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Vegetarian restaurants in Toronto?

hellohellokitty Jun 1, 2009 12:02 PM

Hi All -

Looking for restaurants in the Toronto area that serve great vegan/vegetarian food...any recommedations?

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    AverageJo RE: hellohellokitty Jun 1, 2009 01:42 PM

    A good resource is the restaurant directory on the Toronto Vegetarian Association web site: www.veg.ca. There you'll find a comprehensive listings by neighbourhood for exclusively vegetarian/vegan places, as well as lots of veggie-friendly restaurants.

    My favourite dedicated veggie places are:

    -- Fressen, on Queen West. High-end, vegan restaurant. I've never been disappointed in a meal there.
    -- Urban Herbivore in Kensington Market is more casual but just as yummy.
    -- Le Commensal, on Elm Street, is cafeteria-style, so fairly casual, but I find the food is pretty decent.

    Warning: Juice For Life/Fresh is overrated and overpriced.

    Hope this helps.

    1. s
      sway RE: hellohellokitty Jun 1, 2009 01:57 PM

      I've heard Rawlicious in the Junction (around Dundas and Runnymeade) is really good, but haven't been myself. Fressen on Queen W was pretty good, but from what I remember it might have been pricey...

      1 Reply
      1. re: sway
        svanegmond RE: sway Jun 1, 2009 03:09 PM


      2. p
        Pincus RE: hellohellokitty Jun 1, 2009 03:05 PM

        For Chinese vegetarian, I like Cafe 668.


        1. s
          svanegmond RE: hellohellokitty Jun 1, 2009 03:05 PM

          My favourite is Cafe 668; it used to be on Dundas near Bathurst, but they've relocated further west into a glitzy new building, and the food has gotten better. Buddhist vegetarian, perhaps a bit too much emphasis on fake meat.

          Live up on Dupont near Spadina is interesting, it's raw (uncooked) vegetarian.

          God help me for saying this, but I think Sneaky Dee's deserves recognition for their efforts at introducing vegan meals to their menu. There's tofu galore on the menu now.

          I keep walking by Fressen, and thinking, geez I should drop in there... and I never do. I don't know what it is about that place that doesn't work for me.

          I dislike Commensal in concept, ambience, location, and price. The food is alright, but paying restaurant prices for buffet food is nuts.

          I disagree regarding Fresh - it's usually OK, but never great, and the price to food quality is about right. I frequent the Queen/Spadina location.

          3 Replies
          1. re: svanegmond
            canadianbeaver RE: svanegmond Jun 2, 2009 06:56 AM

            I totally agree about Le Commensal. I think the food is delicious, don't get me wrong, but I went for lunch the other day, and for two plates of food, it was $45. Craziness. I also think Fresh's food is uninspired, and I don't like the attitude I receive when I'm at Fressen. I find they often misrepresent their food on the menu (i.e. list ingredients that aren't actually in the meal). I really like Live, and have had some great meals there, plus I find it's a fun concept. There's always great vegetarian options at Indian restaurants, although I've never been to a fully dedicated vegetarian one like Siddartha.

            1. re: canadianbeaver
              Pincus RE: canadianbeaver Jun 2, 2009 09:07 AM

              Yeah, I went to Le Commensal once. The ambience (upscale cafeteria) wasn't worth the prices they were charging.

            2. re: svanegmond
              Thaithechef RE: svanegmond Jun 2, 2009 05:40 PM

              There is one beside Sneaky Dee, previous Tea Shop 168, serving veg dishes as wells. I try their veg. dumpling is very delicious. Also their cooked peanut is amazing. I got it for free as a side dish. The price is very reasonable as wells. The only thing is a very weird decor.

            3. Ginsugirl RE: hellohellokitty Jun 1, 2009 06:14 PM

              Buddha's Vegetarian (666 Dundas W, yes, right next door to where 668 used to be) does some amazing soups; $5 will easily be a meal. Zero decor, questionable service. But surprisingly flavourful for Buddhist vegan food (I think they may cheat and use onions and garlic).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Ginsugirl
                food face RE: Ginsugirl Jun 2, 2009 06:21 AM

                I second Buddha's Vegetarian for their soups. I love the Hot and Sour and it is loaded with tofu, mushrooms flavor and is so cheap and massive. I also like their spring rolls and Buddhas special house noodles.

                Other of my favorites for vegetarian are:


                Brars Sweets- Veg indian buffets

                Mezetta- for cheap tapas

              2. always_eating RE: hellohellokitty Jun 2, 2009 06:51 AM

                I like Live Food Bar too, on Dupont. And Fressen on Queen.


                Also really love Camros Organic Eatery on Hayden.


                10 Replies
                1. re: always_eating
                  dubchild RE: always_eating Jun 2, 2009 08:37 AM

                  I've never been to Live, but I've heard good things.
                  Fressen I've only tried for brunch, we only enjoyed the sweet potato soup, which I think is a regular item on their menu. But I found no attitude with service.
                  I can't say I'm in love with the food at Camros, but it is good, honest, homecooking. And organic, and reasonably priced. As far as attitude, unbelieveably positive. The girls who work there seem genuinely happy to have you join them for their food.

                  1. re: dubchild
                    piccola RE: dubchild Jun 2, 2009 08:00 PM

                    This is going to sound weird, but at Live, the cooked foods tend to be better. Some of the raw foods are good -- salads, for one, or that tasty cracker they call pizza -- but the cooked stuff is consistently yummy.

                    1. re: piccola
                      Ediblethoughts RE: piccola Jun 3, 2009 08:57 AM

                      Definitely agree--I much prefer their ... um.. unlive stuff.

                  2. re: always_eating
                    Yum2MyTum RE: always_eating Jun 3, 2009 06:13 AM

                    What did you like at Live, always_eating? I tried it twice and was very underwhelmed, particularly because it's not cheap!

                    1. re: Yum2MyTum
                      always_eating RE: Yum2MyTum Jun 3, 2009 02:34 PM

                      I like their Pecan "Tempura" Rolls and have liked their Ravioli (thin slices of radish being the ravioli and cashew cheese being the ricotta) with tomato sauce and basil pesto (both dishes were live and not unlive - lol). I had something similar to the Ravioli at Pure Food & Wine in NYC and have to say that I thought the Live version was better. I like Live's cheesecakes because of the use of nuts, again, to substitute for cheese (I am a nuts person, ahem) and because they aren't very sweet. I'm not into overly sweet desserts.

                      1. re: always_eating
                        Ediblethoughts RE: always_eating Jun 4, 2009 07:54 AM

                        I think I'd like that sort of thing more if they didn't call it "ravioli"----because I'm assuming you'd agree it doesn't taste at all like ravioli?

                        1. re: Ediblethoughts
                          always_eating RE: Ediblethoughts Jun 4, 2009 10:01 AM

                          Yes, the radish didn't taste like ravioli but I get that they were trying to make it look and taste like ravioli in a raw sort of way. I guess some living and raw food restaurants choose to market their offerings on the menu in this manner to make it more appealing/interesting? It tasted good though!

                          1. re: always_eating
                            Ediblethoughts RE: always_eating Jun 4, 2009 01:55 PM

                            I think I find it too jarring, the difference between what my brain says is ravioli and what it actually is. I ordered the chips which were actually that white veg that's really crunchy (I'm not sure if it's the radish or something else) and I found it very disturbing that it wasn't even a little fried. Just the raw white veg--yes, very crunchy but that's just not a chip!

                            1. re: Ediblethoughts
                              Dimbulb RE: Ediblethoughts Nov 5, 2009 08:23 AM

                              Daikon is a white radish.

                              1. re: Dimbulb
                                Ediblethoughts RE: Dimbulb Nov 5, 2009 04:37 PM

                                That's what it was. Thanks.

                  3. Ediblethoughts RE: hellohellokitty Jun 2, 2009 08:51 AM

                    One of my faves for brunch is Get Real on Ossington near Dundas. I like Fressen for dinner (wasn't impressed with the brunch) and I'm very fond of the tofu scramble at Fresh. I don't think of Fresh as being a dinner spot but they have a great selection of salads (but I need more than that for dinner) and soups. I have eaten at Commensal very often so it may be familiarity breeding contempt speaking but I'm not that fond of it. At one point a couple years ago, they had different daily specials but then they seemed to narrow their menu. However, haven't been there in a year so that might be a big qualification on my opinion. I also like Cafe 668 a lot for dinner--great to find Asian veg place that does leafy greens! I liked Live when I first went a couple years back but not so much on subsequent visits. I wanted to like it but it just didn't work for me. I don't like the way they call it "lasagna" because it kind of mimics the look but then it tastes not in the least like lasagna. That just bothers me. Haven't been to Anna Purna in ages (they don't serve alcohol and I like wine with dinner) but they have good food. And I'll also agree on Mezzetta--that place has been good value for money for about 20 years now.

                    Rawlicious and Urban Herbivore are on my list of places to go...

                    1. Full tummy RE: hellohellokitty Jun 2, 2009 09:02 AM

                      Jean's Vegetarian Kitchen, on Danforth, near Donlands. Not only a clean, modern space, but delicious Asian food. Highly recommended.


                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Full tummy
                        Pincus RE: Full tummy Jun 2, 2009 09:08 AM

                        How could I forget Jean's? Great food, great space!

                        1. re: Pincus
                          Full tummy RE: Pincus Jun 2, 2009 09:09 AM

                          Maybe time for a revisit???

                          1. re: Full tummy
                            Pincus RE: Full tummy Jun 2, 2009 12:41 PM

                            I can resist everything but temptation.

                            1. re: Pincus
                              1sweetpea RE: Pincus Jun 2, 2009 01:12 PM

                              My SO recommends Simon's Wok on Gerrard St. E. We also find that Vietnamese restaurants have decent veggie options. I particularly like Hanoi 3 Seasons, MiMi and Peach Garden's veg selections. Also, Boujadi on Eglinton Ave. W. (Moroccan) has at least a few veggie items. I tend to gravitate toward the veg options at most Middle Eastern restaurants. Little Tibet has lots of veggie apps and entrees. The only thing I order in Ethiopian restaurants is the veggie combo platter on injera. There are usually a half dozen different stews, pulses and salads piled on injera. Yum.

                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                Ediblethoughts RE: 1sweetpea Jun 2, 2009 02:00 PM

                                I'm pretty sure Boujadi is no more. And we had great Ethiopian (veg) on the weekend at Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant on Bloor near Christie.

                                1. re: Ediblethoughts
                                  Pincus RE: Ediblethoughts Jun 2, 2009 08:48 PM

                                  I'm going to have to revisit Simon's, maybe get takeout this time, the inside is a bit dark and dreary for my liking.

                                  My current fav veggie Ethiopian is Meskerem on the Danforth.

                      2. l
                        LemonLauren RE: hellohellokitty Jun 2, 2009 06:22 PM

                        second urban herbivore and camros.

                        have a soft spot for salad bar at whole foods and commensal when i feel like splurging.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: LemonLauren
                          erly RE: LemonLauren Jun 2, 2009 06:48 PM

                          Not strictly veggie, but Kosher is Grande Bistro on Eglinton close to Bathurst..
                          Very attractive restaurant.
                          They serve some fish, but no meat or meat byproducts.
                          Their Pasta dishes (large menu) are excellent,and very generous portions.
                          The most expensive is $18.
                          I recently ordered the Farfale with wild mushrooms, and it was perfectly cooked.
                          They have a variety of Veggie Pizzas, but I have not tried them.
                          They also make a really good cheesy veggie French Onion Soup.
                          Desserts are excellent as well.
                          I recommend the New York Cheesecake.

                          1. re: erly
                            jrabbit2727 RE: erly Jun 2, 2009 07:49 PM

                            For a VERY casual or take out option I'm loving Sandwich Box these days. Their "make your own" salads are fantastic. Lots of great, fresh veggie options like kale and beet salad, de puy lentils, asparagus, hearts of palm etc. In other words...not just the usual salad veggies. Everything is really fresh and lovely. And they always have a vegan soup each day. Have had the curry carrot and the green vegetable so far and they are both great.

                            A bit expensive...around $12 for a salad.

                            But worth it in my mind for a fast healthy meal when you don't have time to make it yourself.

                            Several locations..yonge and eg. Spadina and Richmond.


                          2. re: LemonLauren
                            Ediblethoughts RE: LemonLauren Jun 3, 2009 08:57 AM

                            Oh, I like the Whole Foods salad bar too. Some neat stuff there.

                          3. p
                            piccola RE: hellohellokitty Jun 2, 2009 08:04 PM

                            Sadie's Diner does a good veggie breakfast, though the "meats" aren't the best. Stick to the eggs, tofu scramble, or various sweet dishes.

                            M&B Yummy is a veg Ethiopian restaurant on Queen W. Lives up to its name.

                            King's Café does goes veg dimsum, but avoid the other food. It's beyond mediocre.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: piccola
                              food face RE: piccola Jun 3, 2009 04:33 AM

                              I have heard good things about M&B Yummy. I have to say that Sadies is all round terrible. The owner and staff are rude and have not respect for food. The owner after complaining that poached eggs where hard boiled....tried to tell me that it is the proper way to eat them. Rock hard poached eggs? The wait staff are so "cool" and down right rude. One of the wait staff told my girlfriend and her 2 co-workers that "it's not okay" that they where not ordering food during a business meeting. They only ordered beverages including coffee and smoothies. This MAY have been acceptable if the rest of the restaurant wasnt' COMPLETELY EMPTY! The waitress then proceeded to give them a lecture about how she doesn't like it when people just sit there without ordering food. My partner had been there previously several times and ordered large meals. She was beside herself. Back to me...they even screwed up a grilled soy cheese sandwhich. The cheese was not even melted and it was pasty like. For a restaurant that toots itself as a healthy natural alternative, they could not even be bothered to use an all natural peanut butter. For my smoothie, I watched them plop in some "No-name" bargain basement chemical peanut butter into my smoothie. This place is a joke and if it where not for their kitch decor, it would have been out of business a long time ago.

                              1. re: food face
                                piccola RE: food face Jun 3, 2009 07:33 PM

                                I only ever get the tofu scramble, and my friend gets the huevos rancheros or pancakes. Those things I vouch for -- the rest, I dunno. (And the staff can go either way. I've had wonderful service, and completely rude service.)

                              2. re: piccola
                                Ediblethoughts RE: piccola Jun 3, 2009 09:00 AM

                                I tried the all-day brunch at M & B Yummy and I found it rather off-putting. Some parts were decent but the overly sweet porridge and faux beef were pretty unpleasant. I also tried the pumkin and collards and they were very, very salty. Maybe if I'd tried the classic veggie platter I'd have enjoyed it more.

                                1. re: Ediblethoughts
                                  thora RE: Ediblethoughts Jun 3, 2009 12:02 PM

                                  So sorry to hear the brunch wasn't very good. I've never tried it but have always wondered. Thanks for sharing as you've saved me a bit of trouble. I do like their classic veggie platter. The faux beef IS quite salty, so stay away from that if you're particularly sensitive. The beet salad is really good and sour.

                                  M&B is a good spot. I do find the owner/cook a bit overbearing, though very friendly and sweet!

                                  1. re: thora
                                    ChalkBoy RE: thora Jun 4, 2009 10:34 AM

                                    If you've liked Yummy's veggie platter, the brunch platter isn't much different.

                                    1. re: ChalkBoy
                                      Ediblethoughts RE: ChalkBoy Jun 4, 2009 01:56 PM

                                      The veggie platter has a tofu scramble and porridge?

                                      1. re: Ediblethoughts
                                        thora RE: Ediblethoughts Jun 4, 2009 04:29 PM

                                        No, not at all - no porridge or tofu sramble to be found! The veg platter offers something very similar to the combination of veg stews/wot that most places serve.

                                        1. re: thora
                                          Ediblethoughts RE: thora Jun 5, 2009 05:50 AM

                                          Ah, I see. That sounds more promising.

                              3. s
                                stonedtoronto RE: hellohellokitty Jun 2, 2009 11:32 PM

                                I am not a vegetarian, but I do have to sometimes take vegetarian friends out. I honestly do find some vegetarian food bland...and most vegetarian restaurants aren't to my taste....but the places I've found that do good food are...

                                Fresh, Fressen, Millie's Bistro, and George for their tasting menu, and The Corner House will make a special vegetarian menu if you ask in advance.

                                1. m
                                  merlot143 RE: hellohellokitty Jun 4, 2009 02:17 PM

                                  I've recommended it here before: Green Earth Vegetarian Cuisine. Lousy name, good food. Located near Broadview and Gerrard. Has a variety of vegetarian and vegan foods, including the best chocolate cake I've had in a long time. I order it with vegan ice cream. Soooo tasty! They also have a really good lemongrass dish, golden tofu cubes with hoisin sauce and spring rolls. Good prices, too (undr $10 per dish)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: merlot143
                                    1sweetpea RE: merlot143 Jun 5, 2009 06:17 AM

                                    Millie's is no longer. Is Green Earth the place on Broadview, just north of Gerrard? If so, I looked at their takeout menu. The choices seemed all over the map. I avoided it for fear that it was trying to be a "Jack of all trades, master of none". I'll have to give it a try after all.

                                  2. b
                                    bellywizard RE: hellohellokitty Nov 5, 2009 07:05 AM

                                    I highly recommend Vegetarian Haven, on Baldwin. Mostly Chinese, including stone bowls etc. Nice desserts.

                                    Vegetarian Haven
                                    17 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T1L1, CA

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: bellywizard
                                      Ediblethoughts RE: bellywizard Nov 5, 2009 04:41 PM

                                      Do you know if they serve wine? I've been to this place for lunch but never dinner...

                                      1. re: Ediblethoughts
                                        food face RE: Ediblethoughts Nov 6, 2009 02:47 AM

                                        I"d be suprised if Veg Haven didn't serve wine. I don't think it's dry Edible. I know how you hate a dry dinner.

                                        1. re: food face
                                          Ediblethoughts RE: food face Nov 6, 2009 04:41 PM

                                          You know me so well! Meatless is a happy meal for me---but no wine??? I didn't see any liquor on the menu and I did notice some non-alcoholic beer--which wasn't a promising sign. But I'll call to make sure.

                                    2. Teep RE: hellohellokitty Nov 5, 2009 08:23 AM

                                      For a quick lunch I'd go to Noah's Health Food on Bloor at Spadina. They have a lunch counter which offers a buffet that you pay by weight.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Teep
                                        food face RE: Teep Nov 5, 2009 11:29 AM

                                        Their muffins are outstanding at the Noah's lunch counter. The only thing that bugs me about this place is the guy is super weird and grouchy. I try and look past it because it is very reasonable healthy and quick. I like their beans and tahini dressing as well.

                                      2. j
                                        jeffs101 RE: hellohellokitty Nov 5, 2009 09:57 AM

                                        Calico....Bloor and Brock. Vegan, very limited menu but well worth the visit!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jeffs101
                                          Ediblethoughts RE: jeffs101 Nov 5, 2009 04:43 PM

                                          Looks like it's not yet licensed but it looks tempting... I'll make that trip there for dinner when it has wine!

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