The Foundation is a funky, retro casual restaurant with relaxed service offering a menu of vegan & vegetarian dishes til 1am.
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.
...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.
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.
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.
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.
Once the hilarity of the spunky menu and the fellowship with your company distracts you from the faint smell of urine that lingers in the restaurant, the character of this "dive" shines through hard. The deep and intriguing quotes that line the wall portray the type of mindset that is almost required to truly appreciate this place.
I did internally question myself why the waitress didn't write down the orders, but I quickly realized the lightheartedness that is achieved when the waitress comes back to tell you that she's forgotten half of the orders. You see, if you're the type of person who would be negatively effected by this aforementioned event, or the atmosphere of this restaurant (a prude old person/ someone not anywhere close to a hipster) the dining experience could essentially suck. Don't come here if you're not ready to have fun.
I'm not exactly sure how the cheese got in my water glass. It's likely that it came from the hectic reaching towards the delicious nachos that have enough beans to potential tear a whole in your pants. but I wouldn't put it past as being a hilarious practical joke pulled by the waitress... Good one!
Most of the food was delicious. There seems to be a lot of beans and coconut on the menu, so I was right at home, but there's almost a solid option for everyone (meaning all vegetarians or people who can dig some "zuke" and "chick beens"). I would not recommend the "social platter". It wasn't a terrible tasting, but what it consisted of resembled baby-food quite closely, and was lacking flavour. Most of the food seemed to be quite healthy, so that was a nice refresher to have at a restaurant.
Over-all my experience at "The Foundation" was great, including and beyond the food. I'd have to go as far as to say it's the restaurant I most look forward to returning to.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lesson learned the hard way: always read reviews before checking out recommended restaurants.
My friend and I tried Foundation twice -- like most folks, on recommendation of their nachos and with a gift certificate in hand. The first time, we went for lunch and of course weren't able to get them. We opted for sandwiches and soup instead. (Note: if you ask for a soup-and-salad combo, they'll just plain tell you it doesn't exist, rather than compromising.) My sandwich was excellent, but my friend found the soup a little too-much-of-the-same-thing. The service was horrendous -- after waiting at the 'please wait to be seated' sign our waitress waved a hand and told us 'go sit wherever' and then proceeded to ignore us for about a half an hour, despite the relatively emptiness of the restaurant. Overall, I think it took us about an hour between stepping in the door before our food got to us -- and this, for a simple bowl of soup and open face sandwich. The building was freezing and dark inside, as though they couldn't be bothered to provide those amenities, and the bathroom, when I visited, was pretty scungy.
Despite this, we discovered that nachos were served around 4:30, so we vowed to come back and brave the extremely poor service a second time, coats and gloves at hand. This second time we arrived at around 4:20, hopeful and a bit early. Our new server was (we thought) a little better in that he pointed out a specific table to sit at. He gave us the lunch menus. The ones without nachos. "Oh, it's getting on to 4:30, aren't you serving them yet?" I asked.
"Nachos come out at 4:30," he replied.
"Would it be possible to get the menu in any case?" I wondered, knowing full well that with the wait time we'd had on our last visit, it would be long after 4:30 when we'd finally be served.
He replied with a simple, smug sounding, "Nope." He seemed as though he were enjoying thwarting us.
We got up and left. I'm usually an extremely patient and optimistic diner, but this was just too much. Even if you have heard about their nachos, I'd suggest avoiding this place regardless. The servers are piss poor examples of the industry they work in and, though the food itself isn't bad and the scenery is indeed quirky, the servers do such a bad job that I'll be warning anyone and everyone who brings it up not to even think about going.
Foundation: Shame on you.
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 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...
Went here with my boyfriend for lunch as he had never been and was dying to try it. I'd told him about the nachos and when I asked if they were available at lunch the server gave a blank look (as much as is possible without making eye contact) and replied curtly, "After 4:30." My boyfriend wanted to know if they had veggie juices: "No." I didn't expect profuse apologies, but where most servers would exhibit some show of human engagement in their remarks, e.g., "Unfortunately we don't, but we have ____, which is similar/also good/my favourite," the Foundation seems to settle for apathy. I don't expect the cloying cheeriness of those chain restaurant servers, but I also don't think anyone should have to accept sullen, laconic service as par for the course just because it's an indie establishment (ooh, oxymoron) on Main Street--no matter how good the nachos are.
FOOD >>> The Foundation never disappoints. Their quirky, vegetarian fare is always a crowd pleaser. We've tried almost everything on the menu, the nachos come highly recommended!
SERVICE >>> While servers are highly enthusiastic, multiple times our orders have been forgotten, either resulting in a long wait for food or no food at all.
VALUE >>> Can't be beaten! Incredible amounts of food for the price of an appetizer at another restaurant.
AMBIANCE >>> The Foundation is hard to miss- it's painted bright lime green. Inside, inspirational quotes adorn the walls and socially responsible rap/hip-hop blares perhaps slightly louder than is necessary.
loved it here. there were some really interesting choices and the kitchen was accomodating to my gluten intolerance and corn allergy. my boyfriend and i ate and each had a coffee for 15 dollars!. we were impressed, and left full.
my one complaint was that the gal ahead of me in the washroom took about ten minutes and i really had to go.