Top 5 Restaurants for Vegans in Oakville and Burlington
So my grandfather in Bombay never ate anything which came from an animal — it turns out he was all about that plant life eons before it became trendy (and Oakville and Burlington restos are clearly winning when it comes to the ‘forks over knives’ game!). The cranky old guy who runs my gym is vegan. So’s my brother, who’s significantly younger and throws down in the kitchen like a certified G. Our dad enjoys telling random people (including servers at restaurants) that two of his three children have taken after his father. Since I’m on that #gymlife and it’s in my bloodline, I’ve embraced eliminating meat and dairy - when possible - but still enjoy an Angus burger and fries on a cheat day. Does this technically make me a meat-eating vegetarian, or flexitarian? Who knows, and who cares! I’m not one for labels and just love great food … end rant. Here are the top 5 vegan places in Oakville and Burlington.
The good folks at Boon Burger prove you don't necessarily need meat to create a phenomenally satisfying meal. Their Cowboy burger is the topseller in Burlington and boy, it's massive. Made from scratch, burgers are handmade, grilled, baked, and served on a whole wheat bun. The black bean patty comes with BBQsauce, "bacun," lettuce, tomato, and it's slathered in Bermuda sauce (which really should be called Vegan Big Mac sauce because it tastes gluttonous and McDonald's has officially been replaced for all cheat meals going forward). This Canadian chain, or "world's first vegan burger cafe," has mastered selling plant-based junk food for the masses. Hot sauce and other (less important) condiments are already on the table, surrounded by a massive roll of brown paper towels. The environment is quirky and full of farm animals. Very friendly staff wear black T-shirts reading 'boonivore' on the back. After one bite of the Cowboy, I want one, along with everything on their menu.
Must-try: Cowboy Burger ($11)
This 100 per cent vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free restaurant packs a serious flavour punch in the menu which "ain't your mama's rabbit food!" and is comprised of mains like sandwiches, bowls, burgers and salads. A new menu is in store for Sept. 2017. My favourite lunch is the Mexicali Burger, seen below. The Ohana Bowl is also delicious, with teriyaki soy curls, pineapple, cremini mushrooms, edamame, cashews, and sesame seeds. Their menu is fun; with substitutes such as tempeh bacon, teriyaki tofu and smoked gouda "cheeze," Vegebitez doesn’t sacrifice flavour in their healthy picks. For the occasional treat or cheat day, be sure to try their baked goods and milkshakes (we love the Amaretto flavour because alcohol). The resto, in a plaza on Neyagawa Blvd., is a happy place with lilac, turquoise, and pineapple motifs.
Must-try: MexiCali Burger ($16.95)
Solasta is a plant-based restaurant which opened in Kerr Village in the old Karmah location. I didn't know what to order, so a fellow diner helped out with recommendations. The verdict? The black bean & shiitake burger, which is dressed with tamirillo ketchup, plantain mustard, and crunchy basil relish. It’s on point (and served on a gluten-free bun). Accompanied by mixed greens, the watermelon radish and pomegranate seeds make for a refreshing accompaniment. Chase it with Solasta's carrot-orange-fennel juice (the Indian-influenced menu is confirmed by tales of the owner’s travels through South Asia), which is sensational. If there’s room (there’s always room!) dessert offerings include vegan carrot cake and brownies. You’ve gotta try everything on the menu.
Must-try: Smoked Shiitake & Black Bean Burger ($18)
Burlington & Oakville
This long-running Burlington favourite on Fairview has been pleasing diners for 17 years (and 10 years in Oakville's Towne Square). Thai cuisine is my absolute favourite (after Indian, of course) with its liberal use of staple ingredients such as peanuts, basil, coconut, coriander, tamarind, and lime. Popular appetizers include Thai Spring Rolls and the foolproof Mango Salad. But I'm super hungry so it's all about the mains: Green Curry with tofu, and Pad Thai — it comes with egg, chicken and shrimp but they’ll omit those for you. The signature dish features noodles topped with fresh, generous pieces of cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, and crinkle-cut carrots. For dessert, you've got to try the sticky rice with mango -- it's downright sinful. The Fried Tofu and Taro are on my 'to-eat list' for next time (and there will most def be a next time!). Service is fantastic.
Must-try: Green Curry ($13.95).
Delicious bites await at this tiny vegan/gluten-free eatery renowned for its menu. I had the Power Bowl, a nutritious dish made up of organic steamed quinoa, grilled sweet potatoes, black beans, braised kale, avocado, grilled portobello mushroom, brazil nut parmesan, and lemon tahini sauce. It was beyond delicious and full of so many complementary flavours. It was chased with an ice-cold chocolate smoothie comprised of almond milk, raw cacao powder, cacao butter, coconut oil, bananas, dates, cacao nibs, and sea salt. It wasn’t a sweet drink and I loved everything about it. This eatery simultaneously helps you stay on track with your fitness goals and hits numerous cravings.
Must-try: Power Bowl ($16).