Rosalinda is a feel-good vegan Mexican restaurant located in the heart of the Financial District, at University and Richmond. Their incredibly diverse menu offers new takes on classic Mexican dishes – and even new versions of those classics, all vegan! I have been following them for months on Instagram, anxiously awaiting their opening and drooling over their delicious-looking food! One of the owners, Jamie, is also a partner of the very successful Pizzeria Libretto (reviews here), and brings the same amazing service and integrity to his new vegan concept.
The space is vibrant and boasts brightly-coloured walls with greenery lining window sills and above the bar. The tables are smooth marble and the metal chairs have plush and colourful vintage feeling cushions. There are huge windows along the west and north walls, flooding the space with a ton of natural light – which feels great, especially on a bright day, and makes taking pictures here much easier! The servers are all super friendly and really knowledgeable about the menu, which saved my mom and I a lot of time that we would have spent deciding what to order!
Our server, Emilio, was dedicated to offering an experience, not just order taking and spent time to describe the dishes, as many need extra description from what is on the menu, and he also gave us his favourite dish from each section of the menu (with great reasoning), and we largely trusted his word on what to order. We got as many dishes as we could share, and each was excellent. I would order each of them again.
To start it all off, we had the Multigrain Chicharron. Chicharron is traditionally made with fried pork, but Rosalinda’s amazing take on it is made with quinoa and rice, which are bound together and deep-fried at such a high temperature that the air is trapped inside, creating bubbles throughout the cracker-like item. The crispy spiced “flatbreads” were served with a classic – guacamole – and the added serrano spice, gave it a beautiful flavour.
Next up was the Chilaquiles Rojo, with kale, spinach, serrano crema, house made mozzarella, cashew queso and avocado. I have to say, I will take this dish over classic nachos any day. The red “chips” were piled together and tossed and topped with the other ingredients, and the kale was sort of a “hidden gem” in the middle of the plate, the warm red sauce coating it and making it soft, saturated in the best way with great flavour and perfectly cooked. This is a dish I’d recommend for all, as it is simple enough to replicate the traditional nacho flavour, but also adds a splash of adventure with the creative take and the unconventional ingredients – this was likely one of my favourite dishes of the night! Except as I continue on, I will likely remind myself that every dish made me happy!
Out of all of the tostada options, we chose the Grilled Nopalito Tostada. For those of you who don’t know, nopalito is made from prickly pear, or cactus. This delicious tostada also included black bean and chipotle crema spread over a crispy corn tortilla. Paired with these two flavours, the cactus bore a very similar taste to a milder pickled shishito pepper, and possibly even a familiar texture. I would definitely recommend this dish to all – not only to try a new and exciting food like cactus, but for the unique flavour profile it offers!
From the taco section, we ordered the Chorizo Verde, even though Emilio did suggest the jackfruit (I will get that one next time!). I loved the flavour combination of poblano tomatillo salsa and cucumber pico de gallo in addition to the “chorizo” in the soft shell. Although I do not normally enjoy cucumber, its texture didn’t dominate the dish, so I enjoyed it thoroughly. I do look forward to returning to try the Smoked Onion Taco, which also sounds absolutely amazing!
For our penultimate “course”, we got the Tijuana-Style Broccolini, which consists of broccolini topped with jalapeno caper salsa, caesar aioli and sourdough croutons. The flavours were amazing, and it was a neat take on a grilled caesar salad of sorts.
Finally, I got the RosaBurger. Why a burger? Because I always try the burger. This delicious dish is Rosalinda’s black bean patty, smoked BBQ eggplant chips, iceberg lettuce, avocado salsa, Pizzeria Libretto’s signature housemade vegan cheese, and chipotle mayo. All the elements in this dish blended together perfectly, though I do have to say that the highlight by FAR were the eggplant chips. With a delicious crunch and a smoky BBQ flavour, I could eat SO many of these!! Definitely on my top burger list in Toronto now!
Even though I was pretty stuffed at this point, my mom and I contemplated ordering another dish, just to be able to try another one of their flavour combinations (and report to you!), but opted for dessert instead. Now, what dessert was there to order but the Mexican classic churros? You can’t go wrong with fried dough and sugar. 🙂 Served with a banana caramel chocolate sauce, these sweet treats were the perfect way to end off our meal!
Rosalinda is such an amazing new restaurant in downtown Toronto, offering awesmazing vegan fare using clean ingredients served by some of the happiest and most knowledgeable servers in the city! Every dish is presented beautifully and if you like cocktails, my mom was pretty happy with hers, and many even feature Village Juicery organic juices as mixtures. I look forward to frequenting Rosalinda with my family, bringing friends and returning in the very near future to try the other half of the menu (I’m looking at YOU, onion ring sandwich…)