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May 22, 2008 09:41 PM

In a panic: funky resto, lots of veg, no starches recos! HEEEELLLP!

Difficult one for you from this West Coaster:

I've been on a killer diet and want to maintain my new sveltness, and am about to celebrate my birthday in next week. I cannot for the life of me find a place that comes really recommended where I can get really good veg dishes - I want to load up on these - as well as protein (I can eat any meats/fish) but I can't have bread, floury stuff, rice, couscous, potatoes, pasta, chickpeas, you get the gist. Sayonara starches, basically.

Don't want to do Japanese because Vancouver's sushi is unparalleled but almost all other cuisines (including anything fusiony) will do (anyone know of a really amazing and cozy Indian resto that has a good vibe and isn't too pricey?).

I need a funky, mid-priced resto (Queen WW, Danforth, Downtown, Kensington, hell, at this rate I'll go anywhere) that offers lots of choices of gorgeous veg (but isn't all veggie! I need my meat or fish!), has a nice vibe and where I can chill with a few friends over a leisurely dinner, where I've got lots to choose from/stuff my face with. Something along the line of Caju or Pomegranate vibe/price point- but alas, these rely heavily on "need some bread/rice to mop up the goodness". Just want to eat, drink and be merry, you know?

I'm going insane. Please, please help this ridiculously obsessive foodie!

Thanks chowhounds!

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  1. For atmosphere, I think you'd really enjoy Torito. I was there recently and loved it - great vibe, funky, friendly, etc. I can't recall the whole menu but I would think that between the ceviche, flank steak, chorizo, salads and shrimp, you could navigate your way through the menu and still find enough to fill you up without the starches. Plus I think they have a couple of flourless dessert options to boot! Other possibilities are Fresh (Spadina/Bloor), The Drake, L'Unita - there really are a lot of possibilities if you just ask them to hold off on the bread basket and avoid and starchy sides. Enjoy!!

    1. Haven't been yet, but Waterfalls just opened in Kensington- they serve Indian small plates, so I would think it would be possible to order non-starchy small plates. Now Magazine reviewed Waterfalls last Thursday.

      On the Danforth, it would be easy to stick to non-starchy foods if you order mezes, which are available at all the Greek restaurants. Only problem is, the Greek restaurants on the Danforth aren't "funky", except for Trapezzi (which is Greek-owned but has Italian as well as Greek dishes on the menu). Trapezzi would be an option, if you ordered one of their salads and their grilled calamari or lamb chops, but I think the food is better at Mezes.

      Mezes (the restaurant) has a lot of non-starchy vegetable, meat and seafood mezes on their menu. I find 2 mezes is plenty for 1 person, but if I'm with friends we'll share a bunch. You could easily start there, then cross the street to 521 or Trapezzi for drinks afterwards if the atmosphere at Mezes isn't funky enough.

      Lambros also has mezes (fairly innovative, rather than traditional), and it bills itself as a wine/mezes bar, but I haven't tried it out yet.

      Could also try Mambo for Cuban style tapas closer to Broadview. Looks funky, but I haven't been yet.

      1 Reply
      1. re: phoenikia

        Mambo is my favourite restaurant in the city, bar none. Go on a friday or saturday, they have live music.

      2. In addition to the suggestions you got in your other thread with the same request, I think you'd be able to find plenty of meat, fish and vegetables plus atmosphere at Kultura -

        169 King St. E., Toronto, ON M5A 1J4, CA

        1. Joanne Kates gave a good review to Four- which is downtown. No meal has more than 650 calories. I don't imagine it's too funky given the Bay St. location, but something to maybe try?

          3 Replies
          1. re: meld_la

            if anyone does try this, let me know! Im studying to be a dietician and Im so curious as to how a restaurant like this will work.

            1. re: meld_la

              I do believe that Four is only open for lunch so if you're looking for a birthday dinner, this might not work out.

              1. re: meld_la

                Four is open for dinner - at least during the week. Don't know about saturday nights. It is owned by SIR Corp - the same people that bring you Jack Astors, Alice Fazoolis, Canyon Creek - and admittedly Reds)

                I've tried several apps at Four over after work drinks - never been for dinner. The apps were fairly flavourless (but had lovely presentation).The one that had some flavour was a tomoto and (goat?) cheese spread. The rest were forgettable

                The restaurant works because of the large Bay St suit/corporate crowd it draws given its location.

                I haven't been there recently as it is underground in the concourse level and is very dark (think 80s/90s black laquer/black marble). I personally don't like the atmosphere and prefer a brighter room (eg Reds, Bymark bar, JKWB) in the financial district


                very funky, lots of veg and meat and many wines by the glass

                in Parkdale