Care of Christina Vani
I first heard of Grasshopper
when I saw various postings on social media that a “brand new vegan restaurant” was hiring servers. A loved one was looking for work in this area and subsequently applied, so my first impression of the place was through his eyes: the restaurant was cozy, bright, and positively bustling with people during the weekday lunch hour—and the restaurant had only just opened its doors. This definitely bodes well.
For a U of T student, I am painfully ignorant of the wallet-friendly but high-quality establishments that surround campus, since I typically eat at home before heading to the university. Grasshopper’s relatively recent opening has changed that, though. Just minutes from campus, on College between Bathurst and Spadina, Grasshopper, which qualifies itself as a “vegetarian restaurant with a focus on taste,” offers a delicious vegetarian spin on Vietnamese banh-mi (“chick-un” as well as pulled-pork) in addition to decadent vegan comfort foods that have begun cropping up on restaurant menus, vegan and non-vegan alike, across Toronto. These include chick-un nuggets (served with creamy barbecue or peanut sauces) as an appetizer, chili, quinoa mac ’n’ cheese, and a burger platter. Finally, diners can round out their meals with one of six vegan desserts, amongst which are a delightful blueberry cheesecake, refreshing fruit sorbet, and a cashew cookie.
Grasshopper’s menu is focused and varied just enough to please all palates and, as with most establishments who are in the vegan know, Daiya is used in many meals, such as the chick-un banh-mi. Their pulled-pork banh-mi is outstanding—and please take my word for it: I normally am all about vegan chicken, but after I tried my partner’s pulled-pork banh-mi the first time that I ate at Grasshopper, I was so completely enamoured of it that I had a one-track mind for that banh-marvellous bad boy on my second visit.
On a separate occasion (I’m guilty), they had run out of the chick-un nuggets (which is a testament to how tasty and popular they are!), so I opted for the beef and mushroom satay (served on a skewer with cremini mushrooms and bell peppers along with Chimichurri sauce) as an appetizer and I feigned no politeness at all when my dinner companion insisted that I finish the final skewer.
You can’t go wrong with any item on this menu—and it doesn’t hurt, either, that the restaurant offers 5% off orders over $15 for all TVA members! The service is friendly and personable, and the meals are abundant, flavourful, and made fresh to order, making every visit to Grasshopper a genuinely sweet and exquisite experience.