Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vegan Friendly Restaurants: Karine's in Toronto

In my quest to seek out and inform the Vegan community about great Vegan-friendly restaurants, I believe I came across what possibly is one of the best there is as far as quality and value.

Karine's is a 100% Vegan restaurant in downtown Toronto, located at McCaul and Dundas. Run by Maggie and daughter Karine, the restaurant features gourmet food for cafeteria pricing. Everything they make is homemade and 100% free of dairy, gluten and animal products. They specialize in Mediterranean, European and Lebanese cuisine.

Taking their passion for the environment to a higher level, Karine's encourages all patrons to bring their own mugs and food containers.
The menu includes such exotic sounding (and tasting) delights like:
  • Armenian Salad
  • Fattoush Salad
  • Potato Frittata
  • Plaki
  • Pesto Crushed Organic Tofu
  • Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Their menu is listed in full on their website and explains the above dishes in every mouth-watering detail.

I was fortunate enough to have Maggie answer some questions about the restaurant. Some of my questions are pretty lame and need re-tuning, but, god bless her, she made the best of it.

Q. Since you serve meals containing animal products as well as vegan, what percentage of your customers would you say are vegan?

A. I guess we have 65% Vegan and Vegetarian.

Q. Have any customers ever claimed that your food was the reason they went vegan?

A. I have gotten the best compliments and great Thanks from my people but I don't think they went Vegan because of me. They find it FUN, Very Tasty and not Boring.

Q. What is the weirdest question you've had about vegan food from a non-vegan customer?

A. "Oh my God! These people are Vegan! What is Vegan by the way?

Q. Which gender of customer do you find more often orders vegan?

A. I guess the female gender is the winner so far but truly we do have lots of male Vegan patrons. Chapeau!!!

Q. Have any celebrities ever eaten from your vegan menu?

A. Over the years we have had many celebrities that we catered for in our Maggie's All Day restaurants in Toronto and London but I don't recall any of them being Vegan.

Q. Who is the most famous person to eat vegan at your restaurant?

A. The mayor of London Anne-Marie Decicco Best is Vegan and she truly supported my restaurant in London for years. Hi Anne-Marie! Missed u!!! (being a former Londoner and as big a London Knight fan as Anne-Marie - she's pretty famous in my books)

Q. What is the rarest, most exotic ingredient you use in your cooking?

A. I don't know how to answer to this question. I just can tell you that the most exotic ingredient in my cooking is Love and Passion.

Q. Is is a prerequisite for all your employees to be vegan?

A. The most important task for my employees is to learn the menu.
Not only the title but all the ingredients in every dish.
We do believe in serving our patrons with knowledge.
We care about their allergies and we make sure they get out from our restaurants Happy and Fully Satisfied.

Karine's is also a big supporter of ScotiaBank's Nuit Blanche in Toronto. This is a very unique cultural event that takes place this coming Saturday (October 3). What it is in a nutshell is a massive art exhibit that takes place throughout downtown Toronto, indoors and out. The really unique thing about Nuit Blanche is that it takes place from dusk Saturday until dawn Sunday morning. Last year, an estimated 1 million people took part. The TTC and city council co-operate so that selective transit lines stay open throughout the event.

I will be attending Nuit Blanche with my family and will be eating at Karine's! Thanks Maggie so much for helping me out with this post and all the best to you, your family and, of course, the restaurant!

1 comment:

  1. Great post...you can convert your employees to veganism as long as you provide incentives...and i think you are doing that.