Planta Yorkville (Toronto)

Planta’s meatless burger was once the talk of the town, admired for its “likeness” to the beef version, thanks to the tinge of pink in its patty. Chef David Lee was ahead of his time, creating a string of plant-based restaurants at a time when Meatless Mondays was a stretch for most people.

Oh, how times have changed. Vegetarian burgers are now a dime-a-dozen with fast food chains joining the party. Even the patties have been upgraded – having a hint of pink is now the norm. Which is why my first experience with the Planta burger, prominently featured on their Winterlicious menu ($33), was such a bust.

After hearing about how great it was - so much so that burger-only restaurants were spun off - one bite into the mushy patty left much to be desired. There were some good qualities: it was hearty with the thick queso and truffle mushroom sauce; and generally, it tasted nice. But it lacked texture… everything was so soft that my 90-year old grandmothers would have no trouble biting through these babies.

The soft bun and delicate lettuce didn’t make it any better – maybe if either an element of crunch it would help the main. At least the fries were amazing: hot from the fryer, crispy as ever, and tossed with just enough salt. We hungrily devoured these.

Overall, it just wasn’t an impressive meal. While the warm rapini salad tastes better than it looked, when the plate of butter lettuce topped with chopped wilted rapini arrived, I was momentarily taken aback that a restaurant would be okay with serving a dish that looks like one I’d make at home. Looks aside, it was an okay salad, the warm rapini enhanced with olive and sun-dried tomatoes so the greens were actually flavourful. I just wished there was more of it to go around.

The only dish I’d get again is the young Thai coconut dessert. The passionfruit sorbet was a great balance of tart and sweetness and the coconut &chia seed pudding added a lovely creaminess. Although it appears fairly simple, the tropical flavours were such a blessing during the dead of winter.

If you’re going to visit any restaurant in the Planta chain, the Asian menu of the Queen location is much better, in my opinion. Maybe it’s time for David Lee to reinvent the menu again. Burgers are so overdone… and being done so much better than Planta.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10
Is Winterlicious worth it (based on my meal selection)?
Winterlicious - $33
Regular menu - $50 - salad ($18.25), burger ($19.75) and young Thai coconut ($11.95)
Savings - $17 or 34% 
How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 1221 Bay Street

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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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