Mexican vegetarian spot Lucha Verde opens up in Lolita's West End location

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      It's always been a curious fact: the large number of gym-goers and outdoor activities in the West End has traditionally been at odds with very few health-food or vegetarian options compared to other neighbourhoods such as Kitsilano.

      That’s slowly changing, however, and a new entry into the Davie Village scene is a part of that shift.

      The intimate and relaxed Lucha Verde, which opened on June 14, takes over from where the frequently packed Lolita's South of the Border Cantina (which closed on April 8 after 12 years) left off at 1326 Davie Street.

      The good news for fans of Lolita's is that restaurateur John Cooper has taken the basic premise of the former Mexican-inspired eatery and transformed it into a veggie-forward endeavour (with vegan options to boot).

      The new spot offers a concise menu of casual bites consisting of appetizers, snacks, tacos, and desserts, served on metal trays with prices ranging from $6 to $12.

      Lucha Verde

      For starters, there's merida mudd (refried black beans, queso fresco, plantain chips) and queso fundido, made with three cheeses and charred poblano pepper.

      For grazing or sides, there are chickpea fritters ($10); shishito peppers ($8); and smoked eggplant ceviche with pickled tomatoes, agua chile, and chips ($9).

      There's a selection of five tacos to choose from, including achiote cauliflower (toasted pumpkin purée, orange salsa), squash blossom (stuffed kabocha with corn sauce and watermelon salsa), and pasilla barbecued jackfruit with pineapple salsa ($6 to $7).

      To cap things off on a sweet note, there are sundaes with dulce de leche and caramel popcorn or key-lime pie cups ($6 each).

      Lucha Verde

      Six cocktails range from the Thirteenth Step (ginger, guava, lime, soda; $6) to Limo Wreck (sombre mescal, chartreuse, pineapple, lime, tamarind; $12). There's also a choice of six beers (including Parkside Ale, Postmark Raspberry Ale, and Los Muertos Cerveza Negra; $6 each) as well as a wine list.

      The new offering will be good news for those with plant-based diets, and will add to the growing number of Mexican-inspired eateries popping up in the area. Cheers to all of that, indeed.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook