For the past few years I have been thinking a lot about eating a more sustainable and healthy diet. Over the last two years I started eating only “sustainably sourced” meats and then started cutting back on even that. Recently I have become a vegetarian and since I have IBS and am lactose intolerant, I also don’t eat much dairy. This diet change has improved my health and decreased my carbon footprint significantly. Plus I can honestly say that I have found so many delicious vegetarian and vegan food options out there!
I have spent the last two years, give or take, living in Victoria, BC and Mexico City. While in Victoria I only visited my hometown of Kelowna a few times to catch up with family, friends and my fiancé. Now that I am back, and have recently become a vegetarian, I have had such a fun time exploring all the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants, cafes and food trucks that Kelowna has to offer.
***Please keep in mind that these are my absolute favorite vegan and vegetarian spots in Kelowna. Luckily there are plenty more restaurants and cafes in this city that offer vegan and vegetarian options and if I stumble upon another place that becomes a favorite of mine, I will definitely add it here.***
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The Naked Cafe is amazing. Everything is vegan so I didn’t have to worry about ordering my coffee with almond milk. They have lots of different lattes to choose from as well as sweet vegan cupcakes and cheesecakes by Daiya. The Naked Cafe also has a mouthwatering main menu featuring soups, salads, bowls and burgers. They want everyone to feel welcome, including meat eaters so they offer many different types of burgers to choose from and even have poutine as well! They have amazing reviews and it’s no wonder why.
I really enjoyed their Avo-Bonzo Toast for breakfast and drooled over the Buffalo Trickin’ Burger. I also love their bowls specifically the Buffalo Chickpea Caesar. Basically just thinking about everything I have tried there makes my mouth start watering. If I’m just looking for a snack I often find myself craving their perfectly seasoned fries or their cupcakes with vegan buttercream icing.
The best part about visiting the Naked Cafe was that for so long I have been ordering my coffees with almond or coconut milk and without whipped cream. Having been lactose intolerant for so long I had given up on ever having a coffee with whipped cream. I mean I knew that there were a few brands out there that I could buy to have at home but I rarely did and honestly I drink more coffee out of the house. My first time in at the Naked Cafe I ordered a latte and when it was handed to me I could not have been happier. A generous dollop of creamy coco whip was floating on my steaming coffee. In fact all their lattes feature this delicious whipped cream which I keep going back for.
The Gratitude Cafe is not only totally vegan but serves a lot of raw vegan food as well. I have gone there a few times and been overwhelmed at how delicious everything is. The sauces on the Dill Pickle Pesto Cucumber Veggie Roll were straight up drool worthy. It can definitely be hard to find creamy sauces when you’re dairy free but these ones were amazing and really brightened up the whole dish.
Update: The Gratitude Cafe no longer exists as a cafe, but the owner and chef, Kristi, can be contacted to set up a private meal for you or cater an event. She now works out of her home. You can call 778-478-9090 for all inquiries or check her out on Instagram.
I’ve visited Glow a few times and never been disappointed. They have delicious salads and raw vegan zucchini spaghetti that’s to die for! Plus their juices are not only super tasty, but extremely good for your body too. You can go in and pick a juice for it’s flavor or for a specific health benefit. Last time I went there I got one that was designed for energy and it was delicious. One thing to be aware of if you’re zero waste is that their juices are packaged totally in plastic, but I’m pretty sure you can still order a smoothie and get it to go in a reusable bottle or jar if you bring one.
I’ve only visited King’s once but was very pleased when I did. King’s is a food stall that shows up at the Kelowna Farmer’s Market often in the summer. They also have stalls that get set up at the Vernon and Lake Country Farmer’s Markets as well and they also have a home delivery service too.
King’s serves vegetarian and vegan Chinese snack foods that are sweet, spicy and savory. My favorites from King’s are the spring rolls and the boiled dumplings.
Before I get started on restaurants and cafes in Kelowna that have good options for vegetarians, I need to say that there are a ton of them. In Canada, most breakfast restaurants and cafes have some vegetarian options or are vegetarian friendly. Restaurants that are more popular around lunch and dinner time also often have tend to have some options. For this reason I will only be listing my favorite spots and also only listing those that have a good variety of vegetarian options. This means places where the options are not just salads.
Chopped Leaf is another favorite of mine. This place is known for selling fuel food, you know, food that actually fuels your body and is extremely healthy for you. Their specialty is salads and soups but they also serve paninis as well. They are licensed so you can grab a beer with your meal but I usually opt for kombucha. When I’m not ordering a salad, I usually opt for one of their soups which they serve with the crunchiest and most delicious croutons I’ve ever had. They have tons of vegetarian and vegan options and they even have a helpful list at the counter with all their vegan options listed on it.
Social serves all sorts of food, including foods with meat, but they actually have an entire vegan menu as well! I have only tried a few items from Social but I keep getting cravings to go back for more. The Vegan Chick’n Parmesan is to die for and I can’t believe I’ve only had it one time. It was so freaking creamy and I honestly hadn’t had food that creamy since becoming lactose intolerant four years ago. Last time I went there I got their vegan bruschetta and it was so good that instead of ordering a desert I just ordered another full plate of vegan bruschetta all over again!
The Curious Cafe has a really unique atmosphere with many long communal picnic tables to eat at along with smaller tables as well. Not only is it a great place to meet people but they also have vegan options on their menu as well. The last time I went there I got the vegan pizza and Arturo got the risotto and they were so delicious. It was seriously the perfect vegan comfort food night and everything was insanely creamy. Plus we also got a delicious vegan chocolate mousse for desert after which was wonderful since I hadn’t had chocolate mousse in years since becoming lactose intolerant.
Krafty Kitchen & Bar is amazing because they have so many vegan options and they are part of the Kelowna Farm to Table Guide. Another wonderful thing about Krafty´s is they serve brunch until 3pm! Night owls rejoice! I´ve actually only been to Krafty´s twice but both times I was extremely happy with my food. The two things I have had there are the Vegan Caesar Salad and the Vegan´s Rock Bennie. They both have such creamy sauces and are seriously cooked to perfection.
La Lupita is a new restuarant in town that serves incredibly authentic Mexican cuisine. They specialize in tapas and mezcal. They even have a map of Mexico in part of the restaurant indicating where different types of mezcal and tequila come from! While the drinks are amazing, it´s the food that has won both myself, and my fiance Arturo, over. Whenever we got to a Mexican restaurant I always ask Arturo how authentic he thinks it is, and La Lupita got a big thumbs up from him.
The first thing you must order at La Lupita is the guacamole. The waiters will come to your table and mix the guacamole together right in front of you using a traditional molcajete. A molcajete is basically a mortar and pestle made from volcanic lava rock.
After eating the mouth-watering guacamole, check out the Vegetarian section of the menu. It´s pretty easy to order most of the things there without cheese to make them vegan if you choose as well. My two favorites off this part of the menu are the Hippie Sayulita Bowl and the Vegetarian Taccos.
The Bohemian Cafe is my favourite breakfast food spot in Kelowna. I am in love with their eggs benedicts! Ok, I’m basically in love with almost all their meal options. You can even choose what breakfast items you love best and build your own meal around it. My favorite menu items are the huevos rancheros, spinach eggs benedict, and their side dish of A-BOH-cado. The A-BOH-cado is an avocado stuffed with salsa and it’s so yummy. I don’t think they have many vegan options but as you can tell, there’s tons of vegetarian options. If you love breakfast as much as I do then definitely check out The Bohemian Cafe.
Asian restaurants often have lots of vegetarian options and Soy Fusion is no exception. I go to Soy a lot because it’s very close to where I work. I have literally had dreams of Soy before and I crave their food often. My favourite things to order at Soy are their spring rolls, terryaki tofu and veggie yakisoba.
Zabb is an amazing Thai Restaurant in Kelowna and I cannot recommend it enough. You can make any dish vegetarian by requesting tofu instead of meat. Just make sure you request ‘no fish oil’ as well. Seriously, though, their Pad Thai is the most authentic Pad Thai I have tasted since traveling Thailand in 2015. There are two Zabb locations in Kelowna that you can visit but they also do take out and delivery.
If you’re a Bellini lover then you’re probably already familiar with Milestones. Milestones has lots of options for delicious vegetarian food as well. My favourite dish at Milestones is the Mediterranean Goat Cheese Platter. It comes with garlic bread, arugula, fig jam, roasted garlic, and of course, creamy goat cheese.
The Bean Scene is a cafe that I actually work really close to which is awesome when I don’t have time to make breakfast or I forget my lunch. They have quite a few vegetarian and vegan options including vegan chickpea curry, vegan soups, muffins, energy balls and even vegan chocolate brownies. The Bean Scene also has veggie breakfast sandwiches and wraps and they also have almond milk for lattes. My favorite menu items from The Bean Scene are the veggie breakfast sandwich, the vegan chickpea curry and the peanut butter chocolate bar.
This amazing pizza place is super close to my house, but a little bit of a drive out of town for most people. However, it is so worth the trip! It’s a small pizzeria but everything is made by hand and they are actually part of the Kelowna Farm to Table guide. This means they source mainly local ingredients which is terrific. There aren’t any vegan options but they have two veggie pizzas that I am in love with. One is called The Harvest, which since I’m lactose intolerant, I always order with goat cheese instead of other cheeses. The Harvest is loaded with mushrooms, roast peppers, corn, red cabbage and caramelized onions. Goat cheese doesn’t bother my stomach for some reason and it tastes so good. The other veggie pizza is called G for Goat. I haven’t tried it yet but it looks delicious.
Bellissimo only has a few picnic tables for outdoor seating but you can always get take out or delivery as well.
My fiance, Arturo, and I love going out to eat tacos because it reminds us of Mexico. For Arturo, tacos are extra special as they remind him of home. El Taquero works well for us because Arturo is not vegetarian but there are options for both of us. They don’t have a ton of options, but the three or four veggie tacos they do serve are super yummy. My favorite tacos from El Taquero are the sweet potato tacos but the cauliflower ones are a close second.
I am so happy I found out about Dosa Crepe Cafe. Dosas are a traditional kind of Indian crepe that are typically stuffed with masala, veggies and spiced potatoes. Dosa is located in Rutland and has tons of vegetarian and vegan options. Plus look at how massive that crepe is! It cost me just over $7 and I could only finish half of it. I had to take the rest home to have as leftovers. My favorite part about this meal was how many unique and delicious sauces it came with. Also the price for how much food I got was pretty enticing as well. So far I have only been to Dosa once but I definitely have plans to go again soon.
Ok so I normally would not have posted this pub here because they do not have very many vegetarian options and they definitely don’t have any vegan options. However, Arturo and I go to Brandt’s Creek Pub quite a lot for beer because it’s super close to his house and ever since I tasted it, I have ordered the veggie burger every single time. It is truly my absolute favorite veggie burger in all of Kelowna. The veggie patty is delicious but I think the best part of this burger is the fact that there are deep fried onion rings inside of it which just give it such an amazing crunch. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! So if you’re really in the mood for a veggie burger, make sure you check it out.
April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies for Sustainable Travel. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.
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