Paintbox Bistro (Toronto)


With what seems like the recent revitalization of Regent Park, it’s hard to imagine that PaintBox Bistro is already six years old. In celebration of the milestone, they threw a party where customers can try any of their mains for only $6 (regular menu prices provided below for reference purposes) with $6 wine to boot. 

As soon as I stepped into Paintbox’s airy space, I felt healthier. The restaurant is a mixture of large tables and couches so you can go and read a book or gather a group for a scrum. Set as a quick service restaurant, guests order at the café area and then are provided with a sign so you can sit and wait for the food. 

Small eats like pastries are available and then there are a few options that are in between a snack and full on meal. The clumps of meaty brown butter white beans makes the Ontario harvest flatbread ($11) surprisingly hearty and along with the crunchy pumpkin seeds, melted brie, carrot puree, and fresh arugula creates a well toasted flatbread that’s filled with flavours and textures. This works great as a shared starter or a main if you’re in the mood for a smaller bite.


The mac, cheese & greens ($14) is also rich and creamy, the four cheese sauce balanced by broccoli florets. The kale that’s mixed into the pasta gives it an interesting taste – one friend felt it almost tasted like bacon. While I didn’t find it overly smoky, the kale was a nice addition to the pasta adding 
an extra flavour and textural element.


What a great idea to wrap the enchilada filling in collard greens instead of a tortilla! Paintbox’s enchilada ($14) is stuffed with spicy rice and a protein mixture that gives the filling a ground meat texture. In the end, the creation tastes like a delicious cross between a cabbage roll and enchilada. The roasted pepper coulis and scallion lime aioli were great additions that provided the traditional enchilada flavour but with an extra flair.


The only disappointing dish was the tofu green curry ($15). Firstly, the tofu was baked/fried so long that it became dry and hard (even being steeped in curry couldn’t rehydrate it). Moreover, the curry was too sour, which is strange as I expected it to be fragrant and coconutty since the menu describes it as “Thai-inspired”.


If a meal of plant based dishes doesn’t have you leaving the restaurant feeling good, at least know that by eating at Paintbox Bistro you’re supporting their ethos of providing job opportunities to those living in the neighbourhood and being mindful of their environmental footprint (there was no disposable cutlery used despite the fast casual environment). And with that, I left Paintbox feeling as snug as an enchilada wrapped in collard greens.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10


How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 555 Dundas Street East 

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!


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