GET REAL (135 Ossington, at Argyle, 416-532-4564) Complete meals for $20 per person, including all taxes, tip and an organic espresso. Average main $7. Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 7 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. Closed holidays. Unlicensed. Access: barrier-free, small washroom on same floor. Rating: NNN
The inevitable though long-delayed gentrification of the west side's dodgiest avenue is well under way. Besides a raft of design boutiques, outlaw galleries and storefront boozers, Ossington can now claim its first vegetarian eatery. There goes the neighbourhood - for the good!
In a small converted row house, Get Real features a bright front room decked out with blond moulded chairs and glass-topped café tables. Matching Japanese-inspired wooden shelves are stocked with local products like New Moon Kitchen's fab chocolate mint cookies and Vegetarian Kingdom's handy TV dinners. Out back there's a relaxing enclosed patio complete with acid-flashback mural and rocking horse. Indoors, the kitchen pumps out a short card of straightforward veggie dishes made with quality ingredients.
Plump samosas ($4 for two) come stuffed with curried tofu and spinach, while the house's Spicy Bean Burger ($6), a multi-bean patty on a whole wheat bun topped with dill pickle and cheddar, could be a dedicated veg-head's guilt-free trip to Harvey's. The house greens ($5), tossed with sprouts, pumpkin seeds and fresh basil, get a boost from either crumbled tofu or creamy blue cheese.
Starting this weekend, Get Real promises a brunch lineup that includes hemp pancakes topped with maple-glazed plantain, grilled mango and kiwi salsa as well as tofu 'n' tropical skewers fired on the barbie.