There is Nothing Boring About These Veggies
Downtown Toronto’s financial district welcomed a new vegan hot spot last month, Rosalinda. The not so modest 136-seat open concept dining room is bright, airy and full of lush greenery. It’s only appropriate to dine in what appears to be a greenhouse when the menu is plant-based, right?
Baja California flavours inspire the concept. Traditional Mexican dishes are given life without robust wanna-be-meat fillers. The creators of Rosalinda have had a hand in some of Toronto’s most popular restaurants including Bar Isabelle, Bar Rival, El Ray, Pizzeria Libretto and Tennessee Tavern. Max Rimaldi and Jamie Cook dreamed up the idea of opening a plant-based restaurant over a decade ago. Both of their wives are vegan, and they wanted to create a space where they would want to eat, every day! Luckily, there has never been a better time for their dream to be realized as plant-based diets are more accepted now, even if you don’t consider yourself vegetarian.
If you aren’t down with the idea of chorizo tacos sans the chorizo, the electric atmosphere inside Rosalinda will have you singing a different tune in no time. Classic and sophisticated meets fun and unexpected. Rich rugs, velvet banquets, deep-seated round booths, along with large tables for group gatherings, and intimate two-seater banquets allows the ample space to still feel personal.
Pops of deep greens, blue hues, bright whites and a splash of pink and red all work harmoniously in this space. Textures of wood, marble, metal and concrete somehow all manage to mingle in the best way too. And the plants! An array of gorgeous greenery hangs from the ceiling and along the window ledges. It is a garden oasis within Toronto’s concrete jungle.
The menu at Rosalinda was created with one thing in mind, flavour! Every dish has a unique flavour profile and jumps from the plate. If you shy away from bold citrus, sweet tangs and a little bit of salt, this menu is not for you. Elevating the flavour of the vegetables instead of manipulating them to resemble meat is certainly accomplished.
The young coconut ceviche with apple, celery, pickled shallot and herb leche de tigre is worthy in both taste and texture. You will want to slurp every last drop out of the bowl, which is A-Okay.
The Tijuana-style broccolini was a crowd pleaser. Eating your greens has never been so enjoyable, and the caesar aioli is so good you will want to put it on everything.
The Rosaburger is a black bean patty topped with smoked eggplant chips, iceberg lettuce, avocado salsa and chipotle mayo. The burger is smoky, sweet with a hint of spice. You will not be able to keep your hands clean, a sign of a true burger indeed. The shoestring fries (with a side of that caesar aioli) were crispy but not greasy, win! It is an indulgence that will undoubtedly satiate even a carnivores burger craving.
The chorizo verde & quinoa bowl with charred broccoli, confit fennel and chimichurri was light and fresh. Although the ‘chorizo’ seemed a bit sparse, it is still a delicious and healthy option.
True to the Mexican tradition, a variety of tacos and tostadas are also on the menu, including a jackfruit pibil taco with crispy taro root and slaw and a roasted cauliflower tostada with sikil pak, almonds, herb salsa verde and pickled chilies.
Rosalinda turns out over 400 spiced churros daily. And unlike traditional churros, they make these sweet desserts in coconut oil. These Mexican classics are topped with cinnamon sugar and served with a chocolate banana caramel sauce. If you are in the mood for a lighter dessert option, the rhum roasted pineapple with coconut and lime is the perfect sweet and savoury ending.
The staff at Rosalinda are friendly, knowledgeable and will gladly dish about their favourite menu items with you. Reservations are highly recommended or swing by in the late afternoon after their lunch rush and before the dinner crowd rolls in.
They are open daily from 11am-11pm.