CLOSED: Fressen

Overall rating: 4.0 stars 46 Reviews
Vegan and organic restaurant. Reported closed to HappyCow. Price: Expensive more-less
Vegan, Organic
reviews

Reviews

First Review by erbavore
vegan frog
vegan frog
128

reviews

  • vegan

Great food, poor service

3 Posted on 12 / 02 / 2012

The food is great, all vegan and well presented. The service is horrible and as such should not warrant a 4.


SynthVegan
SynthVegan
552

reviews

  • vegan

Fressen

2 Posted on 09 / 15 / 2012

Bottom line, Fressen did not live up to all of the hype. The restaurant was upscale bohemian and the service was spotty. The plantain cakes were unusual but good, and they even had a nice kick to them. Our server recommended two entrees, the spelt linguine and the grilled black bean seitan. The pasta was OK, but the pesto on top of it had an odd flavor - it's possible the base was pecans. My boyfriend absolutely disliked the grilled black bean seitan, and I couldn't agree with him more. His meal was actually terrible and had a strong vinegar taste. The seitan was formed into a sausage and had strange textures and flavors. We spent about $100 there and came away feeling lackluster about our meal. Having said all of that, I probably wouldn't recommend Fressen to any of my friends.


vtraveller
vtraveller
60

reviews

  • vegan

Quality food, nice atmosphere

5 Posted on 09 / 15 / 2012

I was lucky make it here on my Toronto visit. The food was well prepared and presented beautifully. The space is pretty nice and would be a good place to bring a date. Without drinks, and no dessert (too full), the meal came to $55 for two entrees and the 3 cold appetizers, so I couldn't eat here every night. Would be nice though.

Pros: Great food, Nice ambiance
Cons: Little pricy
MarciaM
MarciaM
15

reviews

  • vegan

Great spot

4 Posted on 07 / 20 / 2012

Always dine there when in Toronto. Great choices, yummy tastes, happy wait staff.

Pros: Good menu, Nice atmosphere, Good service
Cons: Down stairs to restroom, Parking
Guest
Guest

Best dessert ever!

5 Posted on 07 / 11 / 2012

The food was delicious and wonderfully presented.

Polenta: nice texture and goes well with the bed of spinach
Grilled black bean seitan: the sausage(?) was okay (a bit on the dry side, but I like my food non-greasy, so didn't mind it), and the sauteed vegetable was really good!
Crusted tofu: the tofu was delicious with a bit of a kick. The non-vegan hubby loved it.

The dessert: it was the best dessert I ever had! The chocolate was not too sweet, had the perfect firmness that was heavenly as it melted in my mouth. The fruits complemented the chocolate and the mousse perfectly. I can't wait to eat it again.

Pros: dessert, ambiance, friendly staff

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Sarah Smile
Sarah Smile
3

reviews

  • vegan

Best Vegan restaurant in TO

5 Posted on 09 / 09 / 2011

My husband and I had an amazing meal here. The food, the atmosphere and the service was perfection. I can't wait to go again.


tfrederick
tfrederick
4

reviews

  • vegan

Good food - indifferent servers

3 Posted on 07 / 13 / 2011

This is a nice restaurant, and it would be nicer if the staff wasn't so eager to close up. We made a reservation for 9:30 on a Saturday night. Before arriving we were told that the kitchen closed at 10. Right when we sat down, though, they told us we had to order right away. I asked why there were closing so early, and the server replied, "Well, we'd like to go out tonight, too."

With about 10 tables still eating, another couple walked in at 9:50, and asked if they could order something, and the server said, "No." If this were my restaurant, I'd be pretty upset to find my staff sending business away.

With a bunch of tapas dishes on the table, I asked if we could get a couple more pieces of bread, but the server said, "kitchen closed." Now...I've worked in many restaurants, and I suspect that the server wasn't thinking I wanted her to bake a new loaf of bread for me -- she could easily have sliced some and brought it out. You don't need a chef for that.

Anyway, decent food, but lame service, which makes for a rather mediocre experience overall.

Pros: nice presentation, tasty food
Cons: staff is unpleasant, eager to close, pricey
matt goldman
matt goldman
6

reviews

  • vegetarian

Amazing tapas and soups

4 Posted on 07 / 07 / 2011

The soups are realy great. Some tapas dishes are amazing, but others not much, like the gluten one. Very Nice atmosphere in a weekends brunch and good service.I like the super mixed greens salad in a tangy sesame soy carrot dressing.
Updated from previous review on Thursday July 07, 2011
Updated from previous review on Thursday July 07, 2011


Jason Griffin
Jason Griffin
2

reviews

  • vegan

fressensational

5 Posted on 05 / 01 / 2011

wicked atmosphere, super friendly/witty staff, delicious food. Best restaurant in Toronto; not a super diverse menu, but super tasty.

Pros: Candle-lit tables, Fresh, culinary artistry
Cons: tiny bit pricey, not enough non alcoholic beverages, non existant dessert menu
Sarah P
Sarah P
64

reviews

  • vegan

amazing meal

5 Posted on 03 / 04 / 2011

I ate at Fressen in February with 6 non-vegetarian friend, 3 of which self-identify as carnivores. Everyone raved about their meals and talked about returning as soon as possible for more delicious Fressen food!

We ordered appetizers, salads, entrees, drinks and dessert. The notable appetizers included the tempeh "fish sticks", which the non-vegetarians especially loved, and the white bean (or possibly butter bean) pate that was offered on the tapas menu.

Entrees included a nice selection of at least one tofu, tempeh, seitan, lentil or bean stew, and pasta option. We tried almost one of everything, and everyone loved each item they tasted. Portions were sufficient for a satisfying meal, and items were creatively prepared. I liked the tofu, tempeh and seitan meals the best.

The dessert was a delicious decadent flourless chocolate cake with hazelnut ganache and truffles. The cake was avocado based, and was so amazingly delicious.

People who drank alcohol responded positively about the drinks. The after-dinner espresso was very strong and tasty. The price per person was about $40, but could have easily been reduced by half without drinks and appetizers.

Cheers to Fressen, I highly recommend the restaurant for vegans and non-vegan loved ones.

Pros: delicious, distinctive food, sufficient portions, nice atmosphere
Cons: a tad pricey
kindfood
kindfood
2

reviews

  • vegan

Love it!!!

5 Posted on 02 / 19 / 2011

From one vegan cafe to another vegan restaurant, we love Fressen! The staff, the food, the ambience.....We recommend this restaurant to everyone we know and all end up having a truly fantastic time when they dine there.
I personally love the jicama Salad (appetizer), Spinach Blinis (shared appetizer) and Crusted Tempeh as my entree.
You must try it and enjoy this must-do experience!!
Kelly Childs
Kindfood (Burlington ON)

Pros: Staff, Excellent VEGAN Food, Romantic Ambience
ieatmodestmouse
ieatmodestmouse
16

reviews

  • vegan

not worth going

3 Posted on 11 / 27 / 2010

my husband and i came here nov 2010. when we walked in, we were treated rudely. we waiting minutes until a waitress who looked like she hadn't washed her hair in months came up and asked if we had a reservation. we said no. she RELUCTANTLY let us sit in an open table. she was unfriendly the entire time we were there.

we ordered the morroccan stew and the crusted tempeh. both were good, but it was also something that i could make at home.

not worth going out to get treated rudely to have something to eat that tastes like something easy to make at home! we didn't even stay for desert because we didn't want to bother.

Pros: decent food
Cons: rude workers, "boring" food
Ohkamp
Ohkamp
28

reviews

  • vegan

Not worth the hype, better options in the city

3 Posted on 07 / 30 / 2010

For the priciest and some say the best vegan dining in Canada, I've been very disappointed. It is nothing compared to other gourmet vegan dining like Madeleine Bistro in Los Angeles or Candle 79 in New York. The food is just average and I wouldn't say it outshines the likes of moderately priced cafes like Fresh or Live in Toronto unless you're going for the atmosphere. The wait staff has also been rude. If you haven't had the opportunity to experience high end vegan dining before Fressen, I'd say give it a try. I may just have been spoiled and have had higher expectations for such a pricey meal. The brunch was especially disappointing to the four of us who tried it recently.

Pros: Atmosphere
Cons: Price, Doesn't live up to the hype
Allieg
Allieg
3

reviews

  • vegan

Fressen was fabulous!

5 Posted on 07 / 11 / 2010

Today me and my dad went to Fressen for dinner, and I am glad to say that it was fantastic! We got a set of three tapas ($15): a cold zucchini soup, babaganoush with bread, and a beet and mandarin salad. They were all incredible; The spices and herbs used perfectly complemented the main ingredients. For the entree, I got the seitan kabobs with veggies and my dad got the spelt pesto pasta. To be honest, I was jealous of my dad's pasta. I loved my dish as well, but the pasta was exceptional. The dessert (there's only one!) was also delicious. My dad is an omni and he said it was one of the best meals he's ever had - veg or otherwise! I definitely recommend this restaurant to everyone. *I also recommend making a reservation so you can be guaranteed a seat!

Pros: Amazing food, Good prices for the quality, Friendly staff
Cons: It was slow when it got busy
mquito
mquito
3

reviews

  • vegan

Most Amazing Veg Resto Ever!!!

5 Posted on 06 / 22 / 2010

I'm addicted! The unusual food combos that mix blissfully together is the reason my non-vegetarian boyfriend and I frequent this stop.

Pros: crazy good food, friendly staff, crazy good cesars
jedzen
jedzen
24

reviews

  • vegan

Good vegan food

5 Posted on 03 / 31 / 2010

I went to Fressen with my boyfriend. That was the most expensive vegan dinner i had during my trip in Toronto, but also probably the best.
The two girls serving our table were helpful and quick. When i told one of them their home made bread was amazing, she smiled and came back with a big basket!
We had good wine, good apetizers ( olives, and sweet potato tartelettes )
I ate pastas. They were good but i've had better. I'm a big fan of pastas and cook a lot at home so maybe that's why i'm picky. My boyfriend had the beer battered tofu and it was just perfect, and the plate was beautiful.
I couldnt finish the dessert. It was huge. They only had one choice, which is an avocado-chocolate mousse cake. Tasty, well presented, but rich and hard to eat because we were already full. When we ordered, the girl said : One to share? And we said no, 2, one each. She should have warned us about the size! We didnt knew. Anyway we wrapped them and ate them for breakfast!
We liked the place. We were in jeans and didnt seem to fit around all those 'dressed for the occasion' persons around but we still received great service and enjoyed our evening without problems.
Nice jazz music, lovely decoration.
Will be back if i can.


Guest
Guest

Pretty good

4 Posted on 03 / 28 / 2010

I came here with my family one night and they were packed. So we waited for a while to get a table, and waited quite a bit to get our food (understandably). My meal was pretty delicious- i got the crispy tempeh and we ordered king mushrooms for an appetizer. We also had a jack daniels chocolate cake that was yummy. The prices are pretty high though, you don't get a lot of food and its not extrodinary even though its good.

Pros: tasty , organic , nice atmosphere
Cons: expensive
procrastinasian
procrastinasian
52

reviews

  • vegan

Disappointing brunch

2 Posted on 02 / 18 / 2010

We had out-of-town guests and wanted to take them out to a special brunch. We'd been to Fressen three years ago but not since, and were expecting a stellar (if expensive) meal. Instead, we got an adequate and expensive meal. The choices, while creative, were not anything that special, and weren't prepared particularly well. Our corn cakes were burned, the potatoes didn't seem quite cooked enough, and a lot of the meal was pretty bland. The waitstaff was rude and unhelpful. We were embarrassed we'd taken our guests there, and wish we'd gone to Live instead.

I'm glad that there's a nice vegan restaurant like this in Toronto, but our last meal there doesn't make me want to go back when I can instead go to places like Fresh, Vegetarian Haven, and Live.


Cons: rude staff, overpriced food, bland
TVB
TVB
4

reviews

  • vegetarian

Great date place!

5 Posted on 01 / 21 / 2010

I love the atmosphere of this place. At night the lights are dimmed low and there is great music playing softly. Not to mention the food is amazing!!!

I will definitely be back :)

Pros: Great Food, Great Service, Great Atmosphere
Ken4057
Ken4057
138

reviews

  • vegan

Used to be great...

3 Posted on 12 / 23 / 2009

Fressen was THE place to go in Toronto. The brunch was massive and the best deal in town at $9.

Everything has now been scaled back: the brunch plates are now much smaller, the entrees are all gone, replaced by tapas-style dishes that are very expensive and not nearly as satisfying as the main entrees that came before.

The gnocchi is delicious, but scant. The seared gluten is gone - and good riddance, b/c it was bland. The battered tempeh fish are a go, as are any of their salads.

I'll go back sometime, but that original thrill is gone.


VeganJo
VeganJo
5

reviews

  • vegan

Take a warm coat

3 Posted on 10 / 24 / 2009

I can't say I enjoyed Fressen that much, mainly because most of the time I was freezing cold. I asked the (helpful) waitress to turn the heating up and it went extremely hot for a while before returning to being cold. So be prepared for eating with your coat on.
The food was pretty good. I loved the sound of the mushroom filo pastry with spinach sauce but found that the top of it was burnt slightly and the bottom soggy as sitting in loads of sauce, so it didn't quite live up to expectations but was quite tasty nonetheless as were the lentil balls. I had a tapas and a starter and found it was enough food for me and not at all expensive either.

Pros: Tasty food, Good service, Pleasant atmosphere
Cons: Felt cold, Soggy/burnt pastry
Orocker
Orocker
1

reviews

  • vegan

Still dreaming

5 Posted on 10 / 02 / 2009

of their Sliced shiitake and crimini mushrooms mixed with shredded spinach in cashew cream wrapped in a filo pastry puff. Holy moley. I went there while on a business trip last week and after checking out the reviews on HappyCow. I'm not really sure of why people are so much against the service they experienced, as my hostess/server was very pleasant and chatty. Then again, I brought up that I was from Atlanta and she used to live there, and we had a long chat about it. That being said, though, from the many restaurants I've experienced on business travel, I've always seen that if you're nice to restaurant staff they usually are nice back. I think some of these people who posted reviews here should try it sometime.
I had the sliced shiitake and crimini mushrooms filo pastry as noted already and it was to die for. It simply melts in your mouth, and it's swimming in this glorious puree of spinach and cashew cream. I ordered another dish of sweet potato cake and it was good overall.
Next time I go to Toronto, I am going back for sure to definitely get some more of that filo pastry dish, but also try lots more on their menu. I loved the menu- it's hard to decide what to get as everything looks so good. It's glorious to go to a restaurant and be able to order anything, and it's not that fake Chinese food stuff.
Overall, it's a great experience with amazing food, though be prepared to pay out a little bit as it is pricey. And as they make it from scratch for you, it does take a while for it to come out. But get some bread and you'll be fine. And try the sliced shiitake and crimini mushrooms mixed with shredded spinach in cashew cream wrapped in a filo pastry puff. You'll be dreaming of it too.

Pros: Great menu, Delicious food, Vegan wines
Cons: Pricey, Can be slow
sullivusb
sullivusb
22

reviews

  • vegan

Yummy!

5 Posted on 08 / 23 / 2009

Very gourmet, elegant, well presented food. The food was great and it was nice to eat at a more "gourmet" restaurant than the usual vegetarian Asian places. Highly recommended.

Pros: food was great, dessert was amazing, beautifully presented
Cons: menu is a bit short, restaurant is somewhat small
Lenique
Lenique
6

reviews

  • vegan

Disappointing

3 Posted on 08 / 17 / 2009

The dishes were brought out at awkward times. I understood that it was a Tapas restaurant so everything is not brought out at the same time but my husband's food came and mine did not come until 20 min later. One item, the waitress apparently forgot. Also there was only one dessert option. Normally restaurants have several to choose from. I would not go to this restaurant again.


IdeaOfOrder
IdeaOfOrder
2

reviews

  • vegan

Hippie Vacation

3 Posted on 08 / 10 / 2009

We had a fairly good brunch here a while back and hoped to return this last weekend--but they were closed for brunch until "mid-August". When, precisely, is that? We were very put out.

Until we hopped on our bikes and hit up the nearby Get Real! cafe, which was much better.

For the price, service, and unpredictability, I wouldn't bother with Fressen. Toronto has too many other awesome veg restaurants.

Pros: good food
Cons: expensive, unpredictable schedule
girlwiththedog
girlwiththedog
8

reviews

  • vegan

Brunch not worth it

2 Posted on 07 / 26 / 2009

I have only gone for brunch so can't comment on the dinner menu. Our brunch left us underwhelmed. Juice was fresh, and coffee was good. Also really liked the complimentary mini-muffins. Tofu scamble was tasty-but that's not an incredible culinary feat. Food is way under-seasoned-it seems like they don't use salt or they definetly don't use enough. We asked for ketchup (for our potatoes) and were told quite curtly that they don't serve ketchup. Five minutes later the server returned with a small bowl of ketchup from their personal stash. Our server spent the remainder of our service complaining about how they had to buy ketchup out of their own pocket and the guests used most of it. By the end of our meal we wished that we had never bothered to mention ketchup in the first place.

Besides the ketchup debacle, the service was downright hostile and the food palatable but under-seasoned. Might try the dinner but definetly won't go back for brunch. Have no idea why people love the brunch so much.

Pros: really good juice, good coffee, good muffins
Cons: service, no salt, no ketchup
dem
dem
11

reviews

  • vegetarian

My favourite

5 Posted on 05 / 01 / 2009

Fressen is my favourite vegetarian restaurant in Toronto. The best dish, in my opinion, is the seared gluten roast. But everything is good!

Fressen is expensive, so I only go there on special occasions. I go there knowing I will pleased with the food and the experience.

The service is on the slow side, but they warn you this right on their website, so you shouldn't expect fast food. It is worth the wait.

Pros: great food
veganstastebetter
veganstastebetter
45

reviews

  • vegan

Whats up Fressen?

4 Posted on 04 / 27 / 2009

I used to eat at Fressen every trip to toronto, but I have begun to explore other options. A little pricey and apparently the service leaves a lot to be desired. According to these reviews service is the main issue. The food is amazing and the selection is great. I will be back someday soon.


andiepan
andiepan
1

reviews

  • non-vegetarian

Good food, terrible service...

2 Posted on 03 / 01 / 2009

We decided to go to Fressen tonight for an early dinner, since we were craving vegetarian food and heard it was delicious. We were the first patrons to enter for dinner service and upon arrival, a thin woman with light blonde hair exclaimed from the middle of the restaurant, "you're going to have to come closer, I'm not coming to the door!" so, we approached her and sat down at a booth. The lighting and ambiance seemed nice, though the bossa nova music was quite loud. The thin, blonde server poured us some water and briefly explained the tapas style menu for sharing. Her "vibe" was slightly cold, but we didn't think much of this at first. My dining companion requested that the music be turned down a bit and the server barely made eye contact and grunted, "okay". The music was never turned down.

We decided on the sweet potato, coconut and ginger soup to start and shared the braised fennel and taro dumplings. The food arrived in good time, considering there was only 2 other tables of patrons in the restaurant. While the food was delicious, the server did not acknowledge us throughout the meal, except to remove our plates. She did not check-in with us to see how the food was nor did she seem to care we were even there. After we finished our meal, she said, "Do you want dessert?" in a tone that seemed annoyed that we were taking up her valuable time. We quickly replied "no". We purposely left a less than 10% tip in hopes that she would recognize this form of communication as " poor service".

The food was really good, however , our server's attitude and body language made the dining experience truly unpleasant. Both of us are not planning to go back to Fressen for this very reason. There are plenty of restaurants in this neighborhood where the food is good AND the servers are professional.

Pros: good food
Cons: rude server, poor service
World B. Free
World B. Free
16

reviews

  • vegan

Good but not the BEST.

4 Posted on 10 / 12 / 2008

Unlike the experience of others, my girlfriend and I actually received pretty good service. Our server was friendly, quick to refill water and our wattress was even flexible with the dessert menu (I wanted a dessert sans alcohol and they only really prepare one dessert a day). The bathroom, however, which has also gotten a lot of attention, is pathetic for a place like this. Out of soap, out of paper towels, etc. (Sorry vegan germaphobes!) The food, three dishes, the rawzagna, tart pizza and asparagus were all GOOD but not GREAT. The modified dessert they made for us was the highlight and despite others gripes about price we managed three plates and a dessert for a pretty reasonable 36 dollars. Drink water people, it is good for you! Hahah. Overall I would rate my experience a 3.8. There are a lot of other vegan places I will be checking out next time I am in Toronto before I am back at Fressen. Oh, and Fressen can you please put some signs out like "seat yourself" or "wait to be seated" as well as "washrooms" instead of just a blank door. Confusing for first time visitors!

Pros: Flexible with dessert, Reasonable Price , Good service
Cons: Bathrooms are disgusting
WynneSchuster
WynneSchuster
3

reviews

  • non-vegetarian

So much potential, but need to work on service

3 Posted on 10 / 06 / 2008

I am not one to post less-than-flattering reviews but after attempts to write to the owner, I am resorting to a pulbic forum in hopes that it will make a point. I am not a vegetarian but I enjoy eating veggie meals and so frequent veg restaurants often. I love the food at Fressen but wonder why the brilliance in the kitchen isn't translated into the service in the dining room. More than half of the time, the servers seem, at best, young and inexperienced, and, at worst, rude and absoluately unattentive. I find that brunch is the worst, but my experiences at dinner at not immune either. I work hard for my money, and expect to be treated with some consideration and respect when I eat out. If the prices were rock-bottom, I would just suck it up (Buddha's Vegetarian, anyone?). But with meal and wine prices what they are, I would like to be treated like I at least matter. I can say that I have never been treated as poorly as I have numerous times at Fressen and that pains me because as I said the food is great. Meat-based restaurants of similar price ranges would NEVER hire servers like those at Fressen - so why does the owner settle for less than the best representation of what plant-based cuisine has to offer? Is there not a dining room manager who can train these women about how to serve people, and follow up when they are rude and unattentive?

Pros: Food, Wine selection, atmosphere
Cons: No espresso?!, Service, Lack of seasonal variation
djmofoword
djmofoword
3

reviews

  • vegan

worst service ever!

2 Posted on 08 / 21 / 2008

I went there for a nice meal with my boyfriend last weekend. It was POURING out side and we biked down. We had reservations. The hostess brought up to our table. Before we had sat down or taken off our drenching coats the server had put menus on our table, told us the specials and asked what we want to drink. I knew from then on it would be a fun night ;(

She didnt look at us once, looked cheaking out the rest of the dinning room when taking out order. we didnt have any cutlery and asked 3 times... we had to get if our selves after the 3rd attemps.

The way we were treated wes insane, so bad i was tempted to leave her a penny. but, i know i will go back because the darn porttabella mushroom is so good!!

Pros: food, ceiling
Cons: arrogant, bad service, could use some renos
LegrayDynamic
LegrayDynamic
10

reviews

  • vegetarian

Tastee Food Horrible Service

2 Posted on 08 / 19 / 2008

We were in town for the Caribana festival and my brother who is vegan happy cowed this establishment. When we walked in the servers looked nervous to even approach our party ( Not sure if it was because we were the only multiethnic group or maybe because we had dreadlocks) non the less they were not interested serving our party of 6. three of our party were meat eaters two of us were vegetarian, and one of us was vegan. The individuals that were meat eaters were trying out something new for the first time and were treated horribly when they asked questions. What a way to scare them off. we had experienced horrible service over all .
On the bright side if you want to call it that, the food was beautiful and tastee! I will never go there again. Also the server took her own undeserving tip by not bringing our change and waving us off to leave.

Pros: yummy, pretty
Cons: horrible service, horrible servers
nutritionista
nutritionista
1

reviews

  • vegan

Great food (tasty, beautiful), so-so service

4 Posted on 08 / 11 / 2008

My partner and I had brunch at Fressen yesterday.

We had been there for dinner before, so we assumed it was the same set-up - Tapas style menu, one smallish dish after the next, so between the 2 of us we ordered three things: the corn fritters, scrambled tofu and wheat-free waffles. We were a little shocked when all three rather large dishes appeared on our table at once!

The presentation was beautiful and the food was indeed tasty (and I sure do appreciate being able to count on good vegan food in Toronto), but the server hadn't warned us about the quantity of food, nor had she offered to stagger the delivery of the dishes, so we ate our fritters and tofu first, but by the time we got to the waffles they were cold and super soggy from the syrup (which is supposed to be served on the side, but our server tipped the little dish over onto the waffles before it arrived to us) and juicy fruit it was sitting on/in.

About the service - our experience was hit and miss. Both me and my partner have extensive serving experience, so we know what good service looks like. The server who seated us was not particularly friendly - she hardly made eye contact, didn't smile and along with the lack of assistance with our ordering (as mentioned above) she neglected to bring us the complimentary mini muffins that are supposed to come at the beginning of the meal. It made me think of the phenomenon some of my other friends who've worked in the biz have commented on recently about Queen West restaurants - that the servers act like they're doing you a favour by showing up at your table at all.
The second server we had however (it seems that both of them take care of all tables in the place) was quite the opposite - she smiled, was attentive and chatted with us about how the melon on our plates was from a local farm.

If we had just had the second server and had been offered more guidance in ordering, we'd have left really pleased, because, as I said, the food itself was great!

PS. As a holistic nutritionist, a quick tip if you also plan on going there for brunch: Be sure to eat the 5-6 pieces of melon on your plate first for better digestion. We couldn't eat all of ours (3 meals x 6 pieces = 18 pieces of melon, yikes!) so we asked to have the rest wrapped up and enjoyed it at home.

Pros: reliably delicious, beautiful presentation, nice decor, good location
Cons: unskilled servers
vegan.flora
vegan.flora
6

reviews

  • vegan

beautiful

5 Posted on 08 / 07 / 2008

The most notable thing about the food at Fressen is how pretty it is. Each dish was its own work of art, and I almost felt guilty eating them...so we took pictures of each dish before indulging. Compared to other up-scale vegan food (i.e. Millennium, Green Zebra, Medicine) the flavors weren't especially notable, but the combinations worked well. They offered one dessert which was a rich chocolate terrine with chocolate mousse and fresh fruit. Delicious, but so decadent we couldn't finish it. We also tried the cranberry chocolate martini, which was yummy even though neither of us is a big drinker.
The wall facing the street was open, and the restaurant is decorated in a forest theme with trees painted on the walls, and faux trees coming out of the ground and "growing" into the ceiling. Cool looking place.
Our waitress was very helpful, attentive, and nice. We were seated immediately, and the food arrived extremely quickly. Reviews on this site (and the big SLOW FOOD statement on their website) led us to expect a long, slow meal, but we received the opposite--dishes were often brought before we were ready. This may have been because we were there fairly early, but maybe they're actively trying to speed up service.

Pros: beautiful food, pretty decor, helpful servers
tragedia
tragedia
7

reviews

  • vegan

Delicious brunch

3 Posted on 07 / 07 / 2008

Before visiting Toronto this weekend (I'm from Montreal, Quebec), I did some research here on Happy Cow for veg*n restaurants. I'd read great reviews about Fressen, and even heard positive things about it from a veg waitress at a local coffee shop, especially regarding their weekend brunch. My boyfriend and I headed there yesterday for brunch and were impressed by their rendition of the ubiquitous tofu scramble. Here, if I am not mistaken, they make it with silken tofu instead of regular firm tofu, the former of which definitely makes it taste (and feel) a lot more like real scrambled eggs than the latter. I ordered the vegan French toast, which was unlike any vegan French toast I have prepared at home. This one was covered by an assortment of whole grains and seeds, yet the inside (where the mushy bread was) was sweet and very moist. I liked how each meal was accompanied by fruits and even some vegetables, so that the diner would not be faced with just one thing to eat (the scrambled tofu came with potatoes, salad, one or two pieces of cinnamon-bread-like toast, and fruits. Another plus was when our waitress walked through the restaurant with a rustic basket full of fresh mini-muffins and distributed one to each diner. I appreciated how confident the wait staff was of the food (our waitress, when told by us that we'd heard lots of good things about Fressen, said "You won't be disappointed", and later said, "Aren't you glad you came?" when we expressed how much we liked the food), though my boyfriend did find such expressions to be rather arrogant. Nevertheless, the food was excellent. I have just one complaint: They had no espresso machine, so you're restricted to consuming regular coffee (which probably isn't a problem for most).

Pros: great food, pleasant atmosphere, price
Cons: Watch the stairs to the bathroom!, slight arrogance of wait staff, no espresso machine
  • Allieg Allieg

    Just so you know, they now have an espresso machine! :)

    more-less
sherill
sherill
22

reviews

  • vegetarian

Great special occasion restaurant

5 Posted on 04 / 27 / 2008

I have been going to Fressen for years now and as a vegan, it is still my favourite restaurant in Toronto for a slightly more 'upscale' dining experience. Most vegan restaurants in Toronto are very casual and although Fressen isn't a fancy restaurant, it is classier than most. We tend to go for birthdays, anniversaries, when guests are in town etc. Whenever it is important to have an excellent meal with beautiful presentation, this place is a safe bet. We have never had a bad experience there.

I'm not quite sure why so many people on here have complained about the servers. I've probably eaten there over twenty times and I've never encountered a rude server. They may not gush or attempt to become your new best friend, but they are pleasant and helpful and generally very nice. I think the approach of the restaurant is to provide good service, while leaving you to enjoy the food and the company of the people you're with. Perhaps that is why some interpret the servers as standoffish or rude. They just aren't bugging you every ten minutes, which personally, I appreciate. If you want something, or your drink gets low, they are there immediately but they don't hover. I actually find the servers to be very genuine since they don't force toothy grins and overly bubbly personalities. They are calm, professional, polite and courteous.

I highly recommend this restaurant for both brunch and dinner. Reservations are a good idea for a special occasion or a Friday or Saturday night. Showing up early is also a good idea on weeknights as this place fills up after 7:00 or so.

Pros: reliably excellent food, gorgeous presentation, Friendly staff
Cons: Can be drafty near entrance, decor could use some minor renovations
Mimi123
Mimi123
6

reviews

  • vegan

Excellent

5 Posted on 04 / 17 / 2008

I really love this restaurant, and haven't found another like it in my travels. I've been going here from when it first opened to it's tapas style menu. The food is excellent. Service is pretty good. But as the menu warns, it is SLOW FOOD. So prepare to enjoy yourself at the restaurant, and don't stress about any plans after. The brunch is always wonderful. The ambiance and decor fabulous. I would suggest it as a place to take omnivorous friends, as they can see the amazing things that can be done with a vegan kitchen.

Pros: FOOD!, Ambiance, Music
Cons: Pricey, but worth it
Arby
Arby
8

reviews

  • non-vegetarian

Very Nice!

5 Posted on 04 / 07 / 2008

I finally found someone to join me at Fressen and we really enjoyed it.

I didn't really care what I ate, as long as it wasn't hot spicy or included coriander leaf. The style of service is tapas, which I have not had a lot of experience with. I like it because I like variety and I don't like the variety all on one plate. That's what I do 'not' like about eating in Chinese restaurants. (I know that there are regular Chinese and then there are classy Chinese. I'm familiar with the reg variety, so...)

The food was perfect. It was interesting, ingredient-wise and presentation-wise. We were bowled over in fact. I did have some difficulty with splitting it up. Although you get separate plates, which come at perfectly timed (by chance or due to the level of business) intervals, each plate still has to be split up, which was awkward and messy. I don't know what the answer is to that problem. If they gave us individual, small plates for each dish, Would they have to forego making the plate into artwork? If so, I'll live with the neater, artless, plates. Regardless, We were happy.

The music didn't work so well. At least when we arrived, the volume level of conversation from all the tables together with the music did not conduce to relaxing state. They just need to keep the music neutral and, in my view, instrumental.

The coffee, which I believe is all fair trade, organic, was good, a rarity for a restaurant. The espresso maker, however, was down.

The service was good. It was a great evening out. I am so happy I tried Fressen and I wish we had more spots like this in Toronto. Toronto isn't a world class city, by a long stretch. But I quite like the assortment of eateries.

Pros: food, service, ambience
Cons: music, chairs wobbly
veggiewoman
veggiewoman
46

reviews

  • vegan

Nice place, interesting food

4 Posted on 10 / 10 / 2007

Tapas style, which means it is more expensive than it used to be because one dish is not enough to feed one person. Still reasonably priced though. Unusual and unique dishes and flavours. Not a huge menu. Very nice atmopshere, kind of dark and earthy in a modern way.

Pros: atmosphere, food presentation, unique
Cons: not everything tastes great, slow (because it is all made fresh)
Petesternz
Petesternz
225

reviews

  • vegan

LOVED IT!

4 Posted on 10 / 01 / 2007

I won't add too much. I agree almost entirely with the previous review that is very detailed. The food is very very good, and occasionally great. I didn't love every dish, but the overall experience was fantastic. Personally, I prefer their brunches, which are truly sublime, and good value. In other words, as good as their dinner is, I prefer to visit Fressen for brunch. Try their cappucinos as well, sweetened with some beautiful chocolate syrup - all vegan of course!!!

Pros: beautiful setting, good selection, great coffee
Cons: often crowded, not enough desserts
starsnspikes
starsnspikes
3

reviews

  • vegan

Absolutely amazing restaurant

5 Posted on 09 / 03 / 2007

I recently visited Fressen with a friend on a Friday night. We arrived without reservations and the place was full, but the staff were very helpful and she squeezed us in an hour later. After wandering around downtown on a lovely summer's evening, we had worked up quite an appetite.

We ordered three dishes between us, as they are appetiser-sized. At $9 each this is rather pricey, but totally worth it. I had read a review on here that recommended the mushroom filo pastry, so I ordered that, as well as the basil fettuccini and the eggplant pizza. All three were beyond delicious. My favourite was definitely the mushroom pastry. It was a lovely surprise after reading some reviews hat suggested the dinner wasn't as good as the brunch. If the brunch is any better, I don't think I could handle it!

The menu is divided into Salads, Starch (pasta type dishes), Vegetables and I forget what other category but it was the one containing the mushroom pastry dish. There was also soup, for $6.

There was only one dessert on offer, but it was great. It was three soft triangles of chocolate with holes in the centre filled with crushed nuts, and surrounded by fresh fruit, chocolate sauce and coulis. That was $9 also.

There was a large selection of organic wines on offer. Those that were available by the glass were $9, and cocktails (I ordered a Sea Breeze - the best I'd ever tasted) were $7. My friend also ordered fresh orange juice, which was some of the best I've tasted.

My friend and I shared a dessert. After the rich food neither of us could eat a whole one each, although some people probably could.

We were poured ice water as soon as we sat down, and topped up immediately when our glasses were low. Before the meal arrived, we were served bread with a houmus dip.

The food took a while to arrive, but it was easy to wait for. The atmoshphere is very intimate and cosy, with nice music playing in the background and low lighting. The decor is also very pleasing on the eye.

To finish off, we had hot chocolates made with soy milk. They were listed as $7 on the menu I believe, but were listed on the bill as $3.50 each. So that was a nice surprise!

There was also coffee and tea available, most or all of which was fairtrade.

The bill arrived quickly when we requested it. The bathrooms were very clean too.

The only fault I can find is that the food is pricey, but I have to say it's completely worth it, so that isn't actually a fault.

My friend and I spent almost $80 between us, including tax and a tip. It's possible to spend much less, if you stick to water or just get one drink each.

But I would recommend this place to anyone, including meat-eaters. It's proof that vegan food doesn't have to be bland. In fact, this restaurant was probably the best I had ever been to.

Pros: amazing food, completely vegan, great atmoshphere/decor/staff
Cons: pricey
erbavore
erbavore
23

reviews

  • vegan

Exactly as described in other reviews

4 Posted on 09 / 10 / 2006

1. The first time we went, we found out they were closed. On the weekday, they open at 5:30.
2. The second time we went we got there 10 minutes before they closed and they wouldn't let us eat.
3. The 3rd time was a charm. At least partially.

The decor of Fressen is about as good as it gets for a casual restaurant. It was perfectly lit, plus it was warm and cosy. Yet the service we got was ANY thing from WARM.
WARNING: Be prepared for VERY SLOW service and very COLD waitresses.
I believe this is the actual philosophy of the owner because the wait staff changes, yet the attitudes remain.
I used to be a waiter for 6 years and have worked in many types of settings. I believe the owner wants them to immitate the attitudes of servers at 5 star restaurants, yet it simply doesn't work in this setting.

Also, the servers get quite hot while working, so they opened up the door to the street. It was only 14 degrees outside, so it was quite chilly until someone told them to close the door. Yet this only shows that the servers are there as a job and NOT to think of their clients.
As for the food, it was actually quite good. The portions were perfect, the temperature was correct. The only thing the food consistently missed was salt. It seems like they avoid salt altogether in their food preperation. Yet, a little enhancement with the salt located on the table make all of the food virtually perfect.

Pros: Food, Atmosphere, Price
Cons: Staff, they are horrible

 

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Last updated: 2013/02/15

 

Added: 2007/08/01

 

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