Vegan Guide to Toronto, Canada

 Me at Tews Falls

Me at Tews Falls

I’ve always wanted to visit Toronto ever since I met Lisa, the Viet Vegan, who is an amazing Asian vegan blogger who lives a little outside Toronto. She kept saying “You have to visit,” and I kept saying “I know! It’s so close to NYC!” After weeks of going back and forth like this, I decided to make a week long trip to see this friendly city up North. Toronto feels like a city made of glass because of its incredible skyscrapers. It’s also a cultural melting pot, full of amazing people and food (especially my favorite, Asian food). Here are my top suggestions on what to eat, do, and see in Toronto:

What to Eat:

Planta

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If you’re looking for a cool high-end spot in Toronto, Planta is your place to be. All the dishes are vegetable-forward like the watermelon poke (amazing) and served in a plant-decorated trendy space. The restaurant was packed, even on a Sunday night, and everyone looked cooler than me. They also have amazing drinks, so if you want to treat yourself while on vacation, come here.

Saigon Lotus

 Vegan Pho

Vegan Pho

Nestled in between Kensington Market and Chinatown lives Saigon Lotus, which is a vegan Vietnamese restaurant. Whether it’s pho or rice rolls you want, Saigon Lotus serves it. Having warm vegan noodle soup is also perfect for a cold day up North.

Hogtown Vegan

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Hogtown Vegan specializes in vegan junk food, and I couldn’t resist getting the vegan mac and cheese, fried chicken, and collard greens plate. If you’re not feeling plates, because, lets be honest, you’re on vacation, the un-chicken burger is impressive with its thick piece of seitan and the double sesame seed bun.

Fresh

 Thai Salad Bowl, Matcha affagato, buffalo cauliflower, corn bread

Thai Salad Bowl, Matcha affagato, buffalo cauliflower, corn bread

If you’re from Toronto, you know about Fresh…at least that’s what people tell me. Fresh is a chain of restaurants that specialize in healthy plant-based food. “All my non-vegan friends want to visit Fresh when they visit,” said one Toronto stranger when I asked where I should eat vegan food in the city. It’s tasty, filling, fresh (haha) and can meet both your healthy (acai bowls and super salads) and indulgent cravings (cauliflower wings).

Soos (Fat Choi - Monday & Tuesdays)

 Char Kwan Teow (stir fried noodles)

Char Kwan Teow (stir fried noodles)

If you love (or have never had) Malaysian food, you should go to Soos because they do an amazing job of making classic Malay dishes vegan. Since my family is Singaporean, I always crave Malay dishes, but can rarely find vegan versions of the dishes I ate as a child. Soos is a dream come true for me, and even though they aren’t a fully vegan restaurant, on Mondays and Tuesdays, they do a special popup called Fat Choi, where the entire menu is vegan.

Apiecalypse Now

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I’m a sucker for vegan pizza and when I heard about a pizza shop that specializes in a Big Mac Pizza, I needed to go. I got the mac and cheese chili pizza (yup, it’s as good as it sounds), mozzarella sticks (they’re so thick and full of gooey cheese), and vegan poutine (cause when in Canada, eat Canadian food). I went hard on the carbs, and it was worth it.

Khao San Road

 Vegan Khao Soi

Vegan Khao Soi

If you’re looking for a popular spot to eat in Toronto with non-vegan friends, Khao San Road has a separate vegan menu that includes most of the popular dishes off their regular menu! This restaurant is super popular among locals, so get there early to enjoy their spicy curries and noodles.

Dipped Doughnuts

 Rosewater Pistachio

Rosewater Pistachio

“Hole-in-the-wall” doughnut counter that specializes in dipped doughnuts in Kensington Market. Their menu rotates regularly, but they almost always have 4 vegan doughnuts that are super fluffy, warm, and dipped in sweetness. This place is super popular even though there aren’t any places to sit, so grab your doughnuts before they sell out!

Ice Cream:

This is a separate section just for ice cream because I ate a lot of ice cream on my trip.

Bang Bang Ice Cream

 Chocolate ice cream

Chocolate ice cream

This popular ice cream spot is known for their ice cream sandwiches, and when I heard they had vegan options, I knew I had to go. The cookies are warm + fresh, and their ice cream flavors change, but they know how to get the texture of vegan ice cream down.

Bang Bang Ice Cream is also across the street from Soos, so definitely go for an after dinner treat.

Sweet Olenkas

Vegan ice cream and ice cream bars that are so cute and yummy!

Cosmic Treats

A block away from Sweet Olenkas meant that I was eating two ice creams within an hour. Cosmic Treats specializes in a cashew based ice cream that I thought was super tasty. They also are known for their fried mac and cheese balls.

 Left: Cosmic Treats, Right: Sweet Olenkas

Left: Cosmic Treats, Right: Sweet Olenkas

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Eva’s Chimney Cones are so Instagramable, but also so tasty. They make fresh vegan chimney cones that are perfectly warm right out of the oven, cover it in sugar, and fill it with amazing toppings. They have both vegan and non vegan soft serve + topping options, but I got the mango sticky rice. The combination of warm, sweet carbs and the soft serve left me dreaming for more.

Sweet Jesus

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My friend called this the most “Instagramable” ice cream spot in Toronto, and they serve up vegan soft serve. They only had one vegan option when I went - a vegan mango and coconut, but they really pile on the toppings and soft serve to make beautiful deliciousness that will make you say “Sweet Jesus” when you see it.

Places I Couldn’t Try but were Recommended to Me:

What to Do:

I didn’t get to go to Toronto Islands because it was cold when I visited, but Toronto has a series of islands that are great for outdoor activities.

Explore Kensington Market

Thrift stores, cool local restaurants, and very hip area. It’s fun just to walk around and explore!

St. Lawrence Market

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Huge indoor food market that you can buy groceries, produce, knick knacks, and there’s also a vegan raw restaurant in the bottom floor!

CN Tower

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I didn’t go up the Tower, but it’s pretty to look at from afar.

Snack on Canadian Specialties

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Ketchup Chips + Maple Cookies (make sure they’re vegan!)

Day Trip to Niagara Falls + St. Catherines

Niagara Falls Boat Ride

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Take a boat ride to get up close and personal to the falls! You’ll get wet, but they give you ponchos.

St. Catherines Hike - Tews Falls

 Beautiful hike views & only took an hour to do

Beautiful hike views & only took an hour to do

Where to Eat in St. Catherine’s

Rise Above

 Mac and Cheese, Jerk Seitan, pumpkin gnocchi  

Mac and Cheese, Jerk Seitan, pumpkin gnocchi  

Niagara’s first and only 100% vegan restaurant and full of lots of fresh dishes including an incredible kale caesar salad and fresh seitan.

Beechwood Doughnuts

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The best doughnuts I’ve ever had are at Beechwood because of the fact that they are fluffy, warm, and not too sweet. They also have a cronut (croissant + doughnut), which is amazing (I brought one home with me to NYC). If you still have room in your stomach after eating a dozen perfect doughnuts, then you need to get the soft serve, which is seasonal (I got pumpkin spice) and has an amazing texture and mouthfeel.

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Where to Stay

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I stayed in this beautiful penthouse Airbnb with floor to ceiling windows and amazing views. It’s in a more residential area full of other luxury high-rise apartments, but it was a 15 min walk to everywhere I wanted to go.

Special Thanks again to Lisa (The Viet Vegan) for her Toronto tips & letting me stay with her.

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Me and Lisa at Niagara Falls!

Pumpkin and vanilla soft serve  

 

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