Saskatoon boasts one of the highest numbers of restaurants in Canada per capita, so there is no reason that it shouldn’t have it’s fair share of vegan establishments and vegan options, right? Right! When I lived here back in 2016 there were very few restaurants offering vegan options, but upon returning this year, I am so pleased to report that the Paris of the Prairies is very accommodating to vegans, and plant-based folks alike. Saskatoon is known as the “The City of Bridges” thanks to the multiple structures that span the South Saskatchewan River. It also has a burgeoning music scene, and a flourishing vegan scene. So, if you’re looking for vegan options in Saskatoon, here’s your guide to the best vegan food. And, here’s a map to make it even easier.
Yay! Thai was born from the love of Thai food with a fusion twist. After traveling through Thailand, the sweet, spicy, and sour flavors from the Land of Smiles left an impression on Vivek Patawari, and his wife, Roshni Jain, and in May 2019 Yay! Thai opened its doors to the hungry people of Saskatoon. The restaurant is vibrant with a casual feel, and the menu offers a variety of plant-based Thai dishes like Pad See Ew, a hearty bowl of broad noodles, scrimp (vegan shrimp), broccoli, and mushrooms, all tossed in a dark and sweet Thai soy sauce, and topped with red Thai chilis, pickled veggies, a slice of lime, and roasted ground almonds. If you have a craving for something fresh and tangy, the Thai Chick’n Larb Salad will hit the spot thanks to the healthy portion of vermicelli rice noodles covered in mushrooms, snow fungus, black fungus, mint, cilantro, red Thai chili peppers, ground chick’n, and lime juice — all beautiful sweet, sour, and spicy flavors we have come to love. We also dig the Panang Chick’n Curry and Grilled Chick’n Satay. The skewers are marinated in coconut cream, lemon grass, and galangal among other spices, while the curry also features lemongrass chick’n, and red peppers, all in a rich and creamy coconut sauce, and served with a coconut rice waffle. Yay! Thai also offers soft-serve coconut milk based ice-cream with rotating flavors. Looking for something different to sip on? Try their beer-bucha on tap, a blend of beer and locally brewed kombucha. In an effort to tackle takeout waste, Yay! Thai offers 10% off of your order if you bring your own container (B.Y.O.C.). Note: All of the food at Yay! Thai is plant based, but they do offer dairy milk for their specialty coffees and teas. 152 2 Ave. South
Ambition and authentic fast food flavors are the name of the game at Güd Eats. With the plan of opening five additional locations in three years, Saskatoon’s first vegan fast food joint has entered the vegan market at the perfect time. When Güd Eats opened two years ago, the vegan spot had more than 40 menu items. They have now scaled it down to 25 of their classic and best tasting offerings. When visiting Güd Eats, expect a casual dining experience tapping into that comfort fast food we’ve all come to know and love. Going with the ‘build your own’ approach, customers can choose from either the Beyond Burger patty, or Güd Eats very own made in house Güd patty. The Güd cheez burger is a favorite of many and features a potato bun filled with a patty of your own choosing, orange cheddar cheez, grilled caramelized onion, lettuce, tomato, chilly dilly picklz, and Güd sauce. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, the Bourbon BBQ burger is stuffed with two patties, seasoned onions rings, roasted sweet corn, and creamy malt slaw. Make it a combo with seasoned fries or onion rings. Other must-try eats include the Baja tequila tempura battered shrimp tacos and the mini chick’n drumsticks tossed in a choice of Frank’s Red Hot, Güd bourbon bbq sauce, salt and pepper, Bastid’s jerk, or garlic. For the salad lovers, the güd Caesar is where it’s at. Olive oil marinated kale, romaine lettuce, hemp hearts, almond parm, herbed croutons, güd caesar dressing, and shiitake mushroom bacun make for a hell of a tasty Caesar salad. Also keep an eye out for the güd food truck located behind Thrive Juice Co. in Riversdale, and at summer festivals. 2917 Early Dr.
The Griffin Takeaway
Established in 2012, The Griffin Takeaway has been graciously serving sweet baked vegan treats in Saskatoon before it was common. The bakery and cafe is tucked into a lovely neighborhood lined with old character homes, and even older trees. Some of their goodies you can devour are blackberry lime cupcakes, lemon shortbread, salted peanut brownie, ginger snaps, black forest cupcakes, and the no-bake Canadian favorite, the Nanaimo Bar (named after the city of Nanaimo, in British Columbia, Canada). Not all of the treats here are vegan, but there is more than enough goodness to choose from. They also serve a hearty vegan BLT made with smoked eggplant, spicy cashew mayo, crispy lettuce, and tomatoes all served on a thick gluten-free vegan bean bread. The Griffin Takeaway also offers vegan African peanut stew, and cajun red bean and rice soup. #50 741 7th Ave, North
Karma Conscious Cafe and Eatery
You may recognize the names Vivek Patawari, and Roshni Jain above in the Yay! Thai listing. The two are also co-owners of Karma Conscious Cafe and Eatery, along with Vivek’s brother Ashish, and his sister in-law Richa Kumari. The cafe serves vegan/vegetarian food, and has a down-to-earth warm and cozy community feel decorated with colorful pillows, small distressed wood table tops, and a variety of art. An array of nourishing bowls are printed out on a large wall sized chalk board for all to see. Among the assortments are a vegan Bahn Mi Bowl with vegan Sriracha mayo, tomatoes, chopped lettuce, grilled tofu, and kimchi all coming together in a creamy, spicy, sour, and crunchy flavor explosion. On the sweet side of things, the Coconut Blueberry Scone is perfectly paired with the Kesariya Masala Chai Latte. Kesariya is derived from the Hindi word kesar, meaning saffron. Black tea, saffron, and a handful of other aromatic spices are blended with creamy oat milk to create this perfectly spiced hot drink. But, that’s not all we love about The Karma.They believe that “what goes around comes around” and bring this belief into The Karma. The owners give back in the form of charity and donations from everything they sell. Taking it a step further, The Karma Cafe has a Karma wheel that features nine options — three to purchase food for those in need, three for good karma, and three where the cafe must donate food. 2-157 2nd Ave., North
Saba’s African Cuisine
Owned and operated by a local Ethiopian family, Saba’s is a no-frills restaurant serving several vegan dishes like chopped collard greens simmered in herb soaked oil, yellow split peas cooked in a mild sauce, lentils cooked in berber sauce, and lava beans with chopped vegetables; all served with injera, a slightly spongy sourdough risen flat bread. The vegan combination plate is your best bet if you want to sample a little bit of everything. Swing by on Sundays when they serve traditional Ethiopian coffee. The preparation of the coffee is a cultural ritual dating back to the 10th century. The ceremony has deep significance with the custom being built around the roasting, infusing, and drinking of coffee. The ceremony takes about two hours, so be sure you have the time. It is worth every sip. 901 22 St. W.
Fable Ice-cream & Espresso
Small batch and fresh ingredients made with love is the promise of Lauren and Jordan, owners of Fable Ice-Cream.
This small but lovely locally owned ice-cream shop offers a rotating selection of vegan ice creams and sorbets. Ingredients like coconut butter, cashew, and coconut milk make this vegan ice cream particularly dreamy and creamy. The fruit sorbets are refreshing on a hot summer day, and if you’ve never tried an affogato, (a scoop of ice cream drenched in hot espresso) what are you waiting for?!? An excerpt from their website reads :”You’ll agree if you’ve ever watched a kid eat an ice cream cone that it is the quintessential picture of pure bliss”. Indeed it is, something us adults can definitely draw joy from as well. 633 Avenue H South
Dangerously (or conveniently) located right next door to Fable Ice-Cream & Espresso is another treat that brings us all great joy — Darkside Donuts. This spot serves a selection of hand-crafted vegan (and non-vegan) donuts baked fresh every morning. Flavors like Strawberry kiwi, chocolate fudge dip, and summer sweetness like orchard sour cherry compote with rhubarb vanilla glaze. You can pull up to one of the tables inside and enjoy a coffee and donut, or take them both to go. 631 Ave H, South
Blue Lagoon/Spicy Time
Spicy Time is a casual Indian restaurant with a daily lunch and dinner buffet. Blue Lagoon, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant-within-a-restaurant is inside Spicy Time. It makes for slight confusion if you don’t know these details, but that’s ok, because Indian food! A vegan/vegetarian buffet is served three times a week, and vegan curries like coconut vegetable, grilled eggplant, and pumpkin and peas are clearly labeled in the menu. If you’re unsure of the bread just ask your server. Vegetable fried rice, saffron rice, plain rice, vegetable biryani, and coconut rice are all vegan, and soon they will be offering vegan masala chai, and gulab jamun. 3401 8 St. East
A favorite in the Riversdale neighborhood, the food at Odd Couple is lovingly put together by the desire to recreate Canadian-Asian cuisine in a fun fusion between East and West. Not all dishes are vegan, but a great variety of them are. Inspired by Japanese, Cantonese, and Vietnamese cooking techniques, the dishes here are creative and delicious. Try the portobello bacon fried rice with battered ginger and shiitake mushrooms served with steamed jasmine rice, the Asian mango avocado salad and the tofu scramble and sweet potato potstickers for brunch. They also offer vegan desserts like the dark chocolate jin deui, a Chinese fried pastry made with glutinous rice flour, coated with sesame seeds, and served with vegan ice cream for the sweet tooth. Vegan brunch, lunch, and dinner are sorted if you plan on dining at Odd Couple. Want to wash it down with a cocktail? Order the Moon Walk made with Vietnamese coffee, brandy, and Triple Sec. There is no wrong decision at Odd Couple with so many delicious vegan options. 228 20th St. West
You can spend much of your time reminiscing over all of the vintage posters, album covers, hats, T-shirts, pennants and more all stapled to the walls and ceilings of this tavern. Leopold’s has a kitschy unpretentious feel with friendly service, and a working juke box to boot! What we love at Leopold’s is their plant-based menu with everyone’s tavern favorites. Items include plant-based nachos that come topped with shredded Daiya, pico de gallo, onion, pepper, olives, and salsa, The Beyond Usual Burger with melted Daiya, jalapeños, pickle, tomato, onion, and chipotle mayo, as well as plant-based quesadillas filled with melted Daiya, corn, black beans, and pico de gallo. Of course, they also offer Beyond Burger Poutine made with Beyond Meat crumbles, chopped tomatoes, pickles, onion, Daiya cheddar, mushroom gravy, and burger sauce. 616 10th St. East (Broadway), 120 Tweed Lane (Rosewood)
Citizen Cafe and Bakery
Three words: Vegan. Pop. Tarts. These fresh, house-made pastries come stuffed with stone fruit, Saskatoon berry, sour cherry, and more, drizzled with icing and rainbow sprinkles at Citizen Cafe and Bakery. Always made from scratch using locally sourced ingredients, Citizen Cafe is female-run and entirely dairy-, egg-, and gluten-free vegan-friendly business serving comforting and hearty sandwiches, soups, coffees, teas, and sweets. When you’re there, try the “Hall” featuring mashed green lentils, and chickpeas, mixed with Veganaise, fresh vegetables and maple smoked tempeh. Be sure to save room for the baked goodies though; there are more than enough plant-based desserts to choose from. Hang out and eat inside the industrial chic building, or out on the mini patio in the sunshine. Bonus: free parking is available. 18 23 St. East