It is a truth universally acknowledged that vegans date vegans, and omnivores date omnivores. Food is a deeper divide than any racial or religious line. So when two people dare to cross that line by dating, the challenge is where to sneak off to eat that can accommodate both without compromising either. You don’t want to get the stink-eye from your vegan server because of your fur-trimmed jacket nor do you want your local so-called vegan friendly eaterie sneaking butter into your vegan partner’s pasta.
Here then is a list of the top five Toronto restaurants for star-crossed foodie lovers:
Don’t be fooled by the name – Vegetarian Haven is 100% vegan. You won’t miss a single animal product though – a rich and varied cuisine, sorta Asian fusion (with some kind of zen principle floating vaguely in the background that you can ignore if you like) will satisfy any palate. Favourite yummy appetizers: drumsticks and dumplings. Not cheap by the way – this is upscale vegan.
The trick to a satisfactory vegan meal is to make it hearty – and traditional Ethopian food always achieves that, accompanied as it is with injera, the unleavened sour bread that one uses to lift the food in the absence of utensils. You can either do a combo vegan/meat dish or, as my partner and I do, just share the vegan combo – lots of lentils and the like to provide protein and that all important heartiness. Nazareth is the pick of the litter of Ethopian food choices but really, you can’t go wrong at any of them.
Like Ethopian food, it’s hard to make a mistake with any Indian restaurant really. India Roti fills the cheap but cheerful hole-in-the-wall category. Specializing in rotis (hence the name), many of them vegan but also some meat-filled, and supplemented by a few rice dishes, the menu is limited but generously portioned, cheap and delicious. Everyone needs to have one of those restaurants in their life so here it is. You’re welcome.
The website describes this restaurant as making “from scratch, seasonally influenced, comfort food” and that’s pretty much spot-on. The menu changes regularly yet sticks to some general themes so that you can both feel confident in what you’ll be getting yet stimulate your palate. Vegan warning: Fanny’s actually has a meat-laden menu with one typically good vegan option for dinner (lunch not so much) so not a good option for a vegan looking for a variety of choices.
Best whacky diner in town. Although they serve dinner too, we recommend the brunch. 1950’s tables – not the tastefully updated, retro kind – these were actually made in the 1950’s – Stompin’ Tom Connor’s music, tacky paintings and food served waitresses with many, many tattoos. Cuisine is vegetarian with many vegan alternatives. And who can resist a place with a complete collection of Pez dispensers?? Not us.