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Food Near Campus

The Best Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants near UTSG

Photo Credit: Blog TO

Katie Minacs, The Mike Contributor

It’s hard to find good places to eat when you have certain dietary restrictions, but The Mike has you covered with these restaurant recommendations! The following are the best places to eat if you’re vegan or vegetarian. 

Planta, Yorkville 

Planta is an experience. Not only is the restaurant beautiful and of an impressive size — I’ve found most vegan places are usually quite small — but the food unique. Planta offers its own style of cuisine, based on fresh veggies and fruits. Like many vegan places, it offers imitations of classics, such as pizza and lasagna, but as a jumping off point for further innovation and originality. I love how Planta doesn’t try to completely imitate non-vegan dishes; the food you eat is inventive and gourmet. The menu offers a large variety, including salads, appetizers, snacks, pizzas, pastas, veggie burgers, and sides, among other dishes. The pizzas are pretty amazing — especially the “Italian Job” and the “Buffalo Cauliflower.” The “Planta Burger” is great as well. The price range is more on the expensive side; you can expect to pay anywhere between $19 and $25 for a main dish, and between $10 and $13 for an appetizer. However, it’s worth coming here at least once in order to experience a high-quality vegan dining experience. 

Copper Branch, Multiple Locations 

Every vegan should try this place just for the chicken wings. You almost can’t believe that what you’re eating is plant-based and not from an animal. The texture of Copper Branch’s “meat” is absolutely perfect and super tender, different from any other veg options that I’ve tried. What’s great is that the food here is high quality. The dishes — which range from rice bowls, burgers, sandwiches, soups, and more — are healthier than what most vegan restaurants offer. Copper Branch is more  concerned with having fresh ingredients rather than deep-frying and boiling food. The price is somewhere in the middle between expensive and cheap with the main dishes usually ranging between $13 to $15. Additionally, the atmosphere is laid back but still nice as you order at the counter and the food is brought to your table. Be sure to try the chicken wings with ranch sauce and the General Tsao rice bowl. 

The Hogtown Vegan, Multiple Locations 

If you’re looking to indulge in some vegan comfort food, The Hogtown Vegan is the perfect place for you. I love this place because it’s unapologetically unhealthy, setting it apart from the multitude of the many trendy vegan spots around Toronto. The menu offers options such as (vegan) wings, chicken fingers, chicken and waffles, sandwiches, omelets, and more. Salads are also included on the menu, though I wouldn’t recommend coming here for just salad. My favourites are the Southern Combo, where you basically get a variety of the main dishes in one plate, and Unchicken & Waffles. The price is about the same as Copper Branch, as main dishes are usually between $13 and $15. The menu tries to emulate southern soul food, so a lot of the options are usually fried and rather heavy. However, it’s worth trying. We all need to let ourselves relax once in a while and treat ourselves, and Hogtown Vegan is perfect for this. 

Freshii, Multiple Locations 

Everyone knows Freshii, the super trendy healthy easy dining place which offers rice bowls, burritos, salads, and more. This is more of a fast food place with healthier options that are mostly vegan friendly. In my opinion, there’s nothing too special about Freshii, but it’s a good fix for whenever you’re in a rush but looking for high-quality fast food. This means the price is more manageable (bowls usually range from $8 to $10). The Teriyaki Twist and Buddha’s Satay rice bowls are my favourite! 

Tim Hortons, Multiple Locations 

Tims is not a vegan restaurant by any means, but it does have some vegan and vegetarian friendly options on its menu which I find quite exciting. Try the Beyond Meat Burger and the Beyond Meat Breakfast Sandwich, as well as the potato wedges if you’re ever in need of a quick snack which isn’t super expensive.