Vancouver: 10 hot spots for sustainable eating

From fair trade coffee to Ocean Wise selections, these purveyors are making a conscious effort to adopt humane and environmentally friendly business practices

By Karen Hamilton,

Vancouver: 10 hot spots for sustainable eating

1. Boneta

1 West Cordova, Vancouver

Try the gnocchi: it resists the attack of your fork yet melts with impossible softness the moment it meets your mouth. I oohed and aahed until my plate was scraped clean.

2. AGRO Café

1207 Hamilton Street, Vancouver

Agro has a Clover, which makes as fresh a cup of coffee as I've ever tasted, and with minimal waste. Ever the green establishment, their takeout cups are compostable, and they donate their used grinds and cups to the UBC farm for their compost.

3. Trees Organic Coffee

450 Granville Street, Vancouver

I visited Trees recently to have lunch plus a slice of their renowned cheesecake. It was love at first bite for my tuna salad baguette, toasted and pressed on their panini grill. I inhaled the entire thing and wound up having little belly room left for dessert!

4. Sebastian & Co.

2425 Marine Drive, West Vancouver

The quality of the meat here is sublime. Almost all the selections are organic, coming from a relatively short distance (Alberta). They feature other merchandise from local artisan food purveyors and hand-make some of the best chorizo in town.

5. Habit

2610 Main Street, Vancouver

I like Habit for its unusual perogies. The carrot provides colour and sweetness while the brie keeps the mouth feel silky smooth. The other tapas items are hit and miss for me, but the perogies will keep me coming back.

6. Mr. Pickwick's Fish & Chips

8620 Granville Street, Vancouver

A bounty of seafood is available at Mr. Pickwick's, including clams, squid and oysters. The batter is crispy and impossibly light for something that's been deep-fried. Thumbs up for joining Green Table and for switching to compostable take-away containers.

7. Raincity Grill

1193 Denman Street, Vancouver

The trout dish I had at Raincity Grill a few summers ago propelled the establishment into the #1 spot of my Vancouver Restaurant Top 5. It's one of the few restaurants that I trust to cook my fish to perfection.

8. Tomato Fresh Food Cafe

2486 Bayswater Street, Vancouver

Tomato Cafe had a devout following at its original Cambie corridor location before Olympic city works prompted a store move to the Kitsilano district. You can still find die-hards frequenting the place for organic, seasonal and mostly seafood dishes. As for me...I'm a fan of their pastry chef!

9. Qoola Yogurt + Fruit

1116 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC, V6G 2M8

I cannot believe that my lactose-intolerant self can consume Qoola's frozen yogurt treats without my system going awry! Not only is their Active Cultures "fresh frozen" yogurt good for you, it's delicious to boot. Cherry on top: management crafted its business model to be sustainable from the get-go: biodegradable products, energy-efficient environs, fairly traded coffee and tea, organic and GE-free offerings.

10. Sushi Bento Express

1258 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC, V6E 1C1

Ever since I visited Sushi Bento as part of a flash mob to encourage sustainable sushi, I've been impressed by this restaurant's attempt to implement quite costly changes to ingredients and kitchen processes in order to morph into an eco-friendly business. This is tough to do being a small outfit (usually, only the restaurant bigwigs can swallow the expense). Kudos to them for the changes and for still producing great sushi product at the lower end of the price range.

Karen Hamilton contributes to under the name tinybites. You can also find her at

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Adapted from, June 2009

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