Allergy-Friendly Dinner in Toronto
August 26, 2013 10:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm a vegetarian with several severe food allergies and I'd like to hear your suggestions for restaurants in Toronto.

I'm a vegetarian and I have pretty severe food allergies. I don't go out to eat a whole lot, but my birthday is coming up and I'd love to have an allergen-free dinner in a nice restaurant in Toronto. I'm looking for recommendations coming personal experience of exceptional service/allergen accommodation at restaurants in Toronto rather than "well, Yelp says..." because I'm great at googling and I know what Yelp says!

If it helps refine your suggestions, I don't eat any meat or fish and I'm severely allergic to soy, cow's milk/dairy (including butter), sesame, almonds, walnuts and corn. Being allergic to soy and sesame seems to exclude basically any Asian restaurant as they are so prevalent in their sauces and I'm so severely allergic that cross-contamination is a concern. Price is no object -- I'd love something upscale since it's a special occasion -- and I'm open to suggestions across the GTA, although the closer something is to the downtown core, the more likely I am to go.
posted by kate blank to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I can't offer you a personal recommendation, but a better source than Yelp might be the Toronto Vegetarian Association. Beyond their directory of veg restaurants in the city, which is useful for general-purpose stuff, I bet if you contact them with directly with your specific concerns they might have some helpful suggestions for places known to be most accommodating to people with severe allergies.

Sorry if you've already tried this without success.

EDIT: for some reason the TVA site is slow right now...? But it's great normally.
posted by onshi at 10:50 AM on August 26, 2013

Best answer: My personal experience with Paradiso (west of Mississauga) is that if you tell them it is a serious allergy they will go over and beyond for you. Call beforehand and the chef might even make up something just for you. I went once when I was vegan, which I casually mentioned to the waitress, and she researched every last ingredient in my dish, and made changes on my behalf. Their service is better than any Fairmont hotel.

Burlington location is better than Oakville location (better management).
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:53 AM on August 26, 2013

If price genuinely is no object: You might want to start just by choosing a place that seems exciting to you regardless of whether it's known for being allergy friendly. My experience is that most really fancy places are able to accomodate all sorts of things. Pick a place that sounds great and call them and see if they can make you something that suits your restrictions.
posted by ManInSuit at 11:37 AM on August 26, 2013

Best answer: My experience eating with friends and colleagues with serious food allergies is that the Oliver and Bonacini management group's restaurants (Canoe, Auberge du Pommier, Biff's, etc.) is very good at working around food allergies if given enough of a head's up.

Auberge du Pommier even has a super delicious Vegetarian (lacto-ovo) tasting menu.
posted by elkerette at 11:53 AM on August 26, 2013

As one with my own severe allergies, In my experience no where is going to guarantee that there hasn't been cross contamination - no matter how upscale you go. That includes Canoe et. al, though they are kind and as accommodating as they can be.

Alternate suggestion: For the same cost of a meal for 4 people at Canoe, I bet you could hire a chef to come cook for you at your own chosen location. You'd be better able to set menu, exclude ingredients etc.

It may even be more special than a nice meal out.
posted by Sleddog_Afterburn at 12:26 PM on August 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

I love love love the food at grasslands, it's vegan and amazing. I found the service to be really good, so I bet you could talk to them about your allergy concerns, and they would be able to accommodate you.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:14 PM on August 26, 2013

Yes, you may just want to consider hiring a catering company who will send a chef (and server) to your house (and also all dishes, table and place settings, etc. so there is no cleanup on your end). The chef can create a menu meeting all of your requirements.

Was just at a dinner like this (including very restricted diet for one of the guests) done by Yorkshire Pudding; I'm sure there are other caterers in the GTA who would do the same.
posted by scribbler at 8:50 PM on August 26, 2013

Response by poster: Paradiso is too far afield for this dinner, but it looks they are super-aware of food allergies and I made a note to check them out another time. I think we'll end up at Auberge du Pommier, the vegetarian menu looks like it would be pretty easy to modify for me. Thanks for all the input!
posted by kate blank at 11:11 AM on September 11, 2013

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