Saturday, October 8, 2011

Where to Eat in Edmonton - Fall 2011 Edition

I took a night off from cooking yesterday and went out for dinner. My friend James ensured me that he found a really good vegan-friendly restaurant that had to be tried. He was right. I was surprised I hadn't heard of this restaurant before as I know most of the vegan friendly spots in the city.
I love that they tell me that I am hungry. They are correct!

Lan's (Check out the review on Happy Cow) is a Vietnamese / Thai restaurant located behind NAIT on the Avenue of Champions (11826A 103 St NW). You wouldn't know it was there unless you actually went into the strip mall. The restaurant was pretty nice from the inside, minimal in decor, but lots of seats.

Walking in, I knew that Thai and Vietnamese restaurants are often somewhat vegan friendly, but this place took it a step further. There is a whole vegan menu there! Not just regular curries and stir-fries, this place had vegan pad Thai, salad rolls and other southeast Asian treats that I have not had since going vegan.
A whole vegan section! That is my favourite thing to see at a restaurant. 
Of course, I ordered both. They were delicious. The salad rolls were veggie, but you could get them with tofu as well. They were well priced and they packed them with veggies, vermicelli noodles and served with peanut sauce (they have other sauces as well that you can choose from). The pad Thai was amazing with sweet, salty and sour all perfectly combined and the serving size was perfect. I ate every bite and could not eat any more than that. If you like pad Thai, I highly recommend. This was the first one I have had since being in Thailand that actually tasted like the what you get over there.
A little taste of Thailand, done right. That is pure bliss

Salad rolls, I got exciied and ate one before taking this crappy out of focus shot with my cellphone.
Trust me they are better in person!
Lastly, they have sweet tea. I was in Georgia in May and became hooked on Georgian sweet tea. Oh. My. God. This tea is good. They make it with green tea which is different than modern Georgian Sweet Tea (It was originally made with green though, I checked). I would go back just to have some more tea!

So, kudos to the staff. Our server, Tom, was great and super friendly. He has an energy that is contagious. I also had a chance to speak to Monica, the chef, and she said that tried to make a menu that could be accommodating for as many special dietary needs as possible. She had items that were peanut free, gluten free, vegan (obviously) and lactose free, etc etc. She said she has no problem modifying orders to suit her guests and it is so refreshing to hear that from a chef. I eat out so often and I hate when the restaurant makes me feel like I am being a pain in the ass. Being able to meet the needs of the customers in the restaurant is a part of owning a restaurant.

Unfortunately, there was a non-vegan frozen yogurt bar at the restaurant. Such a cool idea and I just wish they had a vegan one so I could have tried.

I was hoping to post as well about a new vegan-friendly health conscious restaurant that had their grand opening tonight. I have been keeping an eye on Noorish for some time now and was stoked when I heard they were finally opening. Edmonton has a real lack of vegan and vegetarian restaurants and I was really looking forward to having some yummy vegan and raw dishes. I had a feeling the opening wasn't going to be super organized. There was no phone number on the website and they didn't send their email promotions until days before the opening.

That said, I was determined to get down there and give it a try. I grabbed my James and off we went to check it out. When we arrived, the place was packed. Outside the door, there was a cash only sign, so we trudged off to get some money. Getting back we went in and after hanging around for 10 minutes were told to get food you had to go in another door (The kitchen door). Not well marked, but we went around back to get in a new line. Again another 15 minutes go by and we get to the front where we can buy tickets for food. Since there was nowhere to eat, we decided on just getting dessert. I go to buy my ticket and found out #1 they were taking debit #2 they were no longer offering dessert unless you bought a $20 entree.

Cranky and annoyed, we left. Hungry and underwhelmed.

So that is my little rant of the night. I am definitely going back and giving Noorish another try. I think they are pretty disorganized, but I got a peek at the food and it looked good. Once the wannabe trendy's of Edmonton get going to the next opening.. I will be back and hoping to actually get to eat this time.

Well... I need to go get some real food now. Think I may eat some Lan's coconut rice (I took it home with me).

Oh and PS - Thanks James for being my date and for getting to try out Lan's. You were right!


  1. Lan's sounds good! I haven't been to Edmonton in awhile, but next time I'm there (husband has some family that live in the city) I will need to try this place out!

  2. Definitely give it a try. Everyone there is so nice and all the food was terrific! It's only a 5 minute drive from downtown.

  3. I took a night off from cooking yesterday and went out for dinner. My friend James ensured me that he found a really good vegan-friendly restaurant that had to be tried.
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