The Naam is a vegetarian restaurant located in the heart of Vancouver’s Kitsilano district. It is the city’s oldest natural foods restaurant, with over 30 years of cooking tradition.
When we go to the Naam we make sure we are not in a hurry because we know that the service is not going to be very fast (it is probably going to be really slow!). However, we know this going in and we do not let this bother us while we enjoy the great vegetarian meals we so look forward to every time we visit. If you are expecting five star service, forget it; you definitely will not receive it. If you are expecting a modern restaurant with modern furnishings in an uncrowded room, forget about the Naam.
Try the potato wedges with miso gravy, the Dragon bowl, or any of the dinner bowls, they are all delicious. The grilled cheese sandwich with the daily soup is outstanding; the burrito is another favourite. The food is good, usually!
Eating at the Naam is a trip down memory lane to when Fourth Avenue was ruled by free-loving hippies, when the streets were filled with VW vans and the smell of marijuana smoke. The food is awesome (most of the time), the furnishings are beautiful in their own eclectic ways and the staff all hate your bourgeois being. Love it or leave it; thankfully, it is not changing.
Perfect place for vegan, vegetarian or people with allergies.
Food is always great, my favs are the dragon bowls (Packed with tons of fresh veggies and tofu, always leftovers for tomorrow), sesame fries with cheese and miso gravy (Perfect for late night munchies), pita pizza, and my all time favorite....Baked apple crisp with vanilla ice cream (It is amazing! And must be accompanied with Mario's ice cream!)
Awesome mix of people who hang out there, it always has a great vibe, anytime of the day or night and the 24 hours a day makes it the best place to relax at 3am after a night out or to just grab a snack when every other place is closed. I love the live music that goes on quite often and beautiful local art on the walls.
However....the service usually pretty much blows, it is always busy, but they should have figured a way to get it together by now? I've usually had friendly servers, except one, but they always seemed so stressed from trying to keep track off so many tables, they definitely need to cough up the money and employ more people or something. I have never ever received water when I have asked for it numerous times, so I'm not sure if its Naam etiquette to get up and get your own water, which is usually what we do since its always strategically placed around the restaurant. And food takes a loooong time to come out, expect to wait at least 30 minutes.
The value is great for the quality of the food.
I've taken an interest to vegetarian food so was quite intrigued when my friends suggested Naam for Saturday brunch. We arrived at 1 pm and the place was abuzz.
We were seated in 6 minutes and I wasn't too sure what to order as I'm not crazy about brunch. I had visited Naam website and was hoping to order the Asian Shitake Mushroom Noodle soup although I was a bit scared about shitake mushrooms imported from China as mushrooms can contain a lot of pesticide residue if not washed properly (I don't want to drink soup loaded with pesticide!!!).
In the end I decided the order the Special House Brunch or something like that. It was a huge plate. I didn't enjoy it. I felt the food was dry and tasteless. Perhaps it would have been better if I had slapped on margarine on the pancakes and soaked the margarined pancake in syrup. Then the large chunks of potatos were quite dry. Shaking salt and pepper only made them saltier and pepperier, you know what I mean ? No taste.
I had wanted to go vegan (and not order eggs) and have the scrambled toufu -- luckily I did not today cos I can't imagine how horribly tasteless that would be ! Despite specifying overeasy eggs, one of my eggs was too cooked.
Another little thing.....my mother-in-law had also sagely advised , "Judge a restaurant by its drinking glasses/ cups and plates" On that account, Naam failed. The plastic water cups were stained brownish or yellow, especially when years of different peoples' lips left their marks at the rim of the cups and were left their traces there for the next customer. I placed my lips carefully over the rim of the cups to make sure there was minimal contact.
Would I come back again ? Well, why not ? I only had brunch so perhaps its lunch and dinner menu will redeem itself.
The first time I went it was a pretty big disappointment so I decided to go back two more times hoping they would vindicate themselves, here's what I found:
Food: I gave it a 3 because I feel that maybe I don't understand vegetarian cuisine. Does a lack of meat have to be positively correlated with a lack of taste? As in, no meat, no spices? I'm exaggerating a little here, but you get the point. The nacho's aren't bad.
Service: Worst service ever. Wait to be seated (not their fault I know), wait (15min) for someone to give us a menu, wait for (20min!) for someone to take our order, and wait another 20min for food to arrive. Thats almost an hour before I actually start eating. Once the food was dropped off, no one bothered to check up on us and once we got the bill no one came to pick up my credit card (I ended up going to the front).
Ambiance: Like an old summer cabin thats lost its rustic charm, only to be face with wobbly tables and chairs that pain me to stay longer (maybe thats how they encourage turnover?). They make up for all of this by having live music on occasion. To be honest, the musics not bad, it helps me ingest the hastily prepared food.
If you have nowhere to go at 3am and you're craving nachos or noodles, there is no better place to go. But during regular hours, your money can be better spent elsewhere.
I do love this place. Everything I try is good and the portions are really big. The naam gravy is delicious, although I find the sesame fries too large (too much potato). The dragon bowls are always a good choice, and the burritos.
If you enjoy a vegetarian meal, this is a great choice. They have been open for a long time, and you can tell. They know what they make and they make it very well. The Miso Gravy is world famous I would say. The service is solid, but don't expect it to be too cute. Ambiance is very fitting for the area and for the menu. Overall two thumbs up! My personal favorite is some sesame fries with Miso Gravy, followed by a Dragon Bowl. It all goes down very well with a mug full of IPA. Even a seasoned meat eater will enjoy their trip to the Naam!
I was there on Mar 27, taking myself out for a birthday lunch. It was about 130pm. There was no one in front of me in the queue, and I waited to be sat. Not a single worker even acknowledged me for the 10 minutes I stood there.
As a table freed up, I was seated. Sesame seeds, shredded beet bits left from the previous diners. I guess cleaning a table before seating someone isn't part of their system.
A red headed girl came to the table with a water and cloth and wiped the table down, WITHOUT even lifting the salt/pepper/hot sauce bottles. WTF? Lazy or what? She or management don't care about appearances, because it looked like she must have been sprayed by flour from a mixer or had a plate of sour cream fall on her lap and wiped it off. It was all over her black jeans. Very unattractive. She didn't even say a word as she wiped and placed the water down. Not even a "hi", "Welcome to the Naam, your server will be right with you" or "How's it going today?" Is this how my experience will begin?
My server came over and brought me a menu and told me about the specials. Nothing to report here.
As I was looking over the menu, I noticed a thin guy clearing a table of dishes from a couple that finished and left. Once it was clear, he took his cloth and wiped it for about 2 seconds, going AROUND the salt/pepper/hot sauce bottles. WTF? Another lazy employee. How is this acceptable????/
I ordered the Spinach/Feta enchilada. It came in an acceptable amount of time. BUT it was kinda hot on the outside, the cheese- maybe 60% melted. I opened it and put my finger in. It was warm. So warm that I could have eaten it as fast as I could without having a problem. That was disappointing. I ate it anyhow. It was bland and uneventful, which pretty much sums up my whole experience.
I used to frequent the place many times a month in the 90's, but now after not being there for 10 years, it sucked. I swear the same light bulbs are burnt out and have not been changed. Kinda like the servers.
I went to the counter to pay for my food, and ordered a Nanaimo Bar for take out. I paid my bill, getting a 46% discount cuz it was my 46th birthday. My server packed up my Nanaimo Bar in a bag, and handed it to me. I left and went home. All the time riding my motorbike, I was waiting to get my dessert into my mouth. Upon getting into my flat, I opened the bag to find a FUCKING BROWNIE. WTF??? How do you mess up "Nanaimo Bar" and "Brownie"??? I guess next time I should check the bag.
I was planning to take my friends family of 6 out for dinner there in April, but I doubt that is going to happen.
There won't be a next time. Naam, you have let me down, hence my story here. You rest on your accolades from previous years, but start reading the online reviews, on Urban Spoon, on Google, on Yelp, on Trip Advisor, Dinehere and you will see that there are many that are not impressed and not fooling us.
We used to go to The Naam a long time ago. In fact, we were not even vegetarian but the food was pretty good. The service however was not always so great. Fast forward to 2012 and we are currently no eating any meat or dairy so there are not as many restaurants to choose from that offer more than one thing. So we decided to go The Naam yesterday for an early dinner. Wowow!!!! so glad that we did. The food was it's usual good food. In fact, The sesame fries and miso gravy was better than I remember and the naam bread with veggie buter...yum yum yum!! We also had the Naam salad and the Thai noodles. The noodles were maybe a bit overloaded with tofu but I am sure tofu lovers would not complain. Next time I would just ask for no tofu.
But the best part of the dinner was the nice friendly service. Thanks Michael for helping to break the bad reputation that The Naam has for less than good service. Michael was friendly, efficient and really made sure that everyone in our section was happy and had everything that they needed. He was workin' his butt off :-)
Will definitely be frequenting The Naam once again. Cheers!!!!
I can't say enough good things about the Naam. Fantastic vegetarian food with fantastic service, and it's open 24 hours! Some unique flavours; at first the miso gravy didn't appeal to me but by the second taste I was hooked. My only complaint is the chairs and table we sat at by the window. The seats were very uncomfortable to sit in and the table was kind of awkward. Don't get me wrong, it was a small price to pay for such good food and service.
We have been to the Naam numerous times since we moved to Kitsilano 3 years ago, and always liked the food. The Naam has a lot to offer, even for NON-vegetarians.
The Naam offers incredible value. Open 24/7 with quite a big menu and one of the nicest interiors in Kitsilano, this place is one where you instantly feel at home whatever the time of the day (or night).
Last time we went there on an early Sunday afternoon. The restaurant was packed, but we got a table. We have been waiting a little too long and had to show the waiter that, yes, there was a free table in the main restaurant. Other than this, the service was excellent this time, although it is not consistent, depending on when you come. We ordered and had our meal after 20 minutes (I looked at the watch because I wanted to have a solid data point about waiting time).
My partner had enchilada with cashews and avocado and I had my personal favorite - the Thai dragon bowl. Our little one wanted the grilled cheese bread (which was quite good for this kind of 'dish', as the bread used was excellent), but ended up trading it for the tofu of my dragon bowl in the end. All the food was excellent! Proves that if you have the right spices, you won't need any meat.
We ended up with a bill under 40 dollars. This is incredible value! What I liked in particular was that they offer organic apple juice for the little ones at an unbeatable price of $2 a glass.
Go there and enjoy, it is really worth it!
Over the years I had heard of the Naam and numerous friends recommended I try eating here as I am a vegetarian. I had been a bit hesitant as drive-by sightings of this place had put me off - it looked like an unkempt dive. In its current state, I suddenly realized what the place's exterior reminded me of...with the creeper growing over most of the frontage of the restaurant, it looked as thought it might not be out of place in Tolkien's Shire. I fully expected to see small, furry footed pointy-eared folks inside...
On Sunday I let myself be persuaded to try the Naam at last. My first impression was of a run-down, rickety place that had a dirty unswept floor full of debris and a general air of lack of cleanliness. I really wanted to back out of the 'adventure' at this point but as my friend was keen we go there, I went along with it.
The service is casual and not particularly attentive. I did not like that the staff did not have a more professional dress code. People were dressed in all kinds of outfits, whatever they like to wear, clearly. I don't particularly like to eat in a place where there are staff with mohawks and both arms sporting 'tattoo sleeves'.
We were handed grubby menus and brought lukewarm water in unappetizing worn plastic glasses. I couldn't drink mine, not out of a glass that looked like that. I also prefer water with ice in it.
The menu is extensive but though I do not eat meat, it was hard to find something that actually appealed to me. I saw plates arriving on various tables that looked appetizing so I hoped the food would be good. I decided to try the same item my friend ordered, a Veggie Burrito, with mushrooms, zucchini, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, yogurt, melted cheese and salsa, served with a green salad. I selected a lemon thyme dressing for my salad.
Our meals arrived within a reasonable time frame. They were served on plates that were full to the rim so it made eating them, without dropping food all over the table, very challenging. They need to serve them on larger plates. The Burrito was a brownish tortilla covered with a thick layer of melted cheese which was drooping over the edge of the plate, almost touching the table. It was bulky looking and the salad was large, consisting of chopped lettuce, finely julienned carrots, what appeared to be raw beets, a pile of sprouts and topped by a slice of unripe tomato and a slice of unpeeled cucumber.
Though it was difficult to begin to eat the overcrowded plate, my friend and I dug into our Burritos. My friend commented it seemed to be filled entirely with large chunks of onion and I have to agree. Seemed to be mostly onions, a few scraps of mushroom, zucchini, traces of green pepper and a few fragments of tomato. The taste was nothing to rave about, it was just OK but once the Burrito was cut into, one had a soggy mess on the plate. There was too thick a layer of cheese melted over the Burrito.
Both my friend and I found the green salad had a peculiar taste, I ascribed it to my choice of dressing but she had a different dressing (poppyseed, which she said was watery and not much flavor) and also found the salad had a strange taste. She managed to eat her meal but I left half my meal as it wasn't enjoyable at all.
Very disappointing experience. The service is lacking as well but the worst is the dirty condition of the front of the restaurant so that makes one have uneasy visions of what the back, and hidden, parts such as the kitchen must look like. I wasn't brave enough to use the bathroom - this always being a reflection of the overall cleanliness of a place.
My friend commented she had been to the Naam a number of years ago and that the menu had changed since that time and that she used to have these fantastic meals back then...well, that was not what we had this time. Neither of us enjoyed the meal and it was disappointing.
Won't be going back, it was uncomfortable eating my mediocre meal in this dirty restaurant.
The food here never seizes to amaze me but the service never seizes to frustrate me. Sat down and waited 10 minutes before we even got menus. Our server didn't write anything down and didn't get my drink until 20 minutes later when i asked where it was. We asked again how long the food would be as it was 1240 am and we arrived before midnight. He told us he rang it in 30 minutes earlier and gave us a 40% discount because it took 40 minutes for our food to come out. A few minutes later we heat the waiter giving the same speech to the table next to us about giving them a discount because it took so long. How many times in a night do they have to do this?! Even with the discount it didn't seem like a good value for how long we waited. Bottom line is don't come here if you're starving or especially drunk, you'll be sober by the time your food comes
I had their dragon bowl, it tasted good. so many layers of veggies, but wish it was kinda divided properly and not all slapped in a bowl. Ive been to the naam serveral times, and it always had they same thing on there.
they realy need to upgrade their menu, it's always been the same thing they served over and over.
I really wish there were more varitey and newness to it.. time to catch up witht the times.. why cant vegantarian food be cool anymore?
TERRIBLE. I went there for a birthday meal and everything was awful. The door was open in the middle of winter, I was freezing, the people waiting in line were inside the front of the restaurant and literally standing over top of our table, we waited FOREVERfor the appies and then they brought it out the same time as the main course, and then it was too much food, so we had it wrapped up and they didn't even include the hummus we specifically ordered! The dragon bowl was a strange mishmesh of food and the veggie burger was dry. BOOO!!
I have been here a few times and am never disappointed. I have tried the Pad Thai and the veggie burger and they're delish. I usually do not order ethnic foods outside of ethnic restaurants but was just craving some noodles. Huge portions, great price. We went early (4:30pm) to avoid the line ups.
Can't wait to return!
I've been going to the Naam for years and the food is consistently good. The fries and miso gravy are super tasty, and the Naam salad is always a treat. It should be noted that if you're looking to order takeaway, it is highly likely that your order will not be taken if the restaurant is too busy. Also, if you're dining in, the wait times can be quite long.
Although in past years this restaurant has been a favourite of mine, lately it has opted for sloppy, uncaring staff who look right past you. I never got a chance to order the last 2 times of trying to eat here because it took 10 minutes just to get a menu and after another 10 without any employee coming around, I decided to bail and never set foot in there again. The concept is good but with wait staff who couldn't care less, why would anyone patronize this place?
I have eaten here many times and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, my latest experience has left me so disappointed that I don't think I'll be back, at least not for a while. We went to the Naam for Sunday brunch. The restaurant was full, as it always is on the weekend. We ordered our food and waited. And waited. And waited. For 40 full minutes. There is no excuse for making patrons wait 40 minutes for pancakes. Our server wasn't even the least bit apologetic. When we asked if order would be coming up soon, she just said the kitchen was very busy, and asked if this was our first time. The restaurant was no more busy than on any other weekend that we've been there. Also, I was never offered a refill of coffee, and no one came to refill our water glasses until we were paying the bill.
The food was good, but not worth the wait and neglect from the server. I think the kitchen must have been understaffed, because we have never had such bad service. That's probably the fault of management. Our server though . . . I can't think of any good excuse for her.
The Naam is one of my favourite restaurants EVER, and probably one of the most unique (and oldest) in the city.
While I do love my meat, a meal at the Naam well outdoes any vegetarian joint and makes you realize you don't really need meat to feel satiated (even my carnivorous boyfriend says so).
My favourites on the menu include:
- Any one of their soups (their daal is amazing) [esp. as a soup combo with bread/veggie butter + salad]
- Chili burrito (or as a platter. People love the miso gravy - though it's not my fave)
- Croissant melt
- Santa Fe enchilada
- Naam salad (*disclaimer: the Naam dressing is an acquired taste so be careful when ordering. I always go for the poppyseed dressing instead - delicious!!)
- Noh Pie and apple crisp (though you can't go wrong with ANY of their desserts)
The ambiance is fantastic (rustic, great live music, boho paintings on the walls, and very cozy).
You may read reviews below saying the service is slow and the servers are lazy and/or stoned. However, this is one of the appeals of the Naam. It's one of the few places where you can sit for 2 or 3 hours chatting with your friends without feeling rushed. You never get a manufactured smile and you always feel like you're dealing with real people (even if they are reminiscent of the 60s, when the restaurant was first opened).
I recommend trying to arrive before or after the dinner rush. And the line always looks longer than it is, so don't get discouraged and do give it a try!
I absolutely love The Naam. The food is delicious, a refreshing change from your average burgers and fries. Every plate is full of delicious fresh veggies and piled sky-high with food. Considering the low prices, I was astonished the first time I went and was served a mountain of incredible food. Who could ask for more?
The service is pretty standard, nothing to write home about but definitely nothing to complain about either! I never felt like I was being ignored or forgotten, and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable about the menu.
Value, as I mentioned, is outstanding. Prices range from about $7-$12, and for that much you get so much delicious food that you will only be able to finish if you are a competitive eating champion.
The atmosphere in The Naam is relaxed and refreshing. The salvaged furniture works well, the colours are neutral and warm, and the music isn't too loud or too quiet. Each evening I've gone there, I've been delighted to find decent live music.
And it's open 24 hours. It's the perfect place to hang out after a movie or show, when no one else is open and you need something tasty and vegetarian in your belly. I expect they're quite crowded with students pulling all-nighters during exam season, too!
The only problem I have with the Naam is making my way through the crowd of people at the door when I'm trying to leave. I guess they can't help being popular though! I've only lived in Vancouver a month, and so far this is my favourite restaurant. I have a hunch it will remain my favourite restaurant for quite a long time.