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Yorkville eatery Planta is growing Toronto’s plant-based dining scene

From carrot dogs and mushroom bacon, the menu by Chef David Lee is a carnivore's delight without all the meat.

Planta's unique twist on the old-fashioned hot dog combines whole roasted carrots with sauerkraut, sliced pickles and mustard. The restaurant opened in September across from Bay station near Bloor.

David Cooper / Torstar News Service Order this photo

Planta's unique twist on the old-fashioned hot dog combines whole roasted carrots with sauerkraut, sliced pickles and mustard. The restaurant opened in September across from Bay station near Bloor.

Vegan dining can be flavourful, filling and synonymous with quality. 

That’s what Chef David Lee and Steven Salm are out to prove at Planta. 

"It was an opportunity for us to say that you can enjoy an amazing pizza, amazing pasta and an amazing ceviche appetizer and still feel like you’re eating a well-balanced, nutritious and very satisfying meal,” said Salm, president of Chase Hospitality Group. 

There’s no doubt the demand is there, said Salm, whose adopted a vegan diet himself and committed to making 25 per cent of his group’s menus cater to the lifestyle. In just a matter of months, Planta has already become a Yorkville hotspot. 

The menu covers a lot of ground. 

It starts with a number of “small plates” and snacks, like watermelon poke, fried kimchi dumplings and cauliflower tots. 

Planta's cauliflower tots.

@plantatoronto/Instagram

Planta's cauliflower tots.

The mains include pizzas, a range of salads — such as the Ceasar with sunflower sprouts and mushroom bacon or the Arabic-influenced Habibi with couscous, sumac, mint and tahini dressing. 

Then, there are the “large plates” like the meat-free (of course) Planta Burger; a No Noodle Lasagna with smoked ricotta, truffle macaroni made from cauliflower and Parmesan truffle cream; and the 18 Carrot Dogs, two buns filled with sauerkraut, sliced pickles, mustard and roasted carrots. 

The Planta Burger fully loaded with queso, bacon, pickles, tomatillo mayo and served with spiced fries.

@plantatoronto/Instagram

The Planta Burger fully loaded with queso, bacon, pickles, tomatillo mayo and served with spiced fries.

The dishes are proving popular among plant-loving diners and meat eaters alike, said chef Lee, who also owns Toronto’s award-winning Nota Bene. 

“The restaurant’s busy with guests who’ve been lifelong vegetarians to guest who have never gone a day without meat,” he said about Planta. “People are excited to try something new.”

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