Welcome To Pemberton, BC
If you are travelling along the sea-to-sky highway from Vancouver, you will get to Pemberton after about 2 hours, depending on traffic and if you didn’t stop in Squamish and / or Whistler on the way up.
So, why would you head to Pemberton when you have dramatic Squamish only 45 minutes from Vancouver and bypass Whistler, one of the best ski resorts in the world?
Well, for one, Pemberton is becoming more and more hip. The population is getting younger. Many of the residents work in Whistler but live in Pemberton and take advantage of the more laid-back and quieter feel, as well as the cheaper housing prices.
The big draw card to Pemberton is its outstanding natural beauty. At the foot of Mount Currie and surrounded by provincial parks, many visitors take advantage of the parks which are less crowded than the ones closer to Vancouver.
Visitors to Pemberton can do a lot of different outdoor activities to enjoy the wilderness. In warmer months, you can hike, pick berries, camp, mountain bike, and there are a wide range of water activities from rafting, swimming and kayaking.
In the cooler months you can do backcountry and cross country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. Plus it's 30 minutes to the world-class ski slopes of Whistler-Blackcomb resort.
No matter what time of year it is, you can always visit the farmer’s market, shop, visit the museums and of course eat all the vegan food.
Speaking of food, let's get to our vegan guide to Pemberton! A word of warning: Pemberton really prides itself on being a slow food hub which means that there is a lot of craft beer and locally grown vegetables (good) but also lots of talk about sourcing meat from local ranches (less good). Many of the restaurants I have listed promote this kind of eating, so just be aware.
Here of course, we will only talk about vegan food!
The fun Hwy. Cafe is Pemberton’s first and only vegan place. It’s located just outside of town. It’s very small with no dine in space although in nice weather you can sit outside. They provide a couple of benches. It’s all pretty casual!
Everything on their menu is 100% plant-based and sourced locally when possible. Their menu is constantly changing based on daily inspiration and season availability. You can expect burgers, bagels, banh mi, hotdogs, sandwiches, salads and drinks. Don’t miss this vegan gem in Pemberton!
STAY WILD - downtown, health food store, build your own grain bowl
Located in downtown Pemberton, Stay Wild doubles up as a juice bar and bulk food place. There are some excellent vegan options here with a build-your-own grain bowl with many dressing options and even a few breakfast choices too. Don’t miss their fancy hot drinks and their desserts. Our vote goes for the vegan peanut butter cup.
The Mile One Eating House Grill only has one marked vegan option, but it is clear that there are some items on the menu that could be vegan or easily veganized, like the kale gomae and Yukon gold wedges. We’d stick with the vegan rosti made from Pemberton potatos and chickpea rosti, BC mushrooms, grilled broccolini, arugula pesto, grape tomatoes. Here's where to find it.
The Pony is located in the downtown area and it is in a beautiful old building that looks like a saloon from a wild west movie set, complete with a cozy ireplace. The menu for vegans is not especially exciting though. It does have some dishes that look like they are veganizable with some substitutions but nothing is labelled vegan. I should add that this is very much a meat-heavy place.
The Town Square restaurant is located on Frontier Street and the patio has incredible views of the mountains. Inside the wood walled interior, there is lots of space and a full bar which has a number of craft beers available. We are happy to say that this restaurant does have marked vegan options and is open for brunch on the weekend. We love the look of the mushroom and vegetable tempura, the kale gomae and the vegan dog which is a vegan bratwurst with pickled onion and a honey mustard slaw (we want to assume that it doesn’t actually contain honey given that it is marked vegan, but do double check!). An excellent downtown option.
The Lynx Food Truck is a much loved Institution in Pemberton. While there are not too many vegan options on this menu I have been informed by the management that the veggie burger without mayo will be vegan. You will find it is a short walk from downtown close to the visitors’ centre.
The Blackbird bakery is known for its excellent bread including baguette, ciabatta and even take-away pizza dough. Even though it doesn't seem like there are many interesting vegan options, it would be a good idea to pick up some bread so you can make yourself some sandwiches with some vegan meats and cheese from the local supermarket and find one of many perfect spot around Pemberton that offers amazing mountain views. It's in the train station.
This is a working farm where you can pick-your-own berries... but also be aware they unfortunately raise pigs too. They have a vegan farm wrap with hummus, roasted red pepper as well as filled with their own vegetables and kale. Scrolling through their Instagram, it seems like they will often have marked vegan brunch items too so it’s worth ringing ahead to see what is on offer. It's just past the main town coming from Whistler.
Like so many Japanese places on the Sea-to-Sky highway, there are some fun Japanese options here. The Agedashi Tofu and the Spicy Tofu as well as edamame beans and also some sushi rolls look great. We wish that the items were marked vegan on the menu though. This small restaurant also has an outdoor area to sit. It's downtown.
Grimm's Gourmet Deli includes many daily specials, gourmet sandwiches but sadly, none of them appear to be vegan. They do however, have a vegan burger as well as a vegan pizza! Super for takeaway, but they have a lovely diner feel restaurant complete with booths and local art on the walls. It's right downtown.
We wrote about Mount Currie Coffee in our Whistler guide as they have a branch there also. They acknowledge that people are making more and more vegan choices and choosing non-dairy milks for their coffees. We are happy to say that this place has lots of vegan choices. Their winter soups and summer salads are often vegan. They have a number of baked goods including the vegan oat fudge bar, and the banana bread. It's near the entrance to downtown.
We absolutely love Barn Nork! First of all, it’s Thai food and after living 10 years in Bangkok, we really do miss the cuisine!!! It also has marked vegan options and really interesting ones at that. We love the mushroom salad (Thai salads are warm and spicy), Pad Ma kua which is an eggplant dish with Thai basil, and Seb’s favorite, a vegan Mussaman curry! Recommended! It's located past downtown.
We'd love to hear from you! Do you have any questions? Ideas? Do you know of any more awesome spot for a vegan meal or snack that we might have missed? Let us know and we might add them to a future article update!
Let's have a discussion in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you!