Musings from Carly: Veg Directory Assistant 2013.

As promised, TVA is bringing you news of delightful vegetarian Summerlicious hot spots. With even more options to choose from than your vegan peers, I suspect Toronto’s vegetarians and friends will keep themselves feasting. This year’s line-up of vegetarian friendly restaurants is vast and equally as tempting as years gone by. Here’s TVA’s top 8 picks of Summerlicious menus with 3 delicious courses of vegetarian options.

93 Harbord (93 Harbord St. 416-922-5914) gives hungry vegetarians a number of choices during the dinner rush. Appetizers include quinoa tabouleh or roasted eggplant. Chermula eggplant follows, and dessert includes coconut and citrus cake with rosewater, chocolate banana baklava, or fresh fruit. I applaud those with enough self-control to select the fruit, with such creative and slightly more sugary counterparts available!

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On the Danforth, Globe Bistro (124 Danforth Ave. 416-466-2000) offers orecchiette pasta with northern woods mushrooms, confit garlic, and Ontario stilton or the very impressive vegetarian ceviche with local quinoa and crispy chickpeas. For dessert, all three options are both local and vegetarian, including the lavender white chocolate pudding with peaches! It’s exciting to see so many vegetarian options on one menu and imagine the countless vegetarians and omnivores sure to enjoy the vegetarian fare.

Downtown, Trevor Kitchen and Bar (38 Wellington St. E. 416-941-9410) serves up a plethora of veg appetizers including local macaroni & asiago cheese or a roquette salad with herb & honey vinaigrette, followed by a tempura tofu main with honey mushrooms, Chinese broccoli and tofu bacon. To finish off, lucky vegetarians can enjoy a selection of sweets and treats, including a dark chocolate & caramel torte with peanut butter chantilly. As a former Trevor Kitchen and Bar Summerlicious customer, I can guarantee an exciting and enjoyable experience for your tastebuds and happily report 3 courses of also vegan-friendly options.

With the happy name of Joy Bistro (884 Queen St. E. 416-465-8855), this Beaches restaurant makes vegetarian customers joyous with an innovative roasted asparagus, pink grapefruit, and corn salad. Lunch-goers can enjoy a grilled flax seed pizza with roasted artichoke spread, while dinnertime diners can taste wok seared eggplant with five spice tofu. Finally, berry crumble with candied ginger will make both vegetarians and omnivores smile.

For a Mexican vegetarian experience visit Frida Restaurant (999 Eglinton Ave. W. 416-787-2221) where mushroom and cheese empanadas, grilled enchiladas, chipotle quesadillas, and stuffed poblano peppers dazzle the menu. Ask before ordering the desserts, as they are not actually labelled vegetarian, though we’re certainly hoping the churros with blueberry coulis are!

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Yorkville impresses vegetarian foodies with three vegetarian Summerlicious hot spots! With almost exclusively local fare, earth Rosedale (1055 Yonge St. 416-551-9890) offers tomato salad enhanced with smoked paprika aioli and queso fresco. Choose between a germelli pasta with peas, walnuts, and mint basil pesto or a summer vegetarian cobb salad featuring quinoa, corn, and avocado puree for your main, and finish with pistachio custard, strawberry shortcake, or a chocolate ganache ice cream sandwich. Next up, ONE Restaurant (116 Yorkville Ave. 416-962-9090) excites Summerlicious-ites with sweet corn soup, house made ricotta gnocchi, and three tempting vegetarian desserts, including white cake with the summer-inspired flavours of coconut cream and lime curd. Last but not least, Sassafraz (100 Cumberland St. 416-964-2222) jazzes up vegetarian food with watercress and rocket salad with cumin cashews and rhubarb citrus vinaigrette, and Ontario asparagus and green pea risotto. Two vegetarian desserts provide a finishing sweetness, or get a kick from the vegetarian Gotham City cheese plate.

It wasn’t long ago that vegetarian socialites and foodies had to flag a waiter down to ask if there was hidden chicken stock in the pastas or soups, if the bacon could please be removed from the salad, or if there was, in fact, a vegetarian option. Today, Summerlicious and many restaurants around the city bring you inspired and delicious vegetarian choices ever so thoughtfully distinguished. It is a good time to be a vegetarian in Toronto.