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These days, Bloor West is the place to be if you’re young and full of attitude, as well as large quantities of TVP. This multi-use space, already a café, events hall and music venue, recently added “restaurant” to the list, doing baked treats (berry pop-tarts, s’more cookies and pizza-flavoured scones, among others) and hefty sandwiches by day, event-specific specials (like a “Sweet Home Avocado” burger for a Bob’s Burgers marathon) by night, and brunch on weekends. Coming soon: A pumped-up selection of takeout eats, including housemade vegan cheeses.
1292 Bloor West,at Lansdowne,416-533-2328, dbeatstro.com
What started as a vegan bakery – and man, they still do a wicked zucchini chocolate chip muffin – is now a cheery little full-service bistro in Bloordale. Fittingly for a place decked out in mismatching chairs and floral plates, homestyle and diner-inspired food is all over the menu: pulled jackfruit and “yegg” salad sandwiches, Caesar and Cobb salads, Reubens and mac ’n’ cheese. They’ve kept the café’s espresso machine for almond lattes – and added a whack of craft beers and wines.
873 Bloor West, at Ossington, 416-551-0532, bloomersto.com
A margherita pizza doused with a hot-sauce pentagram? That’s objectively awesome any way you look at it, but Jennifer Bundock’s Christie Pits pizzeria holds a special place in the hearts and dark, dark souls of Toronto vegans. The vegan mac-topped pizza is another cult fave, and Pig Destroyer Destroyer, topped with five kinds of fake dead animal, will satisfy even the most ardent meat lovers – plus, there’s fun frosted vegan donuts and soft serve.
735 Bloor West, at Grace, 416-516-4555, apiecalypsenow.com
With a whopping six locations scattered around the core, Kupfert and Kim is a beacon for financial district vegans, gluten-free-gans and people trying to purge their bodies of weekend debauchery with a healthy Monday lunch. K&K covers all the bases: granola bowls and gluten-free, coconut cashew cream-topped waffles in the early hours, hearty grain bowls and hefty burgers with roasted root veggies at lunch and nutrition-packed truffles and coffee all day long.
100 King West, 416-504-1233 181 Bay, 416-601-1333 140 Spadina, 416-504-2206 20 Bay, 416-360-5555 200 Wellington West, 416-340-7445 150 King West,416-260-7777 kupfertandkim.com
If you deep-fry it, they will come. Suffice it to say, the success of this L.A. vegan eatery was written on the wall (a “selfie room” wall covered in pro-veganism comic strips, specifically) before it even landed north of the border. The viral appeal of its vegan “Doom Mac” likely accounts for a healthy percentage of the lines outside, but excellent buffalo “chicken” tenders and mac and cheese balls, a menu full of loaded fries and fun cocktails will keep ’em coming back.
1263 Queen West, at Elm Grove, doomiestoronto.com
Meanwhile, on Bloor, Toronto’s OG source for vegan junk food is still going strong, serving fried un-chicken and waffles, soy wings, Reuben sandwiches and piquant mac and cheese that have been stripped of all dairy, meat and egg, but manage to never lose that homey, eat-your-feelings factor. Also available in the shabby chic (or possibly just “shabby”) teal-blue dining room: a decent selection of craft beers and cocktails, in case you feel like going from “vegan comfort food” to “vegan drunk food.”
1056 Bloor West, at Havelock, 416-901-9779, hogtownvegan.com
There’s a halo of virtuousness around this largely raw, entirely gluten- and sugar-free Dupont eatery and its sister takeout shop in Liberty Village. (“Dishes to invigorate and cleanse your body, mind and soul,” the menu coos.) But that doesn’t mean your taste buds will be left out of the party. At Dupont, you can sample antipasto platters of cashew ricotta and feta or dig into “huevos bruncheros” and beautiful banana-chocolate crepes at Liberty, refuel with burdock-root burritos or bowls doused in house miso-ginger or umeboshi vinegar dressings.
264 Dupont, at Spadina, 416-515-2002 134 Atlantic, 647-748 5483, livefoodbar.com
Stephen Gardner’s ventures into fine dining, Fressen and Grasslands, may have died out, but his take-away-friendly café has blossomed, with locations in Kensington, on College and even a counter in the Eaton Centre food court. (How far we’ve come!) Big bowls of greens and grains, piled high with everything from coconut bacon, BBQ tofu and “cheeze” sauce to a rainbow of produce, are the big seller, but Moroccan or coconut-curry stews and soups du jour will stick to your ribs – with less of a grease hangover than KFC.
64 Oxford, 416-927-1231 967 College, 416-645-0349 220 Yonge, 416-847-1007 herbivore.to