Too many diners, Whole Vegetarian is known simply as that restaurant that followed Bo Kong at 3068 Main Street. The latter, loved by vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores across Vancouver, closed down in 2010.
When we first visited Whole Vegetarian, not long after it started serving customers, we found a Chinese restaurant with a menu virtually identical to Bo Kong’s, but food that was somewhat less tasty. Some things have changed since then.
In late October, Whole Vegetarian opened a second location at 1018 Beach Avenue. The new restaurant lies along the seawall by the Burrard Bridge in the False Creek North area of downtown Vancouver.
The sizable space formerly housed the Chilli House Thai Bistro. Some apparent reminders of that eatery remain, such as a glass map of Thailand.
As you’d expect, the MSG-free and mostly vegan menu features appetizers, soups, congee, hot clay pots, noodles, rice, deep-fried foods, deluxe dishes, and desserts. During our first visit to the new location, we particularly enjoyed the pan-fried sticky rice ($12), deep-fried taro and soya milk combination ($13), and “tasty fresh” shiitake mushrooms ($14).
The dim sum menu has steamed, fried, and dessert items. We devoured the usual vegetarian barbecue buns ($4) and multiple orders of pan-fried turnip cake ($4).
All in all, the food was satisfyingly delicious. It easily meets the standard set by Po Kong Vegetarian Restaurant, Bo Kong’s spiritual successor, which started up at 1334 Kingsway in February 2011.
Whole Vegetarian on Beach Avenue is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. The restaurant does takeout and offers delivery within five kilometres, with a minimum order of $25.