Written by By Natasha Condo, CNN
The vegan couple who brought us the Olive Garden for the whole world have since moved on to open a bigger, bolder and much better place — Hellmann’s brand Hellmann’s is now more commonly known by the more traditional name Chef Anthony’s.
As of October 2018, Hellmann’s new restaurant within the T-Metro Diner by a major mall within Bay Plaza on Michigan Avenue, in Chicago, was crowned “The No. 1 Vegan Restaurant in America” by TopEats , a website dedicated to foodie choices.
The Midwest city is known as a hotbed of Chicago-style vegan dining, but when it comes to non-vegan offerings, the GTA is well-represented. Sides can be ordered side-by-side with meaty fare, creating an unrivaled convenience that will strike fear into any carnivorous competitor’s heart.
Luckily, there’s a bevy of dishes worthy of a trip. While some of these are owned by chain restaurants, others are independent. What we did find though, was five distinctive eats for the greatest vegan meal in the GTA.
Unbeatable Korean tacos
Jinjajung Woong Sub Beef BBQ (Seoul Style)
As the name suggests, a tasty selection of Korean tacos are available to snack on at the popular organic fast food chain Jinjajung Woong. These types of tacos are made with “jindo”, or homemade wujeon sauce, which is similarly made from an uncooked soybean paste, and generously drizzled on top of your choice of meat (choose from beef and ham). The ingredients for the sauce are complicated (you can only buy 1,400 kimchi jindo jars a year), so we’re currently using Heinz ketchup as the sauce of choice.
Nutty beefsteak-inspired eggs
Executive chef at Anthony’s , Anthony Howell, took inspiration from some famous American institutions, including The Godfather, to create his own gourmet version of the classic English breakfast — eggs Florentine with ketchup and balsamic drizzle. Paired with generous slices of spicy roast potato, it’s the best value you’ll find all day.
Omertána All-Purpose falafel
Anyone who’s travelled to Turkey (or northern Africa for that matter) knows that kofta, a pelmaci-shaped falafel sandwich, is as much a national obsession as tacos are. Your share-size serving, consisting of pitas, slices of tomato, cucumber, and pickled red onion, will tempt your taste buds, but fear not, an extra smattering of canola oil will enliven the texture of the meat.
Local favorite beef jerky
Raised here by vegan couple Mark Bloom and Christina Guffey, veteran Chicago restaurant group Feudal Burger strives to provide the best way to enjoy a burger, locally sourced from the Midwest, seasonally prepared and never vegan. Most meat products are juiced by hand, and smoothies are made from greens that are only grown a few miles away from the restaurant.
As anyone who has had tri-tip rib steak will attest, it’s a dish that defines an authentic Tex-Mex dish. The recipe, now widely available thanks to the recent addition of a vegetarian vegan version (also by David Bloom and Christina Guffey) is basically (but not too strongly) taken from the original, despite its updated vegetarian take. All the ingredients are chopped fresh and carefully mixed to maintain the bite of a traditional, but not fatty, taco.