If you’re not stumbling out of a wine bar this year, you’re likely seeking new summits of virtuousness and lowering your climate impact at a restaurant that’s vegetable-forward or vegan (or both). The most accomplished of these new wholesome temples opened on a quiet strip of century townhouses near Yonge and Wellesley. The restaurateur Roger Yang last ran Awai, the Bloor West vegan restaurant. A collective of cooks operates his new kitchen, and the hive-mind approach could explain why there are so many things happening on each plate of the seasonal tasting menus (available in three, five or eight courses). Mostly, it works out. A pretty threesome of ravioli includes a triple hit of truffle: in the mushroom stuffing, in a cauliflower purée and in a topping of fresh slices. Slices of seafoam-green celtuce are made more interesting by a beet-pomegranate reduction, but not necessarily by a stringy net of dehydrated zucchini. Similarly, a woodfire oven–baked flatbread arrives at the table with one too many toppings (creamy vegan feta doesn’t need creamy baba ghanouj). There’s usually at least one life-altering plate, like a variation on lobster risotto, made with wheat berries instead of rice and, instead of seafood, a slice of grilled lobster mushroom under a blanket of lobster mushroom foam. It was luscious and earthy and incredibly tasty, and could very well convert the most devout carnivore to the cause.
Avelo, 51 St. Nicholas St., avelorestaurant.com