While in Kensington Market recently, my partner and I decided to stop for lunch at Urban Herbivore. We had passed by it before, but didn't have the time to eat there. Now, with plenty of time and a little money, we decided to go for it.
Urban Herbivore is a cousin of Fressen, a more upscale vegan restaurant located on Queen Street West in Toronto. Like Fressen, Urban Herbivore offers an entirely vegan menu that is largely organic. Unlike Fressen, however, Urban Herbivore, located at 64 Oxford Street in Kensington Market, a vibrant neighbourhood of modest old residential houses and an eclectic mix of corner stores, fresh fruit and vegetable markets, and small restaurants featuring foods from various ethnic/cultural traditions, as well as clothing and gift stores offering a diversity products from used and vintage to culturally specific and local designs, is comparatively cheap, cozy, and unassuming.
The restaurant is located in a nice little red-brick building. The inside, though relatively small, makes good use of space. The interior features exposed brick with a lot of window space, window and door frames painted a warm yellow, with a couple of small tables, one group table, and wooden boards running bar-style the length of the room, facing the windows. The arrangement makes wonderful people watching a part of a great dining experience. And of course, many a passersby seeing the live window dressing of sheer culinary delight will find the pull hard to resist. Great advertising!
We ordered a freshly made salad with leafy greens, vegetables, sprouts, seeds and nuts, topped with a wonderful herbal dressing and an enormous sandwich of avocado and seitan on freshly made seasoned flatbread. My partner ordered a tea and I a bold cup of coffee with soy milk and raw sugar. Although she probably enjoyed it as much as I, I will speak here for myself. I was lifted up into food heaven from which, whenever I chanced to open my eyes to take another bite, I observed the people outside like a sunny silent film. To complete the meal we each had a delectable and moist vegan chocolate chip cookie.
I think I haven't had a better sandwich in my life. I heartily recommend Urban Herbivore to anyone, whether carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore like me.
Originally Posted on Sunday, July 15, 2007