Because I live in Montreal and don’t know all the secret gems of Toronto, I asked Áine Davis (one of the girls behind the blog @vegangirlfriend) what were her favorite vegan-friendly spots in her hometown. She kindly and generously accepted to share them with me!
If you too aren’t from TO, you will definitely want to plan a little road trip there soon. And if you are from TO, I am a bit jealous because trying these places will be much easier for you!
Without further ado, here are her faves:
This place is the main cafe of the Pilot Coffee Roasters, a local and much appreciated roaster in the city. If you are not a fan of caffeinated beverages, note that they also serve many types of tea blends. The atmosphere is relaxed and perfect for working or studying. During Summer, you can even take it cool on their cozy patio!
983 Queen St E, Toronto
This coffeeshop is owned by a mother and her daughter who give a kind and careful service. Mostly known for their espressos, the two women also cook and bake most of the food you’ll find there. Actually everything except their their tasty empanadas (available in different vegan options, yeah!) that comes from a company called The Empanada Dealer. Filled with plants, the place is bright and beautiful with a chill hipster vibe.
1150 College St, Toronto
This coffeeshop in Little Portugal only opened a year ago and is already many people’s favorite (it is Áine’s!). Baristas are super cool and competent and also serve vegan breakfasts (muffins, parfaits…). There again, you can have a Pilot coffee while enjoying some sweet treats (vegan and gluten free cookies. #yumyum). We dare you to go there without having the thought of “Instagramming” the place!
1615 Dundas St W, Toronto
QUICK & DELISH (Lunch o’clock!)
One of the best spots to go for a healthy and fresh brunch/lunch. Entirely vegetarian and vegan, it will please your tastebuds and your taste for pretty things (as you can see, their aesthetics is lovely and genuine)! Their avocado toast is a classic go-to but their many bowls are also flavorful with all their fresh veggies and many choices of sauces.
739 Ossington Ave, Toronto
This bakery/cafe/restaurant is 100% vegan and has many gluten free options. According to many, they make the BEST bagels in the whole city which are made each day, and sometimes twice a day as they are so popular! It’s also open at night, but we suggest you go during the day as it’s quieter then. Perfect for a chill lunch with a friend or simply with a good book.
873 Bloor St W, Toronto
This place is a bake shop and grocery where everything is completely plant-based. Their sandwiches are super nice and entirely made by the employees, from the bread to the toppings! Another cool thing is that all the ingredients they use are organic and local as much as possible. However, as they don’t have much room, it’s better to get take-out. And, please, don’t forget to grab one of their decadent donuts!!!
1277 Bloor St W, Toronto
Don’t panic but this place is a Mac and Cheese bar… Yup! You read that right. What’s awesome about it is that they have some of the best vegan options of macs in all TO. Plus, the staff is super friendly and allows you to customize your own dish (but Aine strongly suggests you try the “green trees” one)! Note that you can’t eat there directly so you have to take it take-out.
162 Ossington Ave #3, Toronto
TAKE YOUR TIME & EAT WELL (Dinner time!)
If you are craving for some Southern comfort food, this is the place! From the mac and cheese to the pulled “pork” or the un-chicken and waffles, you’ll surely find something to please your belly. They also have a wide selection of craft beers or you can try their cocktails if you prefer. This Bloorcourt village restaurant was one of the first vegan restaurants of Toronto and is now a true classic.
1056 Bloor St W, Toronto
This diner is co-owned by Doug McNish, aka Toronto’s best chef (not best vegan chef, just best chef, according to NOW MAGAZINE 2017). He paired with Doomies, another vegan place, to open this charming establishment. Please note that it’s so popular that you have to arrive early (sometimes before its opening at 5pm) but the wait is worth it! Their plates are flavorful and the meat imitations are so well executed, they could fool many non-vegans.
1265 Queen St W, Toronto
Located in Yorkville, this 100% vegan restaurant serves delicious gourmet food. They also offer amaaaazing cocktails made with fresh cold-pressed juices (!!!). Their brunches and desserts are tasty, as are they burgers. Actually, their burgers are so good they opened another place that only sells them (called Planta Burger)! It’s easy to have a good time when you go to Planta, enjoying its exotic ambiance, fresh food and pretty decor.
1221 Bay St, Toronto
This vegetarian/vegan Chinese restaurant is underrated! They excel in “faux-meat” and offer dim-sums (so rare for vegans!!!). The menu is huge and composed of many different dishes that are all made with fresh ingredients. The place itself is also super nice and bright with its large windows. It’s Áine’s favorite spot in Toronto!
192 Augusta Ave, Toronto
A hidden gem, near Kensington Market, that serves Vietnamese food at its best! The Pho, as everything else you can eat there actually, is truly yummy. The menu is entirely vegan but is in fact a safe bet for any people who like asian food. Must try: the fresh rolls… again: truly yummy!
6 St Andrew St, Toronto
AW, YOU SWEETIE!
Looking for THE place to satisfy your sweet tooth? Bunner’s Bake Shop is for you! There are actually two locations in the city, one in The Junction and one near Kensington Market. In both shops, you’ll find gluten free and vegan treats: cinnamon buns, cupcakes, cookies, pies, brownies… And even vegan & gluten free soft serve – vanilla, chocolate or swirled – during Summer!
244 August Ave, Toronto and 3054 Dundras St W, Toronto
Thank you again, Áine, for your time and generosity!
By Cloé Lachapelle
* cover photo: Facebook Hogtown Vegan
** pictures directly taken from all the places’ Instragam accounts.