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CLOSED: Commensal

  • Veg-friendly Veg-friendly
    ( 36 reviews )


Contact 416-596-9364

655 Bay Street (at Elm St, Yonge subway line to Dundas Station), Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5G 2K4

Serves meat, vegan options available. In Oct 2012 this previously all veg buffet restaurant chain switched to flexitarian and offers fish and poultry in a separate case. Several locations. Features a large self-serve hot and cold buffet spread that includes soups, pate, main entrees, desserts, many of which are vegan-friendly. Food is priced by weight. MAY 2013 REPORTED SHUT DOWN/CLOSED.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Ovo, International, Western, Buffet, Salad bar, Take-out, Non-veg

Reviews (36)

First Review by mephitine

not good at all - Edit

I was never really a fan of this place. The foods not terrible but it is waaaayyyy overpriced. I pretty much stopped eating here when urban herbivore opened up just around the corner in the Eatons centre. There you can get a fresh, massive salad for $10. At le commensal, a salad of the same size will run you almost $20... (And have been sitting out in the open for hours) Which is crazy! Charging by weight is a dated practice because it is not a good value for the consumer. Instead of waking up and changing the way they charge for their food, they added meat?!! Backwards thinking if you ask me. Also the last straw for me, I'm done, I'm never paying a stupid amount of money for mediocre food again!

Pros: nothing.

Cons: sold out, added meat!?!?, food was never very good, CRAZY OVERPRICED!!!

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beware... - Edit

This place has a buffet style layout and a crusty cafeteria atmosphere. It features bland, starchy, mushy meals that are sit throughout the day in steam trays. They operate on a plate weighing system so for a decent sized meal, expect to pay ALOT... Unless you load up on something light like salad. Not recommended.

Pros: none

Cons: expensive, not tasty, bad atmosphere

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Very Sad; Will not eat there again - Edit

The food never blew my mind to begin with, and it has the ambiance of a hospital cafeteria, and now that they serve meat I have no desire to go there at all. The appeal was that they were an all vegetarian buffet, which was a unique experience and worth supporting. It was also overpriced and kind of forgettable, so it shouldn't be too hard to....well......forget about it.

Cons: Cafeteria-like vibe, No longer vegetarian, Mediocre food

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Flexitatian now - Edit

This a buffet eatery chain. You get a lot of food for the money, and much of the food is quite tasty and healthy. Because it is buffet, you get a lot of choices, and don't have to wait a long time for your food. I enjoyed my dinner there, though I am disappointed that Commensal is no longer pure vegetarian. The labeling of what is not vegetarian on the buffet is not as clear as it could be, so watch out. Also, one day I went there for breakfast, thinking that it would be somewhat like its lunch and dinners--but it was not: the breakfast is eggs, toast, muffin, and the like: in short, nothing that distinguishes it from a typical diner.

Pros: Good lunch and dinner, buffet, lots of variety

Cons: Terrible breakfasts, serves non-vegetarian food

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Disappointed its no longer veggie - Edit

I used to come here frequently for lunch, willing to overlook the high prices to have a guaranteed meat-free meal, but no more since it stopped being vegetarian. For me having meat on the buffet table defeats the purpose and I may as well eat at any meat restaurant.

Cons: Meat served on the same buffet table

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They sold out to the meat eaters of the world - Edit

Went there last night and discovered that they have gone "Flexitarian" well - that will be the last time we go. The whole point of having a vegetarian restaurant is that you can feel comfortable eating there without having people eating animal flesh on the next table. Plus the hot food was cold, that i could overlook but selling out I can't overlook.

Pros: Has veggie options

Cons: Is no longer a veggie restaurant, Serves meat and fish, Hot food was cold

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I still go every once in a while - Edit

When I first came to Toronto I loved this place. Yes, pay by weight is overpriced, but I was going to school at Ryerson, so it was convienent. I go back every once in awhile. You can eat just a little bit, get in and out fast. Or you can stay a real long time. It's very casual. That's what I like best about it.
I was REALLY unimpressed when I heard they ship all the hot food frozen from Montreal. Kinda crazy. But I still eat it. They now have some sweet 30% off days for students, seniors, health workers etc. Check website for what day fits you.

Pros: causal dining, eat as little as you please, some great seiten dishes

Cons: expensive, frozen food, staff is often not friendly

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Expensive and not tasty - Edit

You think this would be a bargain - priced per weight - but even the smallest amount of little dishes certainly add up. And the sad part is that it doesn't even taste that great. Maybe my mistake was heading their for supper, even though I figure most soups and salads would still be good a few hours. Will not return.

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Fast and convenient - Edit

I decided to try this restaurant when visiting Toronto after seeing all the reviews. There was lots of selection, and it was quick and easy. The food wasn't piping hot, but it was warm and pleasant. I had a number of dishes; the ginger tofu was out of this world!

I chose my food carefully, based on the comments about pricing, and my bill came to about $13, including dessert. I was full and satisifed. Ice water was available free-of-charge.

Pros: large selection, fast, convenient to downtown hotels

Cons: expensive for very large appetites, food is warm but not piping hot

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not so much!!! - Edit

My family and I went backpacking across Canada this summer, what a great chance to try out all the different foods.
We stumbled upon the Commensal, quite excited to try this place. The service was horrible. The woman seemed suspicious of us. Because we were leaving a running tally she requested a 100.00 dollar deposit(probably a sign that she also believes that it is tooooo expensive). She was unfriendly and rude. The cost was outrageous!!! close to 100.00 to feed my family, they were careful about amounts, and we left hungry. However the food itself was fun and different, we tried a smattering of things,(stews, noodle, desserts) liked some, and disliked others. Overall, we wouldnt go again. It is only cost efficient to go as a couple to have a special dinner, and nothing quite says romance like 20 dollars a plate(that you had to be careful not to take to much), serve yourself buffet, with a crab at the till and a deposit!!!
Oh, and they want tips...

Pros: veggie choices

Cons: cost , service, atmosphere

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Went there once for my birthday! - Edit

So I have only been there once, for my birthday, but the food was very good! They have quite a bit of selection, and I did enjoy my meal. The food is quite pricey though, as they weighed each of our plates to determine how much it would cost.
I would definitely go there again, as long as someone else was paying! :P

Pros: good food, nice staff

Cons: expensive

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Le Commensal, Toronto - Edit

This place was close to my hotel in Toronto and I was happy to eat in this place for most meals. Bags of choice for me as a vegan, decent tasting food also. With the buffet being there waiting for you it's just a simple matter of getting stuck in.

Pros: Plenty vegan veggie choice, Tasty food

Cons: None

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So many heatlhy options - Edit

I stayed at the delta chelsea hotel and this was right next door so I ended up eating there every night. You pay by the weight of food so there is no waste and you pick from the buffet which has so many healthy options. This rates as one of my favourite places. There is music some evenings. The setting is informal and because it is a help yourself there is no waiting. Dishes move quickly so the food is always fresh and hot. Many added extra's such as sprouts, grains, seeds etc. Would and do go back whenever I am in Toronto.

Pros: Many Options, Pay by Weight, Tasty Food

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Could Be More Vegan Friendly - Edit

Everything at Commensal is clearly marked and they have some really tasty vegan options. I really wish they had more. Great place for vegetarians, though. The buffet and weight style is great for picking out what you want and how much. Desserts are great and many vegan options. Everything looks fresh, clean and is well tended by staff. Unfortunately, its pretty expensive, even if you don;t eat a lot. I've been there a few times and would definitely go back.

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good selection - Edit

The weight-to-eat buffet policy is I think unique to this chain, and I can't say I particularly like it. I love the selection available, which has a lot of Western foods and fantastic desserts, but in going out for dinner even a reasonable amount(one plate of dinner, one plate of dessert, one drink) ended up costing me almost $30. To be honest if I was going to pay that much I'd go to a sit-down restaurant rather than a buffet. Or pay that much for a typical buffet and enjoy multiple trips.

The quality of the food is nice, and I enjoyed their salads. But I've been so turned off by the price (and by not being sure how much I'm really spending before getting surprised at the cashier) I can't say I'll go back unless I'm in the neighborhood and no other option presents itself.

Pros: Tasty, Selection

Cons: Price, "Weight"pricing scheme

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Reviewer Avatar

Too much, too little. - Edit

This place is wildly expensive for what you get. Its all by weight and adds up very quickly. The quality of the food is horrible. Most of the vegan options arrive frozen in plastic freezer bags. Hardly any of the food is made in house and nothing is organic. I think the owners just want to cash in on people who want to live a healthy lifestyle by attempting to appear health conscious. (they served meat at their staff christmas party the past few years) The live music they have on weekends is so loud you can barely converse. If you want bland expensive food, go to Commensal.

Pros: Convenient, Downtown

Cons: Bland, Expensive, Low quality

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Where else can you try 15 items on one plate? - Edit

As most reviewers have pointed out, it's a pricey weighted buffet/cafeteria-style chain. Most don't note that the food is discounted after 830 pm, when the restaurant becomes quieter and more reasonably priced. And bread is free!

All vegan dishes are clearly marked, and they vary day to day.

Highlights for me are the seitan Bourguignon stew (soooooo hearty and good), the seitan curry, the vinegared arame and the tofu cheesecake.

I love this place and have grown to tolerate that moment when you wince at the cash register. ;-)

Pros: tremendous choice, tasty tasty tasty

Cons: very overpriced

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Highly recommended - Edit

This is a great place with lots of choice and ideal for when you're not sure what you fancy or if there's a few of you who can't agree on what sort of food to have! It's canteen style but it all looks (and tastes) so fresh and delicious. There's loads of different salads, lots of entrees, and lots of great desserts. You can pick whatever you want and however much you want so you can pick and mix. Then your plate is weighed and you pay by weight. Everything vegan is labelled so you can choose easily. I'd definitely recommend Le Commensal to anyone.

Pros: choice of food, fresh, tasty

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Quick and Easy - Edit

We ate here on a recent trip to Toronto and found it to be pretty good. There was a lot of choice, clearly labelled, and it was a good way to try small portions of lots of different things. The food may not have been piping hot, but you kind of expect that with serve-yourself buffet style. We knew that it was 'pay by weight' and so were careful not to over-load our plates with too much. Maybe I'm just easily pleased, but, after a long day sight-seeing, this was a good place to grab some quick and tasty veggie food.

Pros: Quick, Tasty food, Centrally located

Cons: Pay by weight

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commensal - Edit

I will probably eat in Commensal again because it's convenient for me. The food is not very hot and you don't know what you are paying until you get it weighed. You have to be careful if you don't want to end up paying $20+ for a plate. The salads are good though. There are many vegan options: mostly tofu and seitan based dishes, they could do with making some "creamy" or "cheesy" style vegan dishes. However I have enjoyed my desserts there, especially the vegan chocolate fudge cake.

Pros: Good salads, Lots of vegan options, Good desserts

Cons: Cold food, expensive, Vegan options mostly tofu or seitan

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Good Food, lots of variety - Edit

The buffet was great... Tons of variety (lots of vegan options) and all but one of the items I picked out was great. Watch out though, as they charge based on weight and the food adds up quickly. My plate cost about $11, but my boyfriend's meal ended up costing about $22. If you go after 9:00 pm though, they do offer a 20% discount. Definitely worth checking out!

Pros: Lots of variety, very tasty, healthy options

Cons: Can be pricey

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Good buffet style veg food if you're in a hurry - Edit

We've been to Commensal many times over the years and it is consistently good, though not every item is terrific. It's a good place for a relatively quick meal if you're busy or in a hurry due to the buffet, self-serve style. Lots of variety and vegan options. It it quite expensive for what you get, but the convenience factor makes it worthwhile sometimes. I've eaten at comparable restaurants elsewhere in the world that are equally or more expensive.

Pros: healthy food options, lots of variety, quick meal choice

Cons: expensive, more vegan dessert options would be nice

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cha-ching - Edit

With so much to choose from and it all looks and tastes so good, you cant help but load your plate up. You know its gonna cost a fortune, but you do it anyway. When you cash out, well the price makes the food hard to swallow. Probably the most money I have ever spent on a plate of food and the last time Ill do that. Way too expensive for a buffet, it feels like a school cafeteria, not a fancy restaurant.

Pros: selection, taste

Cons: expensive

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How can you go wrong with so many choices? - Edit

Le Commensal has never let me down. I work right nearby and it's definitely my pick if I'm too lazy to pack a lunch.

Its huge buffet of healthy (and well labeled) lacto, ovo and vegan foods gives you lots of choices. It's paid by weight which means you can live it up, or be modest with your food portions depending on your budget. Plus you don't have to wait for service; you just walk in, serve yourself, pay and sit or take it to go.

The ginger tofu and seitan bourguignon are high on my list, so is the mint chickpea salad. I also like how they have tones of fresh veggies like steamed kale and sprouts that I know I should eat, but never really get around to eating at home. I definitely always leave feeling full and good about what's in my body (as corny as that sounds).

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Good restaurant for vegans as well as vegetarians. - Edit

All items are labeled with what they contain and they prepare food all through the day if you need a late lunch or take away. All items are labeled so its easy to know what's vegan and what isnt - everything is vegetarian.
They have a dessert buffet as well as a hot buffet section, cold salad buffet, soups, drinks and fruit juices - all with some vegan options.
It's a nice place to go if you want to try a small amount of various different dishes as you just pick what you want and pay at the end.

There is free water as well as live music on some nights - you can also get one slice of bread free with your meal but as another reviewer said sadly there is no vegan butter.

Pros: pay by weight, vegan options marked, atmosphere

Cons: no vegan butter

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Blowing hot and cold - Edit

It's not often you sit down to a meal where the water in your glass is warmer than the soup in your bowl, but this can happen at Le Commensal. I guess this kind of thing is bound to happen in a place that unashamedly tries to cater for what it hopes will be a mass market in people who will - because some of them are veg*ns for ethical reasons - be opposed to the notion of mass marketing in the first place. It hasn't quite got its act together, but some of the dishes on offer were first-class, the seitan bourgignon being among my favourites. Some of them were rubbish (don't go anywhere near the spring rolls) and - as is usual anywhere north of the Mason-Dixon line - do not expect anything billed as "spicy" to have any spice in it at all, for it will not.

Having said all that, Le Commensal is trying in the present to be the fast-food restaurant of the future, when we've all turned our backs on McDonalds for one reason or another. It isn't doing so badly.

Pros: Lots of choices

Cons: Mostly lukewarm

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Great buffet choice - Edit

Close to the centre of town. Buffet style, sold by weight. I've just returned from Brazil and have been to (and reviewed!) tons of these style places - and this is far better than any of 'em. Dozens of choices, far more than I could even sample in one sitting - although I tried my best, spending CA$23 with a can of soda. Some reviewers have said food is warm but not hot - true, but it's always closer to hot than cold - and whoever said their food was cold by the time they sat down was probably referring to the salad ;)

Pros: Wide variety, Variety and taste, All vegetarian

Cons: Pricey

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Quite the pleasant surprise - Edit

I've been eating at Le Commensal in Montreal, Quebec, for almost five years. Over these five years in Montreal, I have seen very few menu changes, especially with regards to the selection of vegan desserts. However, I was most pleasantly surprised to see what a vastly different approach to veg*n dining that the Le Commensal in Toronto has: vegetarian breakfast in the morning, personable service (unlike in Montreal where you scarcely have any contact with the human beings behind the delicious meals), a small grocery area that offers not only Le Commensal's products but also other health-food products, and varied menu items (including THREE [!] vegan dessert items instead of the same two in Montreal). The vegetarian brunch was delicious, despite the fact that vegan butter isn't offered for toast. Nevertheless, I ahd a very pleasant experience at Le Commensal in Toronto. Thank you!

Pros: personable service, menu selection, taste

Cons: no vegan butter

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Great Spot - Edit

Le Commensal in downtown Toronto is a classy spot, in my view. It's clean and pleasant. They lost a part of the restaurant when they made it into a breakfast section that is therefore closed after their breakfast period. I used to like sitting in there before that change. And, with the pricing of the breakfast items, which are so so, I'm not sure I'm happy with that change.

The restaurant has appealing, tasty items on offer, but they don't do much in the way of experimenting. And some of the items could stand to be improved.

The food will never be hot. I'm not a frequenter of buffets, so I don't know whether that's the way all buffets are.

They serve quality beer and dynamite fresh squeezed organge juice.

The staff are perfectly friendly and helpful, although a (rare) new item on offer looked to me like it might be spicy warm, which prompted me to ask about it. The woman categorically stated it wasn't spicy. Well, It wasn't too spicy for me to eat, but it wasn't without heat. Items that have spice/heat should 'always' be marked as such. I have chronic heartburn and don't need the aggravation of having to eat food that's not good for me just because I can't afford to throw it away.

The washrooms are pristine and comfortable. And on some nights, you can hear live piano, which I enjoy. Otherwise, They don't offend you with foreground, funky music, something that it's almost impossible to avoid these days.

The coffee is a blind spot here, as it is in most places. It may or may not be good. It's hard to tell because it's so weak, you can't taste the coffee in the coffee. To me, The cup of coffee I have with my meal makes a big difference. I love coffee. It's next to impossible to find good coffee, even in Toronto's highly rated independent coffee shops, and that's mostly because everyone serves hot water with just a hint of coffee in it. And no one wants to hear about it when you point it out.

Pros: relaxing environment, tasty food, comfortable washrooms

Cons: food is never hot, coffee is far too weak, breakfast section doesn't work

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Le Commensal - Edit

Consistenly first rate food. Good selection of healthy choices. Modern, clean surroundings. Food is charged by weight---which is fair.
Desserts are great. All round first class

Pros: excellent food, healthy cuisine, self serve

Cons: can't think of any

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anways enjoyable - Edit

Myself and two friends always stop by for dinner after a day in Toronto. My one friend is in a power wheel chair and the restaurant it totally accessible. The only thing that they need to do is move the table in the ladies restroom to make more room for wheelchairs. The food is always great and we always find new selections every time that we go. Not a lot of vegan options every time but that is ok with me. The price is a little high but we always are ok with that. The staff is friendly and helpfull. We always leave satisfied. Can not wait until we go to the city again and join them for dinner.

Pros: good food, always a variety, no waiting

Cons: non for food, need to move table in ladies restroom

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Nice variety, very casual - Edit

I had heard Le Commensal was an asian buffet and this is not at all the case. There is a large variety of foods, all labelled vegan, lacto, ovo, etc. Pay by weight. Nice, clean atmosphere, although I wouldn't recommend taking a dinner date here. Try the vegan quiche!
The buffet style is quick and you can also pick up grab n' go food if you're in a rush.

Pros: fast, variety, food labels

Cons: a tad pricey

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Defenately Not Suitable for Budget Travellers - Edit

We are budget travellers so 18 CND (excluding gratuity) for two small plates of foods is higher than our average budget. The place was nice though. They also have a 20% after 20:30 on some nights (could be on Tuesday/Thursday and Sunday night). You need to remain the cashier about it though, since our cashier had forgotten to discounted our bill. Luckily he finally did so after we have pointed out to him that it was then 20:48.

Pros: atmosphere

Cons: not many vegan options, none of the pies are vegans?, only 1 choice of veg ice cream?

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Outstanding! - Edit

This place is a dream come true. So many choices, and nearly everything is fabulous. The only drawback is the price--after loading up with a little of this, a little of that, the whole meal ends up fairly costly (we usually spend around $18 each). But we'd never skip it--year after year we come back, always craving the delicious food at Le Commensal and wondering why we don't have one in Michigan. Healthy and scrumptious, from the pate to the entrees to the desserts. Yum.

Pros: Lots of choices, Healthy cuisine, Delicious food

Cons: Priced by weight, Expensive

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