Vegan in Calgary

Calgary, endearingly known as “Cowtown” to some (but not to me), is one of the last places many expect to find quality vegan food. However, the options are there. So, here you have it folks; my comprehensive guide to veganism in the city. Obviously, I won’t be able to list alllll my favourite places, so I have included a link to my Yelp Reviews if you’d like to check out more!

Sarah Louise’s Top Favourite Vegan Eats in Calgary:

The Coup(Central SW)
Hands down my long time favourite vegetarian restaurant in all of Alberta. This vegetarian restaurant is located on the coveted uptown 17th Avenue district. One of my go-to favourites around brunch/lunchtime at  The Coup is the Messy Jane! There aren’t many joints I would pay money for a tofu scramble when I make them so much at the home, but the miso gravy is the best thing I’ve ever had.

Messy Janes w/pesto greens soup, courtesy of The Coup.
Messy Janes w/pesto greens soup, courtesy of The Coup.

Other favourites of mine, on the dinner menu, include the Upstream Burger, and Dragon Bowl with green coconut curry. Their sundried tomato hummus is always awesome, as are the cajun tempeh sticks, if you are just cruisin’ for some appetizers before dessert (EAT THE CHOCOLATE TORTE. DO IT).

Blue Star Diner(Central NE)
This is the Bridgeland cousin to Dairy Lane, which is located in Kensington. These two diners have similar (if not identical) menus that focus on local, organic food sources. This is a very omnivorous restaurant, with a couple vegan options! For brunch, they have a unique Vegan Scramble which features maple coconut curry, tofu, basil, veggies, avocados, etc. You can also grab their cozy hot cereal with a pitcher of soy milk and add some hemp hearts! For lunch or dinner? Try their delicious black bean soup, or their Vegan Black Bean Burger with a colorful side green salad! They also serve great coffees and organic tea, and have a good beer selection!

Naaco Truck (SW, various)
This is hands down my favourite food truck option in Calgary that has launched recently. The Naaco Truck only has one vegan option, but the first time I tried it, it was so delicious I almost died of happy. Order the Bodacious Bhaji (chickpea fritters, NOT falafel) on rice with a side order of Mogo Chips. Mention that you are vegan, and their awesome staff will be sure to omit the cheese from your order! Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate their environmental efforts in using all compostable materials, and having a HERB GARDEN ON THE ROOF OF THEIR TRUCK?! Check their website, as they operate on a seasonal food truck type schedule. Their homebase is Kingsland Market, but you  can find them around the city if you stalk them on twitter. I LOVE YOU NAACO TRUCK!

Prime Tandoori House (Central NE)
This is my go-to takeout place for Indian food in Calgary. They are always very accomodating when I specify I am vegan (I feel as though I’m probably a regular there by now). I always mention on the phone or online when I order that I need all animal products including butter, ghee, cream, milk, yogurt, etc omitted from my dishes. So, if you’re vegan, and ordering from here, I would maybe be sure to mention this to be safe.
The food is always lovely, and they recently renovated so I look forward to eating in sometime soon!

Taste of Saigon(NW)
The primary reason I’ve chosen to include Taste of Saigon, is because they actually have a whole vegetarian section, and when I first visited here, the kitchen staff were quite knowledgeable as to which of their selections were vegan friendly. They can make you some tasty deep fried spring rolls with rice paper instead of their normal ingredients (you just have to ask and mention you’re vegan), as well as some beautiful fresh salad rolls! Also tried a vegetable curry dish here, which was a win. They have a vegan “fish sauce” as well as a great peanut sauce.

Zen-e-Lunchbox(SW Downtown)
Nestled in the old space of Veggie House in Chinatown, this is my new favourite vegetarian Chinese food place. I would recommend the tofu rolls, dumplings, and noodle dish, and the vegan ginger beef. They also have a great little gluten combo if you are looking for something quick. I was so excited when these guys opened up earlier this year, as Chinatown has been a little short on vegan options with recent closures of other establishments. Guys, the owner is so damn friendly. When I asked for a takeout menu and they didn’t have one yet, he literally gave me the only one he had printed and insisted I take it home with me. Prices are reasonable, and this is an informal, food court type setting. Grab some takeout, and sit by the river!

tofu rolls. amaaaze. love you zen-e-lunchbox!
tofu rolls. amaaaze. love you zen-e-lunchbox

Buddha’s Veggie Fusion(SW)
Admittedly, I was boycotting Buddha’s Veggie for awhile. A couple years ago, this long standing vegetarian restaurant added a meat menu, which really bummed me out for awhile. However, they have maintained their entire vegetarian menu, and I’ve been told all the veggie food is still cooked separately which is reassuring. For years, even my omnivorous family has enjoyed Buddha’s Veggie. I grew up in a small town outside of Calgary, and this is where we enjoyed many special occasions. The ginger beef is an obvious favourite here. I also recommend any of the shanghai noodle dishes, panfried dumplings, dry ribs sweet and sour pineapple “pork,” and the lemon “chicken”!

lemon "chicken" at buddha's veggie. prettttty presentation!
lemon “chicken” at buddha’s veggie. prettttty presentation!

Cedar’s Deli (NE, NW)
I am totally aware that most of you are going to roll your eyes at me, because falafel is a very obvious vegan staple food. However, let it be known, that Cedar’s is amazeballs, and extra vegan friendly. Did you know they have TWO DIFFERENT SYMBOLS on their menu to signify when an item is VEGAN or just VEGETARIAN?! Aside from the typical wraps of falafel or tabouleh and hummus, they have quite a few vegan friendly salads, samosas, etc. They have a great sit down location on Edmonton Trail that I’ve long frequented. The staff is friendly, and they have a cute little patio that can seat a few people. There is also now a location in Market Mall.

This babely tabouleh salad and falafel balls are from Cedar's!
This babely tabouleh salad and falafel balls are from Cedar’s! Fancy plates because I was eating these on home alongside some homemade dolmades and a beer on TREAT YOSELF TUESDAY.

Tazza Deli and Grill (Central NE)
Tazza easily ties with Cedar’s as my two favourite places to grab falafel in the city. Located in the central community of Bridgeland, Tazza is an ideal spot for a quick lunch. Especially when the patio is open and you can enjoy some sunshine (unless you’re a vampire like me, then you’ll wince at it). While their falafel is bomb, I usually go for their hummus and tabouleh wrap which is equally amazing. They also carry my favourite yerba mate iced teas, the Guayaki tall cans with cheeky graphics of badass revolutionary figures on them. Try the Revel Berry, it’s my favourite!

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria (Central SW)
Yeah, I’m aware other cities have Famoso too! However, I just thought I would mention these guys as they are kind of awesome! Famoso has a plethora of vegetarian pizza selections, which can be made vegan simply by subbing Daiya vegan cheese at no additional cost! My favourite order is the Primavera pizza (mushrooms, artichokes, olives, nommmmmz) with Daiya cheese, and a side Napoli salad! For dessert, they always have three non-dairy sorbet options on hand, by Calgary’s own Fiasco Gelato!

Pubs/Breweries

Oak Tree Tavern
Recently, I have been enjoying this little pub nestled in the popular district of Kensington. I was initially attracted to the Oak Tree Tavern because they have a couple vegan offerings which include a great vegan burger, as well as a vegetarian chili. This cozy pub also posts weekly live music (no cover), movie nights, and a pretty good beer selection as well!
Hop in Brew
This is one of my favourite places to bring friends from out of town. An adorable little character home is the framework for this awesome pub that boasts the best selection of craft beers in Calgary. I almost don’t want to tell you about the Hop because you might start going there and making it busy on weekdays which is my favourite time to go. They have a great tap selection. Some of my favourite go-tos are the Yukon Red, Wild Rose Velvet Fog, Hop Head (Tree Brewing), all of which I can confirm are vegan friendly. I must admit I usually get here when the kitchen is already closed, but once I came here and they made us a cheeseless vegetarian pizza which I was happy they would do at all! 
hop
Wild Rose Brewery
Wild Rose Brewery is a serious Calgary gem. Whenever I travel to other cities, I always expect their microbreweries to be as awesome as Wild Rose and then I get let down. This brewery, located a little off the beaten path in the Currie Barracks area, boasts an amazing taproom, where you can either stop in and grab a six pack, twelve pack, or “party pig,” or sit down for awhile and have some brews and eats. They always have a seasonal beer on the go, but my favourite selections are the Velevet Fog as I mentioned earlier, and the Wraspberry Ale is pretty popular as well. I was a little bummed that they took the vegan chili off the menu recently, but I’m still happy to nom on a giant salad with Wraspberry Vinegrette, as well as some tortilla chips with dip or hummus. Their menu is deepfryer free!
Kensington Wine Market
Kensington Wine Market is a liquor store and not a pub, but I am going to recommend it anyways. Not only do they have an overwhelming wine selection where you’re guaranteed to find some vegan selections with ease, but they also have an awesome beer selection! I can always rely on Kensington Wine Market to have the best pumpkin beer selections in the autumn, and something else I haven’t tried every other time of the year!  Friendly, knowledgeable staff, too!

FROZEN TREATS!
Yep. Leave it to me to include an entire selection on vegan frozen treats!
Tutti Frutti
Recently, Calgary was lucky enough to have Tutti Frutti open up! Currently, we only have a location on 17th Ave SW, but I hear two more are scheduled to open up around the city in the near future. This is a fantastic self serve frozen yogurt joint. At this particular location they currently have four vegan friendly options at all times- two soy froyos, and two sorbets! Pick your poison, than go up to their vast toppings bar and go crazy! My first visit was recent, where I indulged in Soy Latte froyo, topped with strawberries, crushed oreo cookies, almonds, coconut, and chocolate drizzle! Needless, to say, I was the happiest girl ever.
l
Amato Gelato
This establishment boasts a great selection of non-dairy sorbets, and also carries vanilla and chocolate toffutti ice creams as well! My favourite selection is probably the coconut sorbet when they have it, but they have so many you can visit a dozen times and still have a new vegan friendly flavour each visit!
Fiasco Gelato
These folks used to have a storefront, but now they have hit the roads with an awesome gelato truck that I’m always happy to see at summer festivals! This past Calgary Folk Festival, I tried the Blueberry Basil sorbet and it BLEW MY MIND. Like I said earlier, you can also try these fantastic gelatos at Famoso, if you’re so inclined!

Grocery
Often times, people ask me for advice on where to get my staple foods. I am not going to give you huge descriptions of each place like I have for my favourite restaurants and pubs, but here are a few places I do my grocery shopping!
Calgary Farmer’s Market For produce at Souto Farms, and mock meats, vegan Thai curries, and friendly banter at Heart’s Choice!
Kingsland Farmer’s Market for random awesomeness, and breads with simple ingredients at Rustic Sourdough. Also the homebase for Naaco Truck.
Community Natural Foods and Planet Organic for decent produce, bulk goods, household supplies, and vegan luxury products. Sunnyside Market is also a cute little market in Kensington that boasts awesome produce, organic products, and the newly attached Sidewalk Citizen Bakery.

21 Comments

  1. So many places to try that I had no idea were even in the city! Thanks for the list 🙂

    1. thecozyvegan says:

      No problem! There’s more where that came from 🙂

  2. torakijii says:

    I have a question. 🙂
    Where in Calgary is a good place to find vegan groceries? My boyfriend and I live in the south end of the city.. and everything I’m finding is north. Unless my sources are wrong haha.

    1. thecozyvegan says:

      Hi, there are lots of places to find vegan groceries in Calgary, and the South is a great area!

      Community Natural Foods has a couple locations in the south- one by Chinook, one downtown. This is my go to for most everything…produce, vegan products, stuff for home like shampoo and soaps, and a great bulk section!

      Planet Organic has a location on Elbow Drive in the south, and they carry many vegan products you won’t find at a typical grocery store, plus have a decent deli section! I do find their produce a little pricey though.

      As I recommend above, the Calgary Farmer’s Market is a great choice in the south, for Souto farms produce, other produce stands, jams, dips and spreads, mock meats at Heart’s Choice, vegan empanadas, etc. A fun way to spend a Sunday.

      Blush Lane has a small location at the Calgary Farmer’s Market as well, and additionally one in the Aspen area, not sure where in the south you actually are. I don’t make it out here often but know they carry a few things.

      If you are willing to pay Forest Lawn a visit, there is a fun market there called Hong Kong International Food Market that has a lot of fun stuff. I love stocking up on any coconut products, rice and noodles, and weird surprisingly vegan snacks here. Love it.

      In addition, I find Superstore has a pretty decent organic section and when in a pinch I will go there specifically for tubs of nutritional yeast, and baking ingredients. Other generic grocery stores seem always to be getting better as well.

      I hope this is helpful 🙂

  3. THIS WEBSITE IS AWESOME!!!! I am so excited about it! I am a regular at the coup and have been trying to find other vegan friendly restaurants and bars around Calgary… born and raised here, and I didn’t know about that cute little pub in the house! Thanks so much for your website!

  4. ALSO there is a new farmer’s market that just opened a few months ago in Calgary for anyone else who lives in the NW…. Symons Valley Ranch just off of Stoney Trail. The Heart Choices vendors are there and this amazing little lunch place that had lots of yummy looking vegan options. They’re open Wednesday to Sunday, and until 7pm on the weekdays!

  5. Heather Bray says:

    I am elated that I have found your blog! (Thank you, Google!) I have been searching for young jackfruit in a can for-ev-er and have given up finding it locally here in Calgary. Where do you get yours? Please help! Love the blog! Will be a daily read!

    1. thecozyvegan says:

      Hi Heather! I get my jackfruit from Tops 100 market on center street and 16th!

  6. Thanks for the great blog on good vegetarian/vegan foods. Do you have any idea of a good place in Calgary to have tea? …and possibly gluten free vegan desserts (other than The Coup they are closed for a month for renos 😦
    I am always looking for more info than what I already have. 🙂 thanks again.

    1. thecozyvegan says:

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂 my favourite place to drink tea is at Oolong Kensington- especially when their patio is open! However, I’ve had no such luck in the vegan dessert department there as their brownie is no longer vegan! You might consider stopping by CNF’s cafe as they have desserts and tea! I also drive out of the way to visit Communitea in Canmore and Wild Flour in Banff for some tea and dessert. I don’t do gluten free, but I’m confident they have options!

      1. Thank you so much for the info..I knew about Oolong and CNF but I am going to try Communitea and Wild Flour out. 🙂 looking forward to it.

  7. sourcedecay700 says:

    Thank you for this post! I’m visiting Calgary next week and I was worried about where I could obtain food. This laid a lot of my fears to rest!

  8. Moving to Calgary at the end of June and am so happy for this! I’m a new vegetarian (3 months) who also tries to be as vegan as possible. My mom lives there and visits the Prime Tandoori House A LOT so that`s awesome to learn!

  9. I am SO glad I found this blog. Thank you x100

  10. What a lovely Blog! I have recently found that The Rose and Crown has a beautiful Flat bread style pizza..that I just ask for without feta and mozza…grouped with their garden salad with balsamic dressing, cranberries and almonds is a perfect meal!

  11. Great blog. Do you know of anything near the airport? I don’t know the city and am staying at the Lakeview Signature Inn for a month.

    1. thecozyvegan says:

      Hi Derek!
      Actually, my favourite Dosa place I believe, is pretty close to the airport! It has been a couple years since I’ve been as I recently moved to Edmonton, but it’s called Southern Spice! Always a good idea to make sure their Dosas are still done without dairy/ghee though!
      I hear Vegetarian Delite Pizza+Bakery is pretty good, but I have not been myself so cannot speak to their vegan options specifically!
      Also in the NE though a little bit more central (accessible on the NE train line though!) is Bridgeland. They have a few vegan options on the brunch and dinner menus at Blue Star Diner.

      My favourite spots downtown, also accessible on the train line, are Tamarind for Vietnamese, Happy Veggie House, Broken City, and Cafe Koi (if you get the chance on a weekend, check out Roni’s Kitchen brunch pop up there! :))

  12. Can’t wait to come up the’re and try it lethbridge has not very many vegan places as calgary..been going strong the vegan diet. (3 months)

  13. Are you still in Calgary? I’m moving there this fall from the states!

  14. Thanks for the great list! 🙂 A place you many want to add: http://www.avatarapizza.com/

Comments are closed.