Chase Hospitality Group opened Planta to create delicious food that promotes environmental sustainability. CHG partnered with Chef David Lee to fill a void in the market of upscale, full service, plant-based dining options. The restaurant's vision is to celebrate innovative cuisine in a beautiful environment without the use of any animal products.
There’s more to responsible plant-based eating than just taking animals off the plate and our commitment to using high quality products from ethical suppliers provides the foundation for our chefs to be proud of the food they serve.
1221 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 3P5
An Intimate Affair
Our 10-seat, fully private dining room on the second level overlooks the restaurant and is perfect for business meetings and intimate celebrations.
Room for Friends
Planta has a 32 seat private dining room on the east side of our restaurant that is perfect for seated dinners, receptions and parties of all kinds. Our menu is easily customized, amazing for sharing and full of crowd pleasers.
Party Animals, Now We're Talking
If you're looking to host a bash that cannot be confined to a private room, our entire restaurant can be converted into a party paradise. Let us know how you want to get down, and we'll make it happen.
Our coconut bacon recipe is a game changer; adding that extra special je ne sais quoi to any dish. We warn you now: reserve a special place in your heart for these smoky, mouthwatering, plant-based bacon bits. You’ll want to put them on everything. In other words, this topping is the fairy dust of food.
This bacon recipe is friendly to pretty much most diets - plant-based, paleo, gluten-free and keto. As well, this recipe requires minimal ingredients and effort. It add rich flavour and a satisfying crunch to salads, sandwiches and rice bowls. It is even a great snack to nosh on while cooking dinner or when dashing out the door.
4 cups raw coconut flakes
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup tamari
1 Tbsp molasses
Liquid smoke to taste (Depending on how smoky you like it. Start with a small amount, 1 tsp.)
1. Mix all liquids together and coat coconut evenly with mixture
2. Spread coconut thinly onto a baking tray lined with parchment. Toast in your oven at 350°F until golden brown. Only a few minutes! (Psst...Coconut burns super fast, so keep an eye on the oven. Sift coconut around during baking so all sides crisp evenly.)
You’ll find coconut bacon sprinkled on Planta dishes like our Kale Caesar, pictured above.
Test out this recipe and be sure to tag us (@PlantaToronto).
To say we love juice at Planta is an understatement. We’re obsessed and can’t get enough of our custom-blend juices from Village Juicery.
Today on the #PlantaBlog, we sit down with juice guru and our dear friend, Omar Shaheen, the co-founder of Village Juicery that is Toronto’s first organic certified juicery. Omar graciously took the time to answer our juiciest (couldn’t help ourselves) questions.
How did it all begin? What’s the Village Juicery story?
"Village Juicery is owned by a group of friends, who are all Toronto-born and raised. (Fun fact: our first four stores opened up close to where we all grew up.) In the winter of 2013, we found ourselves seeking out organic juices, and noticed a real juice void of all things organic and cold-pressed in Toronto. We were looking to do something positive for our community, while also setting an example of integrity and sustainability in the food and beverage world. We opened our first store at 540 College Street in 2014 and have since opened stores in three other great Toronto neighbourhoods – Roncy, Yonge & Eglinton and most recently Bloor West Village. Today, we have expanded to well over 50 partners across Toronto."
Hard to choose just one fave! Planta’s custom-blend, cold-pressed juice beauties.
Left to right, Planta's custom Village Juicery juices: Tart of Gold, Planta Punch, Rise & Shine, and Field of Greens.
We love that your juices are organic. Share with us what it means to you to be certified organic.
"We are proud to say we are going into our second year of organic certification, both by Canadian and USDA standards. Organic certification demonstrates our passion and commitment to using exclusively organic ingredients, supporting the organic ecosystem, and our transparency in inviting an external party to validate our practices from purchasing to production."
One thing people may not know is that you hire nutritionists to run your shops.
How does this benefit your brand?
"Our nutritionists are a vital part of our team and offering. Our customers come to our juice bars looking to learn more about improving their health and the natural benefits of our juices can bring. With a nutritionist always behind the bar, we can be confident our guests are getting genuine and informed advice – no scripts! Many of our nutritionists also wear a second hat, assisting with product development and snapping great shots for social media. Everything we offer in-store or through our partners is developed and vetted by our nutritionists. This ensures that every juice is of the utmost nutritional integrity. We never compromise on our values."
In addition to Planta and your Village Juicery shops, you can find your juices around the 6ix. Tell us about this.
"We love and are proud of our Juice Partners; they make up a unique part of our business. You’ll find that our juices are featured in salad dressings, room service brunch, margaritas, to the ingredients in your soap – it's everywhere! With the growing demand for organic and sustainable options, we set out to share our juicing muscles with like-minded companies. We offer daily delivery in reusable glass packaging, all at a reasonable cost for businesses. It has been a challenge, but we're committed to upping Toronto's juice game whether it is at our stores, local restaurants or market places, or beside the hot sauce in your fridge."
What do you see for the future of Village Juicery? Any exciting tidbits you can share?
"In the short term, I see myself eating a Planta Habibi Salad. In the long term, expanding Village Juicery into more great Toronto neighbourhoods, as well growing our network of Juice Partners!"
Tell us the Planta juice you crave most at @PlantaToronto.
It’s no secret that turmeric is an incredibly nutrient dense superfood and we’re seeing it pop up everywhere! Its benefits include being an anti-inflammatory agent, a cancer preventative and a body detoxifier. As for lemons, well, they are high in Vitamin C, promote hydration and aid digestion. What a perfect duo for a virgin summer cocktail!
We’ve created a simple recipe for our menu, which you can now shake up for you and your guests at one of your upcoming summer fiestas. We get our cold-pressed turmeric and lemon juice from our friends at Village Juicery (we’ll be profiling them on next weeks blog!).
Nutrition Nerd-Alert: **turmeric often gets metabolized before it can get absorbed (ie. you burn it off before your body can extract the benefits!) so we've added a pinch of black pepper to improve the absorption power! **
1/2 oz cold-pressed turmeric juice
1.5 oz cold – pressed lemon juice
3/4 oz agave
4-5 oz water
pinch of crushed black pepper
Measure out all ingredients into a martini shaker and shake with ice. Alternatively, stir into a tall glass of ice to chill. Voila! Enjoy the refreshing taste and immune boosting benefits!
Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from a combination of fermented cabbage, seasonings and a seafood based sauce. We’re sharing our plant-based spin on the dish with you today in a simple DIY kimchi making tutorial! Learn how to make a fish free seafood sauce so you too can enjoy this Korean fave at home.
Kimchi is a probiotic, which means it promotes digestion and is amazing for your gut health. It’s also high in fiber, vitamins, essential amino acids and minerals.
As well as being so rich in health benefits, this nutrient-packed side dish will stay shelf stable in your fridge for quite a long time.
To start you will be brining your cabbage to kill off all the bad bacteria while maintaining all the good stuff.
1 head of napa cabbage,
½ cup of salt
2 litres of water
Ingredients for “Fish” Sauce:
¼ cup tamari
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup water
¾ cup pineapple juice
½ tbsp coarse salt
1 small piece of kombu
1 cup “fish” sauce
1 ½ chopped green onion
¾ cup chopped ginger (peeled)
¼ cup garlic cloves
1 cup Korean chili flakes
Our Chefs share their delicious (and instagrammable) smoothie bowl recipe for you to make at home. It's as easy as it is beautiful and if you don’t have exactly everything the recipe calls for there are endless fruit and milk substitutions that will taste totally delicious. If you really want to commit to home-made, try our Mylk recipe to pour over top.
The Planta Smoothie Bowl with Chia Seed Pudding and Raw-nola
Makes one bowl
Chia Seed Pudding Ingredients
*Make in advance, a few hours ahead or the night before.
2 Tbsp dry chia seeds
1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ cup coconut milk
Whisk all ingredients together well, until nothing sinks to the bottom. Place in an airtight container or jar, and store in the fridge. Check consistency and add more milk if too thick.
(Raw-nola a.k.a. the crunchy part of the smoothie bowl)
3 cups pitted dates (quartered)
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup flax seeds
1 cup raw coconut shred
Blitz the dates, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds in your food processor. Next, unplug processor and toss in coconut shreds with a spoon. You'll have extra leftover if you haven't snacked on the rawnola already. Store the extra in a sealed container in the fridge to snack on later.
1 cup strawberries
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2/3 cup coconut milk
Additional ingredients: favourite fruit for topping smoothie bowl
Blend smoothie ingredients. Now the fun part - putting it all together. Pour the smoothie mixture into a beautiful, colourful bowl. Next, layer with chia seed pudding. Top with raw-nola and any fresh fruit toppings you desire. Lastly, be sure to snap a photo of your ridiculously good looking smoothie and share it with us using #PlantaLifeBlog.
Homemade Cashew Mylk
We’re going to give you a cashew mylk recipe to try at home, it's so simple and way better than any grocery store version. Simply soak, blend and enjoy!
1 cup raw cashews (soaked)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3-4 cups of water
Pinch of salt
Dash of cinnamon
Portion out one cup of cashews. Soak in a water overnight in your refrigerator. Once soaked, rinse your cashews well and toss in your blender. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend at super high speed for around a minute to a minute and a half. That’s all! You have yourself some fresh to death cashew mylk. You’re welcome.
This week we’d like to take the opportunity to introduce to you our incredible local (Toronto based) nut mylk supplier, Mylko. This dream team creates delicious and creamy blends of mylk that when paired with our espresso, make incredible lattes, cappuccinos and mochas. In the restaurant you can find blends like cashew chai, almond cashew cold brew, coconut and special features like pistachio rose.
We sat down and chatted with them to learn more about their business and why homemade nut mylks are far more beneficial to your health than store bought.
Can you tell us a bit about your business for people who don’t know?
Mylko is a Toronto-based company developed for the mindful customer, seeking a delicious, creamy elixir - whether for coffee, cereal, smoothie or straight up. We had our debut at the Farmers Market and as the season looms, we are grateful to be part of this special community. We produce raw, non-dairy, plant-based mylks made from nuts, seeds, coconut and other whole food ingredients, without additives or refined sugar. We try our best to source locally and work with like-minded partners. Our offering ranges the entire spectrum from our signature almond-cashew-coconut mylk to specialty sipping mylks, like pistachio rose and strawberry rhubarb. Our cashew barista blend is a treat for coffee lovers and maintains latte art equally if not better than dairy millk. We deliver to homes and businesses and offer our product on a wholesale basis to coffee shops and restaurants. We are currently working on a longer refrigerator life variety, which should be in stores this summer. Come visit us at the Sorauren, Leslieville and Brickworks Farmers' markets this season!
Can you share with us some reason’s why homemade nut mylks are more beneficial to our health then store bought?
I think it has become widely known that most store bought nut mylks contain a variety of fillers including carrageenan, gums, thickeners, emulsifiers and other unnecessary agents that compensate for the lack of whole food ingredients. Some varieties are heated to such high temperatures (UHT) that the resulting liquid is almost unrecognizable. Its simple, homemade nut mylks have more ingredient concentration, more good fats more nutrients and most importantly, taste WAY better. There is no comparison.
We feel there is a lot of confusion with HPP, unpasteurized and pasteurized when it comes to raw nut mylks and juices. What do your products classify as and what do all these terms mean?
We will likely be offering longer refrigerator-life version for stores, which will use HPP technology (pressure instead of heat). Which in my opinion is the best solution that exists to extend shelf life yielding a product that retains nutritional and sensory integrity (unlike heat pasteurization). We will continue our raw offering but I think an entire question related to this may divert attention. Part of the reason this is necessary for a broader audience is safety. Mylk relative to say juice has a much higher pH which makes it much more susceptible to bacteria growth and food borne illness. Of course some of this can be prevented with proper labeling and education but it is still certainly a food safety issue. Raw juice is acidic so naturally has much higher buffer than mylk.
How did it all begin?
We did not intend to start a business - it sort of just happened. I started to have an aversion towards dairy and moved towards boxed varieties of almond milk, realizing they weren't any better on my vulnerable tummy. I started making nut mylks at home. I couldn't believe the difference in taste and texture. I went on a tangent, getting creative, having fun with ingredients, sharing with friends and colleagues, realizing there was a strong demand for such a product. Creating a high-quality mylk that dairy and non-dairy consumers alike could enjoy. I pitched the idea to a local farmers' market once...twice...thrice...convincing them there was no other product like this out there. They finally caved once tempted by samples and the rest is history. For each mylk variety released, we always ask the question - will we drink it? If the answer is yes, it's a go! We truly believe Mylko is a dairy-free revolution!
If you’ve visited us recently, you may recognize this dish; it’s the newest addition to our menu’s outstanding salad selection.
This is a great salad to make at home because you can use whatever vegetables you have kicking around in your fridge. Chop ‘em up, throw them on some greens, and you have yourself a meal!
At Planta, a company called 100km Foods delivers our produce daily. 100 KM Foods is a local, sustainable food distribution company that work extremely hard to get produce from the field to the kitchen within 24 hours. Check them out here if you want to learn more! The mung beans used in this recipe were sprouted in house, and last week we showed you how to do it at home; check out our Sprouted Mung Bean Tutorial here.
The creamy chili lime dressing is an awesome way to top it all off! Boring salads be gone.
Creamy Chili Lime Dressing
1. Combine all ingredients in the blender except for oil.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Slowly add in the oil so that dressing emulsifies.
4. Top your Chopped Salad and enjoy!
This week, our kickass squad of chefs have gifted us the recipe to make Planta's notoriously awesome chocolate chip peanut butter cookies. The recipe requires just 8 minute of baking time, which means they’ll be out of the oven by the time you’ve cleaned up your mess.
Pro Tip: for maximum enjoyment, eat the entire batch before anyone else gets home; we'll take the blame.
Okay, so the time has come to set your oven to 325° and brace yourself for the bliss you're about to experience.
2 tbsp flax with 1 cup warm water (flax egg)
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup flour
2 cup rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
*Alternatively if you food intolerances and/or are a health conscious baker, you can modify this recipe with a gluten free all-purpose flour blend and use coconut sugar instead of refined.
**We want to see the finished product! Post a pic on Instagram and tag us @PlantaToronto #PlantLife
Our Chefs are committed to creating all of our dishes in-house, starting with raw ingredients and transforming them into delicious dishes for our menu. All of our house made dish components (think nut-milk cheese, mushroom bacon, and pickled vegetables) are made using this recipe: traditional culinary techniques + time + testing. The three T’s help us get it right (just may not the first time!) so the food always taste great when it hits your table. You don’t need to have a professional kitchen or a team of chefs to create a little bit of your own home-grown greatness. Today we’re going to show you how to sprout your own mung beans. It’s easy, they’re delicious, and they’re totally Planta.
We feature sprouted mung beans in our Chopped Salad, and after you make your own, we’re sure you’ll be sprinkling them on everything from your salads to your avocado toast.
This tutorial is super simple and only requires three items, which you may even already have in your kitchen.
*Precautionary note: Mung bean sprouts can carry bacteria; children, pregnant women, the elderly and anyone with a weakened immune system should avoid consuming raw sprouts.
Today we are so thrilled to share with you the blog that we have created to provide you with behind the scenes content of what goes on day to day at Planta. Expect to find recipes, 'how-to' tutorials, stories about those who make and supply our food, and more!
Our goal at Planta is to give you an experience that differs from the majority of restaurants throughout the city by bringing you incredible pairings made of 100% plant based foods and ingredients. We’re here to inspire you to step beyond your conditioning and let us amaze you with the powerful flavor and health benefits of plants.
Behind these creative dishes is a strong team of culinary geniuses whom we would love to introduce you to. But firstly, our restaurant would obviously not be here if it weren’t for Steven Salm and Chef David Lee. After lengthy careers in fine dining, these two had had an awakening that eating plant based is more sustainable for the environment, and not long after, Planta was born.
Steven Salm | President of CHG
What is the most rewarding part of running Planta?
SS: I get pretty excited when people experience Planta for the first time and make comments that suggest they didn’t expect to 'be so full' or 'had no idea plant based food can taste like this.'
Do you see another Planta opening in the future?
What is one thing you would like to see added to the menu?
SS: A second burger that is entirely different than our signature.
Favourite kind of plant based cheese?
SS: Chef Lee's almond feta.
If you’re not at Planta you are...?
SS: Another CHG restaurant.....just kidding, Ramen Isshin on College Street.
Chef David Lee
Which menu item has been the toughest to perfect? What was difficult about it? What made it work in the end?
DL: The Burger - 3 days before opening no one liked the burger. I was crushed. I wanted the burger to be gluten-free and nut-free, so we just did a lot of testing and worked together until we perfected it.
Is there a menu item that took off that surprised you?
DL: Yes the Cauliflower Tots, we can’t make enough of them ...
Aside from the menu, what has been different about Planta compared to your other restaurant (Nota Bene)?
DL: Plant based food really makes you think. Roasting a chicken is simple - add seasoning, cook it for 1.5 hours and it will taste okay.
Cooking Plant Based foods is very difficult. There are many more components in making a dish, and it can be far more challenging to achieve the textures and flavours that you’re going for.
If you had to recommend the perfect meal to a first time guest, what would it be?
DL: Coconut Ceviche to start, The Planta Burger for the main course and the Triple Chocolate Brownie for dessert!
Chef Emma Herrera | Chef De Cuisine
Emma moved to Toronto a few years ago from her home island of Trinidad in the West Indies. While in culinary school, she got a job at Notabene with Chef David Lee where she learned how to cook professionally. Emma loved the hustle and heat of a busy exciting kitchen. As a vegetarian, she has always been passionate about plant-based cooking and loves sharing her enthusiasm for vegetables with the Planta audience.
If you’re not at Planta you are...?
EH: At home with my guys; my partner and our two cats.
Favorite vegan treat?
EH: Our cinnamon buns are so yummy!
What is one thing you would like to see added to the menu?
EH: I cant wait for the spring veggies to come in- fresh peas and fava beans, Ontario asparagus and wild ramps are my favourites.
Chef Thalia Thiessen | Sous Chef
Thalia is originally from a little mountain town in British Columbia called Nelson. Growing up on a farm she has always loved vegetables - watching them grow from a seed into something with endless possibilities. When she first came to Toronto she met David Lee through working at his restaurant Nota Bene. When the opportunity came along to be apart of opening Planta she was excited and up for the challenge. Being apart of Planta has been an innovative experience of working with plants in new and creative way.
When you’re not at Planta you are?
TT: You can usually find me hanging out with my dog Small Toma or outside - trying (with no success) to find a mountain to climb ;)
I also love to cook and bake in my spare time - always thinking about new flavors and ideas.
Favourite plant based treat?
TT: Coconut based ice cream.
Chef Jennifer Wall | Sous Chef
What has been the biggest challenge for you since you started working in a plant based kitchen?
JW: The biggest challenge of working in a plant based kitchen is finding balance. Instead of looking at it like you are replacing meat I try to see it as finding a balance between flavours and texture while also being nutritionally satisfying.
If you’re not at Planta you are...?
JW: When I'm not at Planta I'm hibernating! I'm usually at home curled up with a cup of tea, but come summer I'll be outside as much as possible. I love hiking or I'll make iced tea and find a shady spot under a tree.
Favourite vegan treat?
JW: Anything with coconut whip, it's more decadent than regular whip cream!
What is one thing you would like to see added to the menu?
JW: One thing I would like to see added to the menu would be a fresh baked pretzel with all sorts of mustard and house made pickles. That, or a selection of hydroponic micro greens and vegetables grown from our very own in house solar powered self sustaining garden, but that's more of a fantasy for now!