A guide to the best plant-forward dining in Toronto

Toronto’s vegetarian scene is thriving, landing it in the global spotlight as the 50th most vegetarian-friendly city. Whether you’re a devoted herbivore or just curious, there’s no shortage of delicious plant-forward options to explore in the city!

Gia

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Dundas West’s, Gia is more than just your average Italian eatery. With a plant-forward menu that celebrates the best of both worlds, Gia offers a unique dining experience that caters to vegetarians and omnivores alike. From housemade pasta to locally sourced organic produce, every dish is crafted with care and attention to detail. But it’s not just about the food—Gia’s cocktail program is equally impressive, blending Italian influences with classic mixology to create signature drinks that perfectly complement the menu. With seating for 32 indoors and 30 more on their elegant CafeTO patio, Gia strikes the perfect balance between relaxed and sophisticated dining.

Buddha’s Vegan Restaurant

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Buddha’s Vegan restaurant has been a beloved fixture in Chinatown since 1991. Known for its delicious Asian-fusion cuisine, it’s a go-to spot for vegans and food enthusiasts alike. Their menu boasts crowd favourites like chow mein and General Tao’s veggie chicken. With rave reviews and flavourful offerings, Buddha’s continues to impress with every bite.

Hawker

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A new-ish kid on the Kensington Market block, Hawker is an upscale spot for plant-based small plates helmed  by chefs Jeff Merkel and Leah Steduto. The menu takes inspiration from nature with appropriately named pretty-as-a-picture dishes including Starry Night made with biryani, smoked poblano and lavender and God’s work ($18) comprised of romano beans, pepper paste and pine nut. There’s also a selection of vegan wines and cocktails too.

La Bartola

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Calling all vegan enthusiasts! La Bartola, led by chef and owner Ivan Castro, is a meatfree haven that’s anything but simple. Drawing culinary inspiration from his mom and grandma, acclaimed as his world-class cooking teachers, Ivan crafted a menu that pays homage to the incredible Mexican women revolutionizing the kitchen. Despite being meatless, La Bartola doesn’t compromise on flavour, offering favourites like herbed guacamole and sweet or savoury tamales.

Saigon Lotus

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Saigon Lotus, a vegan Vietnamese restaurant, expertly blends traditional Vietnamese flavours with unique vegan offerings exclusive to Toronto. From their signature pan-fried vegan pho noodles to customizable fresh spring rolls and renowned Vietnamese vegan specialties, this Kensington Market gem promises a fresh and distinctive experience with every dish.

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO