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.
While on vacation in August 2008, I had a chance to eat at the Naam a few times. It can be pretty busy at times, but overall the service was quite good considering. I loved all the vegan dishes I tried--their tofu was delicious. I'll definitely visit again.
I've been going to the Naam for a few years now. Once in awhile, the food, service and general experience are all as good as they can be, but usually something is lacking. I've had perfect salads and salads with leaves that are for the most part rotten (there's not excuse for this at a veggie restaurant!). I've had snobby service that made me angry and really good service that warranted a hefty tip. My most consistent complaint, however, is the environment: It's frequently a tad too loud and crowded in there for my liking and, if you can't choose your company at any restaurant, for some reason there are a lot of inconsiderate Naam customers out there. The menu is an excellent introduction to veggie food, but I'd like some more consistency and a better overall experience.
The Naam is an old favourite, but I am usually prepared to get in a quick order for sesame fries (with mandatory miso gravy) and settle in for a long, long wait.
Friday, December 1st, we were impressed with quick, efficient and attentive service!
The food was as great (Thai noodles and a Buddah bowl) and piping hot!
Did I say the service was fast?
Nice place to sit back and relax - and even though the servings were large - don't come too hungry because you will wait and wait for service. The servers seem a bit too relaxed themselves and we found it hard to get anyone's attention when we wanted water
Service not the greatest? True. Long queus to get in sometimes? True.
But we haven't found any other vegetarian restaurant in Vancouver that comes close to The Naan when it comes to the creativity and delectability of its meals. The menu also has an almost endless selection of choices including daily specials. We dine here when we're not in a hurry so the slow service doesn't really phase us. We also arrive here with an alternative restaurant in mind that's close by- in case it looks lik more than 15 minutes for a table. Summary: Kudos to the chefs at Naam.
The Naam is rightfully proud for its status as a rainbow leftover from the 1970s hippie mania that swept W4th Ave. Gone now are the independent bookshops, hemp stores, and African knickknack importers . . . but the Naam remains, but it's showing some wear and tear.
First, the service is terrible. This goes without saying. It is an axiom of Vancouver life. If the restaurant is busy, you will queue in the claustraphobic foyer and hope to God someone eventually pays you some attnetion. If it's slow, you will be doing exactly the same thing . . . except your blood may boil because it's more obvious that you are being ignored. The rather potheaded staff will frequently mess up your order as well.
What can be said? The management are aware of the problem, but prefer to see it as a charming characteristic of their laid-back world view. If you're in a hurry, and like prompt, attentive service, then you are obviously an uptight CEO and not Naam patron material.
So people go for the food, which is plentiful in its possibilities -- many vegetarian dishes of rather ingenious design. But the much lauded staples -- miso french fries and such -- aren't up to what they used to be. The portions are bigger, but there is a distinct feeling of carelessness that seems to be increasing every year.
Menus are soothingly calligraphic, a mixture of tribal design and Celtic motifs . . . you may find this either twee and trite, or else artistic and folksy. The lovely woodsy desocr, the clomp clomp of hiking boots, the smoky endtable candles and sometimes a live Irish harp performance . . . you are in something of a fairy world. There's enough eye candy to keep the shroom heads happy.
Still a fun place for friends and dates . . . if you can cope with the service and the odd lunatic telling you the UFOs are busily re-engineering homo sapiens' kernal DNA . . .
beats lame-assed dharma kitchen.
I've been to The Naam over a dozen times, and overall, I've enjoyed what they have to offer (for all meals, especially breakfast). I like that it's a 24-hour joint and there's live music, so it's usually worth the wait when the queue is long.
Recently, though, I've been feeling that the service hasn't been up to par (Some servers aren't very friendly. Last time, a server didn't give us our drinks until way after we finished our meals, and he didn't even apologize!). I'd go there again, but I just hope the servers will be polite, or at least remember what I ordered.
I've been battling an addiction to this place! I've tried just about everything and loved it all. They have amazing breakfasts (I don't eat eggs or dairy anymore, but I remember my the meals fondly), including awesome vegan pancakes with bananas in the batter... Mmm. They have incredible vegan salad dressings and their chili, thai noodles, dragon bowls, burgers and apple crisp are all great. The service is known to be rather slow and feels even longer when your stomach is growling in anticipation! But the staff are generally friendly and the atosphere is cosy, if a little run-down after being open 24 hours a day for years and years. My only real complaint is that their chairs tend to be too high for the tables, so it's uncomfortable to cross your legs! All-in-all, the Naam is my first choice in my neighborhood for great comfort food.
I went to the Naam with my boyfriend he is vegetarian, and I am vegan, and the waitress put normal cheese on half our appetizer and vegan cheese subsitute on the other and made sure they didn't touch, they staff is all friendly there, it was amazing. You get a lot of food for you're money, and it tasted really good. I think it is a bit hyped up, but everyone should go there at least once.
nice to see a large vegetarian menu for once, several things looked good. my meal was very good, and the ambiance was nice (live singer near our table). service a little slow, and they forgot my pie (it was super yummy though when i eventually got it ;P )
We've been to the Naam several times since we live in the neighbourhood. Each time it gets worse and worse. Yet, each time it gets more packed and more packed. So we stopped going. The first time was a good experience, trying out completely vegan meals. However, the meal was not that spectacular that you can be treated like farm animals being fattened up before the slaughter. The spaces are tight and the service is poor. Half the time, they forget the items you ordered. I guess people keep going back because they like the abuse or it's just the "hip" thing to do in Kits.
I like the food but can't tolerate the setting. The servers are careless and can be rude and the whole restaurant feels grimy. The dragon bowl is delicious, but being inside this dirty restaurant makes me uncomfortable. If the front of the house is so run down and grungy, I'm worried about how clean the kitchen is and if the food served is not contaminated with something.
as i work my way through various eateries i made my way to naam.
Their veggie burger was very good. The waiter was friendly and guided us in the right way.
We didnt love the sesame seed fried potatoes, nor the schezuan salad.
The fried tofu was good.
the ambience in the store is very nice, but didnt use restroom so cant tell you how it was.
I am puzzled as to why the Naam wins "best vegetarian" awards year after year as I'm always disappointed by the service and food quality (with the exceptions of the "Gold Dragon" dragon bowl, sesame fries, and the house salad dressing). There are always long waits for tables, and when you finally get seated the service is extremely slow. The dishes served at the Naam are seriously lacking in creativity; most of the dragon bowls are topped with the same mixture of shredded veggies. The only thing this place has going for it is the fact that it is open 24 hrs/day. Maybe you would like it if you became vegetarian in the 70s and learned to love bland veggie food. Other restaurants are far more deserving of the level of attention that the Naam continues to receive (i.e. Dharma Kitchen).
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.
I've long wanted to visit Naam and last night, finally got my chance. The food was superb with each portion accommodating the next. The inside is comforting and not ostentatious in any way. And the experience was made perfect by manager dropping by to say hello and ask me and wife how everything tastes. I really enjoy the proprietor of a restaurant visiting his guests. It shows that they care about the experience and that they work hard to ensure a positive one. My wif enjoyed it and was calmer afterwards.
Ill be back without question.
Went for lunch on a Friday as part of a party of four adults, one toddler, and one baby. One of these adults had been here 10 years prior, and remembered it as a great place. First impression - not so hot - it was crowded, small, and we were not able to wait inside the restaurant as the fire marshall had recently been to visit and they had been told that waiting patrons were not allowed to block the entryway anymore. Fair enough. We had to wait roughly 15 minutes, and the hostess kept checking on us, was very apologetic and seemed determined from the get go to make us happy. Eventually we were seated - in a nice quiet corner that was a partial booth - next to the washroom but actually perfect for the kids. Our server was incredibly nice and brought a full colouring book and crayons for my toddler, and an assortment of (safe) cutlery and small tableware to occupy the baby. The food was very good - I ordered the Naam Burger and was very pleased with it. Very unique texture and incredible flavour. I ordered the Pita Cheese Pizza for my toddler and she ate the entire thing. All in all we had a great lunch and a great experience. I would most definitely go back.
The food is characteristically great. Everyone would probably agree. Unfortunately, the food quality and its uniquely vegan character, coupled with the ambience of a hippie homestead has lead to the utter hijacking of all things decent and any sense of decorum when it comes to customer service. In other words - your attendance is totally taken for granted, regardless of how they treat you.
If the staff chatting away behind the register while you wait eons for just about anything, and if the sprinkle of arrogant and smug staff coupled with a nice balance of sheer obliviousness chiming away to some spiritual blather about "love" and one's "karmic" destiny doesn't drive you nuts - it will certainly leave you with a taste in your mouth that pales in comparison to some of the charming dishes that the Naam is renowned for. Yes. Staff have become so catatonically neglectful of customers (some staff knowingly so) - that one goes for the food - but suffers the subtle abrasiveness of rude, spaced-out flakes who'd rather smoke up in the garden than attend to paying customers. In short, the food is good. The service - is a disgrace - and something that the restaurant is also unfortunately renown for.
But hey - who gives a f.... Right?
Nachos, burgers, Asian stir-fries and noodle bowls... I may be biased but I am not a big fan of these types of restaurants. It's like a vegetarian White Spots with some interesting Hippie-ish Organic South American theme in it to attract people.
The only interesting dishes there are those Dragon Bowls. Still, it's basically a lot of vegetable with some Cantonese, Indian,Thai spices on it. I cook similar stuffs whenever I try to empty my fridge.
After criticizing it so much, I still think you can try because the ambiance is really nice and there's amazing local live music which I absolutely adore. Also, it is much healthy than other pub food and the price is really good.
If I am not mistaken, they open 24 hours!
Hippie Love...Hippie Love....
The reason this place is so highly rated is because of the Hippie Love it receives, sure ain't the food.
I think the staff should spend more time learning how to cook instead of singing campfire songs and preaching the wonders of organic farming.
Took over 35 min to get our order of a Veggie Burger with pre-baked fries, and potato/peas curry that was premade in the afternoon....but its fine... forgiven in the presence of Hippie Love.
Veggie Burger fell almost instantly with some pressure. Fries were baked but had alot of issues - some were almost burnt and some had no color, something is wrong with their oven and the cooks don't care about consistency. Who needs quality and consistency when there is Hippie Love in the Air?
Thought the Curry would be decent seeing as the back is full of Indian woman... Peas were cooked to the point they lost their color and looked like mud. Curry was dry as the potatoes released all their starches as it was cooking all afternoon. Served on a bed of dry white rice. Who needs a good sauce on dry white rice when their is Hippie love though?
Ambiance felt like any college dorm room. Took a peek inside the kitchen and is about as clean as a kitchen in a college dorm room. I'm glad I saw the kitchen AFTER I ate my food.
After eating here, seriously, I had the urge to go get a real Hamburger. I was full but definitely not satisfied.
But its alright, you don't need to know how to cook when there is Hippie Love. Who needs to pay for good food when you get Hippie love in return?
Will I be back? Unfortunately I'd rather goto the Keg before I come back here...Hippie Love Yall!!!