Fill up on the healthy side! These vegetarian patios across the city offer up tons of flavour, comfort food, freshness and can even make a meat-eater full.
Patio season means you get to try out a world of flavours in Toronto’s best summer months. It also means you get to try out something new. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or even a true-blue meat eater, Toronto’s vegetarian and vegan restaurant scene is one you’ll want to check out. I’m talking comfort food (like you can’t believe that’s not a "real" burger), to filling healthy salads that get you glowing, to crazy delicious brunch options—all on some pretty great patios. Here are some of Toronto’s best patio options for vegetarian or vegan food.
* If you’re not feeling up to a patio just yet, you can still get a delicious brunch via delivery or takeout. Just visit www.ToGoToronto.com so you can support your favourite local spots and get some great food too!
Vegans and vegetarians will know about one of Toronto’s best vegan comfort food spots, Doomies. The place to go for burgers, “chicken” wings, and a whole lot of fried-food, fast-food-inspired goodness. Bar Vegandale is another one of their creations with a menu chock full of things like creamy vegan mac and cheese, the Big V Burger, fries topped with Buffalo sauce, or garlic butter, and even a shrimp po’boy. Best of all, you can get in on this comfort-food plant-based action in the great Toronto summer thanks to the back patio. Picnic tables with umbrellas provide some shade while you dig into vegan fried “chicken”, or a better-than-real-meat burger. 1265 Queen Street West.
Fat Choi is one of those spots that’s perfect for a pre-night-out snack and cocktail. Their plant-based menu is mostly sharable small plates, and brings on tons of flavour and spice. The menu has been rotating during the pandemic to keep your taste buds on their toes. On their typical menu, you can’t go wrong with the 20-ingredient Prosperity Salad with a yuzu plum dressing for a burst of freshness, the red chili cauliflower and broccoli (with lemongrass turmeric chili toss, peanut, sesame), and the refreshing smashed cucumber salad. I’m also currently swooning over the special Papaya Noodle Salad and the Murtabak (stuffed roti). Thankfully, Fat Choi is taking part in CafeTO, meaning we can all sip cocktails and nibble on their vegan delights all summer long. 94 Ossington Ave.
Want to mix plant-based eating with brunch? Hello 123 is the spot to do it, because a vegan or vegetarian brunch might just be the best way to ease into plant-based dining. Hello 123 (a sibling to another plant-based Toronto hot spot, Kupfert & Kim) has the perfect trellis-covered patio space to dine on a boozy, colourful brunch. The chic white patio is calling out for some Instagram or TikTok-friendly content creation, so come hungry and prepped for a mini photo shoot. Then take a pick from their huge menu—from Eggs Benny and smoothie bowls, to a kimchi burger and the perfectly cool-for-summer watermelon ceviche. The food is so vibrant, bright and filling you won’t even miss the real bacon (also because tempeh bacon is yummy—give it a go!). 1122 Queen St W.
Planta is one of those friendly vegan spots that can sway even your meat-loving friends. And it’s been a Toronto mainstay for years now. Aside from their beautiful plant-based dishes, the interior of Planta restaurants also wows, so no surprise that their patio situation is also on point. All Planta locations across Toronto have opened up their patios, but my favourite will always be the Queen Street West location. It has just enough bustle and buzz to feel like we’re (almost!) back to normal, and it’s great for people watching too. I’ll be there on weekends for their Dim Sum Brunch… or on a week night noshing on the vegan sushi, Thai creamed spinach, noodles and pizza—basically I’ll be eating the whole menu! Multiple locations.
When this Montreal plant-based restaurant opened up in Toronto, vegetarians and vegans practically ran to get a table. Known for its impeccable interior design (airy, light green and bright) and carefully crafted menu of comfort foods with a vegan twist, LOV has quickly become one of the city’s best vegetarian restaurants. LOV on King Street West has a full-on patio menu to go with their leafy, plant-filled patio space. From kimchi fries (a must) to beet tartare, their signature mac’n’cheese, tacos, burgers and coconut curry, there are endless options here for the hungry vegetarian or non-vegetarian alike. 620 King St W.
Mexican but vegan style! La Bartola is run by Chef Ivan Castro who found his passion for cooking during his childhood in Mexico City. Think tacos made from braised hibiscus flowers, jackfruit “Al Pastor” tacos, and black bean atole—not to mention some super refreshing cocktails. My current favourite is the Jardin de Frida made with Mezcal, triple sec, lavender syrups, lime and agave. Best of all, La Bartola is taking part in CafeTO, so you can squeeze in some extra taco and cocktail time this summer thanks to their sidewalk set-up, or on their back patio. Cheers! 588 College Street.
In the heart of Kensington Market you’ll find Toronto’s first 100% plant-based Middle Eastern restaurant, and it is definitely not one to be missed! The name Nabati is an Arabic adjective that means “made of plants” or “plant-based”. On the menu you’ll find vegetarian shawarma, falafel, Za’atar cauliflower (one of my faves!), and veggie kofta. You can get everything in either a pita or in a bowl. Oh, and do not pass up on their incredibly creamy, dreamy custards—often with fresh fruit flavours that hit perfectly for summer. Their patio isn’t large, but the flavour and the food portions are, so go hungry and go early! 160 Baldwin St.
Easily Toronto’s most classic vegetarian and vegan restaurant, the Fresh locations are always bursting with people, good food and quinoa onion rings that will change your life. All their Toronto locations have patios open: Fresh on Crawford, Fresh on Spadina, Fresh on Eglinton, Fresh on Hurontario and Fresh on Bloor. You do need to make a reservation and seating is limited to 90 mins, but that just tells you how good and popular Fresh is. Bowls of grains, noodles, rice, veggies, tofu and tempeh always make a satisfying meal—-but you also can’t go wrong with the burgers and the smoothies. And trust me, you will want that order of onion rings! Multiple locations.