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Banff Vegan Restaurants Guide
Guest article by Vanja Stojanovic
Have you found yourself in the heart of the Canadian Rockies seeking adventure, glacier-fed turquoise lakes and delicious vegan food? Don’t be discouraged by the fact that there are no fully vegan restaurants in Banff.
It’s true that Alberta, Canada is famous for its cattle farming, and you may come across a handful of steakhouses and burger joints in Banff National Park. But fear not!
Even though Banff doesn’t have any 100% vegan restaurants like in Edmonton or Calgary, as a tourist hotspot it still offers plenty of plant-based food all over town if you know where to look.
When I moved to Banff almost three years ago and decided to transition into a vegan lifestyle, the choices for vegan-friendly Banff hotels, vegan restaurant dining, take out and even the options at the local grocery stores were very limited. Beyond Meat still hadn’t come to the Rockies, and your standard dishes for a fancy meal out were bean burgers or a salad.
Dairy-free cheese was non-existent too. If you wanted a vegan pizza, you’d have to either make one yourself or order one without cheese.
But happily, those days are over. With the increase in popularity of plant-based diets, Banff has become so much more vegan friendly, and we can all finally indulge.
Best Banff Restaurants for Vegan Breakfast
As the only vegetarian restaurant in town, Nourish Bistro is the first place that will pop up on your Google search for ‘vegan/vegetarian food in Banff’. Head down to Nourish on Bear Street if you’re looking for a relaxing, hippy atmosphere where you’re surrounded by overgrowing plants and most of the menu is plant-based.
With plenty of appetising and creative meals to choose from, you won’t ever have to stare at the menu hoping for another option to appear next to the salad. They also have several gluten-free options if that’s what you’re looking for.
The Mountain Breakfast Skillet is a perfect meal to choose if you’re craving a filling, British fry-up style breakfast with seven different foods to try out on your plate — there’s always enough to take some leftovers home with this one.
The Chickpea Omelette is a delicious and creative substitute for eggs, served with harissa hash browns. It does come as part of the breakfast skillet, but if you don’t fancy something so heavy, the omelette on its own is a great alternative.
Finally, if you’re a sucker for something sweet like me, the Jungle Pancakes (the only vegan pancakes in town) were inspired by the chef’s travels to Peru. They are berry and banana goodness with a dollop of coconut whipped cream on top.
Location: 211 Bear St #110, Banff, Alberta T1L 1A8
A few doors down from Nourish, you’ll find The Bison. The atmosphere is fancy and chic and, although it doesn’t have too many vegan options, their Sunday brunch menu features an incredible tofu scramble. The pesto is made from pistachios, and it’s worth going here if you’re with friends and family who aren’t vegan.
Location: 211 Bear St, Banff, AB T1L 1A1
Finally, here’s one more to throw into the mix just because of its renowned reputation for serving the best breakfast in town. Coyotes is a huge hotspot, and tourists are usually dying to eat there. So if you find yourself dining with these kinds of people, your one option from the menu is a black bean burrito.
Additional breakfast options:
Seed N Salt: If smoothies and smoothie bowls are your thing. I personally prefer to go here for lunch (more about that below).
Best Banff Cafés and Restaurants for Vegan Lunch
The coffee shops in Banff are awesome for vegan options. Most of them have a wide variety of plant based milks to choose from as well as snacks, sandwiches, soups and other lunch-type options.
Goodearth serves arguably the best coffee and sweet treats. Try their chocolate and cherry muffins!
Location: 333 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1B1
On the other hand, Wildflour Bakery has a great toasted sweet potato and aioli sandwich made from their signature fresh homemade bread. I’ve ordered it many times on my lunch break.
Location: 211 Bear St #101, Banff, AB T1L 1B8
Seed n Salt
Another great lunch spot is a new eatery that’s recently opened called Seed n Salt. Originating in Calgary, the owners decided to bring their signature lunch bowls to Banff in 2020.
Seed n Salt is great if you’re the kind of vegan who loves fresh ingredients and lots of colour on your plate. The menu offerings here feature fresh vegetables and fruits rather than plant-based meat.
The smoothies bowls are refreshing on a hot summer’s afternoon in the mountains. And the bowls here are nutritious and filling without making you feel like you’ve eaten three loaves of bread. Some are buddha bowls, while others are curries or stir-frys, and tofu can be added to any of them for some extra protein.
Location: 202 Caribou St Unit Box 70, Banff, AB T1L 1A2
Additional lunch options:
Whitebark: Coffee and treats
JK Bakery: Build your own fresh sandwich
Any of the dinner options listed below
Best Banff Restaurants for Vegan Dinner
Magpie and Stump
So you’ve spent the entire day hiking around Lake Louise. You’ve been up since 6 am and eaten your weight in trail mix and granola bars, and now it’s time for a big feed.
There are plenty of places in town where you can go to regain the energy you’ve spent adventuring, such as Magpie and Stump. This is a cool little Mexican restaurant that’s popular with the locals.
Although everything on the menu has cheese in it, you can substitute it for vegan cheese to turn it into delicious vegan Mexican food! This one swap suddenly makes it one of the best restaurants Banff has to offer for vegans. Quesadillas are my favourite, so I always go for that option!
The vibe in Magpie won’t disappoint either. It’s fun, upbeat and ideal for a group of friends who want to knock back some tequila and fill their stomachs with spicy food.
Location: 203 Caribou St, Banff, AB T1L 1A8
Earls Kitchen + Bar
It can be incredibly annoying at times when a restaurant offers only one or two vegan options that you’re stuck with and probably wouldn’t usually choose. We’ve all been there, gazing at the menu trying to drum up excitement over the third mushroom burger you’ve eaten this week.
Luckily, Parks Distillery and Earls Kitchen + Bar both offer kick-ass plant-based menus. This is where it’s at if you want to enjoy the luxury of searching through an array of options. Two years ago, when these two restaurants brought out their plant-based menus, they mainly just consisted of Beyond Meat.
However, now they’ve become a lot more creative, with items such as the Earls Crispy Tofu Zen Bowl. Jasmine rice with marinated vegetables and tofu go so well together, and the portion is huge. I’ve almost always taken some home with me.
Earls have also recently added the Impossible Burger (which is new to Canada) to their menu. It’s the most ideal, filling meal after a fun-packed morning and afternoon of skiing!
Location: 299 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T0L 0C0
Parks Distillery has a similar menu to the one at Earls, but the restaurant is just a little more high-end. This naturally comes with a higher price tag, but it’s completely worth going to for the cocktails.
They even offer a vegan Caesar! So if it’s your first time in Canada, and you fancy trying a delicacy, you have a great opportunity to do so here.
Location: 219 Banff Ave, Banff, AB T1L 1A7
You might be feeling a little fancy and want to dine somewhere less ‘local hotspot’ and more Fairmont Banff Springs (a swanky luxury Banff hotel). If so, Block is the place to be.
Enjoy the chic, city-like vibe with painted pictures of rock ‘n’ roll stars on the walls, as well as their Asian-fusion menu that includes three vegan main dishes! The build-your-own Tofu Lettuce Wraps are fun, filling and delicious, as are the Bao Buns, which are also filled with tofu.
Block is very tiny but very popular, so make sure to call ahead if you’re visiting on a weekend or holiday. They don’t take reservations, but if you’re not too far away and they have a table available, they’ll hold it for you. Recently, they opened a sister Japanese restaurant called Shoku Izakaya that features vegan sushi on its menu!
Location: 5 Banff Ave #201, Banff, AB T1L 1C6
Additional dinner options:
Bear Street Tavern: Vegan pizza
Ramen Arashi: Soy-milk-based ramen
Masala: Lots of vegan Indian curry options
The Juniper Bistro: Vegan gnocchi
Chucks Steakhouse: Cauliflower Cross-Cut
Nourish: Everything on the menu including the nachos and ‘Mac and Squeeze’
Best Banff Restaurants for Vegan Takeout
Sometimes, after a day of adventuring, you’ll find yourself with no energy, zero motivation to get dolled up and dine out, and even less energy to whip something up in your AirBnB or hotel. Takeouts are here to save the day!
Don’t get me wrong: the options aren’t as exciting as if you were ordering from Uber Eats in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, there’s definitely some indulgent, carb-rich food for you to enjoy.
Due to covid, most restaurants offer a pickup option now, and there’s a good handful of them on ToGoCanada (similar to Uber Eats). However, the delivery charge is a bit steep.
So, if you fancy yourself a pizza party, there are some decent fast food joints in town that do great vegan alternatives. Pizza Pizza is a new one that just opened up in town.
Surprisingly, their plant-based options are really good, and the vegan cheese they use doesn’t taste or smell like feet (yay)! The pizzas are really affordable, and the service is great in comparison to some other pizza places in Banff.
Additional Takeout Options:
Aardvarks: Pizza and subs