695 Yonge Street – (416) 966-2424
403 Yonge Street – (416) 263-9999
546 Church Street- 416 324 8724
252 Carlton Street 416-923-7979
521 Bloor Street West (416)536-3131

When you think of Ginger, think casual, fast food, and excellent prices. You will not be ripped off or disappointed. It’s like a giant food court, noisy, but the food quality is definitely better than your typical food court with tasteless, bland, and expired dishes, claiming to be Italian or Chinese but really it’s the North American rendition. Food court food is a quick and cheap and lousy interpretation of Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, or Thai food should be.

I went there with some friends after checking out a rockin’ good underwear sale. We were really hungry and we did not want to spend too much money so we checked out the newly opened Ginger on Church street near Wellesley.

Scott had the green curry with silken tofu and vegetables. He wasn’t too impressed. There wasn’t much tofu really, and the rice wasn’t that soft either. Overall, he wouldn’t eat it again. He didn’t like the atmosphere, it was too loud to hear more than one table away.

I had the eggplant and tofu green curry dish with steamed vegetables and white rice. I omitted the green curried tofu and replaced it with more steamed vegetables but unfortunately, due to poor communication skills, they did not add any more steamed vegetables so I was a bit unhappy.

Bob ordered the rice, veggies, 3 shrimp, chicken, beef price ($8.50). He felt that it was not too spicy, it was flavourful, with a fast food ambiance, yet it felt like being in a restaurant. He liked that he did not have to leave a tip. He liked the comfy chairs, and the “in between” nature of fast food and fine dining. Lastly, he liked that they brought the food to you

Paulo had the same dish as Bob but without the clump of white rice (shrimp, chicken, and beef) with veggies

Lailah ordered a thick udon noodle soup with tofu and vegetables (known as Pho). The soup bowl was big and hearty and came with a generous serving of noodles and vegetables (also known as Pho).

On other visits I have had veggie salad rolls (cold rice paper rolls in a sweet peanut sauce, not peanut butter sauce but a sweet teriyaki sauce with crushed peanuts on top. As well, I have enjoyed a traditional Vietnamese dish called Pho, a soup with tons of veggies, rice noodles, and tofu, in a clear veggie broth and covered in basil leaves. The soup is very hot (in terms of temperature and it’s also spicy). Most Phos have beef or chicken but mine was 100% veggie. I had to inform the server when taking orders since most Thai, Vietnamese, or Korean food always has fish, oyster, or chicken broth added to most dishes so it’s best to be the paranoid vegetarian and emphasize having an “animal-free dish”. The new Church Street location has a fresh fruit martini bar which makes it look less look “fast food” but overall it’s still fast food and excellent prices. Accepts all cards

Queen Mother Cafe [Mark Aaron]

208 Queen St. W.
Tel: (416) 598-4719
Mon-Sat 11:30am- 1:00am
Sun 12:00pm-12:00am


web site:

Located right at Queen near McCaul in the Queen West neighbourhood, I have always been curious to try this place out. With old wood furniture, high pressed tin ceilings, and beautifully restored, the Queen Mother Cafe serves Pan Asian (mostly Thai and Laosian cuisine) as well as some Mediterranean dishes and decadent desserts since 1978.

With a large, beautiful back terrace, and with three large dining areas, in a very dimlight romantic setting, the Queen Mother Cafe offers decadent desserts (locally made by Dufflet), and an array of Thai-Lao inspired dishes. For our dinner, we started with vegetarian cold rolls appetizers (fresh spring rolls filled with tofu, bean sprouts, cucumber, lettuce, vermicelli noodles, carrots, bell peppers, fresh mint and coriander, served with a hot and sweet peanut sauce) a bit liquidy in terms of the sauce, but a highly delicious start to our meal.

For our mains, Wendy ordered the seafood hot pot with a scallop, shrimp and calamari with green beans, cauliflower, bamboo shoots, bell peppers and fresh basil in a spicy Indian curry coconut sauce, served with steamed jasmine rice. Wendy found it very saucy, spicy, and wonderful.

I ordered the spicy vegetarian roti with fresh market vegetables, chickpeas and tofu in a spicy curry sauce, wrapped in a warm Indian Dahl roti, served with cucumber and cherry tomato salad, topped with raita dressing. I did not find it very saucy (more dry) but it was one of the best rotis i have had in a long time. Wendy ordered a sparkling water that was similar to San Pellegrino and I ordered the typical Diet Coke.

Service was exquisite and food presentation and taste was divine. There were not many vegetarian options but the waitress assured me that they were flexible and that they could make anything vegetarian. She also assured me that the peanut sauce was truly vegetarian. Mains are in the price range of $12-$15 and appetizers are $6-$9. Some appetizers include sticky rice steamed in a straw basket with a peanut sauce, edamame (steamed Japanese soybean snaps in a chili soy dipping sauce), nam jeun (three crispy spring rolls filled with a special vegetable mixture, served with hot and sweet peanut sauce ), dim sum quartet (wonton wrapped dim sum filled with chicken and shrimp and served in a soy sauce and garlic chili dipping sauce ), golden triangles (chicken, cumin, ginger, coriander, scallions and curry wrapped in a “samosa” like fashion with a curry and lemon yogourt sauce), and artichoke hummus. Salads includes an arugula walnut salad (YUMM), a mediterranean salad, and your typical plain “house” salad. Entrees include a smoked turkey chili, spinach and ricotta canneloni (super yummy), New Zealand lamb tenderloin, teriyaki salmon, and ping gai (grilled marinated boneless chicken with garlic, coriander, black peppercorns, served with a spicy lime coriander sauce and steamed rice ).

Noodle dishes include pad thai, bah me hang (fresh thin egg noodles stir-fried with bean sprouts, onions, celery, chopped peanuts, sauteed shrimp and golden sliced chicken in a spicy lime coriander sauce, topped with green onions and fresh coriander), and khao soy gai (a Laotian dish of chicken simmered with ginger, fresh Thai herbs, turmeric, curry and coconut milk, served on a bed of fresh bean sprouts, watercress and soft thin egg noodles, garnished with shallots, marinated bok choy and fresh coriander

Also serves a Sunday brunch. Some brunch items include a Montreal bagel (St. Viateur) with served plain or with cream cheese, hamburgers served with fries, crêpes with a savoury filling, served with home fries and salad, two eggs, served any way you like it, with home fries, double smoked side bacon and toasted authentic St Viateur Bagel from Montreal, served piping hot, omelete of the day served with home fries and side salad, quiche of the day (served with salad), and a St. Viateur bagel served with smoked salmon, cream cheese, red onions, lemon, and fresh dill (a taste of “Jewish and Montreal”)

Accepts all cards. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am- 1:00am and Sun 12:00pm-12:00am. Serves some brunch items (in addition to regular menu) on Sunday. A wonderful place to bring a date. Liquor License.

Indochine Pan-Asian Restaurant

175 Dundas Street West
(416) 581-8668


Located right on Dundas between Bay and University at the cusp of the downtown core between Eaton Centre and the bus station, this small and intimate restaurant serves up a variety of Thai, Chinese, or Malaysian dishes.

On this Thursday night at 7pm, I met up with two Librarian friends and having not seen them for one year, we opted for Asian fare but decided to dine in the area. We had always dined in Baldwin Village, but we were getting tired of that neighbourhood. Upon entering, we noticed that the 2 dining areas in this restaurant were completely empty. We opted to sit right by the window for optimal people watching. We started with an order of Tom Yam soup- a vegetable based broth with zing and kick, with lemongrass, bean sprouts, baby corn, carrot, brocoli, and baby bok choi, ($2.75). Other appetizers include Thai spring rolls and various Thai soups.

Helen and Melanie both ordered the Malaysian curried chicken with a roti ($6.95). Their curry was yellow and aromatic and was served in small bowl and contained chicken and shrimp. Both enjoyed it very much but commented that it was very filling and very thick with coconut milk. Both enjoyed the roti which looked like a thick and small pancake. I ordered a typical Malaysian dish, the tofu satay ($7.95) with 4 skewers of tofu smothered in a rich peanut curry sauce with stir fried vegetables. The stir fried vegetables were overcooked and it came with a heaping mound of white rice. The dish was way too salty and there was not enough substantial vegetables (only alittle brocoli and bean sprouts), and the tofu was greasy. I was very hungry so i finished it anyway. I ordered a Mango juice for my drink ($2.95). Decor and food was not memorable. The waiter assured me that the soup broth and the peanut sauce was truly vegetarian but the soup did have that fishy aftertaste. I will most likely try Indochine again as there were many vegetarian options (spicy Thai eggplant, spicy Thai tofu, as well as a coconut curry vegetable stir fry, green curry, and various tofu dishes). Decor is nothing to cry home about, very dark in earth and almost burgundy tones, making it look somber and almost forgettable. I will have to try this place another time. Accepts all cards. Open late. Very affordable prices. 3 people can eat for under $30.00 including drinks. Serves a variety of liquors, spirits, and beer.

Kubo Radio [brunch]

894 Queen St E
416-406-KUBO (5826)

web site:

Set in Leslieville at Queen and Logan, this hip and trendy Pan Asian eatery certainly did not
appear to be serving brunch. It looked too much like a bar. However, when Aaron asked me to brunch last week, he told me “let’s go to Kubo Radio”. I checked out the web site and i remembered from my last visit that they also serve brunch.

It also helps that there is graffiti on the glass windows advertising their brunch. Luckily, the messy writing on the glass windows are done with washable marker. I think the advertise their dinner and brunch and the writings change daily.

As indicated above, Kubo Radio serves Thai dishes as well as other Pan Asian meals for the urban and funky modern hipster in Leslieville. I did not know what to expect to be served so it was an adventure. I did notice that Kubo Radio does serve traditional favourites like eggs, wraps, sandwiches, cereal, dim sum, and a variety of exotic juices and herbal teas.

Upon our arrival, we were greeted by a super friendly and laid back waitress. We were served shot glasses of mango juice (YUMM) and free appetizers of little “smurf size” blueberry muffins with a raspberry confit. I found those dishes to be quite cute and creative. I enjoyed my dining experience last time, but I was already enjoying my brunch experience as well.

I also noticed a yummy dish which comprised thick French cut toast with chocolate spread and bananas. They also serve a variety of veggie and non-veggie wraps and, like any brunch place, they serve organic granola with smashed fruit, mint, and yogourt. Trying to be on the somewhat creative side, i opted for the huge portion of steel cut oatmeal ($6.95) with raisins, grated ginger, brown sugar, and slivered blanched almonds. What a hearty plate. After running 32 km that morning, i was starving and that dish was perfect. Aaron ordered the Eggs Foreign-Tee- poached eggs on an English muffin w/spinach/ham/kubodaise ($9.95). He thought that it was OK but missing some spice. They offered some spicy sauce but he regretfully did not take it.

Decor and design is ultra modern and slick. Restaurant has clean lines and is minimal in design. Only accepts cash and VISA but no Interac. Dim Sum is not veggie friendly and there are only 3 veggie dishes but the oatmeal rocked. I understand that Kubo Radio also identifies itself as a pub but i must admit the whole ambiance is really stained with the 2 cheesy TV screens above the tables.


Unit A13-095 Yonge Street
(Empress Walk Mall at Yonge/Sheppard)
For a complete list of locations

Milestones is a classy chain of restaurants, similar to Kelsey’s or East Side Marios, but slightly more upscale and less of “horse stables” ambiance. In other words, Milestones seems less noisy crowed with huge tables, spread far apart, with dim lighting, and an overall ambiance that is more calm and inviting. Located in most suburbs malls or in the middle of big box stores, I went to this particular Milestones at Yonge and Sheppard with Steve and Debbie in the fall.

The first floor was a bar/pub and the second floor was an intimate dining hall, with a cosy ambiance

Due to the limited vegetarian items on the menu, I ordered the Vegetarian Thai Noodle Salad- large and colourful with avocado, tomato, letture, cucumber, Thai rice noodles, mushrooms, artichokes, in a spicy Thai dressing ($9.99). Debbie had steak with garlic potatoes. Steve had grilled salmon with rice

All dishes came in large plates and super large portions. Decor is trendy with large spacious tables and booths. Rich in wood and comfort, yet provides an atmosphere of energy and fun. Very crowded with people but not congested

Friendly, welcoming, and knowledgeable staff. Decor is super modern and classy, in an elegant design
Milestones is a chain across Canada, all over Greater Toronto, Greater Vancouver, all of Ontario, B.C., and Alberta. Milestones claims to be the proud creator of Bellini, a frozen cocktail, a blend of Lamb’s white rum, peach liqueur and champagne, topped with sangria.
This restaurant also serves an extensive list of wines, house wines, beers, cockails, margarita’s, dacquiris, and other drinks

The men is very diverse, as it includes steak, chicken and ribs, soups and salads, stir fry’s (not vegetarian) , seafood, pasta, but unfortunately very few vegetarian options. The only vegetarian options I found were the veggie burger platter, tomato basil capellini (tomatoes, basil, sundried tomatoes, calamata olives, and feta), Miso Dragon Bowl (Asian vegetables, brown rice, and Thai peanut sauce), the California spring greens salad (spring greens, glazed pecans, red onions, goat cheese, and strawberries), the typical garden salad, a roasted garlic caesar salad, and the Vegetarian Thai Noodle Salad.

In addition, they also serve an extensive brunch and low carb menu. They also serve low calorie meals, as well as items with little or no trans-fats.Brunch is served 7 days a week until 4:00pm. Typical brunch items includes a variety of omeletes, egg benedicts, French toast, poached eggs, and mimosas. The lunch menu is very similar to the dinner menu but there are more sandwiches burgers and wraps (known as rollups)–mostly in chicken and beef varieties

Some vegetarian appetizers include hot tortilla chips with fresh salsa, baked goat cheese and roasted garlic dip on flat bread, and the toasted onion and herb focaccia triangles. Liquor license. Accepts Interac, and VISA. I was quite pleased that they had a low carb menu and there were some vegetarian appetizers but not enough vegetarian entrees.


546 College Street West
(416) 923-4138

Located right in the heart of Little Italy, at College near Grace, this wonderful cafe and bistro can be described as very “Toulouse-Lautrec”. Kalendar resembles a scene from the movie Moulin Rouge or the setting of some of Annie Lennox music videos. When you enter this place, you go back in time to an old 1880’s cafe.

The place is gorgeous with lots of varnished mahogney or oak furniture, an old bar with a large assortment of wines, liquors, and mixed drinks. There are two disinct dining halls separated by this central bar, which acts as the hub of the restaurant. One dining hall is quite small. It contains about 7 tables and the bar resides on this side. The other dining hall looks like an old fashioned restaurant with many more tables. The kitchen is in the basement so you never see them cooking. The menu is very limited and I would describe the cuisine of funky Indian or Fusion or Italian. They mostly have Indian cuisine but they also serve some Italian dishes like pizza and pasta and Belgium fare like mussels.
On this two page menu, I ordered a scroll number two. This scroll was essentially a wrap made of Roti (like Chapati or Poori or Nan bread) with hummus, grilled peppers, grilled artichokes, grilled eggplant, and herbed mayonnaise (hold the Mayonnaise- yuck!)

My friend ordered Scroll one which was a chicken variety with some vegetables. Both our scrolls came in two sizes ($8.95 small and $12.95 large) and we ordered the larges sizes with a vegetable salad with a balsamic viniagrette.

I ordered a Diet Coke for a drink and he ordered some dark beer that looked like Coke. Tables are small and people are kind of squashed together in the smaller dining room. I did take a look at the large dining room and it was beautiful. With art on the walls, dim lighting, mahogney or cherry wood furniture and wood panelling, this place was definitely the place to be on a Saturday night.

The only problem was that the menu was so little. It seems that they only have trendy funky Indian cuisine with a couple of Italian dishes (well, this place is in Little Italy, right?)

7 West

7 Charles

7 West is located on 7 Charles street, on three floors of an old converted Victorian home, with hardwood floors, exposed brick, and a fireplace. It’s just one block south of the Yonge/Bloor intersection. They serve many vegetarian meals and the prices are really affordable for what you get. The drinks are expensive, though. Never go on a Saturday night because this calm, cool, funky, hip cafe becomes a busy, crowded cheesy bar with macho guys with way too much cologne and women who look like whores socialize and drink and the whole ambiance becomes all loud and resembles a bar- YUCK!

Go during a weeknight or during the day on the weekend. I usually order the vegetarian chili or the grilled vegetable sandwich with a lot of chick pea green salad. It’s colourful, fresh, and portions are decent. 🙂 My veggie chili was a bit liquidy, but it’s quite tasty and not expensive.

They also serve excellent salads, and light meals, desserts, and full course dinners. You get good quality food and good service. Just avoid going Friday and Saturday night.

7-West also serves brunch on the weekend. There is small one-pager, in addition to the menu, with traditional brunch fare with affordable prices. Drinks are bit high (Diet Coke for $3.00) but I had the granola with fruit and yogourt for $6.00 and my brunch date had eggs, peameal bacon, with a chick pea green salad and service, presentation, and quality of food was good.


200 Bathurst Street


On one wall of the minimalistic room is a portrait, blown up, of a Vietnamese family. Five pouting black and white children standing erect like planks of wood in the foreground, a man and a woman seated stiffly behind them. “That’s me, to the left,” gushes Sydney, tittering behind one hand. It has been less than a year since she opened Lalot north of Queen on Bathurst, a few doors beyond the dilapidated Oak Steam bathhouse with its “Men Only” scrawled across the window. Despite her eternal optimism, even Sydney acknowledges a dinner hitting the forty dollar mark (without alcohol) is a risky venture for a neighbourhood replete with goths, crack dealers and the odd homeless man circulating the tables for change.

Sydney exudes the artsiness of Queen West West in a La Coste turtle neck and a pair of sleek black-framed glasses, babbling on excitedly about Madonna’s English Roses, the excellent décor at Bymark (“yet all those suits, bleh, nobody interesting to schmooze with”), the produce at the new Pusateris up in Yorkville, how the owner of the über-trendy Drake hotel occasionally pops by, gesticulating madly, “oh you guys should definitely come to the opening party next Friday”.

Yet though tempting to pass her off as a floozy, at best a charismatic host, beneath her affability is a keenness, an undercurrent of perfectionism, a remnant of the black and white child staring stoically from the photograph. And such is Lalot. On the surface—the ubiquitous drone of St. Germain in the background, the clean lines of tables and couches trailing both walls, a small but perfectly arranged terrace in the back, Reidel wine glasses, a lovely orange hue infusing the whole place. The atmosphere is nothing more remarkable than your run-of-the-mill King Street West establishment, but there’s a precision and sophistication to the cooking which elevates Lalot to one of Toronto’s most exciting new dining experiences.

For starters try the spring rolls with lobster and shrimp, perfectly crisp and not too oily with a great tangy dipping sauce. And the tamarind soup big enough for two, flooding our bodies with a delicious warmth as we watch the snow falling beyond the window. The salt-n-peppa calamari – magnificent – but the house specialty appetizer, a beetle leaf wrapped around a thin slice of beef flank, well, it’s not as good as we expected it to be. Still, 3 out of 4 is a pretty good tally and we wait with excitement for the main dishes to arrive (also a little trepidation too, as Asian restaurants with such excellent starters often have nowhere to go but down).

But Lalot defies the formula. A stupendous Drunken Chicken, a gourmet variant of General Tao’s, not too original but how often have you craved this dish with succulent pieces of white meat, not like the regurgitated dreck that’s served at Mr. Pong’s down the street? A duck breast with peanut sauce on a mound of bok-choy that is adequate but not spectacular. A side of steamed eggplant that literally melts in your mouth with a hint of garlic and spice. The piece-de-resistance, the dish that will keep us coming back for more, is the caramelized catfish in a clay pot. Who knew this whiskered bottom-feeder, a fish that is notoriously unpleasant to the palate, could be reduced to nuggets of tenderness swimming in a rich sauce of fresh red chilli peppers? Sydney giggles as we scrape the caramelized onions from the bottom of the pot, emitting little Pavlovian sighs of pleasure.

No room for dessert but Sydney, being Sydney, graciously brings over a few scoops of green tea and red bean ice cream anyway.

-David Bledin

Cafe 668

As of mid 2007
885 Dundas Street West
*NEW* Phone: 416 703 0668

As of mid 2007, Cafe 668 moved to 885 Dundas Street West
New Phone Number: 416 703 0668

A Southeast Asian all-veggie, vegan-friendly cafe. Located right near Kensington Market along Dundas between Spadina and Bathurst, this place is quite small and cosy and only sits about 6 small tables. Nice ambiance, simple with minimal decor. I started with a small vegetarian hot and sour soup which came piping hot, thick and spicy, sour, and excellent. The soup portion was quite large. My friend ordered an order of veggie cold rolls which looked fresh and healthy. She ordered the main dish called “House Special Mixed Vegetable Noodle Soup which consisted of a huge soup with noodles and an assortment of vegetables. I ordered the veggie chicken sir fried with cashew nuts (Kung-Pau Style). It came with small diced vegetables and I asked for them to leave out the rice. I was kind of disappointed because the night before I ordered the Veggie Chicken Kung Pau at King’s Cafe in Kensington Market and that dish was the best I’ve ever had. This dish at Cafe 668 was excellent but the pieces were so small, it almost looked like baby food. I generally do not like my food diced up like that. The actual dish was filing and yummy and not expensive at all ($7.99). My friend’s main course was $5.50 and her veggie cold rolls were $2.99 for three rolls. My soup was $2.99 and my main dish was $7.99. Lunch and dinner meals are under $10.00 in most cases and are served fresh, colourful, and extremely tasty. Buddhas Vegetarian Restaurant, which is the neighbouring restaurant next door, is somewhat more grungy with bright lights, uncomfortable chairs and awkward tables, and a patchwork of 6 small dining rooms. Cafe 668 is a simple cafe of one room, classy, dimly lit, and quiet. In terms of awards, this place was selected as the number one restaurant in 2002 by NOW Magazine. It has also received praise from NOW Magazine, Eye Weekly, Toronto Life, and the Toronto Star. Open Tues-Fri12:30 -4PM, 6- 9:30PM. Sat-Sun 1:30 – 9:30PM. Closed Monday. They only accept cash.

Not Just Noodles

570 Yonge Street


Conveniently located at Yonge and Wellesley, this casual sit down and take out place serves Chinese, Vietnamese, and Thai dishes. They also serve Bubble Tea, a delicious cold beverage with tea, ice, tapioca bubbles, and flavour. Bubble Tea originates from Taiwan and I love Bing Sa, a smooth, slushy like beverage made with frozen fruit puree, tapioca bubbles, and blended to a creamy smoothy icy drink.

The restaurant
sits about three tables on the main floor and about ten tables on the second floor. My friend ordered the sweet and sour chicken balls. She said they were tasty but doughy. I ordered the tofu stir fry with bok choy and shitaki mushrooms in a veggie sauce. Warning: all veggie dishes are not just noodles are made in an oyster sauce so if you are a true vegetarian, please specify.

Menu is divided into the following: Thai and Vietnamese sections, Stir Fried Noodle and Veggie and Beef or Chicken dishes, Fried Rice dishes, Dim Sum, Noodle Soups in Chicken or Beef broth, regular soups (beef or chicken broth), appetizers, pork, chicken, seafood, and beef main dishes, as well as a list of vegetarian dishes. Please specify that you are a “true” vegetarian if you do not mind oyster sauce or chicken/beef broth in your beloved vegetarian dishes. All dishes come with steamed white rice.

Mostly serving Chinese fare, there are 2 small sections devoted to Thai and Vietnamese cuisine like Pho (Vietnamese) and Pad Thai (Thai). Offers dinner specials (choice of one specially selected item for $9.50, up to 6 items from a special set of dishes for $48.95). Bubble tea is $2.95 (small) and $3.45 (large) and add 50 cents for Bing Sa (slush). Fresh fruit bubble tea is $3.75 (small) and $4.75 (large).

Prices are between $4.95-$9.95 and portions are decent. Dishes come with rice and Interac and cash are accepted.

Open Mon-Sat 11am-1am. Sunday 12 pm noon- 1am. Offers take out, delivery, and catering services. Free delivery for orders over $18 before taxes. Delivery service is from 5pm-11pm. Fast and friendly service but speak slowly as English is NOT their first language so if you are a hard core vegetarian, they will probably fuck up. MSG-free dishes available upon request.