Nine of the best vegetarian and health-conscious restaurants in Ottawa

Did you know that according to a recent study, 7.1 per cent of Canadians consider themselves vegetarians?

That being the case, it shouldn’t be hard to find quality restaurants serving food that herbivores can – and actually like – to eat. And yet, the struggle is real. The same goes for vegans and other special diet adherents.

To make this frustrating reality a little easier, here’s a list of nine vegetarian and health-conscious restaurants in Ottawa for your next meal out.

Café my House
Address: 1015 Wellington St. West (Hintonburg)

Chef Briana Kim won the 2017 Gold Medal Plates competition, so you know that offerings on this menu are going to be good. From a vegan tasting menu to plant-based charcuterie, Café my House takes veggie-centric cuisine to the next level – for dinner and weekend brunch.

Wild Oat Bakery 
Address: 817 Bank St. (The Glebe)

This twenty-year-old Glebe institution serves up casual breakfast, daytime and evening fare for meatless palates in its cafe. You can also pick up baked goods and handmade bread from the attached bakery, with daily staples like baguette and raisin bread joined by gluten-free options and rotating specialty breads – challah Friday anyone?

Raw Pulp + Grind
Address: 440 Preston St. (Little Italy) and 307A Richmond Rd. (Westboro)

For you, morning might mean caffeine or it might mean fresh juice. Luckily, both are on offer at Raw Pulp + Grind’s two locations in Ottawa. “We couldn’t find a place in Ottawa where we could find raw, cold pressed juices, healthy smoothies, salads and plant-based snacks and foods that we could grab on the go but where we could also get a great coffee and tea, so we decided to build it on our own,” Raw’s team wrote on their website. Need I say more?

Paradise Poké
Address: 134 Bank St. (Downtown)

This slice of paradise on downtown Bank Street offers up the traditional Hawaiian dish of Poké – which, as its website very helpfully notes, rhymes with okay – of fresh marinated tuna, soy sauce, sesame, and a variety of toppings. DIners can chose one of Paradise Poké’s signature bowls, which feature not only ahi tuna but salmon, chicken, tofu and beets, or build their own. Hydrate with a freshly-cracked coconut for maximum vacation vibes.

Pure Kitchen 
Address: 340 Elgin St. (Centretown), 357 Richmond Rd. (Westboro), 499 Terry Fox Dr. #55 (Kanata)

No list of health-conscious restaurants would be complete without Ottawa favourite Pure Kitchen. Anyone open to vegetarian and vegan cuisine will find something they can enjoy, from a loaded avocado with pico de gallo, coconut bacon and sriracha, to a bibimbap bowl with Korean BBQ cauliflower.

Carb Free Cafe 
Address: 15 George Street (ByWard Market)

This restaurants specializes in keto and paleo offerings. For those who don’t know, these are low-carb, high-fat diets. With a holistic nutritionist, ketogenic specialist and Cordon Bleu-trained chef contributing, “the menu was devised with particular emphasis on macronutrients, whole and fresh ingredients and, of course, flavours to appease various palettes,” its website explains. In addition to eating in the cafe, patrons can order weekly meal plans for pick-up or delivery.

​Chickpeas
Address: 500 Terminal Ave. Unit A05 (Trainyards)

Chickpeas bills itself as the “first and only” hummus and falafel eatery in Ottawa. Organic chickpeas are used to build falafel sandwiches and dip plates with hummus flavours as unique as black bean and mango. To go with your meal, try tea by the cup or the pot, or a Turkish coffee.

The Green Door Restaurant
Address: 198 Main St. (Old Ottawa East)

Another Ottawa restaurant that’s stood the test of time, Green Door offers a daily hot buffet and salad menu with selections from a tried-and-true 1,000-plus recipe repertoire that includes vegetable curries and avocado salad. Patrons get to pick and choose, and pay by weight. The restaurant encourages customers to bring their own containers for take-out (though they also provide them).

Hareg Cafe & Variety
Address: 587 Bank St. (The Glebe)

This Ethiopian restaurant offers a vegan buffet during the week. Feast on injera, a flat bread that doubles as an eating utensil, and spoon up vegetable and lentil stews, at varying spice levels. The affordable prices make the meal more than worth a visit. You can also finish your feast with authentic Ethiopian coffee, known for being among the world’s finest.

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