Vegetarian Heaven at Nourish Bistro

    Whitney Oliver March 24, 2015

    When my parents came to Banff for a weekend visit, I packed their time with as many local sights and flavours as I could, and that meant a fair bit of elk, bison, beef and poutine.

    After two days of meat-heavy dishes, my boyfriend and I thought it’d be a refreshing change to take my folks to Nourish Bistro, a place that promised a gourmet vegetarian menu, delighting veggie and meat lovers alike.

    It was clear from the restaurant’s artistic vibe that the meal would not be boring. Funky decor and works by local artists set the tone for the artful menu we were about to see.

    We were thankful that the menu suggested sharing, because it was too difficult for us to each choose one thing. With the option of half servings (for one to two people) or full servings (for two to four people), we chose several full-size dishes to spread around.

    The food was made fresh to order and arrived at the table in the order it was prepared—no waiting under heat lamps. First up was the legendary Num Num Nachos, a colourful assortment of about 27 (!) ingredients. There were fruity bites, spicy bites, cheesy bites and crunchy bites, all part of a combination I never expected to top my tortilla chips.

    The dish, like most on the menu, was vegan, so the cashew cheddar cheese was safe for my lactose-intolerant dad, but still tasty with the rich, melted consistency necessary for a good plate of nachos. From strawberry slices to pickles, these nachos were full of tasty surprises.

    The food kept coming, always beautifully presented—almost too pretty to eat. I was told the chefs make a special effort to garnish each dish differently, so every plate on the table is unique.

    The Super Food Salad was another knock-out with plentiful ingredients. The combo of greens, fruit, nuts and seeds was healthful and delicious, while the splash of apple cider vinaigrette gave the right touch of sweetness and tang to make the salad feel balanced, even indulgent.

    Then came the Portobello Melts. We ordered the full size, so there were two “burgers” (marinated portobello mushrooms) that we divided into four, allowing us each to have a few bites.

    Rich, juicy, and completely meatless, the ‘shrooms were topped with artichokes in wasabi aioli and asiago, sandwiched between two thin honey buns. Decked out with colourful micro greens, strawberries and tomato cucumber chutney, they were the perfect entree to round off the meal.

    We left not just satisfied, but talking for a good while after about how creative and fun the meal was.

    Though we didn’t get a taste that evening, I learned that Nourish serves a distinctive cocktail menu using fresh juices and no added sugars. The restaurant also hosts weekly Tuesday evening artist showcases, so you can gather with friends for a night of unique beverages to enjoy with photography, spoken word or live music.

    Nourish is a restaurant ripe for a return visit, not as a mere vegetarian alternative to meat, but as an all-around destination for good food, creative drinks and entertainment.

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