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Dinner at Planta

Last night we took the subway to Bay and Bloor for dinner at Planta to celebrate Tuffy P’s birthday, which was earlier in the week. Planta is a fairly new restaurant in the Yorkville area, in the space formerly occupied by Pangea – right on Bay, just north of Bloor on the east side (that’s here in Toronto for readers from elsewhere). As the name implies, everything on the menu is plant based – no animal products. It’s curious that they have avoided using the common words vegetarian or vegan in positioning the restaurant.

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Planta has a somewhat relaxed atmosphere, with formica tables and painted wood floors (as well as wonderfully high ceilings). Though the atmosphere is not super-fancy, the prices are on the upscale side. Dinner for two with tax and a good tip, one dessert and just 2 beer, was $125. It’s very busy – I made a reservation 5 days in advance and couldn’t get my desired seating time. Service is top rate. The most important thing, though, is the food – and it is splendid.

We ate very well and in fact ordered more food than we needed. They have a delightfully creative and very international menu and we really wanted to sample a variety of dishes.

The star of the show for me was an appetizer – fried kimchi dumplings with a wonderful dipping sauce. A lot of flavours were happening in that dish and it was a joy to eat.  We also tried the Thai cabbage slaw with peanut and miso dressing and fried tofu. This dish was very mild compared to the dumplings but complex and tasty. Truffle fries – fries with parmesan and truffle mayo were outrageously good.

Tuffy P had the Habibi salad, which featured cauliflower cous-cous, split pea fritters, lentils, parsley, mint, coriander, currants, sumac, za’atar, and tahini dressing. I had the Italian job pizza: tomato sauce, cashew mozzarella, farro, fennel sausage. Delicious.

I skipped dessert, having had more than my fill. Tuffy P tried the chocolate terrarium – called that because it looked remarkably like a terrarium – very clever dessert design. Tuffy said it was surprisingly light and super-delicious.

We really enjoyed the food and the great service. The menu has it’s share of pleasant surprises. We saw some people around us eating the “burgers” with  queso, mushroom bacon, pickles, tomatillo mayo, and served with spiced fries. They looked excellent. Another way to go at Planta would be to order up more of the small plates and sample a bigger variety, rather than a main.

I’m a meat-eater, and when Tuffy P suggested this place I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it. However, I didn’t miss meat at dinner at all. It was a delightful dinner and a fun experience and I’m looking forward to going back.

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