The Foundation is a funky, retro casual restaurant with relaxed service offering a menu of vegan & vegetarian dishes til 1am.
Perfect summer food if you're not a year-round vegetarian. It's not entirely vegan as cheeses & such gets used though I'm sure you can request to have the dairy excluded.
The soups are filling; the pastas, like the Mango Forte with large chunks of mango) are appetizing (though seemingly a little smaller in portion than the other options at $9.50; the salads (Satay, Serial, and Tight Spin) are delicious, and the nacho plates like the Katered Affair are well worth it in its $11 (tax included) cost plus huge portions good enough to share!
Absolutely love the place. You never feel rushed though you might feel the urge to rush their service, but how true it is that by the time you do get your orders delivered in front of you, you immediately forget about the seemingly longer than standard wait time.
Service is otherwise solid all around, and somewhat varies depending on your server in that none of them are rude, just that maybe one or two of them are just "all business".
Love the old retro 80's tree-hugger ambience!
...and then everything falls apart after that. Food, service, the seats you're sitting on, everything. I had their spin on a Veggie Burger which was really not my thing. I'm not Vegan or Vegetarian, but I've had decent veggie burgers before and this was just a step below.
Everyone knows what the service is like here, but I'm not sure if everyone knows how dirty and rundown the place is. If you're looking for a place to feel superior about yourself and talk Broken Social Scene or find inspiration for your latest epic poem then maybe you'll be able to overlook the shoddiness of this hipster dive. If you're a nacho lover or a vegan who has yet to try the place, then maybe you should give it a shot.
If you're anyone else, why bother? Go once so you can say you've been to this semi-famous location, and then try not to get dragged back there again. I've been there twice now, first just for the Nachos and then for a burger, and there won't be a third time.
Finally went to The Foundation today after complaining about going there for months. I went with 3 other friends for lunch in hopes to avoid big line ups and such. It was only about half full of people. Right away you notice that.. everyone who works there are hipsters. And everyone that comes in are hipsters too. So if you're not even close to being a hipster.. you might feel a little out of place.
Okay. It looks worn out. Seriously. The place could definitely use a new paint job.. and replace their really old worn out chairs with "new" vintage chairs or whereever they find their furniture. Apparently the washroom was creepy and the door was broken too. The music volume needs adjusting.. it's not all equal. Sometimes it's blaring and sometimes it's soft. And wtf is with the jars for glasses? It's not cool, the ridges on the jars make it inconvenient to drink out of.
It's true. The service sucks.. so badly. Other than coming to take our orders and dropping off the menus, don't expect a smile or recommendations. Oh, and don't even think about a water refill. They ignore you unless you go up to them. And sometimes they leave your order sitting there for like 5-10 mins before they bring it over to you. And we had to wait for our orders for OVER HALF AN HOUR. Around 40 mins! And this was when the place was only half full! My god, I don't want to know how long dinner would have been.
I'm a vegetarian, so this place is a HUGE plus for me. Despite everything else, I would so come back for the food. And the price. It's so good. One of my friends had the burger which is really good (it's her first time trying a veggie burger, she's almost a carnivore), another had the hummus plate, another had the mingling yam plate (ahhh I loved this, I almost got a take out for this dish), and I had this sandwich.. I forgot the actual name of it. It has sourdough bread that's spicy though. The salad is a plus, dressing was very different from your usual salad. Loved my sandwich. But loved the yam dish even more, it's a mixture of yam and strong garlic dip with tortilla chips and flat bread. They could have heated up the bread more, and if the dip were hot instead of served cold, even better. And with the price? Wow. Each dish was anywhere from 5-8 dollars with tax.
But yeah. If you're not in a rush and with a few friends that have plenty to chat about (so the wait doesn't seem so long).. come here and eat. Great pricing, great food. If they're service finally met up to their food standards, this place would easily be one of my favourite places to eat.
I have been to the Foundation a few times now, and I have never had bad service. The vibe is cool, it makes me feel like I finally fit in with the cool kids. Kinda. The nachos are great and not too cheesy. Love the spinach salad. In my opinion, the main veggie curry dishes are not that great, but Foundation has enough great appetizers/salads that I will keep going back.
I have always driven by this place and always wanted to try this vegetarian restaurant.
I had the Tight Spin Salad, tried a little bit of the Pesto Imprisoned and the Mingling Yams. Definately yummers!!!
Can't say much about the service though. It feels like our server (a hippy like guy) didn't seem like he really wanted to work. Although the little cooks look like they were running around like little elves.
Don't expect any heat. I figured if I was having a salad that wasn't hot and my body had no heat going through it, they would put some heat on in the middle of winter.
Would go back and try their nachos for dinner. They don't have it on their lunch menu!
normally i would have visited a place at least a few times before i review it. in the case of foundation, i have only been to 3 times. so maybe my review is skewed. that being said. the other times that i have wanted to go here. there were line ups to get in. with so many dining options and a motor vehicle, i really dont like waiting in line.
there line up and wait can be frustrating. as a former restauranter, i really know what to look for and at when i dine out. from my two exp here, i see a lack of system and training. what i mean to say is sometimes this place can be very unorganized.
as a customer, it matters because i waited for longer than needed on the cold outside while there were tables that were empty. i should say that this is not the fault of the employees, whom seemed nice but inexperience. that is where leadership and ownership comes in.
once sat, service was painfully slow throughout my experiences here. like you have to wait for them to order and they dont come and check up on you ever. to be fair, it does seem like they were understaff FOH.
the location is next to the XXX theather on main and 7th. parking on the strret if you can find one. or pay parking on the lot on the block below.
Had a group dinner for my volunteer gig at Foundation about a week ago. My favorite kind of food is free food :-)
Food - Had the Peanut Pasta. Sounds bizarre I know, but it was actually very tasty and enjoyable. My colleague had the "tofu bacon" to go along with his veggie burger and he said it was pretty decent. Really? I think I'd prefer the real thing. Appetizer of salad, pita bread, dip, and fried tofu was pretty good as well. Sangria was marginally passable, but that's what you get for ordering Sangria at a vegetarian non-Spanish restaurant.
Service - Poor and pretty slow. Though friendly, our server looked disinterested in providing us with any service what-so-ever. Or maybe he was just being true to his hippy ways.
Ambiance - A "hole-in-the-wall" kind of place. I do like that they played some pretty obscure hip-hip in the background. The place seems to be fairly popular with the late-20's crowd; I would describe it as the chic place to be.
There's not a lot to complain about with The Foundation (unless you had eaten there during their Hepatitis A scare. The menu offerings are simple and effective, perhaps too much so as I've taken several of their recipes and easily replicated them at home - often improving on the originals by using higher quality ingredients. The price point is fair, however, for both dinner and drinks... and with their younger less affluent hipster clientele (seemed like students mostly) they have to keep it on the cheap. The corners cut in terms of food quality are excused when the context is put into perspective, because after a couple of pitchers of sangria you're not going to be too discerning about such things.
The first thing I noticed about this place was the retro furniture. I could swear that I saw one of my parents' old kitchen chairs!
The food was a bit bland in my opinion. But I'll give them the benefit of doubt as I am not a regular vegetarian diner.
I like the idea of an open kitchen, but this leads to scrutiny by the customers. We sat on the side which provided me a good view of the kitchen. Ventilation was poor because my clothes smelled for a couple of days! I had some concerns about the cleanliness of things. I saw the cook cut some vegetables, moved some boxes, flicker the stereo switches, talked on his cell phone, and then back to cooking. I didn't see him wipe his hands at all.
I'd probably go back to this place. Seems like a nice place to wind down. Casual to the very best!
I really enjoyed their burgers and salads though my friends said you could get sick of their salads quite quickly. Service had always been just adequate. There wasn't one wasted word out of the waitress' mouth. Their drinks were pricey though.
So, I live within walking distance of the Foundation and my partner has asked me why I never went there - same old story as a lot of other folks' reviews - crappy service. I and a friend actually went in a year or so ago & they literally walked around us & served everyone else and completely ignored us until we got up and left - a very bizarre experience. Plus, they often have a long line up and I refuse to line up for a restaurant in Vancouver - there are just too many others to choose from. And, I'd heard of the HepA outbreak & was loathe to go...That all being said, a serious foodie friend's status update on Facebook about missing Vancouver & missing the Nachos at Foundation made me want to check it out so my partner & I ended up there this weekend. Apart from the fact that they don't friggin serve Nachos for lunch (I think they start serving them at 430pm), the food was excellent. We had a cup of ginger carrot soup which was more like a large bowl for $4 and 2 burgers - the Foundation which was ok, and another (can't remember the name but it was a bit spicy and had hummus on it) & it was EXCELLENT. The waiter barely spoke to us and didn't even ask if our meals were ok, so when he reached over to pick up the plates when we were done I said "the food was awesome, by the way" and he brightened right up & we actually had a convo about which burger was better and he recommended that we do need to come back to try the nachos. I think I actually may have seen a wee smile on his face as we spoke, which was weird because honestly there were quite a few people working there, and I didn't see a single one smile. What is that about? Please don't tell me you're too trendy to smile?
Also, my partner & I are both carnivores (him more than me) & we both loved the food options on the menu and will come back to try the Nachos & probably one of their yummy salads.
Came here a couple nights ago with 2 girlfriends on the recommendation of a friend. Firstly, the ambiance of the restaurant was what grabbed my attention immediately. The room was fairly dim, lit by candles at each table. It definitely had that 'organic' healthy kind of vibe to it and i'm sure thats what they are going for. But what did not make sense was the 'old school gangsta rap' they were blasting. And by old school, i mean stuff from 10 yrs ago. Nothing wrong with that of course but it just didn't make sense to me. Nevertheless, the place was packed at about 830pm on a tuesday night!
We each ordered a beverage and a milk chocolate fondue to share. The fondue took a very long time to come. We were told after about 1/2 hour or so that it was delayed b/c they thought we were waiting for it as dessert. Service was a bit slow but was understandable b/c they were busy. For $10 you get a fondue (for 3) of very fresh tasting and decent sized strawberries and chopped up barlett pears sprinkled with coconut. The chocolate tasted good, not too sweet but was a bit grainy. In all honesty, I can probably make a better tasting one at home with more variety of fruits and cake to dip.
Overall, I would probably come back to try the food and other drinks b/c the portions seem to be quite large and the drinks are reasonably priced. Only complaint is the atmosphere. Not exactly a place to enjoy a nice dessert (or food) and have a decent conversation.
If you're looking for a cool, funky, experience, this is the place for you. The food is not terribly great, and the night we went they were out of most of the staples. It just meant that our rice was upgraded to Quinoa, which was actually a great thing.
The food, while different, missed the mark somewhat. I had a mango and bean rice dish. Sounded completely different, and it was... but it wasn't very good either.
The music is hit and miss, i imagine it's just someone's ipod plugged into the stereo and as you know from listening to someone else's 15g ipod, there's a lot of crap. At one point there was a circus song playing for 5 minutes.
It felt grungy, the staff were not very helpful, or happy to be working there... but we knew what to expect going in. I would likely go back with my vegetarian friends from out of town... but there's better fare elsewhere in Vancouver.
Having lived in Vancouver for years and bing a veggie, people often told me to check this place out. I finally did last weekend. It was... okay.
The decor is fine, but I am not a fan of the quotes on the wall. Overall the place felt like it was trying too hard to be hip/alternative.
The server didn't really speak to us, just looked at us once in a while and assumed we knew what to do. Look one, order drinks. Look two, order food. Look three, time to pay the bill. He wasn't rude, just awkward.
However, my burger was great and my friend's chilli was also yum. I had coffee and my friend had a pop: the drinks were fine. I didn't like that they slathered my greens with some thick mangoe dressing, but overall the food was very good and it came at a good price.
I would come here again for a casual quick bite if I were in the area. I wouldn't make a special trip to come, though.
Food- The actual dishes are really good, but are never made properly. Got a BLT with filling on only 1/2 the sandwich. The filled half was great but the plain bread wasn't.
Service- Server wouldn't replace said sandwich because "that's how much usually comes on a full sandwich anyway". Took AN HOUR AND A HALF to get soup and sandwiches when there were THREE OTHER TABLES in the place. Coffee was cold and server got moody when I pointed it out. So sorry that you're hungover on a Tuesday afternoon.
Value- 15% savings every meal, because the service is so crappy that you don't have to tip!
Ambiance- nice place, good music.
Either the owner isn't around enough to ensure quality control or this is a cash grab wolf in hippie clothing. Either way, won't be back.
First impression: looked busy and cozy, which is a good thing. Arrived just after 7 pm and there was a line, which unfortunately was right underneath a blaring speaker. By the time we were seated (which didn't take too long), I was already hoarse from having to yell to my friend who was standing right in front of me.
FOOD >>> We split the nachos utopia. Pretty tasty and a very nice big portion. My friend had a beer and I had a decent cranberry based drink that only cost 2 dollars.
SERVICE >>> The waiters were friendly, fast and not all over us asking if we needed stuff, etc. I personally hate it when waiters overdo it, so I appreciated being served and then left alone.
VALUE >>> Great value for the portions.
AMBIANCE >>> The tables were candlelit, but I expected a little more from the place and thought it would be slightly more "funky". I definitely like how laid back it was. The bathrooms have a LOT of room for improvement.
Is it too much to ask for a decent vegetarian restaurant in what is supposed to be the healthiest city in Canada? This restaurant makes you feel like you are back eating in the 1970s. Who wants sunflower seeds sprinkled on their salad? Who thinks everyone likes mango dressing? Who likes lukewarm water in plastic cups? It tastes like plastic!! I have had better veggie burgers at burger joints and if a vegetarian restaurant can't make a good one, who can? I love the creativity of the writing on the menu, but I think someone needs to point out to the owners that it is 2007 and vegetarian food has changed since their mom was cooking Veggie Surprise Noodles with Cat Stevens on the stereo.
My friends and I came here last night. Had the nachos, hummus, fondu and sangria. The prices aren't bad for Vancouver restaurants and the food is pretty amazing. Nachos were great, loaded with beans, jalapenos and corn with guacomole, sour cream and salsa on the side. The cheese on the nachos was generous and not too dry. The hummus was super garlicy and the best I've ever tasted. Fondu was good, it's hard to mess up chocolate and fruit. Sangria was yummy, had lots of fruits in it. The portions are fairly large, what we ordered was all enough to fill the 5 of us. The music is just a bit too loud though, I had a hard time hearing what my friends were saying and vice versa.
Overall satisfied, would definitely eat here a second time.
Went there for drinks and food with some friends I hadn't seen in a while. Was told before going that the nachos are "the best in Vancouver". I didn't realize it was a vegetarian restaurant until I looked up the name of the place this meet-up was happening......being a former vegetarian, and now a meat-eater who still eats mostly vegetarian, I was excited to try this place out. The hipster thing I read about didn't really bug me, I'm a hippie at heart and my unshaven beard surely helped me fit in.
First of all, this place is DIRTY. That is kind of the point, but it's too far gone. The furniture is shabby, and I hear it's recycled, so great. But there's no reason for tons of flies to be flying around the restaurant.....bad sign. The bathrooms are actually not terribly dirty, but the way they are organized is baffling. I sincerely hope no one who goes there ever has to take a number two......first of all the stench will probably reach some of the patrons, and you'll likely have a member of the opposite sex using the toilet next to you. Nothing says "let's go for drinks sometime" like dropping a nuke within whispering distance of a pretty lady.
The service, unlike many reviews I have read elsewhere, was not too bad. We were a large group, so perhaps they felt it in their best interests to serve us a little better. They came around often enough to keep the beer flowing, and that is commandment number one in my books, whenever I'm having booze at a place.
The FOOD.....is....amazing. THE best vegetarian food I've ever had in my life. I never knew Quinoa could be so mouth-wateringly delicious. That wasn't even the best part of the night. It was. The. NACHOS.
They speak for themselves. Everyone says it, I've experienced it, it's true. The best nachos I've ever had. They are the main reason I'm going to have a hard time staying away despite the inspection reports and what I saw with my own eyes.
I really liked the atmosphere, and the quotes on the walls were a nice touch. I especially liked the feel that you might just be in some hippie's basement - Old kitchen stoves, old lighting. It's It's not for everyone, but I enjoyed it.
I hope they clean up their act.....I want to return many times. I can take the ripped booths, the old stoves, the crappy (but cool) decor, but the flies and the feeling that a rat may have slept on your nacho plate the night before are definitely big minuses. They are lucky their food is so good, and the demographic they cater to so loyal, for sure.
The Foundation is SO incredibly overrated.
The atmosphere sucks. The hip-hop music is aggressive and loud, I don’t know if I’d hate it in another context but it’s wrong in a restaurant context. The quotes on the wall aren’t “charming” they’re cliché and taken out of context. I have a socialist streak so it’s not like I disagree with the quotes themselves, or think they’re stupid, it’s just that to me, painting them in big letters on the wall screams “Look at me, I’m an intellectual!”. The place isn’t very clean either and the furniture is annoying.
The food is not bad but it’s overrated. I’ve had much better vegetarian food elsewhere. I’ve tried two dishes there and both times it was swimming in oil. And kind of rancid oil, too! The flavours themselves weren’t too bad, but nothing special either. I can make better food myself and I hate to cook so… But to be fair, it’s not terrible. Just very average. The famous nachos mentioned below are okay but often burned. Are vegetarians really that ignorant about taste? I think not, I have a vegan friend and her cooking is very good.
The service, as mentioned by other reviewers, is abysmal. It takes forever for them to acknowledge you when you walk in the door, then once you’re seated, it takes forever to get menus. Then you wait some more for water, then for them to take your order, and then, you wait even longer for the food to get there. I understand that they’re busy (the restaurant is full of masochist hipsters who apparently like average food served late by unfriendly servers) but there’s no reason why a pasta dish that should take about 20 minutes to make takes over 50 minutes to get to your table. Especially since I noticed it had been sitting next to the kitchen for at least 15 minutes. The staff is inattentive and unfriendly. One server seemed nice one time I went, but she wasn’t the one serving us.
Value is good, I will give them that. You get decent portions for the price and the ingredients are healthy, so you can fill up your tummy with healthy food for not much. That is the only thing about the foundation that is even remotely worth the reputation it gets.
I might give it another try in the future but I’m not sure. If the service was good and the music was decent, I could probably deal with the average food that takes forever to come, but it’s certainly not the case…