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A vegan oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle, Rosalinda is a new type of Power Lunch

Written by Jordana Colomby

Location: 133 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5H 2L3

Must-try eats: The already famous Rosaburger with a black bean patty, smoked eggplant chips, iceberg, avocado salsa and chipotle mayo.

Libations: For a light and refreshing cocktail, go for the beautiful and delicious Rosa Michelada.

Where to sit so you’re in-and-out in 60 minutes: Slide into a booth in the centre of the restaurant with a great view of the bartenders working their magic.

From left to right: Jamie Cook, Grant van Gameren, and Max Rimaldi. Photo courtesy of AJ Fernando.

The Vibe

Yet another Toronto sensation by restaurateurs Grant van Gameren (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, El Rey, Harry’s, PrettyUgly, Tennessee Tavern, Victor Dries Catering), Max Rimaldi (Pizzeria Libretto, Enoteca Sociale, Bar Isabel, Tennessee Tavern), and Jamie Cook (Pizzeria Libretto). But is anyone really surprised? These three restaurant masterminds joined together to open the new hotspot for a summer lunch perfectly placed in the financial district. But they didn’t just open up the same old taco and burrito joint, these three are pushing the boundaries of Mexican cuisine by introducing an entirely vegan eatery. While the lack of meat might scare many people away from Rosalinda, we promise if you give this it a shot, you won’t regret it. In fact, we pretty much guarantee you’ll be coming back for lunch next week, too.

Rosalinda interior. Photo courtesy of AJ Fernando.

The outside is modest, only making itself known with a small logo: the Rosalinda face. But once you step inside, you’re immediately whisked away into a tropical paradise blooming with bright colours, fun patterns and greenery. Designed by Bent Gable Design to look like a greenhouse, potted plants line to walls and hang from the ceiling. The fresh new space is already a Richmond Street favourite due to its casual atmosphere and friendly staff. Tons of lighting, big windows, and high ceilings make the 138-seat space seem like it could fit thousands. Don’t forget to take a look around the restaurant to discover vintage finds and handpainted murals, which bring the restaurant to life.

The Food

What do you get when three sought-after Toronto chefs join forces for an epic new restaurant concept? Quality dining experience, excellent service, and of course, delicious food — which just happens to be vegan. But you don’t have to be dedicated to a plant-based diet to dine at Rosalinda. Carnivores are welcome, but be warned: you might fall out of love with meat. The menu doesn’t try and replicate meat, their already famous black bean burger and the green soy chorizo taco are sure to satisfy that umami craving. Still, everything is very light and fresh. Most dishes are fit for sharing, which is also the best way to try out the diverse menu.

The Rosaburger. Photo courtesy of AJ Fernando.

For starters, try the veggie fritters, which are tiny fried bundles of meat-free joy served with a tamarind-ancho dip, or the ceviche, which despite containing zero fish, mimics the well-known seafood dish quite well by using young coconut, apple, celery, pickled shallot and herb leche de tigre.If sharing is off the table, try the crispy tofu and rice bowl topped with chunks of perfectly ripened avocado, edamame beans, and shaved carrots. And no Mexican restaurant would be complete without churros. Don’t dare leave Rosalinda without tasting their house-made churros with a chocolate banana dipping sauce. We don’t blame you if you don’t want to share these either.

Young Coconut Ceviche. Photo courtesy of AJ Fernando.

The Drinks

Rosalinda’s drink menu is unique in more ways than one. Firstly, they serve Villiage Juicery juice, a Toronto favorite for cold-pressed concoctions and a great complement to the meatless menu. However, they also have their own killer cocktails with a Mexican twist like Rosa’s Michelada which the bar dubs a beer-based Caesar alternative. It’s made with Modelo Especial, Chelada Mix, Lime, Chili Salt, Cucumber, Coriander.

La Punta Rosa. Photo courtesy of AJ Fernando.

Dream up the most refreshing tequila-based drink, and that’s the Pepinón. Made with Altos Blanco Tequila, Cucumber, Ginger Beer, Pineapple and Lime, there’s truely nothing more refreshing for a lunchtime cocktail. Rosalinda also has a menu dedicated to non-alcoholic cocktails, many of which are made with Seedlip, the world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit. The bar menu goes on to include beer, cider, wine, kombucha and Sam James cut coffee, so it might take a while to choose a drink (or two).