Location: 147 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, ON M5V 2L7
Price Range: $$
Fresh is a vegan friendly restaurant that strives to serve delicious and crave-able vegetarian dishes. Their food is made in-house from natural ingredients, and they also serve some dairy options on their menu. Luckily my friend were looking for a good vegetarian burger place and she invited me to go with her (and she understands I needed a place to do a blog review 😉 that’s how you know they are good friends LOL). I apologize in advance for bad photos, no picture inside the restaurant nor the menu. For some reason I felt really awkward taking photos on that day :(. Food bloggers, how do you get over this feeling D:!
Anyways, the restaurant is quite small so remember to make a reservation, as the wait can be 15-30 minutes. Although it was really busy (we came at 6PM!), the servers were really attentive and the food came out in a timely manner. In addition, the menu has a huge selection and you can check their online menu here. Please note, both of us are not vegetarian, so this review is from a meat-eaters perspective :D!
For drinks my friend ordered the Sweet Ginger Tea with green tea, raw ginger and maple syrup. I don’t like ginger so I didn’t taste this, but my friend enjoyed it and she had a sore throat coming, so this helped to calm her throat :). I ordered the gojiccino, which is a cappuccino-style beverage made from pure goji berries. I LOVE this drink. Surprisingly it doesn’t taste fruity. The taste is very unique: naturally sweet, taste like a mocha but with a herbal finish. Also, this drink is packed with antioxidant and is caffeine + gluten free. Apparently the gojiccino is a Canadian-brand, so I’m really interested in how to make it at home or work now :).
The portion was huge! I enjoyed this dish but unfortunately I couldn’t taste the cheese. For me the cheese curds are a big part of poutine, but again this is a pure vegetarian poutine, so I can look past that. The fries were thick and I believe they were baked, but I wished they were a bit more crispy though.The gravy is made from smoked mushrooms and it was not too heavy, quite light and very smooth.
This was my friend’s dish and omg, I regret not ordering the onion rings as starter. She let me try the onion rings and they were so good. The onion rings were well cut, not like the skinny pitiful stringy type of onion rings. They were coated with puffed quinoa batter and fried (or baked?), really crispy and delicious! I didn’t get to try the burger but my friend loved it.
I got the Buddha Fresh Bowl with soba noodle as it was a popular choice from Yelp reviews. Boy, was I disappointed.. Luckily I chose the baby size too, as the normal size would have costed me $17. The tofu steaks tasted like cooked meat. The marinade for this dish was on point and it was cooked to perfection. The peanut sauce overpowers the ingredients and made the dish really heavy. I suppose the fresh vegetables (tomato, cucumber, bean sprouts) were supposed to cut down the heaviness of the dish, but it did little to nothing. My friend tried it and she agreed that the dish was really heavy as well. Furthermore, the soba noodles were overcooked and turned soggy. In my opinion, the soba noodles should be cooked, rinsed and served cold for this dish to work. Because the noodles were hot and sat at the bottom of the bowl, the noodles continued cooking, while soaking the peanut sauce, which made the noodles soggy. I ended up eating the tofu steaks and picked pieces of vegetables to eat lol…
Overall, while my experience wasn’t good, I would come back and try other dishes. If you don’t know what to order, I recommend ordering the burgers and quinoa onion rings. I say stay away from the fresh bowls with soba noodle and order rice instead (I know soba noodle is healthier but I don’t like soggy noodles). Although these are vegetarian dishes, they really fill you up and most dishes were tasty while remained nutritious :).