Insider’s Guide: Vegetarian and Vegan Eats in Whistler
As a lifelong veggie, I’ve paid a lot of attention to Whistler’s growing plant-based food scene. Whether you’re a vegetarian, a vegan, or someone who’s been inspired to increase your intake of plant-based food by Canada’s latest Food Guide, Whistler has delectable food for you.
The Green Moustache
It was a big moment back in 2013 when The Green Moustache first opened its doors in Whistler Village’s Marketplace: Whistler finally had its first, exclusively veggie restaurant. Since then, The Green Mo’ has flourished and opened a second location in Function Junction (as well as a number of other spots beyond Whistler) and even has a vending machine at Meadow Park Sports Centre. The Green Moustache’s organic, whole food menu is both vegan and gluten-free. The owner Nicolette Richer is an orthomolecular health educator who also owns Richer Health so you can expect delicious and very nutritious offerings. The menu ranges from warming hearty veggie chilli and Ayurvedic kitchari to raw dishes such as the pad thai and superfood salad. There’s also a daily soup, a delicious selection of juices and smoothies (Magnum is my personal favourite) and wonderful vegan desserts (all of which are my favourite). Your little ones can choose from rice or quinoa-based bowls and lighter meals such as veggie and hummus or apples and nut butter.
Rendezvous and Raven’s Nest at Whistler Blackcomb
Whistler Blackcomb’s restaurants do an impressive job of providing yummy and affordable vegetarian and vegan meals on-mountain. The Rendezvous on Blackcomb Mountain is particularly good; it is easy to get to via the new Blackcomb Gondola or the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola (so you can visit whether you are up the mountain sightseeing or on skis or a snowboard). The Rendezvous has a Thai inspired bowl with choices for the sauce, vegetables and rice or noodles; there is also a smaller kids’ size. The Taqueria has burritos, tacos or salad. The Grill menu has a quinoa and cheddar burger that can be made vegan.
Did you know that Whistler Mountain also has a small all-vegetarian restaurant called Raven’s Nest at the top of the Creekside Gondola? (You’ll need a lift ticket or pass to reach it.) Raven’s Nest has soups (vegetable Thai curry and coconut, Moroccan pea and yam, Tuscan country vegetable), stews (chickpea and vegetable stew, chipotle vegetable chili), salads and baked goods, as well as a coffee bar.
Tandoori Grill feels like a hidden gem: the restaurant is upstairs on the corner of Main Street and Northlands Boulevard and has been offering a great selection of Indian food since 1997. They have a vegetarian and vegan menu with 15 dishes ranging from chickpea chana masala to eggplant bharta, with a choice of spiciness from 1 – 5. You can choose from boiled or pulao rice and add sides such as peshwari naan stuffed with coconut, raisins and pistachios. They open from 11:30 AM for lunchtime and at 5 PM for dinner.
The Naked Sprout is a juice bar slash cafe with a lot of veggie and gluten-free options. They are located right in the centre of the Village at Sundial Place, so they are perfect to pop into if you need a quick, healthy meal or snack. The Naked Sprout menu has grilled paninis, a ramen bowl, a miso quinoa bowl, raw desserts and a wonderful variety of fresh smoothies, juices and shots.
Earls is a fantastic après location. It is fancy enough to feel a bit special, has a broad crowd-pleasing menu, offers happy hour drinks and food from 3 – 5 PM, and somehow always manages to have a bustling weekend-y vibe. Their veggie selection has expanded recently and includes a vegan quinoa and avocado power bowl, sushi such as a green dragon roll, as well as spicy tofu tacos or a crispy tofu Zen bowl.
Aura Restaurant at Nita Lake Lodge
Aura Restaurant at Nita Lake Lodge describes itself as combining west coast ingredients with traditional French cooking techniques – French techniques are not always veggie-friendly but Aura is a happy exception. They offer Meatless Mondays: a vegan three-course menu with optional wine pairings (and gluten-free options). The menu includes smoked tomato soup (does anyone else miss tomato soup after dropping dairy from their diet?), butternut squash farro risotto and – hooray – a vegan ice cream sundae. The location has lake views and the lodge is luxurious and modern.
Also in Creekside is the delectably fragrant Creekbread, with its big, wood-fired, clay pizza oven, heavy wooden tables and relaxed atmosphere. Located a short walk from the Creekside Gondola, no one will look twice if you show up in your ski/snowboard boots. It’s also a good place to bring children (the booths are handy with little ones). Like most pizza places, Creekbread is very veggie-friendly: the Pemberton potato pie pizza is a popular choice. There is also a dairy-free vegan tree hugger pizza with caramelized onions, mushrooms, olives and garlic oil.
If you’re looking for baked goods, Purebread is the place to go, you can find them in the Village and Function Junction (the Function Junction location is perfect if you need a snack for the drive to Vancouver). Purebread has an outstanding smorgasbord of brownies, sweet loaves, cakes, scones, breads, and several lunch sandwiches and pies. There is plenty for vegans too: the selection varies daily, but often includes blackberry coconut as well as chocolate coconut almond scones. There is a vegan coconut banana loaf and a chocolate cake with a soy ganache. There are soft, fluffy vegan biscuits oozing with raspberry rhubarb or blueberry puree. And a cookie collection that includes a flourless chocolate cookie, a double chocolate peanut butter cookie and a Hippy Dippy breakfast cookie with peanut butter, coffee, oats, fruit and seeds. Most of their freshly baked bread is also vegan; get their ciabatta for sandwiches or their hazelnut fig for breakfast toast.
Is your mouth watering yet? Whistler has over a hundred different places to eat, most of them fantastic for veggies. Just ask your friendly server for guidance. Visit the dining guide on Whistler.com for more ideas.