Vegetarian and vegan dining used to involve joylessly munching through heaping bowls of rice and mung beans. But in recent years, innovative meat-free restaurants have hit the mainstream in BC—including a full menu of new and established herbivore-happy eateries right here in Richmond.
Read on for some of our favourite local meat-free hot spots. And if you’ve discovered your own beloved plant-based dishes in the city (many restaurants offer a tasty option or two), snap a photo and share it using our #RichmondMoments hashtag.
#160 - 7771 Westminster Highway
A stalwart of Richmond’s veggie dining scene, this small, often clamorous restaurant pioneered the looks-like-meat-but-isn’t approach. Its huge menu includes dozens of dishes that closely emulate the textures and flavours of popular meaty mains and starters, including vegetarian gyozas, deep-fried oyster mushrooms that echo chicken wings, and Chinese cut buns stuffed with what only seems to be thick slabs of velvety barbecued pork. Service at 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine is friendly and efficient and the trick is to order a range of smaller dishes to share with friends.
Gyozas at 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine. | Photo: John Lee
#210 - 3791 Bayview Street
Over in Steveston, both Kove Kitchen and Britannia Brewing offer up hearty vegetarian burgers for diners. But the friendly folks at Cimona go a little further, with more than a dozen meat-free dishes—each marked by a green leaf logo—studding their menu. These diner-style veggie comfort options include grilled veggie burgers, falafel wraps, and a bulging veggie sandwich (be sure to add some yam fries to your order). There are also some satisfying breakfast and brunch dishes such as spinach and tomato eggs benedict and a grilled veggie hash breakfast bowl, complete with poached eggs and pan-fried potatoes.
#115 - 3900 Bayview Street
An intriguing new weekend-only brunch option is also available across the street from Cimona at Purpose Smoothie Co., a small, health-forward café with a menu that’s almost entirely vegetarian. Their lip-smacking new vegan protein waffles are a tasty treat, topped with fresh fruit, acai-blueberry drizzle, and a serving of decadent coconut whip. But if you’re in a savoury mood, their regular menu includes salads, veggie wraps, and rice bowls plus lots of fresh-made smoothies.
Vegan protein waffles at Steveston’s Purpose Smoothie Co. | Photo: John Lee
Ji Xiang Vegetarian Cuisine
Located in the President Plaza Food Court, 8181 Cambie Road
Head upstairs to this hidden gem food court to find one of the city’s best mom-and-pop-style vegetarian stands—and a much more extensive meat-free menu than most far-larger veggie eateries. Peruse the counter’s handy gallery of photos depicting an almost countless array of meat-free beef, chicken, and barbecued pork dishes—but don’t miss the brothy, delicious, and highly shareable (unless you’re really hungry) golden mushroom with tofu skin hot pot.
Golden mushroom with tofu skin hot pot at Ji Xiang Vegetarian Cuisine. | Photo: John Lee
Tasty Veggie Kitchen
Located in the Parker Place Food Court, 4380 No.3 Road
Carnivores keen to cut their meat intake should beeline to this new Parker Place food court stand. Using plant-based products that emulate the textures and flavours of meat, they’ve created an intriguing, entirely vegetarian menu that would easily satisfy most meat lovers. They haven’t been open long but the most popular dish so far is the delicious Chef’s Special, a bento-box-style platter of rice, boiled eggs and veggies complete with slices of vegetarian ham and juicy cuts of barbecued veggie pork. On our visit, this was served with a large bowl of fortifying lotus root soup.
The Chef’s Special bento-box-style platter at Tasty Veggie Kitchen. | Photo: John Lee
#110 - 8291 Westminster Highway
Another new kid on the plant-based block, Dharma offers a full menu of Vietnamese classic dishes, all made entirely without meat. That means tempting noodle soup bowls—veggie chicken, fish cakes, and beef balls included—plus eight vegetarian versions of those crunchy banh mi sub sandwiches, including shredded pork and veggie meat loaf versions. Don’t forget to add some salad rolls to your order as well, including the delicious mango and basil option.