If you’re tired of showing up at restaurants and finding only one or two vegetarian dishes to choose from, Calgary has a slew of restaurants that offer vegetarian, vegan or vegetarian-friendly menus. With plenty of choices for vegetarians and vegans, many of them also have meatier options to satisfy meat loving dining companions.
If you usually get stuck with plain cheese on pizza nights, you’ll want to check out this eatery. At Avatara Pizza, seven of the 10 fire-roasted pizzas on the menu are vegetarian. You can also make them vegan by opting for vegan mozzarella. And the vegetarian pizzas aren’t boring either — the Picasso pizza, for instance, features a tomato pesto sauce, mozzarella and feta cheese, pine nuts, green peppers, sun-dried tomatoes and artichokes. You can also build your own vegetarian/vegan pizza by choosing from toppings like vegan mozzarella, various nuts, crushed falafel chips, mushrooms, mango chutney, peppers, spinach and more.
3406 3 Ave. N.W., 403-457-4992, avatarapizza.com
For those who love spending a night catching up with friends at the bar, but can’t touch most of the menu, there’s Broken City. The popular pub and live music venue turns the typical bar food menu on its head with several vegetarian and vegan options. Are your friends getting chicken wings? Try the vegan-friendly cauliflower wings, which are breaded cauliflower florets covered in sauce. Craving a burger? The poipu burger features a vegan patty topped with lettuce, tomato, grilled pineapple and guacamole. The menu also features chickpea fries, vegan chili, falafel pitas, hummus wraps and more.
613 11 Ave. S.W., 403-262-9976, brokencity.ca
Buddha’s Veggie Restaurant offers up a huge menu featuring a range of Asian fusion dishes. While there are meaty and vegetarian options here, the vegetarian menu is significantly longer than the meat menu. Favourites like ginger beef, dumplings and sweet and sour pork come in both meat and vegetarian versions, so no one has to miss out. If you’re eating here with a few fellow vegetarians, consider the vegetarian combos for two, three, four or six people.
5802 Macleod Tr. S., 403-252-8830, buddhasveggie.com
When an eatery claims that “over one hundred pounds of freshly-cut vegetables [make their] way into [its] dishes every day,” you know it’s a place where vegetarians will feel at home. Around half the Asian fusion dishes at Cafe Koi are either vegetarian or vegan, plus there are several gluten free options. Mondays are a particularly good day to be a vegetarian at Cafe Koi; you can save $1 on vegetarian and vegan appetizers and save $2 on vegetarian and vegan entrees.
100, 1011 1 St. S.W., 403-206-1564, cafekoi.com
Offering up some of the best Indian cuisine in the city, Clay Oven knows how to make everyone happy. Along with meaty dishes, Clay Oven makes several vegetarian and vegan dishes including vegetable biryani, fresh okra, three kinds of daal (a lentil dish), mutter paneer and more. Don’t forget to add some fresh bread — ranging from naan to chapati to paratha — to your meal as well.
1, 3131 27 St. N.E., 403-250-2161, clayovencalgary.com
One of the most popular vegetarian restaurants in the city, The Coup’s food is beloved by plant and meat eaters alike. The ethically minded restaurant uses a lot of organic and local ingredients and environmentally friendly products. Offering lunch, dinner and weekend breakfast, the inventive, meat-free menu takes vegetarian fare to the next level with items like red-fife pita chips, tandoori cauliflower wings, tempeh shawarma and hot pot with a spicy coconut tomato lime broth. Don’t forget to check out the fun cocktail list as well.
924 17 Ave. S.W., 403-541-1041, thecoup.ca
Finding plant-based fare in the Inglewood and Ramsay area just got a lot easier thanks to the recent opening of The Dandelion. Open for breakfast and lunch, the vegan eatery serves dishes like chik-tan and waffles, jackfruit tacos, breakfast bowls, baked goods and more in a small yet cozy space amidst the homes of Ramsay. Keep in mind that the cafe doesn’t offer take-out containers, so bring one from home if you’re not planning on dining in.
1048 8 St. S.E., facebook.com
Eating at the mall doesn’t mean you have to eat greasy fast food. With two of its three locations at CF Market Mall and The Core, dirtbelly offers a fresh, healthy alternative to the usual food court fare. Create a dish by choosing up to four different rotating salads featuring vegetables like charred carrots, sweet potato, sweet mustard charred broccoli, zucchini and more. Or, try a baco, a “half bread, “half taco” hybrid filled with any of those same salad offerings. Salmon, chicken breast and ahi tuna can also be added.
Three locations, dirtbelly.com
An Indian buffet that runs all day for only $13. Need we say more? Starting at 11 a.m. every day, you can help yourself to all the Indian food you can eat, or order individual vegetarian dishes like chole puri, paneer and curry pakora from the menu. Five Rivers also has a selection of vegetarian pizzas and desserts, and you can order a sweet or salty lassi with your meal to wash it all down.
11 Castleridge Blvd. N.E., 403-258-1111, fiveriversindiancuisine.ca
Whoever says salads are boring has clearly never been to Fork and Salad. This casual eatery offers more than a dozen creative salads, as well as breakfast bowls, soups, drinks and snacks. Try salads like the “Hummus Do You Love Me,” which features shredded kale, romaine lettuce, pita chips, hummus, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, feta cheese, baked falafel and tzatziki dressing. You can also create your own salad by choosing from different bases, ingredients, premiums and dressings.
120, 880 16 Ave. S.W., 403-455-7300, forkandsalad.com
Hearts Choices makes it easy for Calgarians to get their hands on vegan fare thanks to its multiple locations around the city. There’s the Hearts Choices Cafe Market in northeast Calgary, which serves up dishes like Thai green curry, a barbecue pulled porkless burger, pad Thai and jackfruit poutine. Then there’s its Thai Vegan Cafe that’s been open along Macleod Trail since 2014. This location offers a larger selection of Thai vegan dishes. Finally, there are its locations at the Calgary Farmers’ Market and the Granary Road Public Market, where you can pick up frozen vegan curries, sauces and snacks to enjoy at home.
Various locations, heartschoices.com
If there’s a mix of vegetarians and meat lovers in your friend group, this Nepali restaurant on 17 Ave. S.W. may be a good place to visit together. While many of the dishes feature chicken, shrimp or lamb, there are also several dishes that will keep vegetarians happy. Think cottage cheese chili, steamed vegetable dumplings, grilled eggplant stir-fry, vegetarian chatamari and more. Traditional dishes like dal bhat, which you can have with lamb, chicken or cottage cheese, can also be enjoyed by everyone.
3218 17 Ave. S.W., 403-984-3384, himalayancuisine.ca
This Ethiopian restaurant in Kensington offers meat and vegetarian options at lunch and dinner. The entrees come with your choice of rice and salad or injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread that acts as both a plate and an eating utensil. And if you want to try a range of Ethiopian fare, order one of the combination platters that can be enjoyed individually or by a few people.
130 10 St. N.W., 403-283-6796, marathonethiopianrestaurantcalgary.com
For delicious East Indian food, head to Moti Mahal. The menu, full of vegetarian and meat dishes, is laid out by specialties like chicken, lamb, seafood, paneer, tandoori and vegetable. The vegetable specialties is one of the bigger sections, with options like chopped okra, tandoori eggplant and potato and paneer dumplings. Other vegetarian options include lentils (dhal), vegetable samosas, vegetable pakoras and more.
1805 14 St. S.W., 403-228-9990 and 38, 240 Midpark Way S.E., 403-201-7336, motimahal.ca
Raw Eatery & Market has been making the Kensington area a little more health-conscious with its focus on local ingredients. The small yet creative menu features vegan dishes like “egg” salad made with scrambled tofu, zucchini pasta salad and tacos with “sunflower seed taco meat.” Raw Eatery & Market also holds workshops where you can learn more about making vegan food and special events like yoga and brunch mornings.
Unit 2, 1145 Kensington Cres. N.W., thecollectiveraw.com
One of Calgary’s newest vegan eateries can be found inside Heavens Fitness in the Beltline. You won’t find any meat on the Korean-inspired menu at SaVeg, just plenty of plant-based goodness. Expect dishes like scrambled tofu, bibimbap, sweet chili smoked tofu wraps, salad rolls and smoothies.
637 11 Ave. S.W., 403-263-3126, savegcafe.ca
Located in Mission, Seed N Salt offers a range of healthy (and largely vegetarian) food options. There’s avocado toast and smoothie bowls to start your day off, and then salads and bowls if you need something a bit more substantial later. Almost all of the salad and bowl options are vegetarian, though you can add protein like shrimp, falafel, egg, chicken or tofu for an extra cost. You can also build your own salads and bowls.
2008 4 St. S.W., 403-460-9904, seednsalt.com
If you’re a vegetarian who often eats with non-vegetarians, the vegetable-focused Ten Foot Henry is a great compromise. Around two thirds of the menu features vegetable and pasta sharing plates, such as jerk spice cauliflower, broccolini with egg and bagna cauda, and chargrilled carrots with salsa verde, hummus and chickpeas. There are also a few meat and fish sharing plates for those who want to add a bit of meat to their meal.
1209 1 St. S.W., 403-475-5537, tenfoothenry.com
Work downtown and forgot your lunch? Hop over to Veg-In YYC for a meal that’s healthy and tasty. The vegetarian and vegan eatery offers veggie burritos stuffed with ingredients like barbecue jackfruit, sweet potato or paneer, as well as burgers, samosas and flatbreads. There’s even vegan cake for dessert in flavours like double chocolate and blueberry lavendar.
215 6 Ave. S.E., 587-351-5253, veginyyc.com