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!
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.
...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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Really enjoyed my quick meal here. We were in a hurry and the staff had no problem in accomidating this. Peanut Sauce Tofu Salad was warm and amazing! The nachos were huge! With a brilliant home made salsa. Decor was funky and unique. Would definately dine here again.
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.
My husband and I usually drive by the Foundation every time and when we’re waiting for the street light to change, we always see people sitting at the window of the restaurant and try to figure out what the restaurant served. So one day we decided to give it a try. When we first walked in, it was dark with only candles and some not so very bright lights overhead illuminating the restaurant. We saw that the tables and chairs were all mismatched and the walls covered with quotes. Had that “old” retro feeling to the place which was kind of cool. We were seated and given menus and after a few minutes we finally realized that it was a vegetarian restaurant. We did have a moment of thinking about getting up and walking out, but in the end we decided to give it a try. We were glad we did. We started with the Katered Affair and this is a great appetizer sampler. Everything was so tasty and in the end we managed to finish the whole platter. We also ordered the OPPP and the Final Option. The OPPP became my favorite dish. It’s a peanut pesto pasta that comes with tofu, broccoli and fresh spinach and pear; once you mix everything together, it is just YUM. The Final Option is a curry filled with lots of vegetables and served with rice. Again another tasty dish. We saw plenty of people ordering the nachos and it is huge. We were given the bill (price is good for all that food we consumed) and they had Campinos as the after dinner candy. That was a nice touch (too bad they stopped it). We’ve been back many times, even after the renovation (expanding into the beside store lot) and there have been some downs to our dining experience. The service is usually a hit and miss. We’ve eaten with deformed flatware, but if you see the restaurant, you shouldn’t be surprised. We’ve only had one time where the taste of the food wasn’t as great (maybe a different cook), but all others have still been delicious and the reason we still go back for our vegetarian fix.
The worst restaurant I have ever been to. And I (stupidly) went back 3 times as people said I must have had an 'unusual' experience the first time.
First time: They forgot something I ordered .. okay, no biggie, I've worked in food before it happens
Second time: With a group of people, after the hour-long wait everyone elses food arrived except mine. 30 minutes later (so 1.5 hours after entering) my food finally turns up. It is burnt. After 1.5 hours I'm so hungry I eat it anyway. They add a 15% tip to the bill - WHY?! They have done NOTHING
Third time: Went with 1 other person - hour long wait - my food finally arrives and it's burnt AGAIN. So I take it back and tell them it's burnt - get a disgusted look from the staff (it was nachos- they are BLACK burnt, not just a little crispy) but they take it back. By now time is moving like I'm in an alternative universe but some more nachos finally turn up - they look fine - BIG mistake. After eating the replacement nachos I later that evening have the most violent diahhrea I have EVER had. EVER. I blame it squarely on something the staff have done to the food after it was sent back to be replaced. Again they add a 15% tip ! They must have something wrong in the head.
I wouldn't let my dog eat here.
Some of my friends get basically instant service and no waiting time for food so I get the impression if you fit into the staffs idea of acceptable you'll get instant service and fast, no diarhhea-causing food. If you don't fit into their idea of 'cool' or dare to send back unedibly burnt food you'll wind up with contaminated food, poor service, forced tipping for no reason and violent food poisoning.
Your choice really.
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.
I've been to the Foundation a few times, and have had varying opinions about the service. The first couple of times the service was pretty bad, but I went recently and the service was actually pretty great. Their nachos are to die for, and are an extremely good value. The large nachos is enough to feed four people at a mere $15!! Their menus are really neat, and the place has a good vibe. Every time I've been there they've played the same 'A Tribe Called Quest' song; last time they played it twice! It's not a complaint, just an interesting oddity. The music seems to be mostly old-school hip-hop which I think is great.
Amazing Food, 6 people, 6 different dishes. Every dish loaded with wonderful taste. The prices are fantastic. The Red Devil beer not so hot but awesome price. $13 a pitcher..The beer took awhile to get to us, as they had run out of glasses! But because they made us wait, note we didn't complain, they gave us a pitcher free of charge. Only one annoyance thats worth mentioning. All of the food, except the nacho's was really spicy! Next time I go I will be sure to ask the chef's to go soft on the spices, especially the garlic. But if you are a spicy, garlic lover who wants amazing vegetarian dishes at phenomenal prices and generous portion sizes this is the place.
I liked this place when I was younger (had more time to kill so didn't mind the slow service). The hummous dish and nachos are favourites. I like how ALL the nachos are covered in cheese/toppings. I've eaten some bowl with spinach/tofu and peanut sauce, filling and tasty. I didn't care for their burger, but thought their salads were good. Foundation has some inexpensive wine/beers, which is nice. Better than the Naam...
As a long time Vancouver veg-head, I have tried and tried and tried to forgive Foundation their frequent mishandling of my business, but my last experience was the final straw. The staff at Foundation appears to be comprised mainly of completely out-of-touch art school rejects. If your food arrives to your table AT ALL, it will come badly timed. Appetizers at the same time as your entree (and apparently no concievable way to either keep it hot in the kitchen or remake it so that it's fresh and served when you're ready for it). A fondue that takes nearly an hour to prepare (and all the fruit is sour, hard, and unripe). Absolutely no effort made to listen to the customer's needs (probably because the music is so loud the whole time they can't *hear* what your needs might be). Drinks orderd (liquor, even - the restaurants biggest money-maker!) that never arrive. And no manager to be found, anywhere, ever (that's because apparently all the employees 'manage' the business...or mis-manage, I should say).
I am afraid for our society when a place like this has never ending line-ups of young people every evening. Is it that these kids are so unaware of the value of money that they are happy to shell out their hard-won dollars for substandard service and mediocre food? Is it that they care more about "making the scene" than about what they put in their mouths or how they are treated by the service workers they pay? Or is it (and I suspect this is more the case) that there is a dearth of vegetarian eateries in Vancouver that are fresh, funky, and arty? You can't throw a rock without hitting a sushi joint for your avocado rolls and yam tempura. I can name 4 purely vegetarian Chinese places, complete with religious overtones. And hey, there's always Indian food (which is great, don't get me wrong).
But Foundation has the market cornered on old fashioned vegetarian pub- and comfort-foods. It's just too bad so many of us veggie Canadians are so polite we tolerate borderline abusive service to get it.
I am sorry, Foundation. I tried to love you...but it's been five years and you've cooly dismissed my business one too many times. Hire a real manager, concerned with creating happy customers *no matter what*, and I might be back.
Also, lose the "ironic" gangsta rap soundtrack played at volume 11.