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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
we were promptly seated as a large group since we made reservations in advance. but the service was quite slow... it took a long time for everything we wanted to actually appear. the servers were prompt and friendly. the nachos are heaven! the guacamole in particular was delicious! however, none of us really loved our entrees. most of us had either something on rice or pasta. we found that everything seemed to be covered with sugar, some sort of sweet glaze... i had the spicy peenut dish and i felt like my pasta was drenched in syrup.
this is one of the only places that offers vegan fondue! go for it!
The staff and regulars obviously make this place their own.. but who knew that vegetarian hipsters were so into gangsta rap? For some reason that is beyond me, the place is equipped with a sound system, that, on occasion is turned up so loud, you can only point at the menu to order.
As far as the service... what service? We were met at the door with a "please wait to be seated sign" which was eventually followed by a waitress handing us two menus and saying "find a place to sit." The staff look no different then the patrons, and they work about as hard. I have seen this type of place before: the supposed charm lay in the non nonchalant attitude and non-conformist management. Hipster irony does not a pleasant dining experience make.
Finally food. Well, it was OK, but certainly not in my top 10 veggie restaurants. My burger was dry and crumbly, and with out taste (besides ketchup). The Papaya and black bean dish on rice was tasty, but hardly worth the price for the helpings.
I've given the Foundation plenty of opportunities. It's pretty darn good veggie food and the prices are totally right. The spinach salad is fabulous, the nachos are kick-you-in-the-face awesome and I'm all over the sandwiches.
However, I have to echo what everyone else is saying about the way-too-loud music not being conducive to a good dinner conversation. It's so loud it disrupts digestion! Also, the service is brutal. It's borderline hostile. I never get water when I ask for it, you wait at least 30 minutes even for an appetizer. I requested a diet coke and the server, instead of saying "I'm sorry, we only serve regular soda" she bugged her eyes out and screeched "Aspertame gives you brain cancer!!!!".
Some of the menu descriptions are vague--I thought I was ordering yam fries and ended up getting pita chips and baby food. It was pureed yam and it was utterly vile. But that was my own fault for reading it wrong.
In short, I really don't like going here. If you want really amazing veggie food and friendly-ish service on Main St, head on up to Bo Kong for some wicked vegan Buddhist food. YUM.
This place is nice enough to return to, though largely thanks to the lack of better options in Vancouver.
At times, the music has been so loud and so obnoxious that I barely noticed the actual meal in my fervour to escape the speakers.
The menu tries really hard to be cool and funky, but just comes off as overly cutesy and annoying. Someone thought it would be awesome alternative to use spellings like 'brokkly' and 'sesamum' and abbreviations like 'toms'. It's decipherable enough, but I'd rather not translate when I'm hungry. I suspect this gimmick is a joke staff cooked up to humiliate diners, as they must know how stupid we feel using these ridiculous pseudo-words.
I've enjoyed the food well enough more often than not. My staple here is a broccoli-tofu combination served on rice; very simple, but tasty and filling. Despite being a cheaper item (it's listed with the appetizers), I always have a little left over to take home.
Entrees are often a one-dish deal, so choose carefully; the sauce you select will permeate your entire meal. Sometimes this has worked out well--the sesame maple salad with chickpeas and tofu was very, very tasty, though a little salty. At other times, I've been sick of the same flavour long before I was actually full. The tofu-burger was adequate, but I don't need to eat it again.
The dark chocolate fondue is nice for dessert, but they could use a better selection of other sweets. I've never been able to try their vegan pies as they are perpetually unavailable.
Service used to truly suck. Now the staff is pleasant but sometimes scatterbrained. I've been given food with no utensils to eat with, and tried without success for quite a few minutes to get someone's attention. At other times, the bill is presented but it's impossible to get someone to come over to give change. Last time I went, our waitress was very helpful; let's hope change is on the way.
I've eaten at the Foundation many times. I love the food and I put up with the service which is always slow. But last night was the worst. We lined up outside and the wait was long....real long, but we're suckers, so we waited and waited. Once we got a table it took a while for the server to take our order, but we ordered quickly and got our drinks in due time (ie. slowly). We waited, and waited and waited for our meals to arrive. From the time we sat down to the time we got 1 plate on the table an hour had passed. Funny that only 1 plate arrived because we ordered 2 dinners. Ooops, they forgot to make my husbands dish, so we just ate up my plate together. When we finished my meal, our 2nd plate arrived...almost 30 minutes later. Was the food good? Yes...but the service really sucked. The server did take off the super-late meal as compensation. But, that's it?
Am I the sucker for waiting for almost 2 hours to get food in my belly? Totally. Was it the fault of the server who was pretty busy with other tables? Maybe. Was it the kitchen staff's fault for the delay? Who knows. All I know is that I'm taking a break from The Foundation. I'm a wimp but a hold a grudge like no one's business.
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.