When a new vegan restaurant opens in Toronto, I like to go and check it out as soon as possible. When it’s a burger place, I am extra determined to visit ASAP. When Planta announced the opening of Planta Burger on Instagram, I went my first possible opportunity, and had high hopes. We need more “kind food” and good food in this city, and based on their sister restaurant, in the adjacent building, The Chase (review here), I had confidence it was going to be great.
When Planta opened their plant-based fine dining restaurant in Yorkville last year, I visited and reviewed it (check out the review of the dinner menu here and the brunch menu here), and enjoyed the food and really liked the space.
Upon arrival, the small interior space which used to be home to Little Fin (a fast-food seafood joint owned by the same company, The Chase Hospitality Group) looks quite grand from the outside with high ceilings and classic lettering. Inside, there is a long communal table with bar stools and another table that runs along the window with stools. They have a great patio, that we ate on, that doubles the amount of seats there are inside. It is clearly a take-out/fast-food style restaurant. The open kitchen is very open, so you do see their supplies and ingredients, which is a bit distracting considering we should be focused on the cool walls, great ceiling lighting and greenery up high. The menu is posted above the ordering station, and is likely only temporary until they expand their offerings. Once you order, you are given a receipt with your order number, and, similar to other fast food restaurants, they call you when your food is ready.
When I ate at Planta in Yorkville, I learned that each dish wasn’t large enough to satiate my appetite, plus I like to try as many things as possible, so we ordered quite a bit – almost the whole menu, actually! Our order wasn’t all ready at once, so we had a bit of time between our dishes. We started with Cauliflower Tots (these were similar to the ones they serve at Planta Yorkville but they were blackened and had a crispier exterior), onion rings and french fries, and buffalo cauliflower (VERY spicy, and I like spice!). Three of the four sides, as you can see in the pictures below, came drizzled with what I took to be their signature aioli-like condiment. I guess if you only order one side, it would be great since the flavour would be unique, but I wouldn’t recommend ordering the fries and onion rings, because if you close your eyes, they taste the same. We also ordered their Caesar Salad, which I had previously really enjoyed at Planta, featuring portobello mushrooms, pickled onions, and almond parmesan, which was good, but the mushrooms were a little bit tasteless and soggy – I hope they start making it like they do in Yorkville, as I remember loving those mushrooms and the whole salad!
In terms of burgers, the spot only has four right now, of which I tried two. The California Burger features avocado, pickled onion, tomato, banana peppers, lettuce, and vegan cheese. This burger was quite good, and I love any burger with avocado and the right condiments. I read that their buns are made just for them, and they were quite delicious. I certainly wasn’t fully satisfied, which is not unusual for me and my large appetite. The second burger, the Crab Cake, featured hearts of palm “crab” (I love this ingredient), lettuce, and tartar sauce. This is an innovative burger, reminding me a classic fish sandwich, and I give kudos to Planta for creating it, it is also the item that I really enjoyed! Also, any burger can be ordered wrapped in a collard green, instead of a bun, for those who want a gluten-free option or just something lighter, fresher and healthier.
It was challenging to leave without trying a dessert, so I decided to try the Vanilla Salted Caramel Milkshake (made from coconut milk ice cream from Sweet Olenkas in Toronto, almond milk, and housemade caramel sauce). It was VERY sweet, but still delicious nonetheless (how could vanilla salted caramel be bad?).
Planta Burger is a great spot to stop with friends if you happen to be in the area, and is a quick meal that any carnivore can enjoy as well as any vegan. But beware: it does take a LOT of food to become full, and there is still a distinct lack of protein on the menu that carries over from the Yorkville restaurant.
Keep in mind that Planta Burger is only open with a limited menu for right now, with a promise of more to come. In any case, I know that I will be back, and look so forward to the full menu being offered and being prepared deliciously on their great little trays!