2011 is officially well under way, and as we go back to business after the big celebrations, many of us carry the burden of resolutions for the new year. Time and time again, one of the most common resolutions is to lose weight, to cut body fat and gain muscle in time for spring break. This ever-popular goal seems simple, but as anyone who’s tried to get fit will tell you, losing weight requires day-to-day discipline, effort, time, and a lifestyle change that demands regular exercise and proper dieting.
Thankfully, to make life easier for Torontonians who want to get fit after gaining ‘holiday weight’, the city is full of healthy eating options, many of which have been detailed in past installments of the Eat Fit series of articles. As we continue on the quest to dine out and eat healthy, this week the path leads us to Loving Hut.
Loving Hut is a massive international chain of restaurants, with some 200 locations in Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. Judging from the number of branches operating in various countries, they are especially successful in Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Mongolia, and the United States, where they have 38 restaurants, many of them on the West Coast. Their mandate is straightforward: to serve organic, vegan, non-GMO (not genetically modified), nut-free Asian cuisine.
At the Spadina location where I visited, Loving Hut uses a clean, all-white interior decorating scheme that, combined with floor-to-ceiling windows, give the interior a bright, open atmosphere. The restaurant itself is small, with one dining area set up with tables and booths. An interesting touch is the presence of plasma TVs playing news broadcasts captioned in over 10 languages, a token of the international nature of Loving Hut.
For a vegan restaurant, the Loving Hut menu has quite a bit of variety. Popular main dishes include Thai green curry, eggplant in black bean sauce, spicy Cha Cha (a vegan version of spicy shrimp), savoury crisps (a vegan version of fried chicken), and mixed vegetables chow mein. Other entrées include stir-fried veggies, sweet and sour fireballs, and Asian staples like fried rice and pad thai. There are appetizers like spring rolls, fried tofu, and wonton soup, a choice of several salads, and lots of cakes for dessert. Watch the deep fried items if you want to reduce your calorie intake!
The server at my sampling was polite, jovial, attentive, and very helpful in suggesting meal choices.
The dishes were average-sized (spring rolls, spicy cha cha) and large (wonton soup, vegetable chow mein). The entrées based on rice and noodles are generally more filling than the other dishes.
With appetizers in the $5-$6 range, and main dishes from $8-$12, Loving Hut offers delicious, vegan, and organic cuisine for a easonable price.
Spadina location: 140 Spadina Ave., at the intersection of Spadina Ave. and Richmond St. W.
By transit: Take the 145 Downtown/Humber By Express bus to Spadina Ave., or the 510 Spadina streetcar to Richmond St., or the 501 Queen streetcar to Spadina Ave. and walk south.
By car: Street parking can be found on Spadina Ave., Richmond St., and Queen St., although in this central location, it may be difficult to find a parking spot close to the restaurant.
Eglinton location: 953 Eglinton Ave. W, at the intersection of Eglinton Ave. W and Rostrevor Rd.
By transit: take the 32 Eglinton West bus, and get off west of Bathurst St. It is three blocks west of the Eglinton-Bathurst intersection.
By car: there is street parking on Eglinton Ave. W.
Monday to Sunday: 11:30a.m.-9:30p.m.
Spadina location: 647-351-7618
Eglinton location: 416-782-4449