little – as you’d like and you pay by weight. About half or more of the menu is vegan. The Green Door also sells its breads, and has a small grocery store next door called The Green Door Grocer. Take out or dine in. © pamelatourigny.com
Ceylonta serves authentic Sri Lankan cuisine. Much of the menu is vegan, or can be easily made vegan upon request including the veg thali, some dosai, the rotti, and many appetizers. The food is relatively inexpensive, and very filling. The veg thali is enough food for two moderately hungry people, and is one of Ceylonta’s signature dishes. Tamara who works there is especially knowledgeable about veganism. There is an all you can eat lunch buffet on weekdays for $12.99 that is about ⅔ vegan, and they’ll make you vegan rotti upon request. Trust me, it’s worth eating the gluten.
Pure Kitchen (Vegetarian)
357 Richmond Rd. (Westboro)
Pure Kitchen was opened in March 2015 by the owners of Pure Yoga, along with a few others. It is Ottawa’s newest mostly vegan establishment (fully vegetarian), and is often packed. It serves creative appetizers, hearty salad and noodle bowls, and burgers. Fully licensed with a juice bar too. It has a fresh, trendy vibe – the decor is minimalist, except for the crazy patterned wall behind the large harvest table. Be sure to specify that you want the vegan version of some menu items; some options such as the poutine have a non-vegan default. There are many gluten free options as well. Located close to other interesting lifestyle spots such as Mountain Equipment Co-op, Lululemon, Equator Coffee, and Green Tree Eco Fashion. Open seven days a week.
Tucked into the side of a Denny’s, Asian Stars has a separate vegan menu with approx. 20 dishes, as well as daily vegan specials. The food at Asian Stars is best classified as Asian fusion. It offers huge bowls of soup, delicious appetizers, and a range of stir fry and noodle dishes that include a choice of faux meat or tofu. The food is very fresh and beautifully presented. Don’t miss trying the pad thai, the kung pao tofu, and the Thai tomato soup. There are daily lunch specials, including vegan specials! Open seven days a week.
587 Bank St. (Glebe)
Hareg is easily the best value in town for hungry vegans – or anyone really! Hareg offers an all you can eat VEGAN Ethiopian buffet six days per week – it’s closed on Monday. The buffet is $9.99 Tues-Thurs and $10.99 Fri-Sun. The buffet includes approx. 12 heated items – various legume curries and dahls, sauteed vegetables, rice, and potatoes served with fresh gluten-free injera bread. There are also some cold salads. Non-vegan buffet components added on the weekend but are entirely separate from the vegan options (and more expensive.) On weekends they host a traditional ethiopian coffee ceremony, at which they roast the beans in front of you and prepare coffee the traditional way. They deliver as well, and you can get take out.
So Good is a long-running vegan friendly restaurant, featuring a vegan menu that lists more than 100 vegan options. It’s a great place to take a group of friends so that you can order a whole bunch of dishes and share them all. So Good’s salt and pepper tofu is legendary amongst vegans and non-vegans. The staff is friendly and the owner, Peter will help you navigate the menu and fill you in on all the gossip. Ask for no MSG if you’re sensitive to it. This is not a fancy place, but the food is hearty and delicious. Order lots of extras for leftovers! Closed on Monday.
If you like a little bit of camp, then you’re going to love Shanghai. Also known as “The Shang,” this family-run restaurant seamlessly blends Asian cuisine with community engagement and a lot of fun. Located just east of Bronson in the heart of Chinatown, Shanghai gets vegans, and has quite a few options that are sure to please. On Friday evenings there generally isn’t dine-in available, because the restaurant reserves those nights for charity fundraisers. Saturday evening features rousing karaoke with the legendary China China Doll. There is dedicated parking available for customers beside the restaurant. Closed on Monday, open only select days for lunch. © pamelatourigny.com
Take a few steps down from bustling Laurier Avenue into the world that is Perfection Satisfaction Promise. Despite being located in a semi-basement, it has a bright atmosphere and a cozy ambience. Located on the Ottawa U campus. Most dishes have a rice or mashed potato base, and then you choose your topping: chick pea curry, avocatofu, tofu tamari, and others. Many dishes are vegan or can be made vegan. PSP has daily specials (written on their outside sandwich board) drawing from Indian, Mexican and Canadian influences. Their Dahl and vegan desserts are are top notch. Casual eating and take out. Run by adherents of Sri Chinmoy. Closed on Wednesday and Sunday.
A Thing For Chocolate
1262 Wellington St. W. (Hintonburg)
This is an adorable creperie that serves lots of chocolate, but also lots of non-chocolate too! The menu is clearly marked with which items are vegan or can be made vegan, and includes savory crepes that use Daiya and faux meat. The House Special is incredible, and The Canadian is sure to inspire maple cravings for days. It’s a good idea, if dining with others, to order a few different crepes and share. The beverages are also terrific, and can be made with soy or almond milk. The vegan crepes themselves are also gluten-free, and Omar the owner knows his stuff. Closed on Monday, but open at 9 am on weekdays for that elusive vegan breakfast option.
1069 Bank Street (Old Ottawa South)
The newest addition to Ottawa’s vegan pizza scene is pretty fantastic. Panago is a vegan-friendly pizza chain that has just opened its first Ottawa franchise in Old Ottawa South. It offers Daiya as a free upgrade on personal pizzas (with a nominal fee for larger sizes), many vegan toppings, and even a gluten-free crust that is vegan. They keep a cheat sheet behind the counter that clearly identifies which of its menu items and toppings are vegan. The crust is what I always dreamed of during my many pizza-less years, and their topping application is generous.
This is not a sit down restaurant though; it is a take out counter with a few stools, à la Pizza Pizza. But if take out is what you want, Panago is an excellent option. Prices start at $4.75 for a base personal pizza; my husband bought a well-topped large pizza for less than $20 that provided him with four meals.
Bread & Sons Bakery
195 Bank Street (Centretown)
(613) 230 – 5302
Bread & Sons is a long-running small bakery storefront in the heart of downtown, popular amongst the downtown office staff. They are well known for their thin crust vegan pizza, and vegan sandwiches on fresh baked bread, both available at lunch. Many of the bread varieties that they have for purchase are vegan, and there’s also a good selection of teas and coffee. Seating space is limited though, so be prepared to take your food to go.
155 Bank Street (Downtown)
Recently opened, Clover is run by a former ZenKitchen sous chef, West de Castro, so vegans can trust that they’re in good hands. It focuses on simple food made using locally-sourced ingredients. Close to half of the lunch menu is vegan, and one out of four of the dinner mains is vegan (as well as two of its starters). Open for lunch Monday to Friday, and dinner Thursday through Sunday. © pamelatourigny.com
209 Gilmour Street (Centretown)
Small vegetarian cafe with sit-down area, servicing the Elgin Street lunch crowd. Serves burgers, sandwiches, soups, plus snacks, and drinks, packaged salads, and juices for sale. The food is apparently quite good and reasonably priced. The hours are limited so you have to catch them between 11-4 Mon-Sat. Vegan and gluten-free options.
Peace Garden (Vegetarian)
47 Clarence Street (Byward Market)
Peace Garden is tucked away into the Byward Market Time Square building, a quiet and sunny oasis in the heart of the bustling Market. Like Perfection Satisfaction Promise, it is run by adherents of the Sri Chimnoy group. Entirely vegetarian, it offers soups, sandwiches, salads and other vegan comfort foods. You’d be best off checking with staff to ensure that your order is vegan.
1690 Montreal Road (Gloucester)
This is an independent family run restaurant specializing in Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine, and which also has plenty of on-menu options for vegans. The owners are fluent in vegan, so you will be well taken care of. One of Ottawa’s East end’s only options for vegans!
Light of India
730 Bank Street (Glebe)
Light of India has long been a favourite amongst Ottawa area vegetarians and vegans. Located in the Glebe, many of its dishes are inherently vegetarian and the knowledgable staff will help you to identify the vegan choices. Food is served at your table on heated surfaces accompanied by all you can eat papadum. Dishes range from mild to very hot. Open seven days a week.
307 Dalhousie St. (Byward Market)
Located in the Byward Market, Ahora is a terrific and colourful Mexican restaurant that boasts substantial vegan offerings. The menu includes simple and authentic Mexican cuisine such as vegan tacos, enchiladas, burritos. All food is accompanied by the salsa bar, which serves a range of tomato salsas, salsa verdes and hot peppers. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
369 Bank Street (Centretown)
Thimblecakes is not entirely vegan, but it probably could be. This adorable bakery in Centretown (beside the Herb and Spice) boasts beautifully decorated cakes and cupcakes, as well as vegan pastries such as scones, cookies, and turnovers. There are also always gluten free options on offer, and any of their cakes and cupcakes can be ordered gluten-free. There is some limited vintage parlour-style seating, perfect for sharing a tea with a girlfriend. During the summer (and beyond) Thimblecakes also offers delicious coconut-based ice cream (by the cone, cup or container) and during the cooler months, a decadent coconut hot chocolate.
The Joy of Gluten-Free Bakery
617 Bank St, Ottawa, ON
250 Greenbank Rd #5b, Nepean
This is a small-batch from-scratch bakery and bistro created by foodie Susan Phipps. Vegan lunches, cookies, squares, breads, cupcakes and cakes available daily. Some of chef’s faves include quinoa crunch cookies, the sugar free guilt free brownie cake, yeast and refined sugar free sourdough bread and chilli with roasted carrots and sprouted beans. Don’t forget the cupcakes, lentil soup, potato tacos or Irish cream Nanaimo to name a few of the award winning bakery’s vegan items available daily. NOTE: Some items identified as vegan may contain honey, so be sure to ask.