The Whip – A Vegan Review

by L Matthews on December 30, 2013

the whip restaurant review vancouver veganFirst up in my snappily titled ‘2013 round-up of places I’ve eaten in Vancouver‘ is The Whip, just of Main St., and with a fine patio which I frequented many an evening in summer. They have a pretty decent vegan veggie burger and their fries are quite good too. Other than that, vegan options are quite limited and so I quickly lost interest in having dinner dates here and would only suggest it as a drinks thing after/before eating elsewhere.

The patio’s often really busy so it pays to get there early and loiter as once you have a table inside they won’t switch you to the patio (unless you’re a friend of the staff it seems).


The first time I came to the Whip was for brunch with friends who I’d just helped move house (back in 2012, how time flies). They do a half-decent tofu scramble (only available at brunch) and display some flexibility about veganism but you definitely get the impression that this is a bit of an afterthought and the focus is on classy meaty burgers and seafood.

Vegan Mains at The Whip

They only really have two main dishes that are veganisable: the Whip’s Wok and a linguini dish. The Whip’s Wok consists of steamed noodles (check they’ve not switched these to egg noodles), fresh vegetables in a teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds and tofu for $2 extra, coming to $14. It’s a little pricy for such a simple dish but is tasty enough to be a good fallback.

There is also a Balsamic Roasted Veggie Linguini which is, again, veganisable if you ask them to omit the feta topping and not use butter on the garlic bread. This is a little more fancy for $14 but has very little protein content and so commits a fatal error of many vegan-friendly dining experiences (throw in some chickpeas, cashews, or even almonds guys, come on!).

The Whip’s Veggie Burger is a little more interesting than most places as it is made in-house and is described as infamous. I think they probably want that to be famous, unless the burger is somehow committing heinous crimes of which I’m unaware. Still, it is made with beets, black beans, and carrots and served with a sweet chilli glaze (which has little heat, thankfully, as I’m no Sriracha fan), and a basic lettuce and tomato salad component. It comes with chiptle aioli that ain’t vegan so don’t forget to ask for it to be omitted and check as they did once forget my request. As they have a side order of guacamole available you can always ask them to sub the aioli for that if so inclined. I love guac so this works for me!

Yam fries are another snackish option, ask for guac or ketchup instead of aioli. Their salads aren’t very vegan friendly but there is an Arugula and Fig Salad that includes avocado, fennel, and pistachios, albeit it in a honey vinaigrette. As I hate fennel I’ve not tried this as I try to limit my ‘please veganise this by…’ requests to just one thing in a dish to limit confusion and calamity. Leave out the fennel and switch the dressing to a basic olive oil and balsamic and throw in some tofu and this might just be a salad I’ll try but it seems like too much effort so you guys should let me know what it’s like!

Desserts and Drinks

Alas, none of the desserts have ever been vegan when I’ve been at The Whip, but they do have specials changing constantly so it’s worth asking and maybe one day they’ll miraculously have something vegan-friendly.

What you really want to go to The Whip for are the cocktails. I got a bit hooked on the Fitzgerald last summer (Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon and bitters, with simple syrup). Yum. They also have a delicious Pimm’s cocktail called the Luciano (Pimm’s, Ginger of the Indies, ginger ale, bitter,s fresh lime and cucumber). Perfect patio drinking. Their beer and wine lists are limited (with only one localish wine from Oregon), and the focus is definitely on the amazing cocktail list and extensive single malt list, with port and ice wine available.

The Atmosphere

The Whip has a nice atmosphere, comfy cushioned benches at the sides of the room, but quite exposed hard chairs and tables in the centre that might be a bit of a struggle for larger folks and those with difficulties hearing in a babble of voices. Also, the patio is a pretty tight fit of tables so you have to be a bit of a skinny wriggler to get through without knocking cocktails everywhere, and expect to be overheard by your patio neighbours as they’re all of two feet away.

This might be a nice place to have an afternoon pint in the sunshine with your dog though as they can stay on the other side of the patio railing, so Kal and I might stroll down here when the sun returns to grey Vancouver.

Oh, and the bathrooms are so well decorated that I have friends who have Instagrammed them. Yes. I have feeling I’ll be back to The Whip for more dates soon…

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