O&B Canteen is a vibrant restaurant located in the heart of Toronto’s Entertainment District; it has an upscale casual atmosphere and features a Grab & Go counter. I had the pleasure of trying Canteen’s vegetarian menu at a recent media-event. The weather was cooperating and we were able to enjoy the lovely patio space.
I started my meal off with Primm’s Cup, a delicious mocktail: muddled strawberry & cucumber, Sanpellegrino Limonata, soda. It was a light and refreshing drink, perfect for the summer patio season. The Sweet Potato Taco (pictured below) was out of this world delicious. The barbecued sweet potato was dressed with chili sauce, tomatillo salsa, pickled red onions, kale, herb crema. Sorry, Fresh but Canteen does it better! What I loved about Canteen’s sweet potato taco was that the sweet potato wasn’t breaded or deep-fried. The ingredient was celebrated, and paired so well with the tomatillo salsa and herb crema. I would return to Canteen for this dish alone!
The Kale Salad, snap peas, red cabbage, carrot, sunflower sprouts, crispy shallots, tamari ginger dressing, was a nice side but nothing to write home about. It was light and fresh but not as bold with its flavour profile or as satisfying compared to the other dishes I tried. The Mexican Street Corn Salad, cherry tomatoes, avocado, pickled shallots, arugula, cilantro, Anaheim chilies, Cotija, cumin, lime, on the other hand is a dish I would happily order again. The toppings on the barbecued sweet-corn were pleasantly light and added just the right amount of richness to the dish. The bed of greens and veggies was nicely dressed and offered a zesty kick! The Squash Pad Thai, tofu, radish, bean sprouts, heirloom carrots, rice noodles, was a vegetarian dish that caught me off-guard with how closely its dressing tasted like real fish-sauce. Lighter than your typical Pad Thai, I enjoyed the addition of crisp veggies.
The main event is up next, the Beet Burger sun-dried tomato, pepper relish, roasted garlic aïoli, arugula. Before I begin this portion of the review I should preface that I’m not a huge fan of beef burgers. I prefer homemade chicken or turkey burgers and often incorporate shredded veggies in my recipes. I like the softer texture of the ground poultry as opposed to the stringy, dryer, texture of most traditional beef burgers. So the texture of this beet burger was just perfect in my books! It was on the softer side, moist and packed with delicious flavour. The bun was incredible and held together despite all the yummy saucy toppings. Did it taste like or remind me of meat? Not at all, and if that’s what you’re expecting this veggie burger won’t deliver. But I liked it just the way it was and would happily order it again!
For the dessert course I tried the Carrot Cake and Smoothie Flight. The carrot cake was spicy and moist and the cream cheese icing was delightful. The smoothie flight was a fun experience especially because I didn’t know the flavours when I dived in and started trying the bright concoctions before me. My favourite was the Banana Bolt, banana, coconut milk, protein powder, cocoa powder, activated charcoal, espresso, oats, peanut butter. If I had read the ingredient list beforehand I probably would have been skeptical that I would enjoy it, but it had a nice round nuttiness to it! The one that caught me off-guard was the aptly named Green Zinger, avocado, coconut milk, spinach, matcha, ginger lemonade, spirulina, mint. It was a little too zingy for my liking on the first sip but it quickly grew on me. Another solid option is the Yoso Delicious, banana, almond milk, carrot juice, turmeric, ginger, mango, Yoso yoghurt, agave. Milder than the other two smoothies I mentioned, it has a nice balanced fruity flavour.
I would recommend Canteen and happily return to enjoy more of their menu. They also do brunch and I’m intrigued! I will say the prices are steeper than what you may expect when you hear casual market-place eatery but it makes sense when you consider the quality of ingredients and location of the restaurant. I was fully satisfied and felt great after my healthy and nutrient packed dinner. Vegetarians rejoice, there’s another amazing option for you in the city of Toronto!