Banff, Canada is growing as an ever-more popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with its out-of-this-world landscape of grand mountains and technicolor lakes. So if you, too, plan on visiting Banff for a long weekend, but aren’t sure of what your options will be like as a vegan in the land of poutine, fear not! There are some great vegan options in Banff and the surrounding cities to fuel you up for your hiking adventures and beyond.
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Before we dive into my very favorite topic (yummy vegan eats), a few things to note when you’re planning a trip to Banff.
- Many places we went to were super crowded and had a fairly long wait. As such, if possible, I’d recommend making reservations for restaurants that allow it. Otherwise, hit up restaurants as early as possible or at other off-peak hours.
For example, when my husband, Justin, and I recently visited in July and hiked to the Lake Agnes Teahouse, we arrived around 9 am for “lunch” and only had to wait about 15 minutes. By the time we were leaving the teahouse about 45 minutes later, the wait was over three hours long!
- Banff is EXPENSIVE, even compared to other touristy areas I’ve visited- for example, most standard entrees at relatively casual restaurants ranged from between $15 to 30 CAD. So if you’re anything like me, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock- you’re paying that tourist tax, boo.
Alternatively, if you’re looking to cut down on expenses, plan on making yourself breakfast or lunch a couple of days during your visit (consistent with my point above, you’re going to want to hit the trails pretty early to beat the crowds- so I’d recommend packing yourself some Clif bars for breakfast and hitting the old dusty trail!).
With that, let’s get into it!
WHERE TO EAT VEGAN IN BANFF- BREAKFAST
830 8 St #102, Canmore, AB
What’s better than a nice and pillowy bagel? What about a nice and pillowy bagel… topped with creamy hummus? This no-nonsense eatery serves up several types of vegan bagels, with a dedicated sandwich on their menu called the “Vegan Delight”, topped with greens, beets, hummus, and a variety of other yummy veggies. If you’re more of a sweet than savory breakfast person, you can alternatively opt to top your bagel with peanut butter or jelly (or let’s get crazy- peanut butter AND jelly!).
While this place serves up the best bagels in town, they’re known for being a bit on the slow side- so I’d come during a day you’re prepared to sip your coffee and have a chill morning.
102, 211 Bear Street In the Bison Courtyard, Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta
This small-batch bakery has a constantly rotating menu, but always has a variety of vegan pastries, like peach and ginger muffins and chocolate tortes, and locally roasted, ethically sourced coffee on hand The menu is thoughtfully labeled to denote vegan offerings, as well as gluten-free and dairy-free options (of which there are a decent variety!).
While Wild Flour’s muffins reign supreme, you also may want to consider checking this cozy spot out for a light lunch, with their daily vegan soup option and veggie sandwich, which is usually veganizable.
#117 1001 6th Avenue, Canmore, Alberta
Communitea is a bright and airy café serving healthy fare for breakfast, lunch, and a light dinner (at the time I’m writing this, they close at 7 pm daily). Their menu is clearly labeled, marking items as vegan, gluten-free, or dairy-free, with yummy options like a vegan breakfast burrito, breakfast sandwich (featuring tofu scramble, tomato chutney, and spicy mayo on a ciabatta bun), and avocado toast.
The lunch and dinner menu is filled with similar options, highlighting fresh, organic ingredients, with dishes like a Yoga Bowl with spiced chickpeas, sweet potato, kale, and a host of other veggies and a Mountain Veggie Wrap, with avocado, shredded beets, and alfalfa sprouts, drizzled with Caesar dressing.
The café also lives up to its name, with over 50 teas on hand, with dreamy flavors like dark chocolate truffle or lemon meringue pie. If you’re looking for a cute and cozy atmosphere and a healthy meal, Communitea cannot be beat!
401 Banff Ave, Banff, AB
Like Wild Flour, this fast casual café also has a constantly rotating menu, relying heavily on vegetarian-friendly options. While the cafe regularly offers plenty of delicious vegan pastries and baked goods on any given day, such as sausage rolls and blueberry banana bread, I’ve also read several reports of folks showing up bright-eyed and hungry for breakfast, only to be turned away with no vegan options that particular day.
As such, if you’re in a rush, I’d strongly recommend calling to confirm whether they have any vegan offerings that day. This spot also serves up light vegan lunch options, like soup and occasionally sandwiches (but again- I’d recommend calling ahead to check on the vegan options!).
WHERE TO EAT VEGAN IN BANFF- LUNCH AND DINNER
110, 211 Bear St, Banff AB
Nourish is Banff’s only completely vegetarian restaurant (with almost all of the dishes being veganizable) and has a menu with far-reaching influences, from Southern comfort food, pan-Asian cuisine, and even a little Italian fare thrown in there.
While the price point is definitely higher than a lot of other restaurants in town, there’s plenty of dishes that set Nourish apart, like the build-your-own-charcuterie board, with locally handcrafted cheese and mushroom-stuffed ravioli drowning in a cashew milk-based cream sauce. The staff is always friendly, the atmosphere has a fun funky flair, and there’s plenty of creative cocktails and craft beers available from the bar.
219 Banff Ave, Banff, AB
This distillery not only pumps out its own vodka, maple rye, and a variety of other spirits, but also has an impressive variety of plant-based food on its menu. The burger, piled high with avocado, kimchi and cheddar, is seriously mouth-watering or, if you’re looking for lighter fare, you have interesting options like tofu lettuce wraps and veggie bowls.
Get a flight of Park’s liquors, like chili vodka, barrel-aged gin, and espresso vodka, nom down on that burger, and soak in the restaurant’s modern yet rustic vibes.
Lake Agnes, Lake Louise, AB
One of the most unique “restaurants” I’ve ever been to, you’re going to have to hike to this teahouse, which is located about 1,300 feet up a mountainside! The ingredients used to make the basic offerings here, like sandwiches, soups, and of course, tea, must be hiked up a couple of times a week, with one bulk drop from a helicopter, dropping off about 10,000 pounds, each year!
You can access this cozy log cabin by hiking from Lake Louise up Mount Niblock approximately 2.3 miles (via the Lake Agnes Trail). While the dishes here are simple (I’m talking like peanut butter and jelly and hummus sandwich simple), they’re obviously crafted with love and well-executed.
There’s just something so epically Banff-y about fueling up at this homey cabin- the entire time that Justin and I visited Banff, the weather was cold and dreary; hiking here and slurping happily on a steaming cup of soup was one of the highlights of my trip!
120 Banff Ave, Banff, AB
What do vegans love more than hummus? FALAFEL! At Balkan, a more upscale-yet-casual restaurant slinging Mediterranean cuisine, you can get a hearty helping of both! With a couple bottles of Mythos lager to wash it all down and extremely friendly and engaged service, this is a great spot, conveniently located in downtown Banff, to stop to get your fill of some delicious fried carbs.
203 Caribou St, Banff, AB
This popular Mexican joint has a colorful and festive ambiance and offers several veganizable dishes, like cauliflower tacos, topped with pickled onions and refried beans, and a veggie burrito, stuffed with guac, pico de gallo, and cabbage. If you REALLY want to enjoy your meal, head up to the cheerful rooftop patio to enjoy the fresh mountain air and gorgeous views (and margs, duh). With $5 Coronas (all day, every day!), this is a great spot if you’re looking for a lively atmosphere and approachable food.
There you have it- Banff has plenty of delicious vegan food for you to enjoy post-hiking (or apres ski, if you happen to visit in the wintertime!) during your visit to Banff. Did I miss any hidden vegan gems in Banff? Let me know in the comments below!