The Best Gluten-Free and Vegan Brunch Spots in Toronto
Brunch is the most important meal of the day! So when my friend was recently diagnosed with Coeliac’s disease and was told to cut gluten and dairy from her diet by her doctor, I understood her most pressing concern: Where can I brunch in Toronto? As a gluten and dairy intolerant person myself, I’ve been to most of Toronto’s best gluten-free and vegan brunch spots in the four years I’ve lived in the city.
With brunch options from crepes to pancakes to waffles to scrambled tofu, here are my 7 favourite gluten-free and vegan brunch spots in downtown Toronto!
Address: 238 Augusta Avenue
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:30 am – 6 pm; CLOSED ON MONDAYS
My hands down favourite gluten-free and vegan brunch spot is Hibiscus. Tucked in the heart of Kensington Market, this cute little restaurant is perfect for an intimate brunch date with friends and family. It also has some of the best gluten-free and vegan crepes I’ve had in Toronto! My go-to is the vegan mozzarella, tomato, basil, spinach and mushroom crepe. It’s made with buckwheat and topped with avocado and zucchini. I seriously cannot get enough of it!
Hibiscus also has many other sweet & savoury crepes, as well as a few other delicious lunch options. Their salad is jam packed with superfoods like quinoa, sweet potato, broccoli, kale and 40-something other ingredients. It also comes with a raw cracker, which makes the perfect scooper for your salad. Their soups, which change daily, have also been a favourite of mine because of their innovative flavour combinations. I recommend going when you’re pretty hungry because it’s always a large amount of delicious food and their desert options are pretty incredible too!
For Hibiscus Cafe’s full menu, click here.
Address: Multiple locations, click here for more information.
Hours: 9 am – 6 pm daily
Another filling gluten-free and vegan brunch favourite of mine is Starving Artist. This punky restaurant is the perfect place to get your fill of sweet and savoury waffles! My personal favourite is the Starving 4 Waffles topped with strawberries. The gluten-free and vegan waffles have a slight banana taste from the banana in the batter, so sweet toppings make the perfect pairing! It comes with fruit and your choice of salad or maple-baked beans.
I’ve also tried their mixed veggie waffle sammie (sandwich) minus the secret sauce (because dairy), which was also quite tasty! There are also many options for your omnivorous friends, like eggs benedict on a potato waffle or chicken and waffles.
Starving Artist is cash only, so remember to stop at your bank ATM before you go! For a Starving 4 Waffles and a coffee, I’ve only needed a $20 bill and some spare change for my meal plus tip. They have an ATM on site, which charges an extra dollar for a service fee.
For Starving Artist’s full menu, click here.
Address: 873 Bloor Street West
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 am – 10 pm; Saturday 10 am – 11 pm; Sunday 10 am – 9 pm
Possibly one of my all-time favourite gluten-free and vegan brunch spots in Toronto is this Annex sandwich shop called Bloomer’s. Although they fall more in the lunch spectrum, I’ve been known to order sandwiches from them at all hours of the morning and afternoon. My two personal favourites are the Tempeh Reuben (pictured above) and the Pulled Jackfruit (pictured below) sandwiches. If you’re like me and you love mustard and all things pickled, the Tempeh Reuben is for you. Its sizeable gluten-free bun is topped with marinated tempeh, avocado, sauerkraut and served with a side of pickled red cabbage and seeded mustard.
The Pulled Jackfruit sandwich is very similar in texture and in flavour to a pulled pork sandwich. Topped with a gluten-free onion ring, lettuce and vegan cole slaw, this sandwich is an amazingly messy treat. They also serve their gluten-free onion rings as a side in case you want more than just the one on your sandwich. I’m also a sucker for their poutine, which they serve with sunflower cheese. The cheese melts very well on top of the fries and gravy and it’s possibly the best gluten-free and vegan poutine I’ve had so far in Canada!
As for desert, they make the most delicious gluten-free and vegan carrot cake topped with cream cheese icing. I’m known for taking it home to eat as a snack if I’m too full to eat it at the restaurant! They also have incredible vegan donuts for your gluten-loving friends.
For Bloomer’s full menu, click here.
Address: 968 Bathurst Street
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10:30 am – 10 pm; Thursday & Friday 10:30 am – 11 pm; Weekends 9 am – 11 pm
One of my favourite places to bring out-of-town guests is right in my own backyard. This quirky little restaurant is tucked away just north of the busy Bathurst-Bloor intersection. The first thing that I noticed about Grapefruit Moon was their amazing indie rock soundtrack that included Vampire Weekend- one of my all-time favourite artists! They’re also very accommodating to gluten-free and vegan brunchers!
I generally go for the Vegan Morning or a veganized Moon Breakfast with scrambled tofu, homefries and gluten-free bread. They do use their deep fryer for non-gluten-free items as well, so if you’re particularly sensitive to gluten, there’s also the option to get a side of tomatoes with your breakfast. If you’re not a big fan of scrambled tofu, I recommend asking to substitute the tofu for mushrooms. Combined with the Daiya cheese and the other veggies in their tofu scramble, the mushrooms make for a delicious, filling brekkie!
Side Note: If you’re not looking for breakfast options at brunch, there’s also a delicious vegan burger available! They also make their own hot sauce, which is the perfect amount of sweet & spicy.
For Grapefruit Moon’s full menu, click here.
Address & Hours: Multiple locations, click here for more information.
Kupfert & Kim had been on my brunch itinerary for as long as I can remember! So when I finally had the chance to check it out, I was so excited to try it out! Their entire menu is plant-based and gluten-free with high-quality, organic ingredients. I had their gluten-free and vegan waffle for breakfast. It was one of the best waffles I’ve had since going gluten-free five years ago!
The waffle also had the option of adding some coconut ice cream on top. Of course, I’m a sucker for waffles and ice cream, so I immediately ordered it. I also ordered myself a delicious affogato as well, without remembering that affogato is a scoop of coconut ice cream with a shot of espresso. Needless to say, I was ice cream-ed out by the end of brunch, but it was 100 per cent worth it!
I also love their eco-friendly mandate. If you bring your own container, you’ll get 35¢ off your meal. But if you forgot your container, their to-go boxes and straws are compostable. Their kitchen also sends very little waste to landfill, as they mainly compost and recycle. As an environmentalist, I really appreciate the extra effort they go through to make their restaurant as green (and healthy and delicious) as possible.
To learn more about Kupfert & Kim, click here.
Address: 634 Church Street
Hours: Varies, click here
I had never heard of Lola’s Kitchen until I was invited to brunch by Lauren from Twirl The Globe. She was writing a blog post about the best brunch places in Toronto and wanted to include a gluten-free and vegetarian/vegan-friendly spot. So I was surprised to have such a delicious brunch at a restaurant I had never even heard of before then!
I had the vegan Breakfast Kale Bowl, which was packed full of delicious ingredients like leeks, fennel, squash, purple & black kale, organic quinoa, tofu scramble and smoked paprika oil drizzle. I was also eyeing their gluten-free and vegan crepes and their curried tofu scramble. If those options doesn’t get your mouth watering, I can’t help you.
Lola’s is probably one of the busier brunch places in this post and they unfortunately don’t take reservations. I recommend arriving within the first hour of the restaurant opening to get seats right away, as there was a line when I arrived right when Lola’s Kitchen opened.
For Lola’s Kitchen’s full menu, click here.
Address: 109 McCaul Street
Hours: Monday – Friday 8 am – 4 pm; Weekends 10 am – 3 pm
Hidden in a cafeteria across the street from the prestigious OCAD University is a locally-owned restaurant headed by a gluten-free and vegan chef extraordinaire, Karine. But whenever I think of Karine’s, I don’t think of the owner. I think of her mom. As you approach the till, you’re greeted with an exuberant hand flourish and a charming welcome.
“Hello, my babies, how are you?”
Her warmth and wild personality is one of the many reasons I keep on going back to Karine’s. I don’t think I can even pick one favourite meal from Karine’s, as her mom always picks a new meal for me every time I visit. (It’s hard to say no to her!) But I will say that their pancakes are some of the best gluten-free & vegan pancakes I’ve had to date! There are plenty of gluten-free and vegan brunch options, as well as options for your omnivorous friends. If you’re looking to surprise your friends with an amazing brunch, Karine’s is the place to go! I mean, who knew cafeteria dining could be so tasty?
For Karine’s full menu, click here.
What are your favourite gluten-free and vegan brunch spots in Toronto?
Share your Toronto favourites in the comments below and let me know where I should be having my next brunch date! Also, if you’d like to read more about gluten-free & vegan travel, please let me know in the comments below!
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