I’m taking a break from roadtrip nostalgia to share some of my favourite vegan things at Toronto restaurants. Happy Vegan Month of Food. It certainly feels like a vegan month of food in Toronto and Area, we have so many incredible events happening, like the Vegetarian Food Festival starting this evening and going all weekend and more!
I’ve been thinking about writing something like this for a while, and claiming things are the best feels contentious – because flavours and experiences are so subjective, and it’s hard to be objective about them even if you try your darnedest (I do try)
If you only have a short time to visit Toronto, here is some of what I think you should try. Take these suggestions… or leave them. But as of this September 2014, these are my recommendations as a vegan that just likes eating things that are delicious. Frankly, I’d like to see more of these lists, because I want to know what other people are into.
They’re not gluten-free (okay, one of them is), they’re not oil free or low fat. This isn’t in any particular order. Or organized in any fashion other than I think these are yummy. I’ve randomized the order of things some more, so it’s not even in the order it came into my head… but I’m putting extra stars next to things I get really excited about. I haven’t talked to anyone besides JC. And I also don’t like certain restaurants in the city that people often recommend for reasons I don’t understand.
Some of these will be closed or be operating on reduced hours because of the Vegetarian Food Festival. Seek them out at the festival. There are some phenomenal places in our fair city, and the more I look at this list, the more I want to add to it. But I’m going to stop now.
Some limitations of this list – it’s only based on things I’ve actually eaten. I’ve also excluded some of my favourite vendors that are only at farmers markets.
Dinner/Lunch/Meal Type Things
- ****Bloomer’s Bakery is open late some evenings, has a full lunch and dinner menu, diverse desserts, snacks, salads, soup, coffee, kombucha. Wheelchair accessible, free wifi, a few booths, tables, and high top chairs.
- ***Disgraceland has a Vegan Ribwich Dinner. It’s really quite exceptional (ly) filling. 965 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON, 4pm-2am (M-F), 11am-2am Sat & Sun, with brunch.
- Sadie’s Diner – BBQ Plate. Crispy Tofu. – 504 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON – Sat & Sun 9am-10pm, M-F 7:30am-10pm. All Day Breakfast. Meatless, but not totally vegan.
- Nazareth for Ethiopian. Don’t go on Tuesday, they’re closed. Prepare to wait (for food or a table or both). Food is unbelievably cheap, they have a vegan combo plate. They seem to actually open at 4pm. Some places say 3:30, but I think it’s just so you can start lining up early. 969 Bloor Street W Toronto, ON
- South Indian Dosa Mahal. They’re closed on Sundays, otherwise M-S 11am-10pm. Cheap take out, great dosas. Coriander Masala Dosa is pretty great. Unless you hate coriander (aka cilantro), in which case I don’t understand you, but there are lots of other dosas to choose from. 1262 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON
- Udupi Palace, so, you’re on the east side of the DVP… Friday & Saturday 10-11pm, S-M 10am-10pm. 460 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON
Hot Beans Burritos – but not all of them are awesome. There. I said it. People like the secret menu. I like the black bean burrito. The nachos are fun. This is in Kensington Market (you can go to Bunners for dessert after) Another vegan-friendly spot is Rancho Relaxo. Get anything vegan+ nopales if you want to eat cactus. 300 College St, Toronto, ON Closed Mondays. Open 5-10 most days, 5-11 Fri&Sun Ursa always has something vegan on menu. Last time we went that was the cashew foie. and it was beautiful. Food art if you will. Gets busy. 924 Queen St W, Toronto, Ontario
- Butter Chicken Roti has fast vegan options. Spicy means spicy here. Which means it’s also pretty awesome. 398 College St, Toronto, ON
- ***If you’re around on a Wednesday night between 6-9pm, the Depanneur has a vegan evening, with a variable menu every week, cooked up by Emily Zimmerman. She uses local produce from Fresh City Farms to make something delicious. It’s never the same, but it’s always tasty. PWYC after 7:30. 1033 College St, Toronto, ON
- ***Say you want something quick and you’re in Toronto’s downtown core/Financial district, say you just want something fresh and delicious. Go to Kupfert and Kim. I haven’t been disappointed with any of their boxes. They do often have a line, so have time to wait a bit.
- Do you want to have a fancy-casual dining experience that’s also vegan but also serves alcohol? Grasslands has you covered. They’ve got an interesting drinks menu too – for alcohol drinkers and straight edge folks and everyone in between. Have a ceasar. Go for brunch. Go for dinner. Follow your heart. 478 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
- ****One Love Corn Soup. One Love Corn Soup. One Love Corn Soup. (and other really fantastic things like callaloo wraps) 854 Bathurst Street Toronto, ON. Cash Only. Closed on Mondays
- Sneaky Dee’s is loud and busy, but they have vegan nachos. And probably other vegan stuff. I feel like I’m mentioning them out of obligation and the necessity of the experience and not out of genuine love. I haven’t been there in at least 2 years. I enjoyed writing on their bathroom walls. (you’ll understand if you visit). Open late.
- There are also classier joints that will feed you vegan food, like George and Canoe. But we made vegan arrangements in advance. Many fine dining restaurants will make you something upon request.
- If you can drive out or feel like taking a bit of a bus ride there are a couple of delicious vegan Caribbean spots – Ital Vital is full of awesome combo plates and V’s Vegetarian is making incredible food. Both are accessible by transit.
Dessert and Savory Quick Bites
- Bunner’s Bakeshop – there are two locations now, one in the junction, and one in Kensington Market – get a supersonic cookie and a cup of soft serve***. They make other things, those other things are great, but seriously. Supersonic Cookie***. They’re also gluten-free.
APieCalypse Now. Frankly I think you should stock up, and take things home from the fridge, but you can also just try some of the magic squares***, the jalapeno poppers, and pizza buns. They don’t always have them, but when they do, you’re in for a treat. See them at Veg Fest. or at their bakery in the Annex.
- Have a Through Being Cool donut. Any of them. But you’ll be happier if you get a filled one. Especially a Boston cream***. They also make some great cheese buns. But when in doubt donut. Also tasty coffee beverages. Also chocolate croissants.***
- Tori’s Bakeshop – Smoky Coconut Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches. Great coffee with lots of non-dairy milk options.
- Honourable mention: Glory Hole Donuts, sometimes runs out of vegan donuts, and is not an entirely vegan donuttery, but their donuts are pretty great. But I have my favourites.
- Have a soy or almond latte from Fahrenheit Coffee. Or an almond latte from any one of the Sam James locations. I drink a lot of coffee and I’m absolutely certain they both have some of the best espresso based coffees in the city.
For more ideas, that have nothing to do with my opinion, check out The Vegan Culinary Crusade’s list of Toronto’s Best Vegan Restaurant dishes.
Updated: April 19, 2015