Musings from Carly: Veg Directory Assistant 2013.

As the 2013 Summerlicious season begins, vegetarians, vegans, gluten-freegans, and others will begin surveying menus for delicious dishes that meet their dietary needs. Even a quick glance at the selection and we realize that the days of a variety of creative and delicious omnivore options alongside bland and mundane vegetarian salads and pastas are over, not that we don’t love a good salad or pasta. Today’s vegetarian and vegan options are vast, innovative, and mouth-watering. And Summerlicious has brought some of the best creations together in countless three course prix-fixe menus.

TVA is here to help make your Summerlicious decisions easier by narrowing in on the best options, or harder by pointing to more and more delicious veg meals. Here’s our top 5 restaurants that feature 3 courses of tempting and original vegan options.

summerlicious1It is exciting to see a Vegan category on the Summerlicious website to narrow the options. The one and only restaurant listed: Prime at the Windsor Arms Hotel (18 St. Thomas St. 416-971-9666). The lunch menu features a tabbouleh salad, corn tempeh steak with sweet potato mash, and vegan truffles to finish off a likely impressive meal. The dinner menu offers beet carpaccio with watercress and hemp seeds, a main dish of stir fried bok choy and tempeh, and that oh-so-tempting vegan truffle dessert. These creations extend beyond what Grandma and Grandpa would serve to the newest veg family member and offer creativity and flavour without the need for animal products.

While Prime is the only restaurant on the Vegan options list, plenty of other locations are featuring impressive vegan selections. The Annex houses Southern Accent Restaurant (595 Markham St. 416-536-3211), which features a vegan chilled gaspacho, a vegan creole lasagne, and finishes with vegan sorbet or fruit.

A few restaurants downtown also offer a vegan option for each the appetizer, main, and dessert. Marcel’s Bistro (315 Kind St. W. 416-591-8600) tempts lunch-goers with vegan chilled carrot and lemon soup, risotto with market-fresh vegetables, and vegan sorbet. At dinnertime, vegan chilled cantaloupe and honeydew soup and stuffed zucchini and red peppers with coriander pesto will satisfy vegan appetites.

At Ocho Hotel (195 Spadina Ave. 416-593-0885) vegans and friends can start with asparagus and leek soup, enjoy sundried tomato risotto cakes, and finish with a selection of vegan sorbets.

appetizer

Off to the entertainment district, and you’ll find King Street Social at the Hyatt Regency Toronto (370 King St. W. 416-595-2524). Their vegan dinner appetizer is dressed in lemon mint vinaigrette, their main bursts flavours of white truffles, peas, arugula, and black olives on gnocchi, and the meal ends with fresh berries on vegan mango sorbet. I’m impressed and excited already, and these are only some of the options!

These creative and delicious vegan options make my mouth water in anticipation of my own Summerlicious experiences, my head dizzy from so many intriguing choices, my wallet nervous for the number of restaurants I’ll visit, and my heart warm at the growing vegan prominence in the city. Not only are vegan options clearly labelled and veg options popping up on many and most menus, but the vegan options created for Summerlicious this year are novel, appealing, and definitely delicious!

Stay tuned for exciting vegetarian and more vegan Summerlicious 2013 options! And check out the Summerlicious page for a complete listing of participating restaurants and all the details here!