CLOSED: Grasslands

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 14 reviews )



478 Queen St W, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5V 2B4

Vegetable-focused upscale restaurant offering options for soy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free. Full bar. Open, relaxed atmosphere. Since summer 2013. Confirmed closed, Oct 2015.

Categories: Vegan, American, Organic, Western, Beer/Wine

14 Reviews

First Review by Some like it raw

Amazing Place to Start New Thanksgiving Traditions - Edit

I made a visit to Grasslands with a friend over Thanksgiving weekend to avoid the cruelty sprayed all over the kitchen at my parents' house...I was very happy with my visit to the restaurant! The perfect place for a cruelty-free meal. The restaurant was a bit tough to find, but we're glad we did find it, because the food was fabulous. It was the first time my friend had tried seitan ("chicken" flavoured), and she and I were both surprised how eerily similar it tasted to the "real thing." I loved their pesto, and the appetizers were also fabulous! Dessert wasn't as satisfying, but the overall meal experience was worth it! The waitresses were so friendly as well that the dining experience as a whole was very pleasant. I'll definitely be returning!

Since my first visit there, I've returned many times and been more and more impressed each time! The desserts have gotten better, and the mains and service are always great. I went for brunch with my sister and tried a waffle and tofu scramble for the first time, both of which were great. She, a non-vegan, was pretty impressed as well, so I'd call that a success! I also took my parents (also both non-vegan) before a show, and they loved the food, so this is a great place for vegans to introduce vegan food to skeptical non-vegans in a way they'll love! (Updated from previous review on Tuesday November 04, 2014)

I went one last time with another friend this past weekend, and I was very sad to hear that they're closing their doors! Unfortunate indeed, because the service and the food have always been excellent at Grasslands. My friend also loved it for her first (and sadly, last) time there... I'll definitely miss this place :( (Updated from previous review on Wednesday October 21, 2015)

Pros: Friendly Waitresses, Excellent Food, Pleasing for Vegans and Non-Vegans Alike

Cons: Bit hard to find (from the street), Dessert

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Vegan Upscale - Edit

Very few vegan places in Toronto would classify as upscale, I do love it here! I visited former restaurant, Fressen, more times than I'd care to admit and was so happy that the menu stayed close to its roots while branching out. Cocktails are on point, but expensive. We came here for Valentine's Day set menu, I do recommend coming for special occasions with set menus but warn you there is a lot of food! You can always take some home :) all the courses were A+.

Pros: Upscale, Tasty

Cons: Expensive cocktails

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really disappointing - Edit

Dishes were uninspired and disappointing, mostly using supermarket vegan products barely disguised from their original form, food felt heavy and seasoning was either too little or too much. In concept, it is high end vegan cuisine, but in practice, most home kitchens could turn out a better meal with the same products, and we left feeling cheated. I would never return nor recommend this place to anyone. Definitely not worth the high price point, as mains are about 20 dollars.

Service, however, was attentive and the decor was pleasant, though it was a loud space, so it was difficult to carry on a conversation, even with the restaurant only half full.

I would rate it lower, but Happy Cow won't let me.

Pros: pleasant service

Cons: uninteresting food, very expensive, noisy

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  Contributions +19

meal was okay - Edit

We went for dinner and were a party of 5, all vegan, except one who was willing to go veg for a meal. We all found the wait staff to be a bit odd and we all wondered whether he was putting an accent on for us or not. The meal was okay, nothing to write home about. We all found it to be a bit 'blah', certainly not what we expected from what we'd heard. When you're laying out a wad of cash for a dinner (and this was a birthday dinner to boot, which didn't impress our server one bit) you kind of expect the food to be really yummy and the service to be top-notch.

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Cool place - Edit

I went to Grasslands recently for the brunch and had a mixed experience. The place itself is nice enough, in the middle of the day when the bar aspect isn't really in place it's just a fairly large and kinda funky restaurant with booths.

Food-wise, it's worth noting that they were out of standard burgers, which rather cut the brunch menu down, as two or three of the options used those burgers. This could just be because we turned up with a little over an hour to closing time, but was still a touch disappointing. I had the chicken and waffles instead - the chicken was good, but the waffles were a little on the dry side, they could have done with a bit more sauce. Nevertheless, the staff were helpful and the food shows promise - I may well be back again at some point to try something else.

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loved it - Edit

hard to find as the name is at the bottom of the wind with plants over it but worth the effort. Vegan and knowledgeable staff. we had a share board with "caesar" salad and a black kale dish. It was plenty. The staff also advise about the beverages available. overall a great experience. It is a restaurant and not a down market grunge vegan cafe ( I don't know why vegan/ vegetarian so often feel they must look grungy) but we both thoroughly enjoyed it. but as in a lot of places the nonsense in USA and Canada about the price not being truly reflective is annoying, one thinks that is the price then after the event they add sales taxes on.

Pros: staff advice, taste, proportions

Cons: a little pricey especially the salad , the sales tax issue

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Really underwhelmed - Edit

I wont lie, I was super excited about brunch here, and thought the menu was amazing. But nothing, except the beignets, which were very good, really delivered. I had peanut butter French toast, which was so disgusting, I couldnt finish it. I also tried the chicken and eaffles, and it wasnt much better. All in all, i didnt enjoy it and wont be back.

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loved the booths! - Edit

This was my first visit to this address since it became Grasslands (opened in 2013; previously Fressen until Dec. 2012). I was very impressed with the changes they had made to the interior... the booths, the long bar, and the long row of tables. The booths are great for a bit of privacy. We went for an early dinner on a weeknight, so the place was quiet. The food was great and the server was friendly and knowledgeable.

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Fantastic! - Edit

We went there two times, both for the brunch, Saturday and Sunday, as we were in Toronto for the weekend and had liked this restaurant very much. Over the course of the two meals, we tried the Hangover tofu scramble, their home made sausages, chipotle mac'n cheese, Cesar salad, and chicken and waffle. It ranged from so-so (mac'n cheese) to very good (sausages) to delectable (all the rest). The food was well presented and abundant, making for colorful, gargantuesque plates and we loved it! Very interestingly their Cesar salad was made mostly if not entirely of kale and it was the best I'd ever had. All their salads were outstanding. The tofu scramble was very very good, with the right moisture and softness so that I really had the mouth feel of scrambled eggs when they're done to perfection. It was accompanied by guacamole, salsa, and black beans and everything mixed together so harmoniously, the "mexican" taste really blending well and not overpowering, just giving the tofu more richness and a pleasant little kick. Also there were 2 slices of very good multigrain toasts, home made and oh so good fries, and salad (see above). The chicken in the waffle was crispy, tender, and juicy, and included also was a crisp romaine leaf and a slice of tomato. It was coated with a delectable mildly spicy sauce and was served with fries and salad. My husband had it and declared it very creative and very good. The staff, extremely friendly, recognized us when we came back and reacted so warmly; you could tell they were genuinely pleased to see us. The decor is warm, trendy, and we felt good there, welcomed and not rushed or pushed to buy anything whatsoever. We loved it and will be back for sure.

Pros: food, atmosphere, staff

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Grasslands: Just OK - Edit

I went to Grasslands last night with a group of 6: 1 vegan, 1 vegetarian, 1 gluten-intolerant person, 2 meat-eaters and one person who likes to eat veg/GF as a preference.

Grasslands has a very funky atmosphere. Dim lights, good music, multi-level, etc. Some of the servers have lots of tattoos, which to me adds to the interesting vibe, but I know some people are very turned off by that.

Servers were very friendly and knowledgeable. We were happy with the customer service.

We had 2 appetizers: a platter of pita, hummus, olive tapenade and lentil spread. It was very tasty and particularly great that they offered GF pitas. For the other appetizer we had the charceuterie board. It was pretty good, but incredibly overpriced. It came with a couple olives, a few small pieces of mock meat, some celery root, almond "cheese" and a few other sampler items.

As for the mains, there was not much to choose from and one of the mains (the "chicken") was unavailable that evening. As another reviewer mentioned, the mains all come with the same greens & root vegetable sides, so there is not a lot of variety. As well, you really have to like mock meat to enjoy most of the mains. The dishes containing tempeh were pretty good, and the 2 people who ordered the GF pasta were very happy with their dishes. But the roast was revolting. My husband is a meat-eater and said it is far from the real thing, whereas I am vegan and just found it squishy and disgusting. It looked and tasted like an old tire.

Finally, the dessert - there is just one on the menu and it is called "cookies and cream." We ordered one for the 6 of us (which was enough - one per person would have been too much). It came with 3 gingerbread cookies and some chocolate mousse, all of which tasted good but we had something different in mind based on the name of the dessert. I would have liked to order the mousse in a cup as its own dessert. It was very rich.

The bill came and the meal turned out to be surprisingly expensive - well over $200 for the 6 of us (2 appetizers, 6 mains, 1 dessert, and a few drinks). For groups of 8 there is a gratuity of 18% included on the bill.

On the whole, I will not rush back. I hate to say that because I love to support vegan restaurants, but the menu leaves something to be desired in terms of variety and price. But it is worth a trip just for the unique experience as it is unlike the other vegan restaurants in the city.

Pros: Cool vibe, Unusual dishes

Cons: Small entree selection, mostly mock meat, Restaurant too hot

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Alright dinner - Edit

My partner and I had dinner here about a month ago. The interior and furniture looked brand new with a full bar and an open kitchen in the back. Décor was hip and modern. We didn't have a reservation and were seated at the end table right next to the kitchen. It was too warm and the cooking smell was too much back there, so we moved to the bar in the front. Still, the smell was noticeable, but we were spared the heat from the kitchen.

As for food, we shared the beet salad, the crispy oysters (battered & fried oyster mushrooms), the sliders, and the crusted tempeh. The sliders were definitely the best dish of the evening. The salad was OK, nothing particularly memorable. The batter on the mushrooms was too thick. I could hardly taste any mushrooms underneath and felt more like eating plain fried cornmeal crusts. The accompanying sauce was good though. The crusted tempeh was served with a bunch of sides, but nothing on that plate stood out.

To sum up, it was an overall passable meal. Food wasn't bad but could use some diversity especially in the main dish section. There were six options on the menu, but four of them were just proteins that came with the same sides and the other two were pasta. Also, they need better ventilation because the fried food smell was pervasive throughout the restaurant (truth be told, that's always been a pet peeve of mine). I would have given this place a 3.5, so I rounded up to a 4.

Pros: hip décor

Cons: pervasive fried food smell

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Fantastic time - Edit

Beautifully renovated space, what really impressed me was the live edge bar.
I went with 2 non-veg friends and had a wonderful time. Spent over 2 hrs enjoying sliders and mezes, crusted chicken, fettuccine and mustard crusted tempeh. Finished off with a desert.
My girlfriends, at first not convinced they wanted to eat veg meat were absolutely blown away. Pasta was out of this world with bold flavours of pesto, garlic and wine. Al dente veggies were beautifully executed. Crusted chicken got oohs and ahhs. I just couldn't believe how much chicken like it seemed, both in flavor and texture. The crust was thin and crunchy, very impressive, I however really liked my flaky, mustard encrusted tempeh. The sides to main dishes are worth a mention too. Beautiful fingerling potatoes, asparagus, chinese green, and roasted tomatoes in wine sauce are absolutely delish. I enjoyed having rutabaga, yukon and sweet potato purees. Everyone shared, tasted and thoroughly enjoyed the food. We vowed to come back soon and try more dishes. I can't wait to bring my husband

Pros: Great space, Nice variety of dishes to choose from, Prompt service

Cons: Only 1 desert offered

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good food - Edit

I didn't have any of the time issues of the last review. The food was really good, although I have to admit it wasn't quite what the menu said. The folks working there sort of seemed not to fit in this "high scale vegan restaurant" but hell I guess I didn't really either! It was just a little odd.
Although I was really into the roast seitan when I first started eating it, towards the end and then as left overs I was actually grossed out. It was TOO much like real meat - with the rubbery fatty part and all.
Anyway, the rest was crafted really well. I'd eat here more if I could afford it!

Pros: very tasty

Cons: not my budget, odd staff, only one dessert

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Probably like this place more if I was not a vegan - Edit

The food is quite tasty, if you do not mind waiting for it, and the service, is well, let's just say you are waiting for that as well.
As a mostly raw vegan, their choices are limited, and the service was completely off. I finished my meal (actually shared it with my girlfriend) and by the time we were done with waiting, asked for our bill, voila, her meal showed up. Our appetizers took over 45 to come out, and when I tried to order a side dish I was told the kitchen was slammed, and they were not taken any more orders for 20 minutes. It is a little pricey for what you get, and I am not likely to go back. Our order of fries showed up limp and cold.
Overall it is a very pretty place, nicely renovated, but generally had the same experience here years ago when it was Fressan and walked out.

Pros: Nice atmosphere, Very tasty., Cooked, saucy, vegan food.

Cons: Service is way to slow , Food arrived late and cold, Over priced for what it is.

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