Ah smoothies! When you’re feeling a bit worn out and undernourished, and craving some quick nutrients, nothing quite hits the spot like a hearty smoothie. And they make for a richly satisfying and healthy meal – the good ones anyway – when you’re in a hurry or just don’t feel like preparing food.
Since smoothies have made the successful leap from being a fleeting food trend to a permanent fixture in our culinary routines, it seems like nearly every new hot restaurant, cafe and bar is offering some sort of take on the blended beverage. Sorting through them all to find the best of the best was a daunting- albeit delicious – challenge, but I did it – well, kind of. I won’t pretend this list is comprehensive. There are probably many more options out there waiting to be tried, but this, I think, is a pretty good beginners guide to Toronto’s Best Vegan Smoothies.
Plant Lyfe (998 Queen Street East)
Plant Lyfe is a new plant-based cafe in the trendy east end neighbourhood of Leslieville. It also doubles as a mediation studio that offers a variety of interesting wellness classness and experiences. They have an extensive menu of both food, baked goods and drinks, including eight different kinds of smoothies. My personal favourite is the Choco-split – a mix of banana, cacao, almond butter, hemp hearts, dates, cinnamon, and almond mylk. Don’t forget to grab a croissant while you here!
Fresh (various locations)
In the past few years, Toronto’s iconic vegetarian (now fully vegan) restaurant has really been hitting a new stride and seems to be constantly expanded. There are now a few locations in the east end, including a new one in Greektown, my favourite neighbourhood. The expansion, and rebranding a few years ago, has come at a price though, literally. The food here is a bit expensive, some might say overpriced. The smoothies, however, are more or less than same price as most other places on this list. They have four different smoothie options, but it’s the strawberry swirl ( strawberry, coconut milk, banana, cold pressed organic apple) that really does it for me.
Kupfert and Kim (various locations)
Another restaurant chain that has really taken off is Kupfert and Kim. They have eight locations around Toronto now, including some notorious vegan restaurant deserts (the waterfront, Yonge and Eglinton). Smoothies are a natural fit with their gluten free, plant based, health-conscious offerings. They have five different options. I really like the Acai smoothie (organic açaí, organic banana, organic strawberries, coconut milk), but if you’re looking for something a bit fierier, try the Green Smoothie – the ginger really gives it some kick.
The Goods (279 Ronscevalles)
The Goods is a take-out and delivery business in the West End that sells meal kits, prepared foods and pantry items. Their focus is on organic, health conscious and nourishing foods. They have a few smoothie options, which may be different depending on the season, but the popular Gateway( organic kale, spinach, lemon, apple, pear & hemp) is one of their permanent items. It should also be noted that these are more juice-like than smoothies – still delicious of course, but more on the juice side.
Nutbar (various locations)
Nutbar is a superfood cafe with three locations in Toronto, with its most well-known location being housed in the trendy and upscale downtown gym, Sweat + Tonic. Any cafe that emphasis superfoods is bound to have a selection of smoothies, and Nutbar is no exception. Though they are bit pricier than the average, the ingredients are high-quality. There are four options available: vanilla, chocolate (my favourite), super recovery and green. They also have some add-ons if you want to boost your smoothie a bit. Nutbar is vegan except for the use of honey and bee pollen in some items.
The Big Carrot Juice Bar (348 Danforth)
Part of the Carrot Commons, the popular neighbourhood market on the Danforth, this juice bar serves coffee, fresh pressed juices and shots, and of course smoothies. They use some unique flavours and ingredients like Blue Magik (spirulina), chaga mushroom, and lotus pollen. The juice bar is not fully vegan. Most of the smoothies are, but the Keto Power one contains whey. Carrot Commons is a co-op, so the employees own the business, and share in the profits.
Copper Branch (various)
Copper Branch remains one of the best vegan restaurants in Toronto and deserves more attention for their delicious and innovative fast casual food. Fortunately, they continue to expand and their new location, in the Canary District, is a much-needed addition to an area of the city that is not that very vegan friendly. They have four different options for smoothies. I’ve tried them all and can confidently say you can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose. If I had to choose a favourite, it would probably be the Gandhi, a tasty and healthy mix of Spinach, turmeric, pineapple, banana, ginger, lime, and orange juice.
Daily Press Juicery (200 Queen Street West)
Daily Press Juicery’s Queen West shopfront may seem inconspicuous to the uninitiated, but they’ve been around for quite a while and are a well-known mainstay in the busy downtown strip. They are, as the name suggests, primarily a juicer, and have a variety of cleanses, booster shots, and cold pressed juices but also sell coffee and smoothies. While Daily Press Juicery is not entirely vegan (they sell some pastries and sandwiches that contain animal products) all the smoothies are, and many are blending using their own in-house made mylk.
POP Health Bar (67 Portand Street)
Pop Health’s location is a bit obscure – it’s tucked away discretely in the lower level of a building on Portland Street – but it’s well known hotspot in the densely populated, condo laden neighbourhood and it’s not unusual to see people wandering around the entertainment district with drinks bearing the distinctive POP logo. Given its proximity to many night clubs and bars, it’s popularity as the place go for healthy, morning after, hang-over treatments makes sense. They even have a smoothie called, the morning after the club (Mango, Spinach, Ginger, Coconut Water, Spirulina, Banana, Mint, Honey, Matcha & Almond Milk). You can also get exotic add-ons like Ashwagandha, Lion’s Mane, and Lucuma. The smoothies are almost all vegan (except for honey) but some of the add-ons are not (bee pollen, ghee).
Refuel Juicery (220 Yonge St H029A)
Refuel Juicery is a chain and has a few locations in Toronto, but the one in the Eaton’s Centre is the most central. The Eaton’s Centre is mostly a tourist attraction, and I, like many Torontonians, do everything in their power to avoid going there. Even the food options are subar and poor for vegans especially since Urban Herbivore left, but Refuel Juicery is the exception, and even I will venture into the belly of the beast occasionally for a nice Choco Maca Smoothie (cocoa, maca, cashews, dates, almonds). With eleven smoothie options, and nine different add-ons, this is one of the more extensive smoothie menus on this list.
Urban Herbivore (64 Oxford Street)
Urban Herbivore was one of the restaurants that helped initiate me into veganism and showed me that plant-based meals can be than more than just salads. I will always have a special fondness for them. Their menu is extensive, with a wide array sandwiches, custom salad bowls, soups, burgers, snacks, pastries and smoothies. There are five different smoothie options, but for me it’s the Pina Coolada smoothie that really hits the spot on a warm summer day.
Impact Kitchen (Various Locations)
Impact Kitchen is a health focused, mostly keto targeted, chain that has five different locations around the city. While they are decidedly not vegan and couldn’t really even be described as overly vegan friendly given their emphasis on popular keto ingredients like bone broth, butter, and eggs, they do have a few plant based options on their menu, like a vegan Caesar salad. They also have five different smoothie options, all of which are vegan (and clearly marked as such). The Restore (blueberries, raspberries, banana, maca, coconut flakes, almond butter, almond milk, water) is my favourite.
Greenhouse Juice (Various locations)
Greenhouse Juice started from a modest storefront on MacPherson Avenue and has since grown into one of Toronto’s most recognizable beverage brands, with seven different locations in the city, and a widely distributed product line. While they are more well-known for their bottled drinks some of their storefronts also have a small fresh food menu that includes superfood smoothies. Check their website for services offered at each location.
Imperfect Fresh Eats (Various Locations)
Imperfect Fresh Eats is based around a innovative, sustainable and sensible concept. In effort to deliver healthy food at an accessible cost, Imperfect uses imperfect produce that would otherwise go to waste. Not only does this help keep costs low for their customers, it gives badly needed income to farmers, who might otherwise have to write the produce off as a loss. They have a growing number of locations around Toronto, and their menu includes an impressive thirteen different kinds of smoothies.
Snacc’s x Bolt/Bolt Fresh Bar (1170 Queen St West)
Snacc’s x Bolt, also sometimes known as Bolt Fresh Bar, is popular and friendly grab and go snack bar located in the heart of Queen West. I don’t think they have any plant-based options in the food menu, but their smoothies are vegan friendly. Flavours may change from time to time, so make sure to double-check it is in fact vegan before ordering. The Chocolate Thunder (coconut milk, Chocosol chocolate, peanuts, banana, cacao, chia seeds, maple syrup, sea salt) is a classic!
The Organic Press (257 Augusta Ave)
I saved the best for last. In my opinion, The Organic Press has the best smoothies in all of Toronto. While they are chocked full of healthy, super-fresh ingredients, the flavours are so well-balanced, and the texture so creamy that it’s more like eating a rich and decadent dessert. Their cozy storefront in Kensington Market is also like a mini oasis, overflowing with plants and sunlight (they also sell plants). There’s really no wrong thing to order here, but if I had to pick a favourite it would probably be the Morning Glory (banana, maca, almond butter, granola, coffee).