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Jan 24, 2013 BY Joy McCarthy

Best Vegan Restaurants in Toronto

—  found in  Well-being  —

I love creating healthy food, aka plant-based deliciousness at home, but I also enjoy dining out in the city as you may have noticed from my instagram and twitter feed. So when a twitter follower asked me my recommendations on the best vegan in Toronto, I thought "holy heck I need to do a post on this!".

Now I do realize that some restaurants do not like labels and therefore do not like to be called "vegan". So please note I'm only putting them into the vegan category because many people ask me for my opinion on where to go in Toronto for vegan fare and their food is vegan-friendly. And despite the fact that I'm not a vegan, I'm happy to share my thoughts on vegan dining because I sure do eat it a lot!

Furthermore, I want to preface this by also saying, these restaurant choices are nutritionist-approved. I'm sure there are many other loved vegan spots in the city, but if they serve deep fried tofu junk or GMO soy burger garbage, I do not reco. I put them in the same category as Burger King -- junk food.

You will notice when you eat any of these restaurants below, that your food is always made with love. The food is beautiful and choosing to nourish your body with the most nutrient-dense fare is a gosh darn joyous thing to do!

Belmonte Raw

Joyous Notes: As I'm writing this, I'm polishing off some take-out chai chia pudding. The creator of this pudding and Belmonte Raw is the lovely Carol Belmonte.

Inside Belmonte Raw, it's cozy and charming and if you have time to sit down, I highly recommend the big wood table at the window, it's my favourite spot, especially when the sun is shining in.

What to get: Be sure to start out with a green juice to get your digestive juices flowin' and your liver kickin'. My fave is "uplift". It looks very green, but it's the furthest thing from grassy slime and true to it's name, it's uplifting.

My go-to lunch dish is the raw buritto with jicama root fries (not fried fries of course) and a creamy zingy cashew dip. As for her chocolate, that's worth a whole gosh darn post. I've eaten chocolate from pretty much everywhere and Belmonte's RAW chocolate thimble with raspberry or peanut butter (as per photo), is simply to die for. It's creamy, melt-in-your-mouth, you-wouldn't-know-it's-healthy-goodness!

When I'm feeling chilly, I love her comfort smoothie because it's creamy, sweet and fulfilling, without the belly bloat.

Location: Leslieville, East End of Toronto

Other: She does classes and cleanses delivered to your door too.

Feel Good Guru

Joyous Notes: I have summer nostalgia when I think of Feel Good Guru because I love riding my bike over when it's hot and sunny! The location is perfect for a lazy afternoon if you get take out to sit in the park. If I'm in a rush, it's uber convenient being in the heart of Queen West and it's always quick.

What to get: For some reason, I always gravitate to the same thing. Normally when I hit up this place, I'm on the go so I get a smoothie as a meal (the hemp shake elevate) because it's perfectly balanced with nutrients (protein from hemp, superfoods, fibre) and full of sweet goodness. They do have a variety of delicious salads, wraps, raw pizza (photo below) with a beautiful array of gorgeous colours and lots more so I've got to get my butt over there and work my way through the menu (seems to be a summer thing for me).

I've had the raw carrot cake a few times which has all the wonderful spices of my non-vegan, cooked carrot cake I make at Christmas. Yet, it's completely RAW, incredibly fulfilling and as good as my homemade carrot cake. Yes, you can fill up on a bunch of carrots! And it's really nice to sit in the park and eat cake. True to the tag line, Feel Good Guru is "super-awesome".

Location: Right across (just South) from Trinity Bellwoods park. In the summer, I had many park dates sipping on a smoothie under a shady tree. How can you beat that? There are 4 window seats inside if you like people watching, I mean hipster watching along Queen West.

Rawlicious

Joyous Notes: Of all the restos, I've eaten the most from this menu from the juices right through to the dessert. The Yorkville location is a nice visit after a yoga class at 889 Yoga. The walls are always adorned with some sort of beautiful artwork and the servers are always cheery. Plus you can buy a t-shirt that says "I have a Rawlicious body". Yep, I've got one in green.

What to get: I usually always start off with a gingery green juice of some kind to stimulate my digestive secretions (ya, I know that might sound weird, but the nutrition nerds "get me"). Then I will either have the olive-currant nut and seed salad or the taco wrap.

However, it ALL depends on dessert. I will go the salad route if I'm having the raw chocolate brownie (HEAVEN!) or skip it if I have the taco wrap because the wrap is more meaty and filling. Sometimes I will get take out after a yoga class and my go to is a juice and a raw brownie. (Sounds funny I know, but don't knock it till you try it). The brownie is a meal in itself! The power cookies are jam-packed too with seeds, goji berries and more raw gooodness.

In the summer, when I'm in the Yorkville hood, I often stop in for the raw ice cream. My fave so far has been the cardamom vanilla bean. It's made with cashews and it's heaven.

Location: Yorkville.

Live Food Bar

Joyous Notes: The first vegan, gluten-free, healthy restaurant I ever went to was Live. The first kale chips that ever passed my lips were also from Live. Back in the day when I was going to school to study nutrition, I would go there and ask my servers about everything. Yes, I was one of those annoying customers. Oops! I was just curious! I'm sure they must be the first in Toronto to introduce raw/vegan/healthy fare. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here.

What to get: It's hard not to start out with dessert first, buuuut I will because that was my entry point to live - their almond dream bar. Just writing this, makes me want to go get one NOW! The nice thing about Live is that they are open for lunch and dinner AND have a weekend brunch -- hurray! In fact, I just had brunch there a few weekends ago and I had the raw blueberry pancakes which were heavenly deliciousness and seriously hearty. I could only eat one! The creamy goodness in between the two pancakes was a friggin foodgasmic concoction of maple cream, blueberry jam & maple syrup.

My go-to lunch or dinner dishes are the raw sushi which is sunflower seed and cilantro pate, carrots and cucumber rolled in nori with maple miso glaze and the kale salad.

Location: Dupont and Spadina. 

So now that I've shared mine, tell me yours!

Jan 24, 2013 BY Joy McCarthy
29 Comments
Moreen Murray   •   January 24, 2013

Great choices Joy! I love Belmonte Raw and Feel Good Guru (located in my hood). So happy to see there will be a little Belmonte Raw in the Detox Market on King West. Also love Vegetarian Haven on Baldwin and of course Fresh Restaurants!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   January 24, 2013

Sarah   •   January 24, 2013

Great post, Joy! I also love to go to Fresh, their burgers, salad bowls, smoothies, juices & brunch menu are to die for!

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Vivian   •   January 24, 2013

Those are good, but my fave is Hibiscus in Kensington. Urban Herbivore is also another fave :)

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Joy McCarthy   •   January 24, 2013

Kate   •   January 24, 2013

I just went to The Beet in the Junction for the first time this weekend, which is not vegan, but happily caters to vegans. Staff was super knowledgable about the menu and I was even able to find menu items that were Joyous 10-Day Detox–friendly!

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Joy McCarthy   •   January 25, 2013

Ing   •   January 25, 2013

What a great list! I am now armed for a number of outtings. I love Rawlicious, and look forward to trying Belmonte Raw. Commuting to Toronto from Barrie daily I am always looking for positive reasons to still continue the commute!

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Joy McCarthy   •   January 25, 2013

kamotion   •   January 25, 2013

I'd love to hear from readers about great vegan options in OTHER cities in Canada.

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Joy McCarthy   •   January 25, 2013
Gillian   •   January 27, 2013
Patricia   •   January 28, 2013

Ashley   •   January 26, 2013

I also love Belmonte Raw and Live. So good! I was disappointed to see That Rawlicious reduced the size of their menu... Other faves include Hibiscus, Tea Tree Cafe (Donlands and Danforth) and Camros. Also love the vegan options at Mela (vegetarian Italian place in Yorkville), Butlers Pantry (Annex) and Lady Marmalade (Leslieville)

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   January 26, 2013

Gillian   •   January 27, 2013

Love this list Joy! Let me know if you ever do best gluten-free in Toronto :)

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Joy McCarthy   •   January 28, 2013

Candi   •   January 30, 2013

Joy, thank you so much for introducing me to all the great options of vegan restaurants. I enjoy going to Rawlicious in Yorkville, their Pad Thai is amazing and not to mention their once aweek fav the Celery soup. OH its amazing! However, one of my favourite places is in Burlington called KINDFOOD by the lake/on John street. Kelly the owner is a very passionate Vegan and just recently opened the most non guilt free cupcakes bakery on Brant street called Kelly's Bakery Shoppe. I highly recommend you drive down to Burlington and taste these cupcakes; they are vegan, dairy, nut free, gluten (only uses garbazano/fava flour - so no starches). She also introduced a skinny cookie that has no sweet substitutes added. You will be hooked! Here is the web site: www.kindfood.com/ and www.kellysbakeshoppe.com/.

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Allison   •   January 30, 2013

Though scarce in Calgary, (aka Cowtown), they're starting to pop up! Fav vegetarian restaurant there is The Coup!

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Candice   •   January 30, 2013

Great picks! I also LOVE Vegetarian Haven. Such a lovely little Buddhist restaurant with vegan cheesecake that is to die for!

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Tera McDonald   •   January 31, 2013

Hi Joy! Am I ever glad I asked this question (@teramc) on twitter! I got to enjoy the delightful food at Live, but the only other restaurant I made it to over last weekend was Cruda. Which, while not on this list, was ever so delish! It was definately worth it considering the location in the St. Lawrence Market; a delight in itself! I cannot wait until my next visit to Toronto to try out the rest! Two days was not enough :) Thanks agian! Tera

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Hilary   •   February 1, 2013

Thanks for this post, Joy! There is a wonderful new vegan place that opened up in the Paths in the financial district (in First Canadian Place, right next to a David's tea on the commerce level - at King & Bay) called Kupfert-Kim. It is so great. Here is a review from blogto: http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/kupfert-kim-toronto Be careful of the line-ups though! They are crazy busy (~15 minute wait) from noon-1:30pm. Let me know if you give it a try!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   February 1, 2013

Jesse (OutToLunchCreations)   •   February 4, 2013

Love all these restos! Don't forget Cruda Cafe and Camros Organic Eatery! The Naked Label is actually doing restaurant reviews on all the healthy restaurants in Toronto along with a guide to what to eat at the chain restaurants. There are only a couple there but more are coming soon http://thenakedlabel.com/blog/category/reviews/

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Anne Smithen   •   February 5, 2013

Thanks for the list! I have been to Belmonte Raw three times and each and every time it was an amazing experience, I can only recommend it. The last time I ate there inspired me to take up cooking classes in my town, if there are any other food lovers from Vancouver interested in learning how to cook (even vegan food), I can recommend the list of the best cooking classes to you!

Reply

Laura   •   February 7, 2013

Joy, I think you read my mind! I'm planning a trip to Toronto next winter (it's aways away but I'm excited) and since me and my husband are vegan I was curious about restaurants there. I had wanted to ask you this exact same question! Thank you for this wonderful post. I can't wait to come visit. :)

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Danial Ahade   •   February 10, 2013

I am sad for not seeing my previous comment. I am posting it again I hope the moderators leave it this time: Time for California Grilled Veggie Sandwich, the best veggie sandwich out there. Get hungry and have it with sauce. The unforgettable and tasty.

Reply

Joyous Health   •   June 20, 2013

[...] to be my fave! Plus they support many local farmers! Or if you want to eat raw vegan pizza then Rawlicious is the best — the crust is gluten-free and made from sprouted buckwheat and flaxseed with a [...]

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kenishia A.   •   October 31, 2017

This is amazing Joy! I have got to come to Canada.😃 I have got to try these restaurants. I have never been to Canada before. Its on my bucket list though!😉

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