January is a time for fresh starts – and after the indulgence of the holiday season, maybe you’re craving an overhaul of your eating habits. Post-holiday detox diets and juice cleanses aren’t for everyone – simply choosing healthier choices day after day will put you on the path to your health goals. Here are a few dining options in Toronto’s Financial District to help you stay on track.
This popular breakfast and lunch counter in the PATH has a vegetable-forward philosophy and a community of committed clients. From the chalkboard on the wall featuring daily fitness and health tips to the “take-a-book, leave-a-book” shelf stocked with self-development titles, the focus on wellbeing is apparent. The brand was founded by a group of friends looking to build their community of like-minded health enthusiasts, and clearly, the experiment has been a success. Menu items include hot and cold lunch boxes inspired by various international cooking styles, like Jamaican Fiyah with chicken breasts, brown rice and beans topped with a jerk vinaigrette and mango mayo; and the oh-so-Italian Il Padrino with zucchini pasta and roast eggplant. The hot boxes are lightly steamed but not so much that the crunch of the veggies is lost. Hearty homemade soups like roasted pumpkin and lentil with spinach are perfect for cold days, and the breakfast yogurt parfait selection is just what you need to grab and run before your morning meeting. The brand takes pride in local sourcing and an intentionally mindful work environment as well as its international flavour profile.
The Fresh brand was born over 20 years ago with a mission to bring plant-based eating into the mainstream. Their latest location a few minutes walk from St. Lawrence Market fills the health-shaped hole that was left when the previous tenants – the outdoor and travel outfitters store Europe Bound – closed up shop. The 100-seat restaurant on Front Street is their largest location, with earthy touches like a live moss wall to brighten up the drab winter days. In addition to an excellent food menu which includes Fresh’s legendary quinoa onion rings (how do they taste this good?), the bar menu is truly impressive. Craft cocktails like the Northern Lights Old Fashioned, a carefully curated wine list and good selection of local craft beers including a few from Niagara brewery Oast House make this a great place for after-work drinks on the way back to your hotel (the historic Strathcona is just down the road).
If you’re looking for a more upscale atmosphere, the new CRU Restaurant on Yonge Street has a mouthwatering selection of vegan and vegetarian options, and the staff is full of creative solutions to accommodate out-of-the-box requests and dietary restrictions. The Eggplant Bolognaise is so savoury you’ll never miss the meat – the flavour comes from three hours of simmering San Marzano tomatoes, Kombo seaweed and a healthy splash of red wine. Fresh, seasonal ingredients and beautifully presented plates make it easy to say yes to the veg.
These downtown Toronto restaurants make healthy eating easy. Now, how to find time for the gym….