Veganism has officially gone mainstream. You can now walk into your choice of several fast-food establishments and order a plant-based burger or breakfast sandwich with a patty made of protein extracted from peas. But while these menu items might represent the last stage in the vegetable’s evolution from perennial side dish into legitimate main course — not to mention a major sustainability milestone — the truth is that they feel too much like something cooked up in a laboratory to really do greens justice. Thankfully, many of our favourite chefs are also on a vegetables kick — and putting plants front and centre in dishes as progressive as they are delicious.
Exhibit A: Le Jardinier, a lavish new midtown New York restaurant conceived by the late Joël Robuchon — who collectively held the most Michelin stars of any chef at the time of his death last year — and now run by his apprentice, Alain Verzeroli. The restaurant leans into its greenhouse-like space with a menu that starts with an “amuse-juice” section, and entrees that prioritize seasonal organic offerings like stone fruits and escaroles. So omnivores, give your coronary arteries a rest one of these nights, and opt for some lighter fare. Your taste buds will be surprised.
Greens Gone Glam
Standout dishes from three dining spots looking above and beyond meat.
Dragon Roll at Planta Queen, Toronto
Signature Asian dishes reimagined with entirely vegan ingredients by pro David Lee. Disco and dumpling Fridays feel more club scene than stiff garden party.
Chilaquiles Verdes at Rosalinda, Toronto
He might be known in part for the juicy burgers at Harry’s, but Grant van Gameren proves plants can be just as tasty as beef at this Mexican vegan resto.
Fried Halloumi at the Acorn, Vancouver
Locally grown and foraged fare (morels are a staple ingredient) that makes for easy digestion — perfect when you’re waking up to hike the Grouse Grind the next day.