Travel log: Toronto takes the lead of favorite vegan city
I struggled for many weeks to find where I wanted to visit in May. My birthday was on the 13th and I ached to be amongst friends rather than be in a city all alone (per usual when you solo travel the world). Never having been to Canada, I decided Toronto would be perfect. I had friends there, many who I met years ago at conferences/vegfests and kept up online friendships with for years. Nicole (A Dash of Compassion) kindly let me crash with her and I didn’t have to spend my birthday alone. I had the pleasure of meeting online vegan friends in real life like Lisa (Viet Vegan) and Anne-Marie (Meat-free Athlete) and catch up with Marika and a few other people during my 8 days there. It was such good times. And boy did I eat.
There’s really just too much vegan food in Toronto to hit in 8 days or to cover in one blog post. So I will tell you my favorites starting with Doug McNish’s cafe Public Kitchen. I’ve been dreaming of going here since Doug opened it. Brunch is my favorite meal of the day so for my birthday we started here. Definitely make a reservation because it was packed! Doug is famous for his vegan eggs that have breakable yokes on top. I went for the omelet because it sounded so good and it did not disappoint. Filled with chive cream cheese and caramelized onion, it was the best vegan omelet I’ve ever had.
561 Marlee Ave (right by Glencairn metro)
Check for hours and make reservations
After brunch we strolled down Bloor Street to do a vegan tour and get all the treats. Did you know that Toronto has like seven vegan bakeries? It’s insane. If I lived there I would likely gain ten pounds in the first month. Our first stop was at Through Being Cool bakery for some donuts. The other gals grabbed a ton of pastries to take home, which I got to sample the next day (the giant pretzel was sooo good). The donuts are very different then what I’m used to; very large and fluffy, and more doughy then the ones I’ve had in the US.
Through Being Cool Bakery (TBC)
1277 Bloor St West
Closed Mondays, open till 5pm T-S
Next we headed to Bloomer’s, which is a cute cafe with pastries, coffee drinks, mouth-watering sandwiches, cupcakes and more. They had a rose latte we couldn’t resist. Later in the week I went back for the tempeh Reuben that now holds the top spot for my favorite Reuben in the world!
873 Bloor St West
Hours M-F 8am-10pm, weekends starting at 10am
After coffee we continued down the road to Apiecalypse Now where I had to get a slice of vegan pizza. Yes I’m one of those people that loves pineapple on my pie so I grabbed the bbq soy curl one with pineapple. It was seriously the best pizza I’ve ever had. We sat in the nearby park and soaked up the lovely day (it had been raining most the time during my stay).
735 Bloor St West
Hours T-S 12:00-11:30pm, Sun 12:00-8:00pm
For my birthday dinner we went to one of the fancier vegan restaurants in town, Planta. Their food is pretty good but it’s really the decor and atmosphere that rocks. We tried the nacho layered dip, truffle fries, I had a Asian noodle salad that was really tasty, Anne-Marie had an epic pizza that I really wanted to try, and best of all we all got a brownie a la mode thanks to Nicole. She surprised me with a candle so I could make a wish on my birthday. There’s a really funny story here about the waitress ruining the surprise because the kitchen was taking so long to get the brownies out and we kind of made her cry. But everything ended well with us getting free dessert. Thanks to everyone that came to celebrate my 38th birthday!
1221 Bay St.
Hours M-S 11:30am-3:00pm, 5:00-11:00pm
A non-vegan place that I fell in love with so much that I ate there twice is Saigon Lotus. They have a vegan menu and a separate kitchen they use for the vegan dishes. This was the most affordable place I ate at in Toronto with delicious vegan food of the Asian variety. The spring rolls pictured above were filled with tempura sweet potato, cukes, carrots, avocado and mint. These are hands-down the best spring rolls I’ve ever tried. For my main dish I tried the combo plate they offered, which let me try four different menu items, then the next time we went I got the pad thai. It was all very tasty and cheap.
6 St. Andrew Street (in the heart of Kensington)
Hours every day 11am-11pm
You can see a theme here. Lots of favorites and bests were made in Toronto pushing it into the #1 spot for my favorite vegan city in North America. Sorry Portland and Los Angeles.
You can’t go to Canada and not try poutine! Fresh did not disappoint with their sweet potato fries and greens version. It’s like healthier poutine and it was delicious! We had a wrap that was just alright. I wish I had more time to try different things on the extensive menu at Fresh. I also wish they would take this and franchise it all over the US.
Locations all over town
Hours M-F 11:30am-10pm, S/S 10:30am-10pm
One of my favorite non-food activities was exploring the Art Gallery of Ontario (one of the best museums I’ve been to!) and stumbling upon Graffiti Alley.
Toronto, you won me over. I love you.
Have you been? What were you favorite eats? Tell me in the comments!