Keep Your Resolve: the top five healthy eating spots in Toronto
Eating healthy is hard enough at home, but dining out adds a whole new dimension to the challenge. Even the steeliest resolves tend to weaken in the face of a new tasting menu or the latest gourmet burger. Still, there are a handful of Toronto spots where butter takes a backseat to more nutritious options. Here, a go-to healthy restaurant for every dining occasion.
For a Weeknight Outing: Tabülè
Healthy-cooking resolutions are tough to pull off once the work week kicks into full swing. Tabülè is casual enough for a mid-week meal, and their BYOB policy on Mondays and Tuesdays (with no corkage fees) means you can even share a bottle of wine without spending a fortune. The food is fresh, flavourful and less greasy than other Middle Eastern options.
Best Bets: Start with classics like hummus and baba ghanoush and follow-up with a gluten-free falafel salad or grilled skewers of juicy chicken and dry-aged lamb.
2009 Yonge St., 416-483-3747; 810 Queen St. E., 416-465-2500, tabule.ca
For Fine-Dining with Friends: Grasslands
This restaurant, formerly called Fressen, is one of few in the city to serve upscale vegan cuisine with a well-rounded wine and cocktail list.
Best Bets: Crispy oyster mushrooms, corn fritters and a lush fettucine with walnut pesto. For those laying off booze, the list of mocktails is both fun and distracting, offering anything from a concoction of ginger beer, lime juice and blackstrap molasses to a bubbly Mimosa—hold the bubbly.
478 Queen St. W., 416-504-5127, grasslands.to
For Date Night: Woodlot
There is nothing like a candlelit room in the dead of winter to make a date feel intimate—and decidedly Canadian. Woodlot isn’t exclusively vegetarian, but its standalone veggie menu is one of the best in the city.
Best Bets: Grilled hen-o’-the-woods mushrooms with wild rice make a surprisingly rich starter. Main dishes include hearty russet potato gnocchi in beer-cheese sauce (hello!) and veggie tourtière with house-made ketchup.
293 Palmerston Ave., 647-342-6307, woodlottoronto.com
For (Almost) Guilt-free Comfort Food: The Hogtown Vegan
At this Bloor West restaurant, greasy diner staples meet vegan innovation, and the result is surprisingly delicious. It’s a good option for staving off junk-food cravings without completely blowing your healthy-eating plan.
Best Bets: Chili “cheese” fries look and taste just like the real deal. Other popular options include crispy soy “wings,” a fully loaded veggie burger and monster-sized sandwiches like juicy pulled “pork” made with TVP.
834 Bloor St. W., 416-901-9779, hogtownvegan.com
For Dependable Takeout: Fresh
With four locations around the city, this is about as close as it gets to healthy fast food. Lineups are common at the bright and bustling outlets, which are usually crammed with Toronto vegans and vegetarians. Luckily, the speedy takeout is packed just right—no wilting veggies or soggy buns before you’ve reached your door.
Best Bets: Perfectly crisp quinoa onion rings and meal-size salads topped with things like tofu steak, avocado and hearts of palm. Veggie-loaded rice and noodle bowls make hearty mains (word of warning: the portions are huge, so diners looking to trim down might want to share).
894 Queen St. W., 326 Bloor St. W., 147 Spadina Ave., 416-599-4442, freshrestaurants.ca