This recent list of Vancouver vegetarian restaurants reminded me that I haven’t blogged about The Acorn yet. The Main Street restaurant has been busy, busy, busy ever since it opened last summer.

I will admit that I hold a stereotype of vegetarian food being boring, starchy and bland. The Acorn and other fantastic vegetarian places in Vancouver are blowing away my backwards thinking.

The Acorn’s menu changes seasonally but it’s guaranteed to squeeze the best out of every vegetable, herb and grain in ways I didn’t know existed. We fell in love with The Acorn with our very first taste of an artichoke pate ($10), sprinkled with bits of preserved lemon and walnut, and served with garlic tarragon crostini. An intriguing and wonderful combination of flavours.

The Acorn, Vancouver

The Harvest ($19) is basically the special of the season. Late last summer, my beautiful Harvest plate featured pretty roasted beets and squash ,with meaty lobster mushrooms, tomato coulis, and asiago polenta. My notes say “stinging nettle” which I’m pretty sure was used in a drizzle. What I do remember is how hearty and delicious this was. The presentation certainly had everyone’s heads turning in the restaurant.

On another visit, we were pleasantly surprised to find that a “ravioli” starter ($10) was made up of paper-thin, candy-striped beets with a filling of macadamia cheese, with grapefruit chunks and a cider glaze. Beautiful and amazing. (It was too dark for a photo, but the New York Times has one here, as well as The Acorn’s Facebook page.)

Aubergine, The Acorn, Vancouver

The eggplant stack with tallegio cheese ($18) was good, but it was the accompanying braised chickpeas with roasted garlic, yellow pepper romanesco and almonds stole the show.

Unsurprisingly, my favourite dish so far is probably not their healthiest. The Acorn’s version of fish and chips is beer-battered, fried halloumi (a salty Cypriot cheese) atop zucchini pancake and smashed peas with some lemon balm ($19). It’s heavy and delicious and so, so good.

The Acorn, Vancouver

I had a coconut panna cotta ($8) there that I still crave, with hints of lemongrass, and chunks of pineapple, bits of cilantro and some yummy crunchy crumbs I can’t identify. Anyone?

The Acorn doesn’t take reservations so you can be nerds like us and get there right when it opens at 5:30 p.m. to snag a table, or wait til later in the night when their bar menu starts at 10 p.m. The bar is open til 2 a.m.

The Acorn, Vancouver

The Acorn, 3995 Main St., Vancouver, (604) 566-9001.
Open Tuesday to Thursday 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m., Friday and Saturday 5:30 p.m.-2 a.m., Sunday 5:30 p.m.-midnight. For parties of 6 or more, a family table is available for an early or later seating.

The Acorn on Urbanspoon

Kid-friendly notes
I say leave the younger kids at home. We brought H (age 2) and all he wanted to do was scramble around. If you do want to bring babies/toddlers, opt for the earliest seating.
High chairs: No.
Accessibility: Small space, not much room between tables.