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.
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.
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.
This place had fantastic food, laid back atmosphere, friendly staff & great music (for me, anyhow). Their peanut / spinach salad was very flavourful (although the molten tofu was very bland in contrast). I cant wait to try more! :)
I used to like the Foundation well enough. The food was OK and the ambiance was kind of cool with the old style tables and cool quotes up on the wall. I never thought the food was fantastic, but it was yummy enough -- especially the Spicy peanut-sauce pasta.
But the service at this place, which was always pretty bad, has gotten downright pathetic. They recently expanded -- nearly doubling their serving space. But, near as I can tell, they haven't added any servers. The result is that it takes a long time for someone to take your order, a very long time for the food to come out and an eternity to get your bill and get out of there when you're done. The group I was with literally waited 45 minutes after we were done our meal to get our plates cleared and the bill -- and that was after one of us went to go find our server and ask for it.
I don't actually blame the servers here. They seem pretty nice. It's just that there aren't nearly enough of them. The recent expansion seems to have come with a bar and I'm guessing that maybe they've decided they can make more money off people leisurely ordering drinks than those who actually want to eat.
It's a shame, but our experience last time was so horrible that this place is permanently off our list. I wouldn't have thought it was possible, but this place makes the Naam's service look superb.
First off, I loved the rice absolutely: mango, coconut, beans over rice with bits of melting cheese. Serving wasn't huge but it was filling, for certain.
Two team members ordered the burgers and thought they were mediocre, but I figure that using veggies to emulate meat is kind of pointless and is akin to comparing apples and oranges really. Could be that I've never had a good veggie burger myself and rationalised it as an impossible and rather pointless comparison.
The servers were awkward to start (no smiles at all!) until we joked a bit with them. They also allowed us to get extra fruit for free for the chocolate fondue, which was pretty sweet.
For us, the glasses were made of glass, not plastic, so we didn't get the weird taste. They likely purchased new hardware since last the last few reviewers.
The menu was the single most frustrating thing ever. The item names were pretty but not descriptive at all (the heck is "Upper East Side" and "Lower East Side" and what do they have to do with rice?), and combined with the fancy but horribly confusing layout it took us well over 15 minutes to pour over and decide on an item.
The quotes on the walls at the time were all related to "power" and were kind of annoying really. Some were actually profound and good, but others simply had the word "power" in it and had little to do with their concept of power, and some were even so far-fetched to simply be quotes with certain letters capitalised to just SPELL the word "power". So contrived!
The loud hip-hop was annoying as well, but not loud enough to be invasive so we largely ignored it. Maybe I'm missing some sort of connection here but a chic little place like this with some philosophical quotes on the walls and speakers blaring "bitches and hoes" seemed really out of place.
Review by Fish on behalf of The Last supper, recorded 2007-08-05, posted 2007-09-08
I LOVED THIS RESTAURANT!! The food was amazing, very unique and tasty. The staff was very friendly with no attitude at all. We asked one of the staff to explain the desserts they had and then said we wanted to think about it. After a while, she came back and asked if we wanted any. It was very busy and she still remembered to follow up! The plates are huge! You get way more than you pay. The atmosphere was quite romantic (other than the music) and the decor simple but comfy. I recommend this restaurant to both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike! The menu is vegan friendly too!
My boyfriend and I drive all the way from Surrey just to eat at Foundation because we love the food so much.... as someone already said, when it comes steaming to your table you forget about the wait and the blank stare from your server. Although the servers are distant, they are available when you need them for cheap beer, more food (yummy fondue), and the cheque. The Spicy Peanut is awesome and I don't think you can get better cheap, tasty vegan food anywhere in Van. Love the quotes on the wall and the music is always chill.
Typical of the Main street area, the serversare detached and cold. Its almost as if you don't exist. But, the food is very good. The nachos are the best. A solid place to get good veg eats and its usually ok to stay for a while- in fact noone would notice if you stayed all night.