Central Bistro: vegan-friendly dining in Vancouver’s West End

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Veggie Burger and Maple Bourbon Salad at Central Bistro

While struggling to hang on to the final moments of summer, Salsa Sam and I (Jessica) embarked on an early bird dining adventure to a local West End establishment that’s been a neighbourhood staple for eight years–Central Bistro. Located at the corner of Denman and Comox, this cozy little bistro has a nice patio that makes for some excellent people watching (aka: gazing into passing strangers’ eyes whilst casually stuffing your face).

We had decided to go to Central Bistro after a quick online search for ‘vegan west end’ alerted us that they could accommodate vegan diners. We were also pleased to learn that they have a gluten-free menu, which our server Colin informed us is one of the Bistro’s claims to fame. He also threw in the fun fact that the restaurant used to be the well-known Brass Monkey, and that he had sat at our very table to watch the Pride Parade when he was just 17.

Central Bistro patio

Throughout our Central Bistro visit, we were very impressed by Colin’s service and more-than-accommodating demeanor (his suspenders were also a nice touch). He assured us that our choices were all vegan, and double checked with the kitchen and his vegan coworker, making a few tiny adjustments to completely veganize our order.

What we ate:

Maple Bourbon Salad with spiced potato balls, red onion, candied pecans and maple bourbon vinaigrette (sub out sliced egg). The greens were enrobed with the perfect amount of sweet and smoky dressing. Sam noted that they were very generous with the pecans, which “aren’t cheap!”

Central Veggie Burger with smoky chickpeas, roasted corn and fresh cilantro, which comes with your choice of salad or fries (sub out the dairy-based sauces). We went for the yam fries and were impressed by their tempura-like batter. The patty was a house-made chickpea patty, which is always an ideal option over the simulated meat variety. Colin informed us that this burger usually comes on a non-vegan brioche bun, so they subbed a grilled baguette–no complaints there!

Falafel Fritters with tabouleh, Israeli couscous and mango cilantro vinaigrette. We were very impressed by the smooth texture of the falafel, which also had a spicy kick that balanced nicely with the sweet mango sauce. The four fritters sat on top of a generous portion of a salad of fat couscous balls, herbs and chopped cucumber–a light and flavourful medley.

Vegan-friendly falafel at Central Bistro

Sam noted that “everything is quite delicious” and the slightly sweet bottle of white wine we enjoyed provided a nice counter-flavour to some of the spiciness in our chosen dishes. We give the flavours and overall ambience at Central a 12/10, although we had certainly committed ‘carbicide’ with all the fried items we had consumed. The salad balances it out, right guys?

Vegan pro tip: While you’re in the hood, stop by No Frills across the street at the Denman Place Mall, where you can pick up cans of chickpeas for just 89 cents!

Bonus: Central Bistro isn’t just vegan-friendly, it’s dog-friendly too! It was just featured in a piece on Vancitybuzz about Vancouver’s most dog-friendly patios.

Central Bistro

1072 Denman Street

Vancouver, BC

604-689-4527

www.centralbistro.com

@CentralBistro

Open for brunch and dinner

~The Vegan Project

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