Eating Plants @ Planta
Plant-based. It’s a phrase we’ve all been hearing a lot lately, and for good reason. Health, the planet, do you need another reason to get on board the veggie express?
I first heard about #Planta when it opened a few years back. But its success has been gigantic and they’ve since opened several other locations across the city. Come on, Sylvia, I mean where have I been during all this growth??
To quote from their website, Planta uses “high-quality ingredients from ethical suppliers.” What’s not to love? At its core, it’s a respectable feat.
During a day of shopping with Chris, I fell stricken with hunger, desperate to also aid my suffering digestive system some TLC. So, we ended up at Planta.
For those of you who know me, you know I’ve created my own diet. Mostly plant-based because I love veggies and the earth that grew them, but also because my gut feels happy when I feed her greens.
I’ve tried being a vegetarian several times, and even tried #veganism—although that proved all the more challenging to stick with. After not getting the same results as vegan-diehards, I decided to commit to a mainly vegetable (but sometimes meaty, if the occasion calls for it) diet. Probably 80% of my diet is #plantbased or vegan but sometimes I just can’t bring myself to substitute mushrooms for a slice of turkey bacon of use coconut oil in a cookie recipe.
When I came across Planta when it first opened, I was in a vegan phase and the new restaurant was a thrilling discovery. I just had to try it. But, as I live in the humble suburbs and don’t frequent the Yorkville neighbourhood as often as I dream of it, only now did I find myself in Planta’s close proximity.
It’s an inventive restaurant but it’s also one that will completely accommodate a totally vegan diet. Trust me, I have some friends whose diet restrictions make it virtually impossible to dine anywhere, but as long as you don’t have a nut allergy then Planta is where it’s at.
First impression, we walked in and my eyes went straight for the giant Chocolate Chip Cookies just chilling under a bell jar beside the hostess. Naturally, I equated this with a sign of good fortune.
Looking beyond the goodies, I was served some seriously tropical vibes. Crisp white walls, untouched wood, leafy palm paintings and large glass windows that welcome in sunshine create a cool, funky space. There's even a nook from the second floor that overlooks the restaurant and its marble-countered bar, pastel bar stools and the geometric square tables with loungey sofa seating below.
Taking our spot towards the back of the restaurant (it was pretty busy on a Saturday), we glazed over the menu and after a minute I instantly felt relieved. Why? you ask.
As a lactose-intolerance sufferer and a cheese freak above all else, I am always put in a tough position. I want what I can’t (rather, shouldn’t) have. Thankfully, Planta’s cream sauces and gooey cheese wouldn’t be a problem for me, given the all vegan menu—all the cheese and none of the guilt nor diarrhea. LOL, I know maybe a lil’ TMI but I'm just keeping it real.
Given the limitless menu options, Chris and I eventually decided to split a Bianca Pizza and an Eggplant Lasagna.
I’d like to mention that while waiting for our mains, the table beside us was working on dessert and it was almost too Instagrammable to eat between the Young Thai Coconut filled with chia seed pudding and sorbet and the Chocolate Terrarium. Presentation was NOT lacking.
After a short wait, our pizza was served. The crust was perfectly golden, not too thick and not too thin, just right—a true Goldilocks kinda ‘za. Topping-wise, gooey cashew mozzarella and pillowy potatoes were an oozing explosion of yum that were instantly recharged by the addition of fresh capers, bitter kale and chili oil.
I’m excited to try the other pizza toppings but I do have to admit that I was really taken with that pizza dough itself. I even joked that maybe I should get a job in the kitchen just so I could learn the trade secrets of making the best-ever dough. Though that’s probably not in my cards, it wouldn’t hurt to fix up my resume, right?
Next, still-steaming, our waitress delivered our eggplant lasagna. Creamy, luxurious, rich but in the same breath, so...light.
Though lasagna is usually just a mess of soft gooey goodness, I was surprised at all the rich flavours and textures of Planta’s eggplant lasagna. Roasted eggplant beautifully enveloped a loaded filling of pearly quinoa, wilted greens, cashew cheese and Kalamata olives that packed a punch. All of these wholesome ingredients were of course then covered in a thick tomato sauce that could rival your Nonna’s.
Tbh, I was left reasonably astonished that a lasagna so decadent could be vegan! I mean, the creamy comfort of a traditional meat and cheese layered lasagna was there, but I didn’t feel as guilty or bloated after eating Planta’s rendition of a lasagna.
In a few words, lunch was surprisingly scrumptious. Lacking meat, maybe, but definitely not flavour. Our meals were excellent and I sure as hell was not still hungry after our feast.
There’s still so many other yummy things on the menu that I definitely want to try next time like the Artisanal Cheese Platter, Lettuce Wraps, Waldorf Salad, and maybe even some Birthday Cake! Hell, I might even need a Cold-Pressed Juice Shot once I’ve eaten myself into a plant-based coma!
Overall, I loved Planta and I’m dying to go back and bring every veg-head I know. Because this is a niche cuisine (vegan), the cost is partially elevated given all the extra steps vegan substitutes require, but I think it’s worth the few extra bucks. Besides, you can't put a price on health!
❤ ❤ ❤