Rain City Grill – Very Vegan-Friendly!

by L Matthews on August 29, 2011

This weekend heralded the grand switch of one set of visiting parents for the next. We headed out to Rain City Grill (a surprisingly vegan-friendly restaurant in Vancouver) for a last supper with the in-laws who’ve been staying with us for the last month, knowing that the food there is excellent and the service spectacular. After enforcing a ‘no meat in the house’ rule for the duration of their visit, I think those in our party who are of a carnivorous nature enjoyed the opportunity for locally-sourced salmon and bison, whilst I had a great time perusing the menu for a dish to cobble together from sides and entrees.

Just as with the last time we visited Rain City Grill (which was for our friends’ wedding reception), I was the only vegan in the party but was treated with profound respect and attention. Our server was simply fabulous, understood what veganism actually meant (how many times have we been there before, having that awkward conversation…), and she talked to the chef to work out a wonderfully tasty dish.

Whilst meat and cheese were being wolfed down around me, I had a delightful salad of biodynamic greens, with a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette and wafer thin slices of beetroot. Amazing. I was still eating my salad when everyone else had finished as it was pretty substantial! Clearly, I enjoyed it so much I had vinaigrette gracefully adorning my chin for much of the time.

For my main course I asked if it was possible to have a dish from the ‘Tomato Tasting Menu’ that they have currently; the smoked tomato pie. Nom Nom Nom. The chef furnished me with a smoky, rich tomato and lentil pie with roasted zucchini and red peppers. Alas, he or she did not whip up a vegan pie crust, but I was still stuffed and had no room left for dessert!

And, just to really make the evening complete, they had a bottle of wine available that I recognised as vegan, and is locally made! The Tantalus Riesling really set off the smokiness of the tomatoes and was a big hit with the in-laws who do like a tipple or two. I was assured that everyone else’s meals were also incredible, especially as there was barely a trace of food on anyone’s plate.

The only downside to the experience; my poor ma-in-law had a glass of water (ice cold!) accidentally tipped down her back by the chap manning the bar as he cleared a table! He looked a bit of a character, a little out of keeping with the other, almost embarrassingly attentive and enthusiastic, fresh-faced servers, and was not as apologetic as you may have expected. Luckily, it being another warm night in Vancouver and the restaurant being ‘romantically lit’ no one really noticed the sodden white trousers as we all backed gingerly out of the place at the end of the night. Then, on the way home, we saw a skunk roaming the streets downtown, just to add to the wildlife of Canada already ticked off on the in-laws great adventure!

If you want a locally sourced, wonderfully cooked meal, foodie heaven is to be found at Rain City Grill, where they make a big effort to make vegans welcome. The views from the restaurant, across English Bay, are spectacular and these people clearly love their food, love to show it off, and love to watch you enjoy it!

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