I recently traveled to Toronto on an overnight business trip and decided to ask around for vegan restaurant recommendations beforehand. Was surprised to find out that there aren’t that many 100% vegan restaurants in Toronto. Further investigation revealed Grasslands, on Queen West and now I’m the one who can make a recommendation.
My travel companion was a good sport and agreed to try a 100% vegan dinner. Since he was also paying, this was clearly a win-win for me. I searched Yelp and found Grasslands to be well-reviewed and worth a visit so it was the top choice to see if we could locate it immediately upon our arrival. Driving straight into the city, we parked a few blocks from the address and walked down Queen West until we located Grasslands (the name and interior was recently changed but the owner remains the same), in spite of the fact I’m not even sure if the name was over the door. It is a dimly lit, long restaurant and bar with plenty of seating and a cozy atmosphere. The man behind the bar quickly seated us and soon became our server. Also a vegan, who used to live in NY, we all ended up taking about the lack of vegan restaurants in Toronto and how lucky we are to have NYC within driving distance.
We ordered appetizers and entrees and the food came out quickly, was generously portioned and was … delicious. If all restaurants followed the lead of Grasslands in food quality and presentation, all restaurants would go vegan. There were no flavors or textures lacking in my polenta app with a bed of greens and sauteed mushrooms. My dinner of gluten-free rigatoni was alive with flavor and I wished it never ended. Meanwhile, my travel partner’s sobi noodle and greens appetizer was well-received and the main dish (mustard crusted tempeh with maple mash, Chinese broccoli and seasonal vegetables, shown here) was as robust and delicious as any dish in any restaurant. C’mon … it had gravy and potatoes.
Toronto is a five hour drive for us but the energy of the city and another chance to try something new at Grasslands makes me want to return soon. If there were five stars available, I’d give Grasslands five stars.
PHOTO: Caroline Aksich from PostCity.com