CLOSED: The Foundation Lounge

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 29 reviews )



2301 Main St (at 7th Ave), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, BC V5T 3C9

Menu is extensive and varied, and portions are large. Casual atmosphere, full liquor license. Not totally vegan, serves dairy in some dishes and honey in sauces (can be substituted with maple syrup for most items). Reported closed, Feb 2017.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, Western, Beer/Wine, Take-out

29 Reviews

First Review by philjdomm

Loud and yet chill - Edit

Loved the service, food and the music. Server was relaxed...made some great vegan recommendations. She knew her food and beer. I will return.

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Nice Find - Edit

We had to go to the train station to buy some rail passes, and this place was sort of on the walk back to our friend's place. We got a table right away, but I can see how it can get busy even with them having lots of seating. The staff is very friendly and the portions are massive. I wish is I would have known that there was a separate vegan menu...should have read the reviews. I ordered a tofu salad with broccoli and a satay sauce. It was really good. There was a generous amount of tofu, and the peanut sauce was properly spicy. It was also topped with spicy chopped peanuts. My husband ordered a bean dish with bananas...unusual, but it was really delicious. I think it had coconut milk and lime juice. We could see massive plates of nachos being delivered to other tables...not sure if they offered them with vegan cheese, but if they did one has their work cut out for them. Like others mentioned, the music is quite loud. It didn't bother us, but I can see how it would for some people.

Pros: Massive portions

Cons: Can be a bit loud

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Not the best place - Edit

The food was generous but a bit dull. It was a salad made with only two ingredients and a sauce and it was impossible for me to eat all of it (after a while it just becomes tasteless). My friend got a vegetarian burger which, according to him, was better than my choice. It was more expensive than expected (before entering), which is ok with the quantity, but not the quality.

The place is underground, I really like that, but it was also very noisy. We were lucky because we were only two and quickly got a table, but there was a lineup for bigger groups (lots of them just left). However, the service was good (but slow). Also, vegan options are not identified on the main menu, but they gave me an alternative menu with only the vegan and/or gluten-free options; I appreciated that.

Pros: Nice service, Underground atmosphere, Big portions

Cons: Noisy, A bit dull, Slow

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Will stop coming here for a long while... - Edit

We've been here many times since 2009. We used to always enjoy the food as the portions are generous and the sauces employed on each dish were very tasty.

However, after our last visit in July 2015, we are going to stop coming here for a good long while. The meal was SO "meh" -dull and not tasty at all. Given how much the prices have increased here, it just isn't worth it to eat here.

Again, one has to wait to get a table, which is a pain. Don't show up after 7 pm...UNLESS you enjoy waiting in a lineup.
Another negative feature for me can be the TOO loud music.
If you want to talk to your date or friends, it can be tough.

The servers are very good here, friendly but not obtrusive. Our meals arrived promptly too.

But overall, disappointing experience now. So, me and my spouse have decided to stop eating here, for at least one full year. Hopefully the quality of the food will improve.

Updated from previous review on Thursday November 19, 2009

Pros: Central location, Generous portions, Good beer

Cons: Too loud music, Not as flavourful as in the past, Price to value ratio is poor

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Prices raised - Edit

The food was pretty good but the prices have gone up quite a bit. Servers were very friendly and there are quite some options also for vegans.

Pros: Lots of vegan options, Friendly staff

Cons: Pricy, Medium size portion

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Excellent, Interesting and Satisfying Food! - Edit

I ate here just tonight with a vegetarian friend who is attempting veganism - We were overwhelmed with the interesting options! The kitchen is a creative one for sure! We were both very satisfied and pleased with our colourful meals, and the staff were attentive and friendly. The prices were reasonable, too!
The bathroom, however, was sketchy and unclean... So hold it if you can!

Pros: Lots of vegan options, Creative menu, Flavourful and colourful

Cons: Dirty bathrooms , Vegan items not noted

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Overrated - Edit

I have been to the Foundation countless times. Some good some bad. The food is inventive which is nice and the portions are big and it's pretty cheap considering it's the epicentre of Hipsterville. Usually every time I'm there they play horrendous, blaring gangster rap (not a fan) and the service is not only super slow but often surly and even non-existent. I've been there in the middle of the day before when it was empty and the server didn't put in my order. I sat there for almost an hour trying to figure out where he went so I could say "hey, where's my food?" My friends finished their meals before mine finally arrived and it was presented in a way that was obvious the cook couldn't care less that I waited so long. They gave me a staff discount but it still wasn't worth it. Before I went vegan I would give major props to their nachos. They are the best in the city and you cant beat the price. Get some vegan cheese in there and I might come back!!

Pros: original menu, fair prices

Cons: terrible ambience, terrible service, terrible attitude

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Decent food / Old School Feel - Edit

It was a rainy day in Vancouver, and we decided to eat at The Foundation Lounge, as we are staying in the Mount Pleasant area, and this place was a close walk.

The decor of this place is quite dated, and it smelled and looked like we had walked in to an old 50's restaurant. The waiting staff was attentive.

I didn't expect much food-wise, as most reviews I read suggested that the food was average.

The first thing i noticed is the quirky and confusing menu. They tried to be a bit to clever with the menu in my opinion, and it is difficult to find what you are looking for.

Our waitress mentioned that her favorite burger on the menu was the Persistent Pnut Burger, and that was what I decided to order. I was pleasantly surprised. The burger was filling, tasty, and something I would definitely order again. The side order of quinoa with blueberries, however, was on the blander side.

Vancouver prices aren't cheap as compared to other cities I have traveled to, so if you are looking for an inexpensive, yet tasty lunch, this place seems to be a good choice.

Pros: Tasty vegan burgers, Good Value

Cons: Interior could use a facelift

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Mediocre experience - Edit

I remember eating here as a new vegetarian and was delighted at the selection. I've had the Peanut Pesto Pasta (oppp) once before and remember it being delicious.

This time I had the Foundation Burger and was very underwhelmed, as well our server didn't check in on us, so I had to hunt him down for some mustard for flavour. The salad on the side was really boring as well. I remember thinking, if you had an all-veg restaurant, wouldn't you want to make the side salad just spectaular, since that's something vegans get so boring at regular restaurants?

Try it out, but go for lunch when the prices are cheaper and it may be less busy.

Pros: Varied menu, Serves alcohol, Large portions

Cons: Grungy decor, Poor service

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Decent menu with some inventive dishes - Edit

I liked this place - the menu consists of a decent range of burgers, sandwiches and salads, plus some rather more inventive dishes. There are lots of vegan options.

I had the black beans and papaya with coco lime sauce and rice - it was pretty good.

Most main dishes cost $8-10 including tax.

Pros: decent value, good food

Cons: toilets

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hype - Edit

The food at Foundation is actually ok, 9 times out of 10. But the place is grungy, the wait can be terrifying (we are usually not prepared to wait in long lines), the service is hit and miss. The sesame society and spicy peanut are very tasty. I have heard the urban legend about the grimy bathrooms so I have made a point of avoiding them. Frankly, I don't go out of my way to eat there but sometimes it's convenient. But they use a lot of quinoa and the sauces are quite tasty. Most of them contain honey though. Why they don't use agave I don't understand but they are prepared to substitute honey for maple or agave syrup. I only hope they remember... Not all of them can be substituted so be sure to ask if you are a strict vegan like us. Don't go there if you are in a hurry, because the staff there is not. Also, for those who don't mind eating out of chipped plates and drink out of jars.

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  Contributions +33

Love this place - Edit

Kids and I ate here and loved it. The menu has something for everyone. The Maple bean Chile was a big hit at our table. The cooks are cranking the food out on GE kitchen ranges that you would have at your home. The decor is funky 50's and there are great art pieces on the wall with lots of good advise from favorites like Steve Jobs etc. We rate this restaurant A+

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Make sure you have plenty of time... - Edit

The food is brilliant and the portions huge but the long wait puts me off - I only go there when I have plenty of time, which isn't often. Great local beer!

Pros: Great food, Good value

Cons: Very noisy, Long LONG wait, Unpleasant washroom

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It'll do - Edit

I know lots of people that absolutely love this place(during peak hours prepare the wait in a line that goes out the door). I am not one of them. It's okay. the food is decent. The general attitude and ambience leaves just so much to be desired. It's loud, dark, and just a little gross(the bathrooms kinda scared me). The service fluctuates between kinda helpful to not indicating whether my order was heard.

The food sometimes makes up for it though. I do still go if it's the only option or if my friends, who love it, want to go.

Pros: decent food

Cons: loud, attitude, could be cleaner

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Vegan fondue! - Edit

The vegan dark chocolate fondue is delicious! It's only at dinner though. Also, their pasta dishes are great (also only a dinner). The chipotle sauce on one of their veggie and rice dishes is amazing. I would highly recommend going here for dinner, but not for lunch.

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Great food! - Edit

Four of us arrived on a Thursday night and joined a small line up of people (which quickly grew into a very long line behind us) waiting for a table. We were seated shortly and started the process of going through the very extensive menu. I was pleased with the large number of vegan options and good beer selection.

The service was leisurely, but despite what others have written here, the staff were friendly, stopped by our table often and were able to answer questions about the menu on the spot. The restaurant got louder as the evening went on, but we were able to carry on a conversation quite easily.

If I lived in Vancouver, I'm sure that this place would quickly be added to my regular rotation of restaurants to eat at.

Pros: tasty food, friendly staff, huge portions

Cons: noisy

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A fun evening! - Edit

We just finished a rock climbing session, and decided to go and try the foundation.

We sat down, and received a menu full of goodness. To my pleasant surprise, most of the dishes were actually vegan! I wish I could find an online menu, so I'd be able to write about the dishes we ordered. But I do remember a starter with yam mash and hummus (awesome) a salad with a mangoi dressing (also great but only for those who like sweet dressings) and a pasta dish with peanuts and fresh basil, which was the crown jewel!

For dessert, we ordered a vegan chocolate fondue, which was just great.

All in all, it was all good. I'm left with no choice but to rate the Foundation a 5!

Pros: Variety, Taste

Cons: Has non vegan dishes

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Grimy with good food - Edit

The location is easy to find, but the inside was a bit grimy. Nice and informative staff, lots of vegan options. BLT-ish was good and warm. The Persistent Pnut burger was disappointing; too dry, with no sauce. Sasuma salad was good and hot with tofu and garbanzos. The salad with mango-lime dressing was good, but not for everyone.
DO NOT USE THE MEN'S BATHROOM!! It was dirty and claustrophobic. I, as a female, made the mistake of using it, and it was scary; look around the corner for the Ladies toilet. It is cleaner, but not terribly.

Pros: informative staff, good food, good vegan options

Cons: grimy, dirty bathrooms, cold

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Yum Yum! - Edit

I went to this place a couple of years ago and I have two words for it, "Yum Yum!" I ordered this vegan couscous dish that sounded good from the description and I discovered that it was truly amazing!!! One of the best dishes I've ever had, seriously! The vegan chocolate fondue with fruit for dessert was also very delectable and really fun to eat! I can't wait to go back and I will for sure! :-)

Pros: Amazing vegan food, big menu with lots of vegan options, fun place, lively atmosphere

Cons: a little loud, crowded, be prepared to wait outside, specify vegan option more on the menu?

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simply THE restaurant! - Edit

my favorite place of the Spain/Canada/USA vacation! I went twice and the two times i had a awesome dinner: great food, very large portions, extremely inexpensive! not everything is vegan, but the menu is very varied so nobody has problem in selection! my non-vegetarian friends found it great too and they appreciated a lot the nachos and the pasta. no problem for me, but they did not found fine the very loud music!

Pros: Very low price, excellent food, very large portions

Cons: maybe rap music too loud

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Great place! - Edit

My wife and I went here a few weeks ago while visiting Vancouver. There was really a lot we liked about this place. It was a really cool atmosphere. They were playing all kinds of old school rap, which may not be a plus to some but I really enjoyed it. There were various wise and inspirational quotes up on the walls which I enjoyed reading as I looked around. My wife and I shared the appetizer sampler which was a generous portion of several of their appetizers and salad. We intended to go on and order more food, however this filled us up. It was a really good platter, with variety, and quite affordable. Overall we didn't get too far down the menu but we really liked what we ate. I think the place is open pretty late too which is a plus.

Pros: Cool atmosphere, Affordable, Open late

Cons: Could be a bit loud for some

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If you're a snob, stay away - Edit

If you want a laid back atmosphere and cheap delicious food, this is your place. I love all the dishes I've had hear, especially the pesto past, the fruit curry and the mingling yams dip. There mixed appy plate is DELICIOUS and so cheap for the amount of food you get. Oh, and they have VEGAN FONDUE!!!! How can you beat that!

I've heard people complain about the service, but I've never had a problem. Things are a bit slow because the restaurant is usually seriously understaffed, but the servers are very friendly. Don't expect them to fawn over you, but if you treat them with respect and kindness, I find they do go out of there way to help you. For instance, I once ordered this dish that ended up being 10X spicier then the last time I was there (different chef). The server brought me a bowl of chopped tomatoes and fruit to sprinkle over it to take away from the spiciness and an extra glass of water right away.

A thing to remember, if you're dining with kids come before 6:30 pm because at night sometimes the hiphop has a bit of swearing.

Pros: delicious, nice staff, cheap

Cons: you get a bit sick of the loud hiphop

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Don't know what's vegan and what isn't. - Edit

I find the service terrible at Foundation. Every time you ask what is vegan you get a different opinion or a snide look. I asked once why they don't just make "vegan sugar pie" seeing as it's always out and seems sssooooo popular. The response I got was a sarcastic "because we are not a VEGAN restaurant". I know this but it was just a suggestion. Also, we've been told several different things about what is vegan and what isn't. Lots of different friends are told different things. I realize it is not a fully vegan restaurant but it really should't be hard to know what's vegan and what isn't. If they don't want to serve vegans they shouldn't have vegan options!!

Cons: Service, Food options, Noisy

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Lovely Food - Edit

We were on vacation in Vacouver,BC and had taken along a list from you site. We tried some others but Foundation lounge was GREAT. The food was tasty but the tables were a little dark as the only lighting at the tables was candles. I'm sure that helped their bottom line (energy costs). If we ever get to Vancouver,BC again we will DEFINITEly eat there. It was challenging to find because it is on a corner on a busy street; there is a parking lot across the street.

Pros: great food, varied selection, large protions

Cons: poor lighting, hard to find

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i love the foundation - Edit

i went to the foundation on the first of my two nights in vancouver this week and loved my dinner so much i had to go back the next night. then my partner and i went to a concert, and when we decided we wanted another drink afterward, we wanted to go somewhere we knew for sure there would be friendly service, great music, and a delicious snack waiting for us... so, we went back to the foundation, again, for some chips and salsa and beers. i wish i could bring the foundation home with me! i would go there every night. oh, and one more thing... i love that they have sangria. it was the best i have tasted outside of spain.

Pros: big portions of awesome food, great music/atmosphere, wonderful staff

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it is okay - Edit

i used to go here sometimes but not anymore! their food has gone from mostly okay to awful! their music is far too loud, the service is the worst i've ever had and their menu is a bit bland. i only really go to eat one or two different things. the price is decent and it is the only vegan place for a long while so that is why i sometimes go back for the hummus and bread or the yam dip both are good but it is not like they had to do much to make them - so they don't deserve the credit.

Pros: location, price, vegan offers

Cons: poor service, loud music, bad quality

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A good place to frequent - Edit

Extensive veggie menu, decent service, decent price, great atmosphere and usually have some pretty awesome hip hop playing. I've been three times so far and haven't been disappointed.

Pros: big menu, great music, huge portions

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