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5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Calgary

By RACHAEL FREY & STACEY PARKER

Lotus Root Salad at The Coup (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Lotus Root Salad at The Coup (Photo: Jason Dziver)

If you’re a vegetarian, you must love salad—because if you don’t, there won’t be a single thing you can eat on most restaurant menus. Fortunately for your taste buds, these five Calgary restaurants are turning out (mostly) vegetarian menus loaded with options.

THE COUP
Be sure to arrive with time to spare in order to gain entry to this 17th Avenue hotspot. Well known and loved among Calgary’s vegetarians, The Coup is entirely vegetarian with a focus on fresh, whole, local, organic food. Vegans and gluten-free diners will be comfortable here as well. Don’t forget to try one of their unique cocktails such as the Kombucha Gimlet with schizandra berry, rose, citrus, vodka and elderflower liqueur, topped with hibiscus rose kombucha.
Must Try: Lotus Root Salad (pictured). Okay, technically this is a salad, but it’s a lot more hearty and flavourful than the standard pile of lettuce. Warm Asian greens, lotus root and organic cherry tomatoes are dressed in a citrus ponzu sauce, then topped with toasted pine nuts and perfectly crisped tofu.
• 924 – 17 Ave SW, 403-541-1041, www.thecoup.ca
Map and reviews

THE HIMALAYAN
Though the menu at this little Nepali restaurant isn’t exclusively vegetarian, at least half of the dishes are meatless. It’s also one of Calgary’s best loved eateries, scoring very high ratings on both Yelp and Trip Advisor for its unflaggingly friendly service and delicious, traditional Nepali fare, which is influenced by the cuisines of India and China but also brings flavours that are all its own. Many dishes can be ordered mild, medium or hot, but be warned—when they say “hot,” they really mean it.
Must Try: The Dal Bhat plate—there’s a reason they dedicate a whole page of the menu to one dish. The vegetarian version comes with cottage cheese in a creamy tomato and cashew sauce, dal (lentil soup), bhat (saffron rice), saag (spinach in a creamy sauce), flatbread and traditional Nepali sides. Dessert is tea or coffee and a not-to-be-missed mango rice pudding.
• 3218 – 17 Ave SW, 403-984-3384, himalayancuisine.ca
Map and reviews

FIVE RIVERS INDIAN CUISINE
This authentic Punjabi-Indian restaurant serves a completely vegetarian menu. As the name would suggest, the focus is on cuisine from the Punjab region of India (the word Punjab means “land of the five rivers”). However, they also offer pizzas that can be ordered with paneer—a type of Indian cheese—and a wide range of Indian sweets including six flavours of burfi, a treat made with sugar and condensed milk.
Must Try: Why not try everything? The all day, all-you-can-eat buffet is only $10.99 and features a variety of menu items so you can discover your favourite and go back for more.
• 11 Castleridge Blvd NE, 403-258-1111, www.fiveriversindiancuisine.ca
• Map and reviews

BUDDHA’S VEGGIE RESTAURANT
A Calgary institution for many years, this restaurant used to be totally vegan but now carries some meat dishes. However, they still take their veggie menu very seriously, carefully ensuring meat and vegetarian dishes are never cooked in the same oil or fryers to avoid cross-contamination. The cuisine is from all over Asia, including Cantonese, Szechuan, Thai, Malay and more. Dim sum is served on weekends.
Must Try: Veggie Ginger Beef. It may have “beef” in the name, but this dish completely vegan and the taste is spot on to the real thing—which, by the way, was invented in Calgary.
• 5802 Macleod Trail SW, 403-252-8830, www.buddhasveggie.com
Map and reviews

SUNFLOWER CAFÉ
Located inside Community Natural Foods store, this serve-yourself vegetarian café features weekly and daily organic hot food specials, a burrito station, a juice and smoothie bar, and a large salad bar. The selections vary from day to day, but there is usually hot curry options, grain salads and a selection of soups, among other things.
Must Try: Chickpea Curry, a veggie favourite with tons of flavour. Just be careful—the salads are sold by weight, but the curry is sold by portion. If you mix curry in with your salad the price will be much higher, so keep them in separate dishes.
• 1304 – 10 Ave SW, 403-930-6363, www.communitynaturalfoods.com
• Map and reviews

DINING IN CALGARY? CHECK OUT:
Oodles of Noodles in Calgary
10 Breakfast Spots in Calgary
10 Calgary Restaurants for Gluten-Free Diners

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