Toronto is a big city filled with a lot of restaurants. From Italian cuisine to Ethiopian, Japanese, and Caribbean, The Big Six seems to cover all the bases. In fact, it even has a lot of places that cater to just about every dietary need, like veganism and vegetarianism, for instance.
But we’re not talking about salad bars here; we’re talking burgers, tacos, and even donuts that everyone can indulge in (whether you’re a meat-eater or not). And, to top it all off, these restaurants are ultra-trendy, so get ready for that foodie photo.
Check out our round-up of the vegan and vegetarian restaurants that will have you revisiting twice (or maybe even three times) a week.
The next time you’re looking for a place to dine that fits the wants and needs of everyone in your crew, District Eatery on King St. W is the move. With a thing for craft cocktails, house-made sodas, power teas, and healthy tapas style-sharing plates, the menu is a feast for your eyes and your stomach. Plus, District Eatery caters to all kinds. For those with dietary restrictions, a long list of items can be made vegan upon request.
Obviously related to the aforementioned Planta, this vegan Toronto institution is situated in the heart of downtown on Temperance St., and we’re loving it. Sometimes, you just need a juicy patty sandwiched between two buns and that’s exactly what Planta Burger is offering — good ol’ burgers. They’ve got cauliflower wings and salads to go on the side, but the basic burger is where it’s at. It’s a black bean burger with all the toppings, including queso cheese. Yes, vegan queso cheese. Need we say more?
Bloomer’s is most commonly known for their baked goods (like donuts), but they also offer some savoury vegan dishes that are not to be overlooked. Come to their Palmerston–Little Italy shopfront when you need to indulge in some creamy mac and ‘cheese’ finished off with a sprinkle donut. It’s simple—nothing fancy—but super-delicious.
If you’re vegan, you may think that the days of ordering a whole pizza for yourself are over. Well, think again. Apiecalypse Now! is a vegan pizzeria on Bloor West–Koreatown and they even deliver! They have a bit of a zombie/vampire slayer vibe and don’t offer up your traditional pepperoni slices. Expect toppings like french fries, bacon, and even dill pickle. And, if you’re feeling really naughty, you can get vegan poutine or mozzarella sticks on the side.
This is a good-for-you and good-for-the-environment kind of place. Being 100% plant-based, Kupfert & Kim offers up bowls, salads, and smoothies that are gluten-free and mostly organic. Even if you follow a paleo-based diet, this is a great restaurant option. And, while the menu items may seem like your average bowl of vegetables, their flavour combinations definitely pack a punch! You can find Kupfert & Kim in the PATH, on Spadina Ave., and various other locations around the city.
What happens when a vegan comfort food restaurant moves in with a vegan brewery? Well, to name what Chef Doomie—formerly of Queen West’s Doomie’s—is churning out of the kitchen at Vegandale Brewery in Parkdale… a peanut butter and bacon plant-based burger, a vegan chicken-bacon-ranch sandwich, and something called the Messy Pizza Waffle. If you want something shareable with friends, order the Fried Avocado, Animal Style fries, or sweet cheese Rangoons (made with vegan cheese, of course). And wash it all down with a cruelty-free, 100% vegan IPA!
You can find this restaurant on Bloor St. W and on College St. And while the name is a little contradictory, it’s for good reason. If you’re an eater who actually does enjoy meaty things, this is the place for you. Most of the entrée and sandwich items feature some kind of meat… that isn’t made of meat at all. Instead, they offer plant-based versions of food you never thought could be vegan. Go ahead and try the wings, Hogtown Burger, or UnChicken Burger — you won’t even notice it’s not the real thing.
Planta is a pretty little restaurant in Yorkville that is 100% plant-based. They’ve got ceviche, pizza, salads, and more. But the menu that is definitely worth going for is brunch. Other brunch joints can say they know their way around AM foods, but Planta does it the best — expect avocado toast, smoothie bowls, pancakes, and more! We recommend going with a big group, so you can order one of each.
Vegan and vegetarian fine dining is sometimes hard to come by. Traditionally, the green scene holds more of a lunch vibe. However, restaurants like Awai in Bloor West Village are changing all that. The food they serve comes in smaller portions and almost looks too pretty to eat. And instead of imitation meats and cheeses, the menu is simply whole food ingredients that everyone will recognize.
Treating us right in the heart of the Kensington Market, Cosmic Treats is your go-to vegan spot. While they serve up American-style fare like cheese sticks, potato skins, and chicken pot pie (all vegan — believe it), they also have a dessert and ice cream bar. We recommend the banana split, chocolate fondue, or the six-scoop sundae. Who doesn’t love ice cream, especially when it’s dairy-free?
This is where California meets Hawaii, right in the Entertainment District. While Calii Love specializes in poke and smoothie bowls, they also serve items like bone broth and fish, but everything can be customized to your needs. And really, don’t miss out on their lattes. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there on the day when their latte artist is in to create your portrait in the foam. Not in the Entertainment District? You can also find them in King West Village and Yorkville.
When you’re heading home from work or on the run, this quick, healthy bite spot on Roncesvalles Ave. really does have, well… the goods. Order smoothies, soups, chili, and even breakfast items — all vegan and mostly raw. And boy, are these plates colorful — count on all the greens, reds, purples, and oranges.
Fresh is Toronto’s favourite vegan/vegetarian chain, and it’s scattered all over the city… so you’re probably near one now. The menu is extensive and you can pretty much get whatever you’re craving. Make for Fresh when you’re looking for a quick, large-portioned, and delicious lunch during your break at work.
Woodlot is the best restaurant to visit when you’re going out with friends, both herbivore and carnivore. This Little Italy eatery has an entire menu featuring meat and an entire menu that is vegetable-based, so everyone can walk away with a delicious meal that fits their dietary lifestyle. See? There’s no judgement here!
We don’t think we’re alone in saying that turning down a vegan baked good just feels wrong. So, follow your gut and stop by Bunner’s Bake Shop in Kensington Market and The Junction for some serious delicious indulgences — you won’t believe their vegan layer cakes. In addition to that, they’ve got cookies, muffins, donuts, and cinnamon buns (simply the best). If you’re ever passing by, be sure to pop in for a sweet treat. And if you really get addicted, there’s also a cookbook to help with that.
This is your classic lunch spot. Urban Herbivore’s got you covered with sandwiches, soups, and salads in Kensington Market and Eaton Centre. Score a bite here when you want something that’s light, fresh, and will keep you feeling good for the rest of the day.
Dubbed D-Land by fans and foodies alike, Disgraceland is now 100% plant-based for your dining pleasure (it wasn’t always this way). Nestled in Bloorcourt Village and open until 2am daily (the kitchen, too), this is the perfect place to sample a local beer, scarf down a burger or burrito, and shoot some pool. Don’t forget to order the D-Land nachos to start and ask about the daily specials. Fitt Tip: they don’t open until 4pm and are cash-only, so stop by the ATM on the way and get ready for a late night.
Serving to a niche crowd, Vegetarian Haven is all about bringing Asian-inspired vegan food to the masses. Whether looking for a spot to grab lunch, dinner, or a fresh juice to sip on, make your way to Baldwin St. and spend a sunny day on their leaf canopied patio. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds.
**Updated by Laura Shirk, September 2018