The Naam Vegetarian Restaurant in Kitsilano

by Victoria on January 29, 2010

So I’ve had several vegetarian (and non-vegetarian) friends of mine tell me about The Naam Restaurant in Kitsilano, and I just never tried it yet.  So this morning, my girlfriend Sabrina (Become the Voice) asked me if I wanted to join her, as she was heading that way and needed to drop off her dog for a haircut on the same block.  Although I’ve always been a meat-eater, growing up on a farm raising cattle and all, I generally do have some at every meal; however I’m definitely still interested in trying vegetarian options that taste good!

When I looked at the site in advance, the first thing I noticed was that it’s open 24 hours!  I had no idea that was the case, but it could definitely come in handy someday.  This restaurant has been in the neighbourhood for over thirty years, and is only closed for Christmas Day.

We walked in, and it happened to be very quiet since it was fairly early in the morning, but by the time we finished off our meal, the casual restaurant had filled up completely with people happily eating away.

We sat down and I asked her for some ideas of what to order after we decided on some drinks. I started with Mama Naam’s Tea from their Herbal Tea Collection to warm myself up a bit.  I noticed that it contained licorice root, and as I’m completely addicted to one tea nowadays that has this ingredient, I have to try anything that I find with it!  This also had strawberry leaf, nettle, and rose petals – it sounded like a killer combination and I was not disappointed.  When I drank it, I really enjoyed the flavours together, and especially the sweet after taste from the licorice.

Mama Naam Tea Rating: 5Rating: 5Rating: 5Rating: 5Rating: 5

I’d heard that the Dragon Bowl was popular there, and they did also have a breakfast option of this called the Breakfast Dragon Bowl (go figure).  Sabrina decided to go with this choice and had it with tofu (they also had it with scrambled egg).   The serving was huge, and also included plenty of veggies (green onion, parsley, red pepper) and homefries.  It was topped with Sambits (crumbled up Sam’s burger patties, spiced with molasses and tamarind).  It was also served with miso gravy to pour over top and a couple slices of toast, and the most amazing raspberry jam I’ve ever tasted!  Apparently the cinnamon in it is what gives this its unique flavour.  This dish was definitely a very healthy breakfast choice, but I would have loved to throw in some additional spices to give it a bit more oomph.  On it’s own, it was a bit bland.  I could picture myself throwing in some chili flakes and going from there…

Breakfast Dragon Bowl Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3

I ended up ordering the Farmer’s Omelette.  And again, it came in a massive serving size (we both had to take leftovers home with us because we barely made it halfway through our food)!  This was filled with mushrooms, tomato, onions, zucchini and cheese, along with a veggie sausage and hot sauce on the side.  I had to add some additional salt onto the omelette itself, and then slathered it with the spicy salsa-like addition, which I really enjoyed.  And wow did I ever chow down on that jam after!

Farmer’s Omelette Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3

We then felt like adding some fresh-squeezed juice to round off our meals, and went with an Orange and Orange-Strawberry Juice.   Who doesn’t like it when it’s fresh!  Of course, I totally loved mine, and the hint of strawberry made it extra special.

Orange Strawberry Juice Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5Rating: 4.5

I’d have to say that I’ve heard that the smoothies at The Naam are delicious, and the juices and teas were also excellent.  The food itself was a bit bland, and I had to add salt and extra sauce to make it a bit more interesting.  But the one thing that I definitely liked the most, and would give top marks was the raspberry jam!  Go there and try it.

I will continue on my quest to try other vegetarian restaurants (and vegetarian-friendly ones) in Vancouver with Sabrina in future, and compile an ongoing series on my blog.

Please feel free to suggest some other vegetarian restaurants in the comments below – I have heard that Vancouver is lacking in this area a bit but I would love to seek out some gems and share them with everyone!

The Naam
2724 West 4th Ave
Vancouver, BC,   V6K 1R1
604.738.7151
View Map

Overall: Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5Rating: 3.5
Food: Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3
Service: Rating: 2Rating: 2Rating: 2Rating: 2Rating: 2
Atmosphere: Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3Rating: 3
Price: $$

Naam on Urbanspoon

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jonnek January 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm

If you are looking for Chinese style vegetarian restaurant, there are quite a few in and around Vancouver and Richmond. One of my favorite is in a food court inside Parker Place in Richmond.

Janice January 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Interesting to read your review of the naam – I’ve been there a couple of times and really enjoyed the food. Must go back for breakfast sometime and try out that jam! I’m on the look out for more and more vege options for dining out since my NY resolution to eat less meat (especially when I don’t know the source).

Mike Stewart January 29, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Hi Victoria,

Your food blog is very cool. I am a fan of vegetarian food, but I find the Naam’s food somehow lacking in excitement. That said its been there for decades and there are reasons restaurants become culinary institutions.

KimHo January 30, 2010 at 9:20 am

Here are some vegetarian restaurant suggestions:

1) Bandidas Taqueria, a couple of blocks south from Broadway Skytrain Station, almost Commercial and 12th. I had their tacos and it has been one of the few instances where I can said I did not miss the meat in my meal.

2) Radha Yoga & Eatery: Not been there so can’t comment. It is not that far from Bao Bei but on Main Street.

3) Gorilla Raw Foods: It is not only vegetarian, it is raw. It is an interesting concept; however, unless you have the shakes, chances are you will need a snack soon afterwards. Notice though, I am a heavy eater so that might not apply to you! 😉

As for The Naam, that is a place I want to go; however, because of its location and the fact it seems to be always packed, I have had the wish to go. I guess I will have one of these days…

Victoria January 30, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Thanks, Kim, for all the ideas! As for the Naam, just go before 9 AM and it shouldn’t be packed. 😉
Mike – thanks for reading. 🙂
Janice – Hopefully this series will be helpful to you – I’m targeting one new veg place per week.
Jonnek – do you know the name of the veg place in Parker Place?

Sabrina Nichols January 31, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I really enjoyed experiencing this with you Vic, Im so happy to hear your readers are looking for Veg options as well as making conscious ethical food choices to cut out meat. I look forward to our next brunch or dinner at yet another one of my favorite Vegetarian spots. See you next Friday. Ill pick something really great!

Rachel February 5, 2010 at 9:55 am

Victoria,
Love your blogs!
Check out the Foundation on Main for more vegetarian discoveries 🙂

Victoria February 7, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Thanks, Rachel! I will make sure to check it out. 🙂

Lani March 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm

A great Veg choice is Foundation on Main at 7th – always packed and service is slow; but open late and super flavourful food. I was a regular at the Naam during my university days and the Foundation is a definite upgrade. I’m omni but really like vegetables, especially if done well.

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