The Foundation is a funky, retro casual restaurant with relaxed service offering a menu of vegan & vegetarian dishes til 1am.
I go to the Foundation all the time for one reason : The nachos!!!! You will not be disappointed! They are HUGE, $12, and delicious. The salsa that comes with it is always so fresh and good too! go for it!!! Yes, the service is pretty bad.. just know what you want before you sit down so you can order right away. The servers are super friendly and funny though - just slow !
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.
Here's how you go eat at Foundation. While you're waiting in line, look at the menu posted in the window. You have to decide what you want before you sit down. You had better order as soon as your server seats you, because you're likely not going to see them ever again. You might want to repeat your order after you say it because they'll probably get it wrong. Sit near the kitchen if you can so that you can see your food being prepared. Not because they might prepare it wrong, but so that you can go over and get it yourself if the servers aren't paying attention. If they do bring your meal to you, ask for your bill right away because again, you'll never see your server, for ages.
The atmosphere in Foundation is terrible. The only lighting is from a few strings of Christmas lights and candles. The music is too loud and absolutely not the kind of music that's conducive to enjoying a meal.
So, you might ask, why do I keep going there?
It's for the food. It's some of the best vegetarian food I've ever eaten. Ever. And it's not just one or two dishes. The entire menu is PHENOMENAL. The Molten Tofu may well be renamed Molten Heaven. Their sandwiches at lunch time are divine. (Who ever heard of sheep cheese? They did, apparently, and for good reason.) Their BLT is better than any BLT I have ever had, even before I was vegetarian. If only it were a place I could take friends to without having to apologize in advance for the bad service.
Once while eating I saw a very well dressed young lady ask to see a manager to drop off a resume. The server said, "We don't really have a manager. They live in Toronto. We just kind of manage ourselves." That explains a lot.
Oh yeah, and bring your own water. The plastic cups for water have a very strong chlorine bleach smell.
Foundation is an all time fave because I can rely on their menu to nourish my body! As someone who is health conscious, and on the go 24/7, i eat out way to often. So, foundation has some innovative ways to get lentils, beans, quinoa, papaya, mango, tofu and spinach in to my system! Their prices are great $7-10/dinner! I recommend the Lower East Side on quinoa.
The service is terrible (not going to lie), and I can see how people would label it as 'pretentious hipster' as I’ve read in other reviews. It may take 10 minutes to be acknowledged or seated. The kitchen is also super slow; mind you the chefs are hard working. I think it is because they use regular stoves so things are done on a much smaller scale.
Personally I don't care much about the service, just love the food.
I thought it was really weird that none of the dishes had potato in them... I guess maybe its to be healthy or something, but I really enjoy curries / stews with potatoes nothing had it at all... I had a veggie curry like dish and the serving was huge.. I can normally eat a lot and I finished the whole dish, it was the fullest ive ever been in my life I'm not even lying.. It was quite sweet like some other people have said... Nachos are amazing lots of good cheese and the best guac I think they put strawberry in it or something
The atmosphere is fun i do like the rappy music in the backround ant the interesting types that come to the place. Its just an interesting looking crowd.
Food and drink prices are pretty good but service is garbage... they won't substitute anything at all, not only that they won't give you extra sauce for salads or whatever even if you're willing to pay extra. The food will come out all at different times for your party. Someones food might come out in half an hour another persons in fourty minutes. I think the minimum you have to wait is maybe half an hour for a meal during a reg time...
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.
Even as I write this I realize reviewing Foundation is futile. It doesn't matter what anyone says about this place. It's a huge success. It's always full and I don't think anyone who goes there has ever bothered to look up a review. It's an institution. But just in case someone is unfamiliar with it, or curious, here you go:
I've always had amazing food here. My favourites include the Final Option, which is a nice, balanced, creamy curry, the Molten Tofu, which is an incredibly flavourful tofu and broccoli combo served with spinach and black bean sauce over rice and the Spicy Peanut, which contains tofu, cauliflower, spinach, spiral pasta and sesame seeds served with a wonderful peanut sauce and flat bread. All entrees here are around $9.75, which is crazy considering the high quality and the huge portions. If you are there with friends I definitely recommened sharing some nachos. The small nachos at $8 are a bit of a mis-claimer because they are HUGE. They come with freshly made salsa, which could be a bit spicier but is still quite nice and sour cream. You can pay extra for guac. I don't like guac, but my friends do and they say the guac here is awesome. The nachos are loaded with cheese and toppings. Corn, black beans, onions...you name it, it's on there and it's delicious. They also have nacho specials where you can enjoy such toppings as sun-dried tomato and roasted garlic (yum!) and mango, corn and black bean. For $2 each four people can leave satisfyingly full off of a plate of small nachos. I don't know anywhere else that offers that.
That said the customer service, as many people have commented, leaves a lot to be desired. It isn't always outwardly rude, though on one occasion for me it was. Most of the time it's just absent and slightly dismissive. My last visit there I found a chest hair in my Spicy Peanut. I was pretty disgusted and although I had already ate most of it, I mean come on, should I be charged? It isn't my fault the chest hair was located at the bottom of the plate. I showed the waiter and he didn't apologize at first. He just went "Oh," and disappeared. When the bill came he did apologize and give me a 50% discount though I'm surprised I was charged at all. I guess I could've complained, but we were rushing off to see a show and didn't really have time.
A nice touch though is how you get campinos instead of mints at the end of every meal.
Long story short I guess, come here for great food and great deals, but don't expect to be wowed by the staff. Don't worry, everything else makes up for it anyway.
a little while ago i finally had the chance to go to the foundation and was looking forward to finding a good vegetarian restaurant but for most of the dishes it felt like the only prominent taste was sweetness.
since i was with my family i managed to get to try 3 dishes overall. i actually thought the appetizer sampler was decent, only one of the dips were too sweet, but when it came to the 2 main courses i wasn't as pleased, we left the 2 main courses unfinished.
i say it is worth a try but if you don't really like too much sugar in your main courses (i'm not sure but it seemed like it was white sugar in the dishes, not a natural sweetner, i might be wrong) then this place isn't for you.
The first time I went to the foundation, I was immediately enamoured with the revolutionary quotes scrawled graffiti-style on the walls, the loud socialist hip-hop music, the retro furniture, and the delicious food!
That said, I can see how many of these elements can divide people. It's perfect for what I'm looking for, but it's not the sort of place I'd expect, say, my parents, to enjoy.
The food is generally amazing, but there are a few dishes which are considerably less exciting; I guess it's a matter of figuring out which ones you like? My girlfriend got a sesame spinach quinoa dish that was quite bland (though they were very accommodating about her wheat allergy), but everything else I've tried here has been excellent, and there is a great variety. A lot of veggie restaurants have a sort of 'samey' quality that can be tiring, but the foundation has enough variety to keep me coming back; and most of the dishes are quite healthful-seeming.
One other thing is that depending on where you're sitting, it can be quite dark if you come in the evening. They don't use lamps, but instead give every table a candle. To me, this is a nice touch, and impresses my environmentalist sensibilities, but to some it has been a turn-off.
All-in-all I would definitely recommend it if you are in to the sort of environment I have described.
Having read these reviews I went into The Foundation with healthy skepticism. I am not a 20 something "hipster" that knows the special lingo required to get proper service or the secret handshake necessary not to have someone cough in my food. What I found was a place that while very basic in it's furnishings had excellent inventive food offerings. The menu is a lot of fun and has something for everyone so long as you don't want meat. The staff were very helpful and the veggie blt was so good that I've been back for it several times. Hopefully if I keep coming back for a sandwich and a pint they will get the cash together to make the inside less like the basement from that 70's show.
I love going to vegetarian restaurants and I eat fairly healthy. I'm also a huge fan of the Naam so I decided to visit Foundation. So my friend and I went on a Friday around 11pm, stood by the entrance for 7min before anyone seated us even though there were quite a few empty tables. The music was loud enough that we had to shout across the table.
I ordered Sesame Society and my friend ordered a pasta. I thought mine was supposed to be on rice but it was couscous instead. The dish was disgusting. The entire thing tasted like it was soaked in maple syrup. The vegetables were nowhere as fresh and tasty as the Naam, and the portions were not as big either. My friend's pasta was again really sweet. We had originally wanted dessert, but not after those meals. I barely ate my dish because I couldn't swallow that much sugar.
When we walked out, we noticed that almost every table had nachos and not a lot of main dishes, so I guess that's what I should have ordered. I'll stick to the Naam though. They offer fresher, bigger portions of veggies and much, much better flavours.
The food took a very long time to come and the servers were all too cool for school, they didn't seem care whether you were waiting, nor if you liked the food.
The atmosphere is cool but its been done.
Its very Main Street hip, which must be what its surviving on.
The food itself was decent, healthy and you can watch it be prepared as the kitchen is open.
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.
As a server I can say I love going to a restaurant and not being bothered. I am sick of over friendly fake waiters/waitresses that wear too much make up/ perfumes and flaunt their boobs in your food. If thats what your looking for stick to cactus club/ earls/ milestones/ joeys with their overpriced, bland, not fresh tasting foods. I like the fact that the overall atmosphere weeds out those pretentious folks because it makes my visit that much more pleasant.
I love the food and I love the music. The only complaint is that they have ruined nachos for me because I will never find a place with nachos as good as the foundation.
I said I would keep trying this place, and I really found that it has been changing for the better again.
Went here with a good friend and we shared the platter with 2 glasses of wine for $30 after the tip...fantastic value.
The food was done right, and definitely better than what it was starting to taste like.
Service was hipster and casual, but friendlier and more attentive than usual, so that was nice.
And the music was finally at a decent level so we could carry a conversation.....On the up and up again, and I am very pleased
Have been here many times!! prices are good...keep in mind your paying for beans...but they dont over charge...
Service ok...sometimes waits can be a bit long...not bad!! there is one male server there that thinks he is far to cool to be serving you...but for the most part the service is fine..I just wish they would change the menu once in a while...getting really boring!
I've never been disapointed with the food at this place. The portions are generous-especially the nachos- and you can't really beat the price. I found that while the service is never really rude, it can be somewhat unnatentive and disorganized. Sometimes the food comes out really quickly while other times it takes quite awhile; generally sooner than later though. Best idea is to go on a weekday when it's not as busy because on weekends it tends to get a little backed up. Music is a little excessively loud as well. Finally, it is main st. so expect the bohemian theme, that's just how it is.
I've eaten here once, with a friend of mine at his insistence. The service was non-existent, slow, and bordering on rude. We waited at the front door, after we got our menus to order drinks, and then a loooong time for the food to arrive. I only ordered tea, because I didn't really trust the food safety aspects of the place (this was after they had been in the newspaper for the hepatitis outbreak) . My friend had the katered affair, which he said wasn't nearly as good as it used to be. We finally got the bill, paid and left. The next day I decided to check the health inspector website (www.foodinspectionweb.vcha.ca) to see if I was just being paranoid, and let's just say I wasn't.
I've heard so much about this place, (I'm always on the lookout for a new veggie restaurant) from friends. When one of them brought some takeout in for lunch and offered me a few bites, I couldn't resist. The food was amazing! I quickly headed down there after I got off shift to grab dinner. Well, when I got there, the place was very unclean. The kitchen people didn't have their hair pulled back or gloves on their hands. As I stood waiting at the door(for at least 5 or 10 minutes) while the seemingly only server sat at one of the tables and chatted (I actually didn't guess she was working until she came to help me) I saw one kitchen guy drop something, pick it up off the ground, throw it away and go back to chopping food. WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS. Needless to say, I didn't stick around. Between the obviously dirty restaurant and the unhygienic kitchen workers, I wasn't about to risk catching anything. (we all know they're famous for that...)
I love Foundation! So much that I find myself going several times a week and I don't live anywhere near nor am I anything close to a vegetarian.
I without fail get a nachos with guac and an order of spicy peenut. Both of which are heavenly. The Bentonio Burger and the Mingling Yams are great as well. And a trip to Foundation isn't complete without a pitcher of Sangria and dark chocolate Fondue.
The best part about Foundation is you feel great after, the food is just so good!
That said the service tends to suck, but the food really makes up for it. The atmosphere is one of a kind and really sets up your experience.
Foundation is delicious!