There are so many reasons to visit Thunder Bay: the beautiful scenery of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, the incredible rushing waters of Kakabeka Falls, the stunning views of Lake Superior, and…the vegan food? Before traveling to Thunder Bay, I had no idea that it was such a vegan-friendly destination.
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In this vegan Thunder Bay dining guide, I’m going to show you exactly where I found the best food in the city. Trust me, I did not go hungry!
Vegan Thunder Bay Dining
When you’re looking for places to eat in Thunder Bay, there’s one 100% vegan and gluten-free restaurant, one entirely vegetarian (and mostly vegan) restaurant, and numerous veg-friendly choices. If you visited Thunder Bay for a couple of days, you could easily dine at a new place for every meal. Here are my favorite vegan Thunder Bay dining options around the city.
Bliss Restaurant is the only 100% vegan and gluten-free restaurant in Thunder Bay. It’s the perfect choice for anyone with food allergies or those following a vegan diet, like myself. Choose between cooked meals, raw and semi-raw dishes.
When I visited Bliss Restaurant for lunch, I ordered the soup and salad combo. The soup of the day was the Winter Harvest Minestrone, perfect for a freezing February afternoon. I paired the soup with a Kale Caesar Salad. Both meals were absolutely delicious, especially that soup. I could have had this exact meal again for dinner and felt perfectly content with my life choices.
Other items you’ll find on the menu include Nourish Bowls, the Bliss Burger, Avocado Toast (gluten-free onion bread), and the Raw Pizza. Bliss Restaurant has a full dessert cabinet up front with tons of delightful slices of cake, bars, and chocolate treats like Twix bars. Not only did I love dining at Bliss because I could be sure that everything was vegan, but I just adored the overall atmosphere, the pleasant service, and the yummy food.
Bonobo’s Foods is a vegetarian cafe where the menu can be 100% vegan. They do offer some dairy cheese for some items, but everything can be made plant-based and vegan. They’re known for their comfort food and super filling veggie meals. I can totally back this one up: even after eating just one of their burgers, I was stuffed!
Bonobo’s has daily specials throughout the week in addition to their main menu. On Tuesdays, it’s fish tacos. On Wednesday’s, it’s the T.L.T. (tempeh lettuce tomaco). So, you might want to plan accordingly. However, when I visited, I opted for one of their most popular menu items, the Bonobo Seed burger. It definitely lived up to the hype.
There are loads of other menu items: fish and chips, quinoa mac and cashew bites, cauliflower pakoras, and poutine (a Canadian favorite). The staff is super friendly, and I loved the vinyl records and paintings of animals up around the cafe. There’s even a small vegan grocery store inside the cafe if you’d like to stock up on a few items to make at home. I could see myself being a regular at Bonobo’s Foods if I lived in Thunder Bay.
Sometimes Thai food and vegan/vegetarian meals can be a bit of question mark. Sometimes there’s hidden fish sauce or oyster sauce that can make a dish not even vegetarian. Thankfully, the folks over at Thai Kitchen in Thunder Bay are well versed in veganism and happily create plant-based meals for the veggie peeps in the crowd.
Everything on the menu is clearly marked with a little leaf if it is vegetarian or can be prepared vegetarian. If you’re vegan, make sure you let your server know. I ordered the Pad Thai and asked for the “vegetarian version, no egg”. She immediately asked, “are you vegan? If so, there is a special sauce.” I’m not sure how some of the vegetarian versions differ from the vegan versions in terms of sauce, but just quickly mention that you’re vegan and they’ll take care of you.
The ambiance of the restaurant is lovely and the food is so delicious. There was the perfect amount of mild spice, crispy tofu cubes, and just the right amount of peanuts. I ate every last bite, even if I was getting a little full towards the end. There are plenty of other vegan and vegetarian dishes on the menu, making Thai Kitchen a worthy restaurant to add to my vegan Thunder Bay travel and dining guide.
The Hoito Restaurant
The Hoito is a bit of an institution in Thunder Bay. This restaurant even has its own Wikipedia entry. It’s a Finnish-Canadian restaurant, established in 1918, in the basement beneath the historic Finnish Labor Temple. This restaurant is over 100 years old, can you believe it? “Hoito” is the Finnish word for “care”. There’s a sizable Finnish population in Thunder Bay (I also saw a Finnish book store in town), which I didn’t know before traveling there.
The Hoito is best known for their Finnish pancakes, served thin and take up the size of a large plate. I went to Hoito because they have vegan pancakes on the menu, too. Sometimes it’s hard to find vegan meals at traditional dining establishments, but Thunder Bay has a great veg scene. I ordered two pancakes, which might have been a mistake because I think one would have been just fine. To be fair, I had no idea that the pancakes were that big!
There are other vegan meals for lunch like a vegan clubhouse sandwich, vegan poutine, and vegan chicken tenders. I’d love to return for lunch someday in the future.
La Poutine is the biggest poutine restaurant in Thunder Bay with over 30 different selections. Thankfully, a few vegan poutines have found their way onto the menu! I tried the Veggie Vegan Poutine (Daiya Cheese, vegan gravy, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, corn, vegan mayonaise, guacamole, sriracha, green onions). There’s also the Beyond Vegan Poutine with Beyond Meat crumbles, and the regular Vegan Poutine with just vegan cheese and gravy.
Thunder Bay Cafes with Vegan Options
Not only did I dine at tons of vegan Thunder Bay restaurants, but there are also vegan and vegan-friendly coffee shops around town. Most notably the Groggy Toad Coffee House is mostly vegan, The Sweet North Bakery has a substantial amount of vegan baked goods, and the others offer either vegan menu items or a variety of plant-based milks for coffee.
Groggy Toad Coffee House
The Groggy Toad Coffee House in Thunder Bay is one of the most vegan-friendly coffee shops I’ve ever visited. There’s a huge variety of plant-based milks (soy, almond, chocolate almond, oat) and all of the food in the cafe is vegan. They have vegan desserts from Stardust Vegan Bakery, and other vegan wraps to dine in or for takeaway.
They also specialize in organic, fair trade, and bird friendly coffee. My mocha with chocolate almond milk was super delicious, and I brought one of those vegan Nanaimo bars back to my hotel room for later (so decadent and delicious!).
The Sweet North Bakery
The Sweet North Bakery has two locations in Thunder Bay, and it’s a very vegan-friendly coffee shop. There’s plant-based milk for the coffee, and there’s always a few vegan desserts in the display cabinet. The vegan raspberry scones are very tasty, and pair perfectly with a coffee or tea. If you’re looking for a more substantial meal, they also serve a vegan sandwich with black bean spread and sauteed tofu on a vegan pretzel bun.
I stumbled into Bean Fiend after walking around looking at street art around Thunder Bay. I was really cold and needed a hot beverage to warm up. Bean Fiend is a warm and cozy cafe with delicious coffee. As it turns out, they also have some vegan treats, as well as a curried yam wrap on the menu that’s vegan. It was one of the most delicious Americanos that I’ve had in a while!
St Paul Roastery
St Paul Roastery is one of the best coffee roasters in Thunder Bay. I ordered a flat white with oat milk, and it was super creamy and yummy. They also have almond milk, soy milk, and there isn’t an upcharge for plant-based milks. The owners take great care to properly source their coffee beans from small farmers, and the quality of the coffee is very high. And the prices here are very reasonable, too!
Calico Coffee House
I’m not going to lie, I was drawn to Calico Coffee House because there’s a picture of a cat on the sign. Calico Coffee House is a cozy little spot in town where I could easily see myself spending hours working away on my laptop or chatting it up with friends. I ordered an Americano here and it was great. I didn’t see any vegan desserts, but they definitely had plant-based milk options. There was interesting local art up on the walls, and there were even some handmade crocheted outerwear for sale in the store, too.
There are even more places that I didn’t have the chance to visit this time around. Next time, I’ll be sure to visit and will update this post accordingly.
- In Common: A small restaurant and bar with several dishes that can be made vegan, including tofu dishes and a daily soup.
- Eat Local Pizza: A Thunder Bay pizza place with vegan pizza and vegan lasagna. They also deliver, so feel free to order it to your hotel room or Airbnb.
- Rebel Salad: Giant, customizable salad bowls with loads of vegan options.
- Red Lion Smokehouse: Everything marked VG on the menu is vegan. There’s a pulled jackfruit sandwich, a coney dog (smoked carrot hot dog), and a couple of salads.
Vegan Grocery Store: Compass Foods
Did you know that Thunder Bay has its own vegan grocery store? Compass Foods has a lot of hard to find items that I haven’t personally seen in Canada before. Everything is 100% vegan and plant-based in the shop, and there are lots of gluten-free items, too. There are whole foods, snacks, takeaway meals, supplements, and household goods. If I lived in Thunder Bay, I’d be shopping there all the time!
Vegan in Thunder Bay: Map
Here’s where you’ll find all of the vegan restaurants in Thunder Bay, marked visually on a map. Feel free to save this for future reference!
|Essential Thunder Bay Travel Guide|
|Getting There: There are lots of Toronto to Thunder Bay flights with Porter Airlines. In addition, there are plenty of flights from other Canadian cities to Thunder Bay, too. Compare flights to Thunder Bay from your destination of choice to find the best rates.|
Getting Around: I recommend getting a rental car to drive around Thunder Bay. You’ll need a car to reach Sleeping Giant Provincial Park and Kakabeka Falls. Compare car rental prices to get the best rate in Thunder Bay.
Where to Stay: If you’re planning a trip to Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, I highly recommend staying at one of their cozy cabins. If you’re staying in town, book your stay at the Delta Hotel Thunder Bay right on the waterfront. You can read more reviews of the hotel, too.
Fast Facts: Currency is the Canadian dollar. Power voltage is 110-120 V 60 Hz using Power Sockets A and B. You do not need an adapter if you’re from Canada or the USA.
SIM Cards & Mobile: You can rent a portable Wi-Fi device with unlimited data that works in 130+ countries worldwide. We’ve used our portable device all over the world and love how we’re always connected!
Travel Safety: Don’t forget to get travel insurance before your trip. Whether you have an accident, have a flight delay, experience a theft, or need to return home sooner than anticipated, it’s always best to cover your bases. Get a travel insurance quote now for the best rates.
|Browse all of our Canada photos and read more of our Canada travel blog posts.|
If you thought that you wouldn’t find vegan food in northern Ontario, you thought wrong! There’s a fabulous vegan scene in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I didn’t even mention that you can find vegan food at chain fast food restaurants and big box grocery stores. Every mention in this vegan Thunder Bay guide is tested by yours truly, and I’m happy to recommend any of these wonderful establishments for your trip to Thunder Bay.
More Vegan Guides in Ontario
I’ve written tons of vegan restaurant guides in Ontario (and around the world)! Here are a few more cities in Ontario with fantastic vegan food options: