Tuesday, March 13, 2007

HERBAL : Vegetarian Restaurants in Toronto

Vegetarian Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Victoria Anisman-Reiner
On the lookout for a restaurant in the city of Toronto? Check out these five vegetarian restaurants for creative dining options for vegans, omnivores, and all in between

By no means an exhaustive list, this post is in intended as a follow-up to my recent articles, Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet and Disadvantages of Going Veg to suggest a few of Toronto’s best restaurants for great cuisine, good atmosphere, and healthy eating!

1. Fresh / Juice for Life

Juice for Life has three locations in the city: at Bloor and Spadina, on Queen Street West at Crawford, and on Spadina south of Queen Street West. Each is a bouncing spot for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy wholesome meals, fresh juices, and a range of desserts made with natural ingredients and healthier sweeteners. Their specialties include a veggie burger made from almonds and rice bowls topped with any and every combination of vegetables, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, and sauces you can imagine. Most of their desserts come from Sweets from the Earth, the exquisite Toronto vegan bakery (most of their goodies are, however, made with unrefined cane sugar).

2. Annapurna

One of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in the city (and perhaps across Canada) is Annapurna Restaurant, a quirky, quiet place in Toronto's Annex, on Bathurst Street just south of Dupont. Annapurna specializes in delicious Southern Indian cuisine, with daily soups and specials, all very reasonably priced. Their masala dosai, a lentil flour crepe filled with potatoes and served with spicy sanbar lentil soup, is a favorite, as are the honey-sweetened carob balls for dessert.

3. Live

Live Organic Food Bar, located on Dupont at Spadina, is the only restaurant in Toronto that offers raw food appetizers and entrees as nearly half of their menu. They specialize in gourmet vegan food, fresh juices, and gourmet raw vegan desserts. Live is new, trendy, and more than a little pricey, but the food is excellent. They also offer cooking classes, catering and healthy packaged foods in the entryway.

4. Le Commensal

Le Commensal has been around since 1996, and it’s still going strong. Located in the heart of Toronto at Bay and Elm Streets (near the subway at Dundas and Yonge), Le Commensal is a buffet-style vegetarian restaurant where you pay for your food by weight before you eat. Food choices include a range of salads, rice, tofu and seitan curries and stews, pizza, lasagne, and more. Their soups and the favorite dishes are prepackaged and frozen so you can also enjoy them at home. As a bonus, they make the best tofu cheesecake in town.

5. Vegetarian Haven

Set in the U of T/ Kensington Market district on Baldwin Street, Vegetarian Haven has a huge menu - from the more conventional stews, noodles, and stuffed vegetables to unusual veggie simulations which included the popular “tofu drumsticks” as well as tofu "ham", "pastrami", "salmon" and more. The food is nicely presented and, for the most part, in very generous portions. Like Fresh/Juice for Life, they also serve desserts made by Sweets from the Earth (see above); and they’ll blend any cake or cookie into a dessert shake to order.