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I’ve always been really curious about Fresh’s small chain of restaurants since they’re always packed whenever I walk by them. So, what has been holding me back all these years? Fresh serves up vegetarian and vegan food… and I love meat!

Blue Lagoon Smoothie

Despite a warning from a friend who had a bad experience here, I decided to give it a try anyways to curb my curiousity. Mike wasn’t too happy about my brunch pick, so I practically had to drag him over here, kicking and screaming. Just kidding…(kind of).

Anyway, we came to the location on Bloor and Spadina, which was packed on a Sunday. Walking into the restaurant, it was actually a lot bigger than it looks from the outside. However, they still really pack it in as the tables are incredibly close together.

I like to start my brunch off with a fresh juice but when I saw a smoothie section on the menu, I was sold by the Blue Lagoon Fruit Smoothie – blueberry, mango, banana (12 oz $4.50, 16oz $6, 32oz $12). The smoothie itself was on the watery side but tasted delicious! And after finishing our meal here, I can safely say that the smoothies are the only things I’d come back for. Anyway, while my smoothie was served quickly, it was nearly half an hour before our meals were served. So, be prepared to wait.

For my meal, I didn’t want to be too adventurous so I decided to go with the Grilled Vegetable and Pesto Burrito – with grilled red pepper, zucchini & sweet potato with pesto, house mayo, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, red onion & alfalfa sprouts ($10). I thought this was a pretty safe choice… but it was incredibly bland. It was as if they grilled the vegetables without any seasoning and placed it in the wrap. It really needed something to give it some flavour. Although the menu indicated that it came with pesto, I couldn’t taste it at all.

Grilled vegetable and pesto burrito and sweet potato fries

I added a side of Sweet Potato Fries – with dip ($4.25) to my burrito. I complimented them with the Garlic Mayo – tofu, garlic, miso, onion, herbs, Dijon, sunflower oil.  

The sweet potato fries were decent but they were on the limp side. I prefer my fries crunchy. I’m not sure if this was because they had baked them instead of deep-frying them? Nevertheless, we ate most of them anyway. Why? Because the garlic mayo was delicious! It reminded me of garlic hummus and I ended up dipping my burrito into the dip too, which made it ten times better.

Mike was a little more adventurous and decided to go with the vegan, gluten-free Banana Nut Pancakes. Since he was hungry, he decided to go with the triple for $10 (it’s $8 for the double). While I liked that the pancakes had big chunks of banana in it and they were generous with the pecans, the pancakes themselves were rather unsatisfying. They were incredibly dense and didn’t have a very nice taste to them. Not a fan.

So, we didn’t have a great experience here. Given how packed the Fresh restaurants are, maybe the food is great by vegan standards but it just didn’t cut it for us.

Banana Nut Pancakes

At a glance:
• Serves vegetarian and vegan fare
• As a meat-eater, I didn’t really enjoy my meal
• I’d only come back for the fruit smoothies
• 3 locations; this post is for the Bloor/Spadina location

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 1.5 stars
• Service: 2 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars

Fresh By Juice For Life on Urbanspoon

  1. Ingrid (Reply) on Sunday 29, 2012

    Yeah, Fresh can be verrrrry hit or miss. For a long time I thought it was alright, but started going back over and again when I found my favorites: their carrot cake, their quinoa crusted onion rings, and their beach bowl with goat cheese. The beach bowl is just a healthy option I like choosing, but I would definitely go out of my way for those onion rings and that carrot cake (which has no cream, egg, or butter!)

    • Jess (Reply) on Sunday 29, 2012

      Really? Carrot cake, eh? I can’t imagine a healthy carrot cake that tastes good… now I’m curious!

  2. Dave (Reply) on Sunday 29, 2012

    Hey Jess, you crack me up. I tried this once too and got to the same conclusion…
    Hope you’re well these days. =)