One of the many questions I get as a vegan is “Is it hard to eat out at restaurants?” and the truth is unless you’re at a full vegan restaurant, yes it can be! It’s difficult to know when dairy is snuck into a sauce, or eggs hidden in a dough. Friends and family can attest it takes me about 10 minutes to order because of questions about ingredients and substitutions I need to make. Luckily for us on Team Green, it just got a whole lot easier to be vegan in Toronto!
Il Fornello, known for their drool-worthy pizzas has launched a plant-based menu and I had the pleasure of trying it this week. The regular menu items are still available, but the Danforth and Carlaw location (and soon King St W spot) has launched a vegan kale caesar salad, vegan pizza dough, cashew ricotta cannelloni, and a kale and green pea pasta dish. They also have a designated vegan wine on the menu, which after extensive taste testing I can confirm is delicious. My headache the next day was less excited about it…
I have to admit the staff’s excitement over these dishes was infectious. They were genuinely so pumped to share this food with customers, and why shouldn’t they be?! The cannelloni was insanely delicious with a great pasta to filling ratio and wasn’t too dense or salty. The caesar salad made with nutritional yeast was another fav, having a little kick and the type of croutons I will dream about in the coming weeks.
The pizza dough, which was chewy yet still light, is a new recipe the staff invented and uses Ripple pea-based milk…hello protein! They also have dairy-free Daiya cheese available (and rumour has it they’re developing a top secret recipe of their own to replace it soon!).
I think the best way to sum up the plant-based menu at Il Fornello came from my dinner guest (a meat eater) as we were entering a carb coma from trying so many items. He said “this isn’t just good vegan food, this is good f&%#ing food.” Nuff said.
** Il Fornello and I connected purely by coincidence which resulted in them inviting me for a complimentary tasting of the menu. The opinions expressed above are my own and I was not paid to write this article. I truly believe they are doing great things and are anticipating a growing need for plant-based vegan options in the community.