If you did a poll amongst your friends 10 years ago you’d likely have been hard-pressed to find a vegan among the crowd. That is definitely not the case these days. More and more people are opting to not only cut meat out of their diet but choosing to cut animal products altogether. Anything produced by an animal is axed when you’re vegan. That means no meats, no fish, no dairy and even no honey for the extremists. For a hardcore carnivore like myself, it may seem like a tough choice to understand. But there are many solid reasons behind a vegan diet.
Some choose it for ethical reasons. Some for environmental (large-scale meat production is believed to contribute as much as 22 percent of the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year). Plus there are many health benefits attributed to a plant-based diet. Including lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and weight loss.
With the diet becoming such a trend, many restaurants and eateries have introduced vegan options on their menus. Here in Toronto, some have dedicated their fare entirely to the vegan population. On that note, let us introduce our top picks…
These clever folks were among the first to offer gourmet raw and vegan grub to the health-conscious foodies of Toronto all the way back in 2002. After starting as an organic-focused café and juice bar, Chris Italiano and his sister Jennifer began experimenting with raw and vegan dishes and Live Food Bar was born. Head here for your fix of gluten-free, sugar-free, and vegan offerings that are good enough to satisfy any appetite… meat eaters included.
Of course, the last thing you would associate with ‘Hogtown’ would be vegan fare. Especially thanks to a giant pig logo on their website. But if you are looking for animal-free comfort food then You Gotta Eat Here says… well… you gotta eat here. (Hogtown Vegan was featured on season 2 of the Food Network show.) Serving up Southern comfort food that is 100% plant-based seems like a feat. But they manage it with offerings including chilli ‘cheese’ fries, ‘wings’, mac n’ ‘cheese’, and even a ‘bacon cheeseburger’. Because vegans need hangover food, too.
Take your pick of fresh buckwheat crepes, homemade soups and salads (vegan and gluten-free). Or treat yourself to a scoop or two of their famous dairy-free ice-cream served up in a gluten-free cone. Yes, this exists. Solid portion sizes and reasonable prices add to the happy customer checklist.
If you’re looking to get a solid salad fix to make up for your weekend guilt, this is the place. Their gigantic and creative offerings fill your belly while making you feel healthy from the inside out. The menus at their four locations are chock-full with delicious options that aren’t so daunting for the non-vegans among us. If you need a good juice fix to make up for overdoing it last night you will find a liquid cure for your ailment right here.
This is the heaven for any vegan or vegetarian that craves the protein they cut out of their diet. YamChops is both a vegetarian butcher and lunch/dinner takeout spot. Customers revel in the Tuna-Less Tuna, No-Pork Pulled Pork or Fish-Less Fish Tacos. They taste all too real but are made with plant-based proteins. Offering take-out, dine-in and delivery, vegans and vegetarians can rejoice with this College Street hotspot.
Did we miss your favourite vegan restaurant? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.