Vegetarian options at Vancouver sports and concert arenas

Ranking of arenas in Vancouver based on their vegetarian options.

Most of the time, it feels like vegetarian and vegan options have come a long way. A food writer once told me that vegetarians just weren’t invited in the ’90s, but now we have entire high-end, fast-food restaurants dedicated to our dietary preferences. So things are better.

Until you arrive at a sporting event or festival and realize that anything but meat was an afterthought. Hot dogs and burgers are the quintessence of sports food, and stadiums are making a name for themselves with wacky, imaginative versions of the classic morsels.

In recent years, Vancouver venues have also started to diversify the type of cuisine they offer, introducing sushi, poke, poutine and pizza – which is great – but meat still plays a part in the most dishes.

Here’s a look at how Vancouver’s stadiums and arenas fare when it comes to vegetarian options. Sweets, fries and soft pretzels are vegetarian but not really suitable, they would be on the menu anyway and not constitute dinner.

Here’s what to eat as a vegetarian and local sports arenas in Vancouver because, you know, we like sports and concerts too.

Rogers Arena

Rogers Arena has 18 restaurants catering to the 18,910-seat venue, serving hand-carved sandwiches, seafood, poke, and gourmet hot dogs, to name a few. The vegetarian menu, conveniently posted on their website, has eight options that don’t fall into the snack category. Grilled Cheese, Impossible Burger, Veggie Dog, Cheese Pizza, Chopped Tofu Pasta Bowl, Veggie Poke, Veggie Poutine, and Veggie Gaucho are all available, meaning most restaurants will have at least one vegetarian option on offer. Some of these options can also be made vegan with simple changes like removing the sauce.

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Nat Bailey Stadium

Famous for its 3-foot hot dog, Nat Bailey Stadium recently introduced Tater Tot Poutine and a selection of rotating sandwiches to represent visiting teams. As far as veggie options go, there’s a veggie dog that seriously has the flavor and texture of an actual hot dog. In typical West Coast fashion, Nat Baily also offers sushi and has sushi mascots who race during games. So there is also a vegetarian sushi option. Otherwise, vegetarians are left with nachos, fries, and mini donuts and have to watch their friends eat Philly cheesesteak.

BC place

BC Place may be the best arena for vegetarian dining, if only for the Mac Bar, which serves gourmet macaroni and cheese bowls. Even some of the add-ons are vegetarian-friendly with options like sweetcorn and cheese curds. There’s also cheese pizza from Commercial Drive Pizza and tofu dogs from Dawson’s. Vegans are also represented with exciting dishes such as Chana Masala Curry or vegetarian samosas from Bombay South Asian Kitchen. Or for those staying healthy even at sporting events, there’s Boom Kitchen’s Super Happy Power Bowl with tofu, butternut squash, chickpeas, edamame, tomatoes and marinated coleslaw, served over brown rice and quinoa.

super happy veggie bowl
The super happy veggie bowl at BC Place. BC place

Pacific Coliseum

It wouldn’t be a true Vancouver stadium without Triple O’s. The Pacific Coliseum Triple O’s shares the venue’s food scene with Pizza Pizza and a traditional concession stand serving hot dogs, popcorn and donuts. There is also a selection of freshly made sandwiches, but Pacific Coliseum couldn’t tell if they were vegetarian or not when I called. So vegetarians only have a limited selection of options with veggie burgers, cheese pizza and standard snacks.

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The Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Arena

UBC has a really thriving food scene with lots of exciting places to visit on campus. Unfortunately, that doesn’t carry over to the university’s sports arena, which also serves as a concert hall. Named for the school’s athletic teams, Thunderbird has quite the standard, if not an understatement, of, say, concession situation. It serves the drinking crowd at a concert or sports game more than the eating crowd. You can find burgers, fries and some candy bars but that’s about it. As a vegetarian and a UBC graduate I would recommend checking out Jamjar Canteen, Tacomio, Kinton Ramen or even Brown’s before heading to the Arena which is a seven minute drive or 18 minute walk from these places.

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