Review & photos by Megan Stulberg
If you follow us on Instagram, then you know that we partake in the slightly annoying habit of photographing our food in public places. No shame! We love having the opportunity to help fellow vegans in Toronto find restaurants they can comfortably eat at.
Here it is! My top five favourite places to grab gluten-free vegan food in Toronto:
1. Hibiscus (Kensington Market)
Hibiscus is located at 238 Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market. Their entirely menu is gluten-free (bonus!) and they are well-known for having a variety of vegan crepe options to choose from. This is my favourite place to go to on lunch dates with new friends because the restaurant is usually pretty quiet and has lots of natural light. I always find the environment welcoming and friendly.
WHAT I GET: I recently ordered the salad bowl on a whim and now I can’t stop. The dish includes quinoa, sweet potato, broccoli, beans, tofu, kale, carrots, beets, kelp, okara (okara is essentially creamy tofu) and a raw cracker. I usually pair this dish with a bowl of pumpkin ginger soup and an almond milk latte.
WHAT I RECOMMEND: Vegan crepes are hard to find, so if you’ve never been to Hibiscus then you should definitely get one! If you’re craving something savoury, try the crepe with vegan mozzarella, mushrooms, tomatoes, basil and spinach. If you’re craving something sweet, try a simple cinnamon lemon crepe and ask for a scoop (or two) of ice cream on top. All of their ice creams are dairy-free and made in house.
PRICE: Main dishes range from $6.70 to $10.70.
MENU LISTED ONLINE? Yes.
2. Magic Oven (The Village)
When I first moved to Toronto three years ago, Magic Oven was one of the only restaurants I could eat at within walking distance. That being said, I ate there a lot.
Operating multiple locations in Toronto, Magic Oven serves pizza, pasta, sandwiches and more with tons of wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options available. If you have a friend that’s all “I want to hang out with you but please don’t make me eat kale”, then take them here.
WHAT I GET: I love getting the ‘Vegan Magic’ personal pizza (tomato pesto, zucchini, artichokes, portobello mushrooms and roasted peppers) with added Daiya on a gluten-free crust. I usually get an order of oregano french fries on the side.
WHAT I’D RECOMMEND: I’d definitely suggest getting a pizza, as good vegan pizza is hard to come by. Magic Oven offers a variety of interesting toppings that you’d normally never be able to get on a pizza. Sweet potato? Avocado? Edible gold leaf?! Go crazy. Let your vegan freak flag fly.
PRICE: Relatively expensive, but considerably less expensive if you refrain from being an idiot and ordering martinis with your meal like myself.
MENU LISTED ONLINE? Yup! For additional gluten-free/vegan options, ask your server.
3. Kupfert and Kim (Financial District)
Okay, Kupfert and Kim is technically not a restaurant…it’s a take-out spot but it’s really good, I promise. Their slogan “meatless and wheatless” sums up their entirely gluten-free and vegan menu. Kupfert and Kim offers filling grain bowls, hot drinks and raw desserts.
The only part I don’t entirely love about Kupfert and Kim is that they’re located in the financial district and therefore are only open on weekdays.
WHAT I GET: I always get the First Canadian bowl — quinoa, tempeh, kale, pomegranate seeds, rainbow radish, purple cabbage, carrots, beets, roasted sweet potato, pea sprouts, sunflower and black sesame seeds.
WHAT I’D RECOMMEND: The Oaxaca bowl! It’s their most popular dish — brown rice, spiced black beans, kale, corn, beets, daikon, lime wedges, organic tortilla chips, hemp seeds, guacamole, spicy pico de gallo and cashew cream.
PRICE: About $9 a box.
MENU AVAILABLE ONLINE? Yes.
4. Rawlicious (Yorkville)
Although I’ve been to both Rawlicious locations in Toronto, I prefer the one in Yorkville. A few weeks ago I went in by myself, ordered dinner, and then hung around for a few hours afterwards to avoid a thunderstorm and the staff was completely cool with it. Too sweet.
Everything on their menu is gluten-free, vegan, and raw. That’s right! Nothing cooked, just dehydrated.
WHAT I GET: The pizza. Cashew nut cheese, tomato marinara sauce, and daily toppings on a sprouted buckwheat and flax seed crust. It’s so good that you’ll forget you’re eating something uncooked.
WHAT I’D RECOMMEND: Split an order of spring rolls as an appetizer with a friend, then try the soft corn tacos filled with walnut refried beans, romaine, sour cream, guacamole and salsa.
PRICE: Raw restaurants tend to be a little pricy, so expect to spend around $20 for an entree and a drink.
MENU AVAILABLE ONLINE? Uh huh honey.
5. Live Organic Food Bar (the Annex)
Another raw food restaurant! Live Organic Food Bar operates a restaurant at Dupont and Spadina, a market in Liberty Village, and offers their products in grocery stores across Toronto and the GTA. The majority of their menu is raw, but they do offer a variety of cooked dishes if you’re a little skeptical.
WHAT I GET: The tacos, always. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. Flax corn wraps filled with sunflower refried beans, walnut taco meat, guacamole, corn & tomato salsa and cashew sour cream.
WHAT I’D RECOMMEND: If you’re indecisive like me, the ‘Raw Combo’ dish is perfect because it gives you the opportunity to taste their most popular dishes — the manicotti, pizza, tostados, and portobello steak. Want something cooked? Try the okonomiyaki, a savoury vegetable pancake I ogled all throughout my Japan trip last year.
PRICE: Entrees range from $15-20.
MENU AVAILABLE ONLINE? Yes.