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The days when a vegetarian had few menu options other than a limp iceberg salad are past. Today meatless options in Toronto abound, and vegetarian restaurants are increasingly creative and delicious.
Fresh by Juice for Life. The continental fare from Asian Buddha bowl to Middle Eastern starter plate, and great selection of energy elixirs and smart drinks at Fresh by Juice for Life will make meat look boring. 326 Bloor St. W, The Annex, Toronto, ON, M5S 1W5. 416/531-2635. www.freshrestaurants.ca. 416/599-4442. www.freshrestaurants.ca.
Fressen. Queen Street West has always been ahead of the curve, and there have been vegetarian restaurants there for years. These days, the best is Fressen, where diners can remain true to their vegan souls. Tofu with an exotic turn and exceptionally tasty pasta dishes appeal even to carnivores. 478 Queen St. W, Toronto, ON, M5T 1P1. 416/504-5127. www.fressenrestaurant.com.
Full Moon Vegetarian. Another herbivore option is Full Moon Vegetarian, offering delicious faux meaty dishes such as lemon "chicken" and stir-fried "beef" made with bean curd and texturized vegetable protein. 638 Dundas St. W, Chinatown, Toronto, ON, M5T 1H8. 416/213-1210. Closed Wed.
Kings Café. In Kensington Market, Kings Café is spacious and open. This Chinese vegetarian- and health-oriented center of calm in the bustling market offers vegan delights like mushroom, cabbage, and ginger dumplings, and eggplant and broccoli stir-fry. Hot ginger tea is a must. Pick up some quality tea leaves in the little shop inside the restaurant. 192 Augusta Ave., Toronto, ON, M5T 2L6. 416/591-1340. www.kingscafe.com. No credit cards.
Live Organic Food Bar. If you want to try something completely different, check out "live food" at Live Organic Food Bar. The unique vegetarian dishes are completely raw and free of dairy, wheat, and preservatives. Try the lasagna of zucchini layered with cashew ricotta; the buckwheat pizza with guacamole, tomatoes, and olives; and the butterscotch hemp mousse. Choose from a good selection of organic wines, cocktails, and beer to go with the meal. 264 Dupont St., at Spadina Ave., The Annex, Toronto, ON, M5R 1V7. 416/515-2002. www.livefoodbar.com. No credit cards. Closed Sun. and Mon.
Udupi Palace. If you visit the India Bazaar area, dine on authentic south Indian dosas (pancakes) at Udupi Palace. Paper-thin, and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, they are stuffed with potato, onions, mustard seeds, and lentils. The mild spicing will appeal to all ages. Soups are loaded with veggies and sing of coconut and coriander. It's gently priced, with complete dinners for C$12 per person. 1460 Gerrard St. E, Toronto, ON, M4L 2A3. 416/405-8138. www.udupipalace.ca.
Urban Herbivore. At Urban Herbivore, in an old house with an exposed-brick open kitchen, sit on stools at high tables and try rustic daily soups or design your own salads and sandwiches on house-made flax bread. 64 Oxford St., Kensington Market, Toronto, ON, M5T 1P1. 416/927-1231. www.fressenrestaurant.com.
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