Yes – it’s a new year and an opportunity for change.
Many of us find the indulgence of holiday celebrations difficult to avoid. With an abundance of food on the tables, we go for that helping of thirds and seem to always find room for dessert. A great way to kick off the new year is a change in diet. This might simply be a state of mindfulness where we conciously choose to eat healthy, wholesome balanced meals for a period or perhaps at least at lunch or dinnertime.
Healthy eating doesn’t mean the fun is over. It’s simply being aware of what goes into your body and asking: “How will I feel after I’m done?”.
Gastown has one of the best selections of food in the city. The variety is stunning and the creativity, constant. We have selected but a few of the colourful, delcious and good for you plates that are currently on offer in a number of our fine restaurants and cafès.
Top of the list is Meet In Gastown. This place is one of the best in the neighbourhood for serving up plenty of veggie-friendly comfort food using wholesome ingredients without compromising on taste. There are lots of awesome options, with all menu items being vegan AND gluten free unless otherwise noted. Choose from healthy home runs like: ORGANIC QUINOA & ROASTED YAM SALAD, KACHUMBER SALAD, THE “BEET” SALAD, ORGANIC KALE & ROMAINE CAESAR or LOADED TACO SALAD. Any of the Brown Rice Bowls are super delicious especially THE LOVELY and EL FAB with fresh guac. There are some sweet starters like ORGANIC STEAMED KALE, SWEET-CHILI CAULIFLOWER and the ARTICHOKE & SPINACH DIP.
The Poke Shop on Water Street is a Gastown lunchtime hotspot and for good reason. These traditional Hawaiian bowls of pure deliciousness are fully customizable and can be made full of nourishing ingredients. Poke is a Hawaiian speciality that began with fishermen seasoning the cut-offs from their catch to serve as a snack. Poke simply means, “to cut into pieces”. Traditional poke seasonings have been heavily influenced by Japanese and other Asian cuisines. Poke bowls typically feature seasoned sushi-grade seafood on top of rice and garnished with various ingredients like seaweed salad, green onions and sesame seeds.
New to Gastown is Di Beppe’s – an authentic Italian restaurant and lunchtime café, steeped in family history and age-old recipes. During lunch, you’ll find a number of different salads as well as al Taglio style pizza which is heavy on the veggies and most aren’t prepared with meat or cheese. The pizza is light and very tasty. Dinner includes various salads and antipasti and well as sides such as cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
La Mezcaleria makes authentic Mexican food right here in Gastown. Indulge in classics like Guacamole and Chips and Ceviche Callejero or go for the Ensalada Verde (fresh jicama, shaved radish, apples, baby kale, candied pecan, mezcal vinaigrette) or the Alambre Vegetariano (seared mushrooms, kale, onions & red peppers topped with melted cheese and served with rice, refried beans and corn tortillas. Also recommended is the Amigos Flight (ceviche callejero, octopus ceviche, guacamole and pico de gallo).
Kofta Meatball Kitchen uses locally sourced, free range and hormone free ingredients. Their Bowls can be made gluten-free, as you can customize each stage of what goes into it. We selected the vegan lentil koftas with a quinoa and rice base, garlic cashew crème and for the garnish – shaved asiago. Salads rotate daily with fresh seasonal produce – add a meatball for a toonie.
Bao Down is one of those places that if you haven’t tried it, you’ll be asking, “Why haven’t I come here yet?”. You can’t go wrong with any of their Bao Buns – fusion street food big bites that combine delicious flavours and spices of the Orient with fresh vegetables and proteins of the Pacific Northwest. Any of the Baos can be served in a crisp lettuce cup. Highly recommended is The Jaws – coconut crusted catfish, cabbage, kimchi tartar sauce and Thai vinaigrette.
Tempranillo serves modern Spanish food plated as raciones – dishes bigger than a tapas plate so that each is easily shared amongst several friends, and substantial enough to be enjoyed alone. Choose from lighter options such as Warmed Spiced Olives, Chilled Marinated Carrots, Local Marinated White Anchovies and Tuna Belly poached in olive oil.
Momo Sushi on Water Street is a great place for all the usual sushi fare. Their lunchbox specials offer excellent value for money and are available until 3pm on the weekdays. Choose from their Veggie Box or Sashimi Box.
Bambo Café has been in the neighbourhood for quite awhile and they are known for their freshly prepared dishes. There are 7 delightful salads to choose from.
Brioche has been a foodie mainstay in Gastown since 2003. Head Chef and owner, Eduardo Bilardello, brings his Sicilian cooking style with Italian passion and puts it into every dish he serves. Their sandwiches are worth waiting for; made fresh and to order, from daily house-made focaccia, sourdough or baguette. Brioche serves a nice variety of salads including: Greek Salad, Green Bean Asparagus Salad, Mixed Green Salad, BLT Caesar with Prawns Salad, Spinach & Feta Salad and Caesar Salad.
The Sardine Can is a warm, intimate nook, made to enjoy close conversation, a ruddy good Rioja and to indulge in a lovely selection of Spanish tapas such as House marinated olives, Marcona almonds, Tostas de sardinas (Smoked sardines on toast), Tostas de queso fresco (Fresh herb and garlic cheese toasts), Tostas de tomate (Tomato fondutta toasts with manchego), Esparragos (Asparagus, Romesco, sherry-balsamic reduction, toasted almonds), Pimientos de Padron (Padron peppers with smoked salt and spiced oil) and Champinones Mushrooms in sherry cream sauce.
Water Street Café is one of the longest-running restaurants in the neighbourhood. Serving classic Italian with West Coast fusion, the iconic eatery has a fine menu that includes a proper serving of salads: Classic Caesar Salad, Beet and Arugula Salad, Kale and Farro Salad and Caprese Salad. Fresh seafood offerings include: Smoked Wild BC Salmon, West Coast Crab Cakes and The Fresh Fish of The Day.
Birds & Beets attracts Gastown locals of all sorts into a warm, inviting atmosphere with its exposed brick, fresh flowers and community vibe. The food here is home cooked, fresh and delicious. Locally sourced ingredients go into the sandwiches (they also bake their own bread) with options from turkey, pork, fish and charred veggies. Snacks include Sprouted Grain Salad, Little Green Salad or a Jar of House Pickles. Nourishing breakfasts at Birds & Beets comprise of Avocado & slow poached egg brioche sandwich, Whole Grain Granola & Filmjolk Yoghurt and Rolled Oat & Chia Bircher Muesli.
Nelson the Seagull is independent café culture at its finest. They run their own in-house bakery, producing fresh bread for their sandwiches and to be sold by the loaf. Sandwiches include CARNIVORE, HERBIVORE and the PLOUGHMAN’S. A nice option is their SOUP – a daily roast vegetable and vegan and served with sourdough bread or a SALAD – with both a leafy or a grainy option.