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Going Green

December 4, 2006
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It’s been a long time since Alice Waters started the organic movement in Berkeley, California back in 1971, but it is only now that organic meat, produce and other ingredients are readily available to the consumer.

People cite different reasons for wanting organic foods available to them when dining out. Some want the assurance that they aren’t getting genetically modified (GM) fare. Others want the extra nutrients and vitamins that organic foods can provide. Some folks say they want to support local farmers and suppliers and there are those who go organic because it just tastes better.

Whatever your reason, you can easily find organic offerings when heading out for something to eat in the city.

You can go to a place that really focuses on organic ingredients like Leslieville’s wildly popular Le Café Vert, where the soup is served with homemade organic bread, but it is breakfast that has people talking - their Belgium buttermilk waffle comes with organic pecan maple syrup and organic scramble egg and sausages. They also serve such treasures as Ambrosial organic maple coconut quinoa porridge with fresh fruit and most of their dishes are made up of organic ingredients.

And while Mixed Organic Greens is offered at most restaurants, some have made it more than just a bunch of lettuce. At Aielli Ristorante, they present it with a wild berry balsamic reduction in a phyllo basket. Pangaea’s is baby organic lettuces served with spiced Afghanistan carrot, tender seedlings and dressed with a pear vinaigrette. And if Mixed Greens aren’t your thing, may I suggest the Organic Tomato Salad at Barrio Lounge – tomato and chèvre salad, herb puree, dressed radish and red onion jam.

It is becoming more popular for chefs to offer organic entrees, as the Toronto diner is becoming more sophisticated in their desires and needs. At North 44)Ëš you can get their Organic Irish salmon with scallops, chanterelles, clams, natural reduction and crisp pancetta.

Marco Ormonde, the talented next chef at Monsoon has added many new organic ingredients and dishes to his new menu, which includes Organic Raised Beef Tenderloin and Organic Arctic Char Stuffed with Dungeness Crab. He has brought in Cookstown’s organic vegetables and is fastidious about using “local ingredients and Ontario Lamb, for example.”

Anton Potvin, owner and sommelier of Niagara Street Café, is passionate about organic food. His successful restaurant is based on fresh and organic fare.

“The menu is small (5 appetizers, 5 entrees) and is constantly changing, because of the seasonal and fresh ingredients.” The menu has just been recreated again and is featuring a few dishes around Berkshire Pork. “It’s an heirloom variety that’s raised organic and is a non-GMO species of pork.”

Anton is “very focused on getting good, fresh products.” He works with organic farmers, serves only organic dairy and eggs and supports local farmers. “I’m a big believer in local, sustainable socially responsible products.”

That’s what we love to hear. And if you think it sounds good, wait until you taste the fare. The difference in quality and taste is significant.

A lot of restaurants will have organic entrees on their daily special boards based on availability, so be sure to ask your server about organic options.

And what about drinks? Looking for organic wine and beer to accompany your meal? Le Commensal offers both, Mill Street Brewery serves up their Original Organic Lager and Fressen has an impressive amount of organic wines, by the glass and bottle to choose from.

Eating out in our fair city has never tasted so good and been so good for you, so eat with verve and go organic when you can. You won’t be disappointed.

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