This week, the search for healthy restaurants in downtown Toronto led me to Fressen. It’s a popular, trendy, and sophisticated eatery that serves fine vegan cuisine. The tasteful ambiance makes it ideal for romantic dates or dining with a small group.
The atmosphere inside Fressen is earthy and chic, with cocoon-shaped lanterns that provide dim amber lighting for the mid-sized dining area, reddish brick walls with stone accents, and wooden chairs and tables. The playlist spins classic and indie rock tunes, keeping with the hipster vibe throughout Queen St. W.
Fressen features two menus, one for brunch and another for dinner. Since the restaurant offers exclusively vegan cuisine, the selection is smaller than other healthy restaurants like Commensal and Fresh. Still, there are plenty of choices on Fressen’s menu, including some very original dishes you won’t find anywhere else.
The brunch menu consists of appetizers (daily soup, salads), entrées that include sandwiches (avocado and roasted vegetable), delicious sweet corn fritters, scrambled seasoned marinated tofu, waffles, french toast, and side orders like guacamole and roast potatoes. For dinner, there are the aforementioned appetizers, and entrées including several different pastas, tempeh (a soybean alternative to meat), deep fried tofu, Moroccan stew, and Portobello mushrooms.
A helpful feature on the menu is that certain dishes are marked as gluten-, nut-, or wheat-free, to assist eaters with allergies or particular preferences in making their choices.
There is one flaw regarding the online menu at Fressen’s official site: it was last updated in 2006, and the current menu in the restaurant differs noticeably from the online version in price and selection.
The servers were kind and timely, though with just two servers covering many tables, their speed and attentiveness might suffer during busy times. Also, RSVP is suggested for weekend dining.
The servings for both lunch and dinner meals were adequate, offering not only decent sizes but also a multitude of fresh, varied, and often organic ingredients.
Fressen’s dinner entrées are all set at $14; appetizers are $9 while soups are $6.
478 Queen St. W., west of Spadina Av., between Augusta Av. and Denison Av.
By car: there is parking all along Queen St. W., and a parking lot on Augusta Av.
By TTC: take the 501 Queen streetcar to Spadina Av., and then walk west until just past Augusta Av.
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 11:00a.m.-3:30p.m.
Dinner: Sunday to Thursday, 5:30p.m.-10:00p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30p.m.-11:00p.m.