With spring being in full swing, there’s no better time to explore Toronto’s hot new restaurants. Because there are always so many to choose from, Expedia.ca asked me to compile my top 5 restaurant recommendations for the season.
These are restaurants that are not only new and exciting but that also offer a great selection of vegetarian dishes. Having been vegetarian for over 13 years, I am always on the lookout for great meatless offerings around the city. Luckily, Toronto is very vegetarian-friendly so it is not hard to find some great dishes for those wanting to pass on the meat. These restaurants will be the perfect addition to your list of must-try dining options in Toronto.
My first recommendation is Antler Kitchen & Bar. This “forest to table” restaurant located in Little Portugal opened up right before the end of 2015. Head Chef and co-owner Michael Hunter’s hotspot focuses on game and foraged goods. The menu is rustic and though offers plenty of meaty selections, also proposes a handful of hearty vegetarian plates such as his signature Wild Mushroom Tarte Tatin, Sweet Potato Gyoza and the Spring Onion and Potato Gnocchi. The exposed brick and wood, the mounted antlers and buck skull (that the head chef hunted himself) as well as a series of Hunter’s framed photos of morels and log piles, give the restaurant the ultimate forest vibe.
Athlete’s Kitchen is a small grab and go counter located in Liberty Village that opened up in January. Prior to opening up the shop, founder Oscar Naziri was offering meal delivery services in the GTA. Both their in-store and online menu offer a variety of pure and natural foods that are balanced perfectly and that offer all the nutrients one might need. Naziri started serving vegan meals a few months ago such as the Essential Healthy Vegan and the Lean Machine. They also offer pre and post-workout vegan, paleo and gluten-free treats, smoothies, acai bowls and more.
Located across the AGO, Provo FoodBar is the newest restaurant to open up in the area. Owned by John LaGamba, this eatery draws inspiration from French, Italian and Mediterranean cuisines. All the dishes found on the menu pack a lot of flavour and are perfect for sharing. Vegetarians will find lot’s to try such as the Beet & Pear Tatin, Arancini (as pictured at the top of the article), the Mushroom & Artichoke Crostini, the Winter Garden Salad and more. Make sure you also taste their delicious drinks and desserts.
El Arepazo is a small spot in Kensington Market that is dedicated to the Venezuelan arepa – the round, gluten-free cornbread sandwich that is stuffed with all sorts of amazing vegetables, cheeses, salsas and more. This unique restaurant serves up recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation and that incorporate locally sourced and fresh products. Some must-try vegetarian dishes are the Tostones, Yuca, Veggie That Works Arepa and their Chicha drink. Everything on the menu will leave you craving for more.
There is a lot of talk around the city about Ufficio, the new Italian joint located in Little Portugal. What sets them apart from other Italian restaurants is that they only offer a pescatarian and vegetarian menu. Their menu features local and sustainable ingredients. The place itself is beautifully designed and is the perfect balance between casual and high-end dining. Some vegetarian highlights include the Ontario Burrata, Rosemary & Garlic Focaccia, Gnocchi Pomodoro and the Cavolfiore Arrosto.