The Foundation is a funky, retro casual restaurant with relaxed service offering a menu of vegan & vegetarian dishes til 1am.
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…
• Food: Maybe I just tried the wrong dish. I’d order tofu broccoli. It didn’t taste like anything I’d thought it would taste like. In fact the soy sauce gravy tasted like mud. It was a major disappointment. But I’ll definitely come back and try something else. I’m sure their other dishes are way better. Plus the cook dumped 10 tablespoons of sesame seeds right on top. That made it worse.
• Service: casual
• Value: good portion sizes
• Ambiance: funky! Loved the quotations on the wall awesome place to chill with friends and socialize
I thought "Wouldn't it be nice if this was a really great place to have brunch, we could come here every Sunday!". Well first up against it, it's Vegetarian, which in and of itself isn't a big deal, as I was a Vegetarian for a year. It just wasn't what I thought it was. So we sat down and looked at the menu. And immediately wished we had checked out the menu outside the door before committing to The Foundation by means of sitting down. "Do you want to go somewhere else?" I asked Hubby. "No this will be fine!" He replied, returning to his menu with a slight frown. It's not that I don't understand Vegetarian food, I don't understand how they are trying to explain it on the menu. Everything had this air of "Food descriptions in normal menus are so Bourgois! Roll with this crimpin' home slice!". It was like beat poetry instillation art menu descriptions. Just tell me what it is. Is it a curry? Is it a burger? What? Is my deciphering of the menu my first step in proving I'm hip enough to eat here?
So we figured our something to eat from the expressionistic menu, got our cokes (regular, no diet available, which is nice for a laugh) and waited. For half an hour.
You see, there are ways patrons measure how long they have been waiting for their food. One is what level their drink is at. When you start getting to the bottom of your coke, you haven't been offered a refill, and your food is no wherein sight, you start to panic. You start thinking this was a terrible mistake. My husband the chef was sitting there, watching the kitchen, which is in plain view, and as had no food, had plenty of time to analyze their kitchen structure, movements, skill, and cleanliness and was forced to come back with "What the fuck are they doing back there?". We are making sandwiches and soup, guys. There is no meat to cook. What is taking so long. We can see you and you look like you are taking your sweet time back there.
Arriving, our food was...ok. My BLTish sandwich had a nice toasty crust and the guac in it was nice, however the fake bacon was a shade of screaming fake fuchsia and the tomato was cooked and piping hot resulting in wilted lettuce and a soggy interior. Hubbys Bean burger was overcooked, which is taking the piss when it's taken so long. How about use a little less enthusiasm with the salamander, it's veggie for gods sake. I mean the cheese was crispy like when you put nachos in the oven for to long. The accompanying salads were some very lonely spring mix with nothing of interest added, and a dressing that was so comically orange and lolly-pop Mandarin orange tasting we could not really believe it. I ate up to get my greens in, Hubby didn't bother as he felt he got the point.
All in all it was very cheap for lunch, $19 before tip. But would not go back. This is just food for people who like to give themselves an enormous congratulatory pat on the back whenever they open their walets. And the taken out of context eco-guerrilla comments on all the walls are a big hint on what the real agenda here is, and it's not feeding you good food or hoping you have a nice day. That would be just cool enough for school.
*read more at womaneatscity.wordpress.com*
The food is really outstanding and is probably the only reason why customers return to the restaurant. The salad is particularly my favourite with their own home made mango dressing! The service on the other hand could use an adjustment. Perhaps it's the main street vibe but it would be nice if a waiter/waitress were to recognise a customer when they walk through the door and are waiting to be seated. It's definitely a casual laid back restaurant but the veggie options are great!
Though the service at the Foundation is occasionally slow, I have yet to have any surly or rude servers. However, they are busy, and I think a lot of them make the most of pretending not to see diners trying to flag them down until it is absolutely necessary to stop.
In the past, I have had very delicious nachos, yam 'paste' with warmed pita chips, and a burger or sandwich, but the dish that stands out for me is the spicy peanut pasta. The food is always good, and the portions are usually big enough for leftovers.
One thing I will say of this restaurant is the food is always served fresh from the kitchen. Tonight, my friend and I even had the pleasure of having our dishes served practically from the chef's frying pan to our table, which was a nice change from seeing it sitting under a heating lamp for 20 minutes, like at some other places.
So if you have quite a bit of time to wait for some very delicious food, (and don't mind loud music - the people who mentioned this is previous reviews were not exaggerating) I would definitely recommend the Foundation.
The Good: The Foundation's menu is fantastic. I've tried a fair handful of items but keep coming back to the satay salad and the nachos (always ask for quacamole - it costs more but you get lots and it's great). For the size and quality, the price can't be beat!
The Bad: If you want to catch a lunch or an early dinner, then you shouldn't have any problems. But if you come in any later than 6:45, first you will wait in line, and then you will wait at your table. And wait. And wait.
The Ugly: I go to restaurants to eat and talk, I go to nightclubs to listen to loud music. Actually I don't go to nightclubs, but that's what it feels like sometimes at the Foundation when your dinner partner is a foot away and you can't hear what they're saying because the staff is blasting their music. I even asked if they wouldn't mind turning down the music. The answer: "No, we can't do that." Again this isn't really a problem if you're going there for lunch, it seems that the more ambient noise there is from customers, the more the staff likes to cover it with their hip hop from four years ago.
I went with a friend to the foundation a week ago. I am making an effort to include more vegetarian meals in my diet and was very excited to be inspired there. When we walked in I liked the laid-back style with inspirational quotes on the walls and servers in gray tank tops. We ordered the nachos with guacamole to start. I think they put coconut milk or something in the guac - the dish is practically perfect and huuuge for two people. After that I was eagerly anticipating my entree which was a quinoa, spinach, and tofu dish with a maple tahini sauce. The quinoa was quite dry and the dish was quite oversauced and sickly sweet to the point that I didn't even bother to have it wrapped up. Service was slow but the place was lined up outside the door so perhaps I just ordered the wrong entree?
I stopped in for dinner recently, and was pleasantly surprised--the food here was very good, and the menu is very wide and diverse for a vegetarian-only place. (I also liked the revolution theme; the menu was well-designed.)
The service is very slow. Our waitress was friendly enough, but it took forever. The food, though, was definitely worth the wait.
One more thing: for dinner, go early. We got there around 6:30 and were seated immediately. By the time we left (around 7:30), the line waiting for a table was out the door and down the block.
I wouldn't say the Foundation is one of "the greatest restaurants in the world" but it's definitely in my personal top five. I come here about once or twice a week, and I'm not even vegetarian. It's not really a place to bring a date (unless your date is an outdoorsy vegan hippy/skateboarder musician type) and I probably wouldn't go here for business dinners. But it's great for friends/boyfriends/girlfriends, no matter who you are. The food is definitely comfort food. The rice/quinoa dishes are rich and saucy with nuts and raisins and things in them. They kind of remind me of stuff my vegetarian hippy mom would make me (if I had one). The salads are tasty. My favourite dish by far is the nachos. For just $8 you get a platter of nachos with corn and beans, and amazing salsa/sour cream, that can fill two people. At night it's a great place to come for candlelight & wine. They're open late, too. Sun-Thurs till 1am and Fri/Sat till 2am (but they stop serving drinks at 1am). I won't say anything about the service because I like the ambience/food too much to even care. No complaints.
If you are an emo/indie music lover, a hippie, or ever watched a David Suzuki special, then you will probably like this restaurant. The most interesting thing about this place is its atmosphere and patrons. When I walked in, I felt like I was a yuppie (which I am not) because I was wearing heels and a nice trenchcoat. The walls are covered with quotations by various mentionable people, and if you read them and the menu you begin to feel like you're being subjected to some subtle propaganda by the restaurant owners. But anyhoo, onto the food!
I ordered the spicy tofu which turned out to be the blandest dish I've ever tasted. Even after sprinking some chili paste liberally onto my plate, it still did not make this dish interesting at all. It was a bowl of broccoli, hard viscous tofu covered in some mysterious brown sauce, rice, and a handful of raw lettuce sprinkled on top. The Foundation burger and the OPPP pesto pasta of my fellow diners looked better. I have also heard that the spicy peanut dish is good too, though they sometimes forget the peanuts and the spice! I don't think I would ever come back here again as I have had much better vegetarian food elsewhere. Now if you'll excuse me, I do believe I have to go shop at the Gap now.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
"Never doubt that a small group of surly hipsters hatefully serving bland vegetarian fare while unnecessarily loud hip hop music blares in the background will change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
I have to give them props for their nachos and that quinoa thing with the peanut sauce is pretty tasty, but other dishes I have sampled lack flavour. The service is lousy, to put it mildly. The community centered/ revolutionary quotes around the restaurant are almost insulting as the environment seems more conducive to posturing/ snobbery than positive social change.
The food was tasty with a great price to boot. I love the final option, the spicy peanut pasta and the east van town. The drinks are pretty good as well, I would suggest the sangria if your feeling like letting loose.
The kitchen can be a little slow at time but mainly because it is such a busy place. this just means more time to to have another drink.
I would recommend this place to anyone that is traveling to Vancouver
We went to "The Foundation" after a long bicycle ride one afternoon and it was definitely a worthwhile stop. They have a great menu consisting entirely of vegetarian choices. The service was terrible but really a non-issue considering the incredible value. There is a very youthful feel to the place with loud hip hop music and revolutionary quotes on the walls. The decor is funky and rustic and they serve beer in mason jars which I happened to like. Overall a must go for vegetarian options if you don't mind hip hop and can deal with shotty service.
I LOVEEEEEEEE the chili, only $7 and HUGE!!!! The nachos are also ENORMOUS, go for a small I've never been brave enough to order a large, mingling yams are also a treat, absolutely DELICIOUS!!! Servers are quirky, typical east van hipsters, but who can really blame them for being so ambivalent about everything... haha they're probably writing a screenplay/novel/poem that will change the world so who can really blame them for not exactly being enthusiastic. The ambiance is decent, this isn't fine dining, you're eating for ten dollars here, the glasses are jam jars in traditional hipster eatery fashion and the walls are covered in quotes which at least supply a bit of entertainment when waiting for food. The best part is after you leave you feel soooo full, and you don't have to feel guilty about it because everything you ate was vegetarian and healthy.