At one time, getting together with friends for a leisurely weekend brunch, as a vegan, meant you were probably going to be eating orange juice and possibly a salad for breakfast, but Toronto’s food scene is evolving rapidly and there’s now no shortage of plant based brunch and breakfast options in the city.
Kupfert and Kim (Various Locations)
Kupfert and Kim has been rapidly expanding over the last few years and now has eight locations in Toronto! The popularity of this wheatless and meatless quick service restaurant is not suprising. This is hands down some of the best vegan food around. Their plant-based meals are nutritious, delicious and filling – all for a reasonable cost. The menus may vary between locations and they all have a few breakfast options, like one of personal favourites, the Breakfast Bowl, but the Yorkville location has a more substantial and dedicated brunch menu that includes a Benny and a Tempeh Chorizo Waffle.
Fresh (Various Locations)
One of Toronto’s most prominent, well known and beloved vegan restaurants, Fresh has been delivering premium plant-based meals since 1999 and played a significant role in popularizing vegetarian cuisine in the city. Their influence can be seen in many of the vegan restaurants that have followed. They re-branded in the last few years, and even expanded to the U.S. with a new location in Los Angeles. While the re-brand certainly came with a price increase, they’ve also upped the quality and creativity of their food – their portion sizes are also fairly substantial. Their popular weekend brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays 10:30am to 3pm.
Hogtown Vegan (1056 Bloor Street West, 382 College Street)
Hogtown Vegan is one of the staples of the Toronto vegan scene. Vegans and non-vegans alike can enjoy Hogtown’s plant-based take on classic southern comfort foods. Their brunch menu includes such decadent breakfast staples as Tofu Rancheros, Eggs Benny, Unchicken and Waffles, and of course Pancakes. And what brunch is complete without a boozy drink or two? For a real treat try the Boozy Iced Coffee, made with Whisky, Kahlua, cold brew coffee, oat milk, chocolate sauce, and whipped coconut cream.
Karine’s (109 McCaul Street)
What more can be said of local legend Karine’s? Tucked away in an otherwise unnotable downtown food court, Karine’s menu has all the standard breakfast options, but these are not your typical hum-drum offerings – each item on the menu is complimented with eclectic and creative flourishes (can’t get enough of that Bomba!) and you’ll be hard pressed to find more colourful plating elsewhere in the city. I’d love to know who their fruit supplier is because regardless of the season they always seem to have incredible fresh and delicious fruit. Maggie, who helms this family run business, never forgets a face, and greets every diner with the same warm enthusiasm – it makes you feel like you’re visiting an old friend, even if it’s your first time.
Hello 123 (1122 Queen Street West)
This upbeat, warm and inviting Queen West hotspot is both bar and cafe. With super friendly service and innovative menu items it’s not surprising that weekend brunch seatings fill up fast. The restaurant also doesn’t have a large amount of seating, but the close quarters is part of the charm and the space is filled with enticing aromas from the nearby kitchen and hard at work baristas churning out matcha lattes. Brunch items include a chickpea omelet, a coconut yogurt parfait and one of personal favorites, The Benny, Benny – you gotta love that kale and tofu ricotta!
Il Fornello (576 Danforth Ave.)
Il Fornello, despite specializing in the often meat centric Italian cuisine, have been strong advocates for vegan inclusivity. Not only did they expand their pizza and pasta menu to include plant based options, their Danforth location also offers a vegan brunch. They’ve really gone that extra mile in developing their menu and even brought in vegan chef, Margie Cook, as a culinary consultant. They are also one of the few restaurants that serve brunch everyday so you don’t have to wait until the weekend to get your fill of their veganized Eggs Venny.
Globally Local (492 College Street West)
Globally Local opened its first franchise in London, Ontario in 2016 to great acclaim from the vegan community and then finally made its way to Toronto last year, with a new location in Little Italy. Their format is simple – all your fast food favourites veganized but still at the accessible and affordable fast food prices. It is most definitely fast food, and with their automated ordering system you’ll receive your meal in mere minutes, but it is also genuinely delicious food and flooded with rich flavours. Their all-day breakfast menu consists mostly of breakfast sandwiches, like the Bacun Maple Crunch and the Venedict, but there is also a Chia French Toast and of course Hash Browns galore!
Cafe Landwer (165 University Ave.)
The legacy of Landwer coffee extends all the way back to 1919, when Moshe Landwer first established a coffee bar and a roasting facility in Berlin. When the Nazi’s came to power, the Landwer family and business moved to Tel Aviv, where they would go on to establish 60 locations in Israel and eventually extending the franchise all the way to Toronto. The University Avenue location is a bright, energetic spot that is constantly abuzz morning, noon and night. They serve a remarkable amount of vegan options, including several plant based breakfast items.
Heart Clean Eats (113 Fort York Blvd)
Heart Clean Eats is a welcome addition to the condo conglomerate neighbourhood known as City Place. This eatery serves all day breakfast, power bowls, salads, wraps and smoothies in a bright and spacious ground floor unit. While their menu is not entirely vegan, plant based foods are at the core of their cuisine. Their Brekkie Bowl is one of my favourites and is chocked full of good stuff. If you’re looking for something a bit lighter to start your day, their smoothies are a tasty, creamy delight.
Copenhagen Vegan Cafe (1312 Queen St. West)
Baked goods have always been an pivotal part of the brunch and breakfast experience so it perhaps no surprise that arguably the two best vegan brunches in Toronto are to be had at bakeries. Copenhagen Vegan Bakery, part of the Parkdale conglomeration of vegan business, awkwardly known as Vegandale, specializes in Danish pastries and other marvelous sweets, but are no less skilled at the savory side of things. Their brunch menu, served from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sundays, has benedicts, biscuits, waffles and more, and will leave you feeling fully Hygge.
Bloomers (873 Bloor Street West)
I still remember my first taste of Bloomers’ baked goods at the Vegetarian Food Festival several years ago. When they opened their Bloor Street location, conveniently located down the street from my apartment at the time, I was thrilled and it became a regular and much anticipated stop on my way home. But as they further expanded their menu with lunch, and then brunch, options, Bloomers has also become one of the best restaurants in the city. Brunch is served from 10am to 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays and you really can’t go wrong no matter what you order, but don’t forget to stock up on all your favourite donuts and cookies before you go!
Copper Branch (Various locations)
Like many great Canadian things, Copper Branch was born in Montreal, and has gradually been spreading its wings and expanding into other provinces and now even to Europe. Much of their menu could be enjoyed as breakfast – I’ve started many a morning in Montreal with one of the Power Bowls – but they also have an all-day breakfast menu that includes more classic options like waffles and and a tofu scramble. This is without a doubt some of the finest vegan food around!
Odin Cafe + Bar (514 King Street East)
The Corktown cafe and bar made waves when it first opened in 2015 with a sleek, and highly instragammable Scandinavian influenced interior. It was never particularly vegan-friendly, but then in October Odin made the surprise announcement that they were going completely plant based! They’ve partnered with a few different local bakeries like Tori’s Bakeshop, Donut Monster and Bunners for some of their baked goods, but they also have their own in-house selection. They have a good selection of options to start your morning, and the breakfast sandwiches are pure vegan magic. When I walk in on a Saturday morning around 10am, it’s still pretty empty and as much I don’t want to spoil the gentle quiet and calm of this spectacular spot, I have to recommend that you all should be flocking to this new vegan haven.
LOV (620 King Street West)
This trendy Montreal restaurant chain recently expanded into Toronto with a spacious, light-filled and beautifully designed space in the high profile King West neighbourhood. The area is not exactly vegan friendly so to have a completely plant based restaurant open along the high profile restaurant strip is definitely a sign of progress in the city. The food is beautiful without being pretentious and much more reasonably priced than a lot of restaurants of this caliber, and the service is great.
Rosalinda (133 Richmond Street West)
A vibrant, luxurious and beautifully designed space, tucked away in the otherwise very brutalist Richmond Street corridor, Rosalinda serves authentic Mexican cuisines with one significant distinction – it’s all vegan. Amidst all the many plants and warm hued palette of the interior, one could hardly tell that it’s winter outside. The food, of course, is fantastic and while there’s been some rumblings about portion sizes, I certainly left feeling full after my mushroom and sweet potato enchiladas and kale smoothie. Other brunch options include breakfast tacos, jackfruit sope, and french toast.