It’s easy to eat a plant-based diet in Canada’s capital of cool, Toronto, but the Fresh chain takes vegan eating to the next level.

Fresh has five innovative vegan cafés across the city, each offering a massive selection of plant-powered dishes: from mouth-watering burritos and burgers; to innovative salads and tacos.

Fresh began twenty years ago, with a mission to prove that a plant-powered diet could be undeniably satisfying, energising and delicious.

From our experience at the Spadina branch, it still takes its mission statement seriously.

The setting

Set on one of Toronto’s main arteries, Spadina, the café is close to the junction of Queen Street West with its cool shops. It’s across the street from instagram magnet Graffiti Alley and hip Kensington Market is a 10 minute walk away.

The space

Fresh has a fenced off outdoor seating terrace with plants which is good for people watching. Inside, there’s a large, light dining area with oversized lamps and hip wallpaper complementing the pale wooden tables and floor. You can also sit on stools at the long, black and white tiled bar. It has an elegant, relaxed vibe.

What else?

There are four more branches on Bloor, Eglington, Front and Crawford.

Fresh also do take-aways and have a regular and GF menu and free WiFi. The staff are amazingly helpful.

 

The fresh juice test

As you enter Fresh, you can’t miss the juice selection. The fridge is stacked with rainbow coloured options in large, recyclable glass bottles. Each one contains 3 lbs or 10 servings of fruit and veg. Plus there’s power shakes, smoothies and kombucha cocktails.

We decided to review the Vitamin C elixir – a beta carotene boost balanced by spicy sweet citrus carrot, orange, lemon, apple and cayenne.

It was one of the best juices we’ve ever had – fresh, not too sweet and with a welcome kick of spice. Next, we tried the Passionfruit Schizandra. It was a mix of cold pressed organic lemon, sparkling mineral water and craft ginger kombucha. It was refreshing and tasty. Schizandra is an adaptogenic berry which boasts anti-inflammatory properties.

What we ate

The menu at Fresh is extensive. We decided to review the salads and weren’t disappointed. We ordered the Farro and Feta. The salad was a combo of marinated farro (an ancient grain), baby arugula, seeds, vegan feta, chick peas, tomatoes, red onions, cucumber and red pepper with a bold lemon dressing. The texture was perfect and it was very filling.

Next, the Supergreen Caesar which was packed with greens, mixed lettuce, tempeh bacon, edamame, scallions, cucumber, sun-dried tomato and sunflower nori gomashio .

It was topped off with a tahini caesar dressing which was a stroke of genius taste-wise.

We added  some perfectly crispy tofu cubes from the large selection of add ons. The portions are large and the staff offer doggy bags if you can’t finish. For desert, we got a take-away Strawberry Swirl smoothie. It was a layered, icy  combo of strawberries, coconut milk and banana.

What we’ll be back for…

Fresh also has an enticing brunch menu of pancakes, platters and waffles. We need to try them all.

The bill

Vitamin C elixir  $11
Passionfruit schizandra  $9
Farro and feta  $17
Supergreen caesar $16
crispy tofu + $4
Strawberry swirl  $9

Fresh

147 Spadina Ave
Toronto
ON M5V 2L7

+1 416-599-4442
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