Fresh Dish: Upscale vegetarian hits Yorkville

Taking over the space recently vacated by Pangaea, Planta will be overseen by Nota Bene chef David Lee

Toronto is lush with options for meat-free dining – but they tend to be a little low on polish. That’s about to change this fall when local seafood kings Chase Hospitality Group branch into plant-oriented dining with their latest endeavour, Planta.

Taking over the Yorkville space recently vacated by Pangaea (1221 Bay), Planta will be overseen by Nota Bene chef David Lee, who says he’s fully embraced the culinary conundrum presented by creating animal-product-free iterations of classic dishes.

“We’re basically creating a new food bible for myself, my team. It makes you look at food in a very different way, and I’ve never really experienced anything like this,” he says. “What do we do for steak? Can we do it with an eggplant, as an example? In terms of technique, do we add a little smoke to it? Should it be applewood or oak? How do we make Parmesan cheese with no dairy? That’s the exciting part for us.”

Lee calls the resulting small-plates menu “approachable.” Expect cauliflower “tots” laced with truffle and almond Parmesan, or a pizza topped with house-made cashew mozzarella. There’ll be a drinks list to match – organic wines and pressed-juice cocktails will feature prominently – as well as a brunch service Saturdays and Sundays. 

Don’t miss Toronto’s best vegetarian and vegan restaurants. | @nataliamanzocco

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