In search of plant-based food: Oliver and Bonacini review

Vegetarian/Vegan Resto Reviews

I decided to re-name my blog title to…”In search of plant-based food” instead of restaurants – because vegan restaurants are hard to find where I am. So, now I look for vegan menu items at ‘regular’ restaurants.

Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill (Bayview & Sheppard, Toronto location) (aka O & B) is not a vegan restaurant but does have a selection of vegetarian dishes, but you should double-check the ingredients with the waiter/waitress before ordering.

My in-laws treated our family for a Chinese New Year dinner back in Feb 2019 at Oliver & Bonacini Cafe Grill. It would have been too hectic at any Chinese restaurants, so we went for Italian-style food.

The main dinner menu online looked promising for me and my daughter, so by request, we went there. But unfortunately, I found out it was part of the Winterlicious festival with a set three-course meal (appetizer, main dish, and dessert). That meant that their entree menu was reduced significantly.

Overall rating:

Food: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Price: $$$-$$$$ out of $$$$$ (depends what you order)

Ambience/decor: 3.5 out of 5 stars

My fav dish: If I have to pick an item – it would be the mushroom soup (made with no cream and no butter).

I ordered the Spaghetti Pomorado entree (pictured above). O & B made no effort to add a unique ingredient like truffle mushroom to the spaghetti or decorate the plate. So no fancy ingredients or garnish at all. Basically, the pasta had tomato sauce and a bit of basil. I could easily have made the dish myself at home for a few dollars – but it cost $16.

My husband had the Schnitzel dish, but it did not look so great and he didn’t really like it, and my son had a curry lamb, which he did not really enjoy.

Loyalty rewards

Nada.

Feedback: I was disappointed when I tried to ask for a customized pizza to share with my meat-eating 5-year-old. They have Margarita pizza and pepperoni pizza- so I asked for half with just tomato sauce, basil and no cheese; and half with pepperoni and cheese. They could not do it for me.

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In search of plant-based restaurants: Wutai Vegetarian Restaurant review (Dim sum review)

Uncategorized, Vegetarian/Vegan Resto Reviews

Wutai Vegetarian Restaurant located at 8425 Woodbine Avenue, Markham, Ontario. As I mentioned before, it is not a vegan restaurant but does have a wide selection of vegetarian dishes without any meat or meat by-products. It is a good idea to quickly double-check the ingredients with the waiter/waitress before ordering.

Overall rating:

Food: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: $$$-$$$$ out of $$$$$ (depends what you order)

Ambience/decor: 3 out of 5 stars

My fav dish: Everything that we ordered. But I especially enjoyed the Fried Tofu Skin Roll with Homemade Sauce (although I didn’t eat the sauce, because not sure what it was made of); and the Singapore Style Sauteed Turnip Cakes.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I would try out the dim sum (served 10:30am-3:30pm). What a treasure! We enjoyed a wonderful dim sum lunch with my dad yesterday.

How does dim sum pricing work?

If you haven’t had dim sum before, you normally pay by the size of the dish. So for example at Wutai, an “S” would be a small dish ($3.19), an “M” a medium dish ($4.19), an “L” a large ($5.19) and “EX” and extra-large ($6.19), plus they have additional chef’s specials with the price indicated next to the dish.

Discount

However, Monday to Friday (if you pay by cash) (excluding Chinese and Canadian holidays) if you order before 12pm, you can have a S, M, L for the price of a small ($3.19).

Chinese food

The restaurant has a great variety of dim sum menu items. Very beautiful dish presentation as well (for example the cute pear dish pictured above). Everything you could eat at a ‘regular’ dim sum, you can enjoy without the meat here.

Other products

Dinner is a la carte regular dishes only.

Loyalty rewards

None here.

No surprise that I over-ate. The food was so wonderful. My dad said their fried vegetarian noodle (called Lo Han Vegetarian Fried Noodles on the menu) was the best fried noodle dish that he EVER had! That is quite hard to believe, as he has eaten noodles for probably 50-60 years!

BTW – I didn’t eat the fried noodle because it was probably an egg noodle.

Defininitely worth checking out!


In search of plant-based restaurants: Freshii review

Uncategorized

Freshii is a franchise restaurant. It is not a vegan restaurant but does have a wide selection of vegetarian dishes without any meat or meat by-products. You should double-check the ingredients with the cashier before ordering.

Overall rating:

Food: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: $$$-$$$$ out of $$$$$ (depends what you order)

Ambience/decor: 3 out of 5 stars

My fav dish: I tried the new Sriracha Chili Bowl most recently. It didn’t look that appetizing but it was nice and spicy and very tasty. Chili and avocado is a nice mix!

Freshii locations

As Freshii is a franchise, you will see many locations pop up. Hopefully, you have one near you. www.freshii.com

Other products

Freshii has a lot of soup bowls, rice bowls, wraps, cold-pressed juices (can buy bottles from the fridge or do a 3-day or 5-day juice cleanse). You can customize most of the menu items the way you like. But word of warning, carefully review what you select for customizing. For example, adding tofu may cost $3, and adding other stuff has certain cost as well. So your wrap which may have started at $8 may end up being $13+!

I wrote about their 3-day cleanse in one of my first blogs:

Freshii’s 3-day cleanse blog

Loyalty rewards

You can download the Freshii APP and collect rewards. To date I earned $20 rewards – which I used excitedly. I learned that you cannot collect rewards if you order in the restaurant. So you only get rewards through the APP.

Use of APP for ordering

Some locations are not that organized. The online orders may be printed below the cash register, so the staff may not see it until you arrive. This happened to me two times when I was in a rush. I got frustrated and called them right away I ordered online to make sure they got my order.

Freshii is a great go-to for food on the go. I love hot veg comfort food, so still looking for local eats. Any good hot veg food places that you know of? Please let me know.


In search of plant-based restaurants: Wutai Vegetarian Restaurant review

Uncategorized

Wutai Vegetarian Restaurant located at 8425 Woodbine Avenue, Markham, Ontario. It is not a vegan restaurant but does have a wide selection of vegetarian dishes without any meat or meat by-products. You just need to double-check the ingredients with the waiter/waitress before ordering.

Overall rating:

Food: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Price: $$$-$$$$ out of $$$$$ (depends what you order)

Ambience/decor: 3 out of 5 stars

My fav dish: Lotus root and glutinous rice wrapped with tofu skin (appetizer pictured top centre)

I was finally able to line up the stars and meet my gal friends for a girls’ night out. Everyone is so busy all the time, so I thought I’d be spontaneous and see if they were all free this past Friday. I never tried this restaurant before, but one of my friends ate there a number of times and suggested we meet there.

Chinese food

If you love hot Chinese food, but don’t love the meat, you have to try it out. Typically, Chinese vegetarian food is “mock” meat made of tofu or beancurd. This does not jive with me. So, I was delighted when I saw an extensive menu of appetizing dishes at Wutai.

Other products

If you enjoy Chinese dim sum, they have a large menu selection of vegetarian dim sum during the lunch period. Dinner is a la carte only.

Loyalty rewards

None here.

I really enjoyed the food and will definitely go to satisfy my craving for Chinese dim sum – which I have probably missed the most since becoming vegan.

Worth checking out! Maybe I’ll see you there?


In search of plant-based restaurants: Copper Branch review

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Unity Falafel Wrap with collard green wrap

I LOVE food! Now vegan almost two months (and loving it!), I am constantly in search of restaurants serving healthy plant-based food. The only problem is that I do not live close to many of these restaurants. There are a number of them downtown, but the trek is too painful. So, you may need to ‘customize’ your meals at your local restaurants. Umm, excuse me, please delete the cheese from the pizza, and does the dough contain egg or milk products? Me and my daughter’s favourite pizza is the Margarita which has basil leaves and tomato sauce. I find that pizzeria’s are always running out of basil, so we are left with a pizza with tomato sauce only. Pretty annoying indeed. Hard to get what we want.

Copper Branch is a franchise, serving a plant-based menu. There are many Copper Branch locations opening up everywhere. So, if you are lucky, you can find one near you.

www.copperbranch.com

Overall rating:

Food: 4 out of 5 stars

Price: $$$ out of $$$$$

Ambience/decor: 4 out of 5 stars

 My favs: General Copper Bowl, Organic Quinoa Chili and Unity Falafel Wrap.

I have been to two locations so far (Markham and East Gwillimbury). Both restaurants are warm and welcoming. The Markham location feels a bit cramped and seating is more limited.

The food is great. You feel healthier just eating at Copper Branch. They have unique menu items such as my favourite: General Copper Bowl with mushroom with General Tao sauce, quinoa, beet slaw and avocado. But a bowl (not a large serving) costs about $15 plus tax. The fries are nice but quite expensive (~$8) for a large (which is really a small size if you ask me). Their green matcha coconut milk tea is really nice, but a bit pricey at $6.50 a regular-size cup. My daughter likes the shiitake burger and fries. The Unity Falafel Wrap had a limited time option to pay more for a collard green wrap (pictured above) which is great if you are eliminating carbs from your diet.

Other products

You can even buy take-home items such as organic coffee beans, jalapeno spicy sauce, bottled Kombucha tea, dark chocolate squares, and more…

Loyalty rewards

To collect points, you can get a loyalty rewards card/number through their phone APP.

We have eaten many meals at Copper Branch. Try it out – I think you would enjoy the dishes.