Toronto has a fantastic food scene, and while there are plenty of spots for juicy burgers, tacos, peameal bacon (the city is known as Hogtown, after all) and ramen, thankfully we are blessed with plenty of healthy places to get your grub on, too. Here are some of the top-notch plant-based spots in the city (those seeking protein in the form of meat and carbs in a big bowl of pasta, that’ll have to be in another post!).
147 Spadina Ave, Toronto
Fresh (multiple locations) has been serving up vegetarian food for many years, long before cold-pressed juice and being vegetarian got trendy. Although it’s always busy and service can be slow, the dishes are so flavourful, it’s worth the wait. I tend to go for noodle or rice bowls, such as the Powerhouse or Tiger, but if I’m in the mood for a burger, the mushroom onion burger is phenomenal (and mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins!). Also, everyone swears by the quinoa onions rings (still on my must-try list!).
For a refreshing and thirst-quenching dose of vitamins, Greenhouse Juice (multiple locations) offers an array of tasty cold-pressed juices and nut milks. Go for the Gold Rush for its zing of ginger and pineapple to aid digestion, or the Genius green juice for its anti-inflammatory properties. And if you spot Pink Milk, snap up this almond milk, beet and maple syrup bevvie–it’s a delicious and oh so pretty heart-healthy treat.
1170 Queen St W, Toronto
Although their salads are tasty–after having one of their antioxidant salads, I swear I feel as though I’ve done a cleanse–I tend to stop into Bolt Fresh Bar (1170 Queen St. West) for their acai parfaits. Topped with the whipped coconut cream and with blended antioxidant-rich fruit layered with crunchy granola, the Power Parfait is a delicious and filling breakfast or as post-workout fuel.
First Canadian Place, 100 King St W
Happily satisfy your cravings for Mexican with an Oaxaco bowl from Kupfert & Kim (140 Spadina Ave.); with ingredients including black beans, kale, organic tortilla chips, pico de gallo and guac, you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to a Mexican spa getaway. But truly, any of the substantial bowls will taste like a guilty pleasure, but this plant-based casual resto serves up food that’s good for you.
264 Dupont St, Toronto
Plant-based, organic and gluten- and refined sugar-free–but it’s definitely not flavour-free. The food at Live Organic Food Bar (264 Dupont St. or 134 Atlantic Ave.) packs so much incredible flavour, I think it’s enough to make even the most hardcore carnivores learn to love veggies. Go for the sweet potato noodle stirfry if you want something hearty, although the alkaline salad is just as satisfying and the umeboshi dressing on it is addictive.
Most of the plant-based restos in Toronto tend to be quick-serve joints, but for a restaurant with a more refined setting, head to Planta in Yorkville (1221 Bay St.). Chef David Lee (of Nota Bene) has a developed a menu filled with unique dishes such as cauliflower tots topped with truffled nut “parmesan” and a coconut ceviche. The stunning plates of food manage to outshine the beautiful design of the space–think pretty botanical wallpaper, cozy booths and graphic tiles.