Toronto’s best vegetarian restaurants right now
1263 Queen St. W., no phone, doomiestoronto.com
This Parkdale spot serves up greasy, spicy, saucy and “cheesy” not-good-for-you grub that’s entirely vegan: fries, burgers, tacos, nachos—not a single salad. The Vegan Mac Daddy, an off-menu, “secret” item, is made with two soy-based patties, lettuce, pickles, onions, cheese and special sauce on a sesame seed bun. And the Oreo milkshake (throw in a few extra bucks to make it boozy) is unbelievably thick and creamy given that it’s made with dairy-free vegan ice cream.
1199 Dundas St. W., 416-841-6673, @veghed_bar
Dundas West’s junk food tide may be turning. Veghed is a vegetarian “fresh bar” with real culinary cred: the owner and chef, Ren Mercer, has over 20 years’ experience cooking at the King Edward, the Windsor Arms and the Spoke Club. Mercer’s new food business isn’t flashy, but the recipes (made entirely with pesticide-free foods) are pretty complex for a place with day-glo walls. Specials include penne carbonara with lobster mushrooms; pad Thai with hemp seeds, chia seeds and organic herb salad; and a Thai curry—the number one seller.
310 College St., 647-340-3666; 3080 Dundas St. W., 416-604-3474, grasshopperrestaurant.ca
The all-vegan menu at this restaurant adjacent to U of T specializes in hearty comfort food—minus the meat and dairy. The lineup includes faux pork and “chick-un” banh mi sandwiches, veggie burgers and a meat-, dairy-, soy- and gluten-free mac and cheese—each priced at a student-friendly $12 or less. Customers can also order healthy drinks like the Grasshopper Detox, a refreshing concoction of kale, cucumber, pineapple, ginger, cilantro, avocado, lime juice and agave.
705 College St., 416-645-0117, yamchops.com
Founder Michael Abramson claims to be Canada’s first and only vegetarian butcher. But while he’s avoided animal products for over 40 years, he’s also made a career out of using veggies to replicate the flavours and textures of meat. His College Street deli sells tuna-free tuna salad, flakes of bacon made out of coconut flesh, crab-free crab cakes made with tofu and water chestnuts, and smoked salmon fashioned from carrots.