Toronto's West end joints to satisfy your meatless cravings

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Forget about vegetarian dishes being a cheap knockoff from their meaty cousins – the dishes at these west end spots are fantastic just the way they are. Whether you’re a full-time vegetarian or you just feel like taking a break from meat, check out these local restaurants for a nutritious meal.

Woodlot Restaurant

1
293 Palmerston Ave, Toronto ON M6J 2J3

If you’ve ever been stuck on deciding which restaurant to hit up with your friends because half of you eat meat and the other don’t, then we’ve got the perfect restaurant for you. Woodlot equally divides its food down the meat/veg line, offering two separate menus for each camp. And, for both, they use the finest raw and local ingredients so all dishes are super tasty. Pair meals with a seasonal cocktail or craft brew, and you’ll never cook again.

Bloomer's

2
873 Bloor St W, Toronto ON M6G 1M4

If perfection is possible with food, then this place has nailed the concept. Nobody ever goes home feeling like they missed out with their meal. Even meat-eaters have felt weak in the knees with the offerings at Bloomer’s, which include amazingly cooked dishes like a Portobello and kimchi burger, curried cauliflower soup and gluten-free zucchini chocolate muffin. Skip the groceries this week and eat here instead.

The Hogtown Vegan

3
1056 Bloor St W, Toronto ON M6H 1M3

One of the biggest myths surrounding vegetarianism is that meals are too light to be filling. That’s hogwash, of course, and the Hogtown Vegan goes a long way in showing just how wrong this theory is. The portions here are big, hearty and filling and you’ll never go home hungry. Pick from dishes like a basket of shiitake-fried “clams”, Phish ‘n chips (tempeh “fish”), unchicken and waffles or Philly “cheesesteak” (thinly-sliced seitan). For dessert, the apple pie is a must-have.

Urban Herbivore

4
967 College St, Toronto ON M6H 1A6

There are six categories of goodies you can choose from – baked goods, drinks, stews, soups, bowls and desserts – with each one offering something different for your palate. Everything is fresh, filling and packed with yumminess and you’ll wonder why all restaurants in Toronto don’t adopt their method. The sandwiches are popular options – they’re made in front of you and big enough to save one half for another meal. A glass of freshly squeezed lemonade creates a crisp finish.

Disgraceland

5
965 Bloor St W, Toronto ON M6H 1L7

This is one big bundle of fun, serving food and tunes late into the night. If the DJ’s not spinning some vinyl, you can choose your own playlist at the jukebox. And while all this is going on, the chefs whip up some fabulous veggie dishes to excite your taste buds and satisfy your stomach. Order something like perogies, a grilled cheese sandwich or vegan poutine hotdog, making sure you save some table space for a board game while you eat.

Cafe 668

6
885 Dundas St W, Toronto ON M6J 1V9

It’s a classy little place done up in a sleek gold-and-black colour scheme, with smooth surfaces and clean lines. And, it’s also the food version of vegetarian heaven where you can order the likes of veggie duck (pan-fried bean curd sheets), mango salsa salad with a side of wonton chips, seaweed tofu soup and Hawaiian fried rice. They don’t skimp on portion sizes either, so make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach – no matter how hungry you are.

Live Organic Food Bar

7
134 Atlantic Ave, Toronto ON M6K 1X9

The brainchild of siblings Jennifer and Christopher Italiano, Live Market is the grab-and-go offshoot of their popular Annex restaurant, Live Organic Food Bar. Instead of sitting at a table and salivating over other diners’ dishes while you wait for yours to come, you can grab a box lunch and dig in right away. If it’s your first time there, start off with the siblings’ namesake box, the Italiano, which comes with vegetables, greens, brown rice, Portobello mushrooms and sweet potatoes.

Rawlicious

8
116 Main N, Markham ON L3P 1Y1

The folks at this restaurant know that going raw is a big step for some people, so they’ve designed the menu so there’s truly something for everyone. If you’re a hard-core vegetarian, something like the All Green Goodness Salad (cucumber, green onion, avocado, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds) is the way to go, while more tentative eaters will be drawn to options like the Bolognese (zucchini noodles, tomato marinara, basil pesto, crumbled seasoned nut loaf) and cinnamon snowballs (almond, cinnamon, agave, coconut).

Just because you don't eat meat doesn't mean you can't eat a great burger. At these Victoria restaurants you'll find unique and delicious veggie burgers that may even convert the carnivores in your dining party.
Those who can’t have gluten can sometimes struggle to find good eats, but that’s rarely an issue in Victoria. Here, gluten-free cooking has been welcomed with open arms, and those who can’t have gluten can find a wide range of foods to enjoy. From fresh-baked treats to home-style pizzas, these restaurants offer all of the flavour, with none of the gluten.
Thirsty? Sure, you could reach for a sugary soda or lean on the caffeine crutch of coffee, but why not treat your body (and your taste buds) to something better? Packed with energy-enhancing nutrients and bursting with fresh flavours, a healthy jolt of juice may be the answer. Find it at one of these fine local juice bars.
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