It’s hard to think of a restaurant in Vancouver more prolific than The Naam, Kitsilano’s own twenty-four hour vegetarian paradise. With a delicious menu full of beans, tofu, and fresh veggies, it’s enough to turn a hardcore meat eater over to the natural side. But besides the great greens, The Naam has been known as a central hippy hub for almost fifty years with a vast array of staff (there’s over sixty) and collection of legendary stories thanks to its always open doors.
Known as The Love Café in 1967, The Naam was truly established the following year to provide a shelter for Vancouver’s counter culture seeking fresh vegetarian food and a cool place to hang. At the time, The Naam was also one half grocery store with ready to go ingredients. It was a wild place where freedom and easy going vibes were plentiful. Little has changed over the years, still featuring some of the original wood furniture and decorations used from day one.
Manager Glen Delucas is celebrating his 25th anniversary with The Naam this year, claiming to have worked every job from server to cook. He reassured me that there are people in the kitchen who have worked for thirty years or more, proving that the staff is as legendary as the place, serving an ever changing array of guests that fit the time of day.
You may never have seen an advertisement for The Naam around town, but if you go any time, the tables are full, often with someone who has never tried the restaurant or its type of food. That’s because word of mouth is all it needs. Just coming for the atmosphere or the thrill of never knowing who might be there should be enough to hook you. Taking a bite of a legendary Dragon Bowls or miso gravy and fries certainly ought to do it.
Eighteen years as The Georgia Straight’s best Vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver should also be enough merit to get you in here. Or the fact that it has never changed and stayed to true to its hippy roots all these years. Only now, their famous sauces are available to buy in stores, much like the days of the old Naam grocery store. To those of you still leery about having a meat free meal, try and track down a restaurant in the city as old, busy, and legendary as this one. Good luck and see you on Rainbow Road.
Visit The Naam at 2724, 4th Ave and at www.Thenaam.com
Visit on Facebook at The Naam Restaurant