What’s on the menu at Mandy’s, Toronto’s first location of the Montreal-based salad chain with a cult following

What’s on the menu at Mandy’s, Toronto’s first location of the Montreal-based salad chain with a cult following

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Name: Mandy’s
Contact: 52 Ossington Ave., mandys.ca, @mandysalads
Neighbourhood: Trinity Bellwoods
Owners: Mandy and Rebecca Wolfe
Chef: Mandy Wolfe
Seating: 25 indoor, 25 on the soon-to-open patio
Accessibility: Not fully accessible

The food

The first Toronto outpost for Montreal’s sister-owned salad sensation is a destination for unrestrainedly decked-out greens and grains. Piled high in colourful, mismatched bowls and accompanied with gold-plated forks, these cheerful medleys are as strong a pro-salad argument as has ever been made. Each is a vibrant mix of colour, texture and pleasantly contrasting flavours, like the popular Crunchy Sesame salad with avocado, mandarin and toasted ramen noodles.

House dressings, like the vibrant Turmeric Tahini or herbaceous Green Goddess, are also available for purchase. Icons indicating things like the inclusion of pork, dairy products, nuts and gluten help diners with dietary restrictions navigate the menu, which is also endlessly customizable. You can choose from tried-and-true signature salads or build your own, priced per ingredient with no upper or lower bounds on mix-ins.

Here we have Mandy’s all-time bestselling salad: the Crunchy Sesame. For it, mandarin oranges, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, toasted sesame seeds and crunchy ramen noodles sit on a base of romaine lettuce and mixed greens. Dressed with a sweet and salty Asian sesame vinaigrette, this is a delight to crunch your way through. $12.50.

 

Peppery arugula and crisp romaine lettuce make up the base of The Fave, a sweet and crispy salad of shredded carrots, baked pita chips, broccoli, corn, avocado, sunflower seeds and a hit of shaved parmesan for umami. It’s all laced with the sweet heat of a honey mustard vinaigrette. $15.

 

One day, while testing recipes, Mandy accidentally tipped a bowl of pomegranate seeds into this salad—or so the story goes. Now, the creamy, citrusy Endless Summer is peppered with pom alongside quinoa, shredded carrots, cucumber, avocado, crunchy tempura onions, sesame seeds, cilantro and basil on a base of romaine and mixed greens. There’s also tamari mock chicken (baked shiitake mushroom). It’s all finished with Endless Summer dressing, a blend infused with miso, ginger and tamari. $17.

The bestselling salad in Toronto so far, the Peanut Satay gets its abundant crispiness from peanuts and wonton strips. Peanutty mock chicken and sesame citrus dressing doubles down on the overall nuttiness, served on a base of mixed greens with shredded carrots, juicy mango, purple cabbage, green onions and a plucky mix of cilantro, basil and mint. $16.

 

If you’re feeling grains over greens, opt for one four grain-focused options. This is the veggie protein power bowl: a base of earthy quinoa with avocado, red peppers, chickpeas, green onion, purple cabbage and corn, finished with feta, kale, basil and cilantro. It comes with a combination of their tamari and green goddess dressings. $11.99 (for an extra protein hit, add a hard boiled egg for another buck.)

 

If you want to make your own Mandy’s salads, they’ve helpfully released all their signature recipes in their cookbook.
The drinks

Alongside a selection of soft drinks that lean strongly in the direction of “healthy” (local soda, kombucha, sparkling water), there are a few house juices, like a tangy blueberry aloe vera and refreshing watermelon pineapple. Espresso-based beverages and tea are also on offer. Coming soon: flavoured lemonades and made-to-order smoothies.

Sip a jewel-toned, ice-cold juice with your big salad. $6 each.

 

They also have their own line of teas for brewing at home. $11 each.
The space

Decorated like a pleasant fever dream, it’s hard to find a blank space in this candy-coloured room. Knick-knacks—decorative hanging plates, hand-mirrors, mushroom figurines, and even a fuzzy wall-hanging—line walls of pale pink and mint. A gallery of gold-framed family photos covers a tropical mural framed by faux ferns and novelty lights in the shape half-peeled bananas. Between the pink-upholstered booths, marble accents and giant salads, it’s a sort of bubbly wonderland. If you can tear your eyes away from the dizzying decor, check out the selection of products on the shelves, a mix of Mandy’s-branded goods and other stuff, like Smoke Show hot sauce and Rainbo mushroom extract.