Rosalinda is swathed in greens, a cue to what’s in store at this hip downtown eatery. The plant-based menu is chock-full of vegan friendly finds, with a nod to Mexican roots and culture. It’s vibrant and enticing, no matter what side of the plant-based fence you reside on.
Co-owned by Jamie Cook, Grant van Gameren and Max Rimaldi, Rosalinda curates a nuanced approach to plant-based eating. It’s not in your face, or holier-than-thou, it’s approachable, familiar and satisfying, key components to any one of GvG’s empire, and it’s a place you’ll want to perch at, with a welcoming bar anchoring the space, and several clever banquettes and booths adding to the living room style space.
Drinks are elevated and made with top shelf ingredients, and of course under Grant’s tutelage, feature creative and inspired offerings that channel some of your favourite Mexican cocktails, like the Carrot Colada ($14) or self-named Rosa Margarita ($14). Happy hour drink specials from Monday to Friday on other classic cocktails, like the Paloma, wines and drafts on for just $7 invite you to linger a little longer, so consider pairing it up with guacamole & chips for an extra $5. An extensive list of no-alcohol concoctions proves tempting too, so those living la vida soda are on still in on the toast.
The extended menu boasts bites to bowls, and everything in between. Head Chef Matthew Ravenscroft’s menu curates an experience that invites even the most stalwart carnivores an opportunity to switch it up. The Young Coconut Ceviche ($14) presents as a classic fish dish, here of course, replicated with tender coconut, with pickled shallot and herb leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk, a common base for Peruvian ceviche made with lime juice. It’s zesty and aromatic, and the coconut ‘meat’ resembles the texture so closely that it’s easy to forget you’re not eating the real thing.
The Roasted Cauliflower Tostada ($7) brings black beans, sunflower salsa macha, crunchy peanuts, pico de gallo. The crispy tostada holds up to the chunky macha, and the layered approach works brilliantly to bring the nutty flavours forward. From the plates menu, the Roasted Eggplant ($16) comes decked out with more sunflower salsa macha, amped up with peanuts, pomegranate seeds and cashew crema. The eggplant is superb, a perfect vehicle to contain the generous garnishes and flourishes that bring this dish together.
The macha makes another appearance here with the Crispy Tofu & Rice Bowl ($17), a hefty portion with black beans, salsa cruda, avocado, peanuts and chipotle-lime vinaigrette. The cubes of tofu are crispy and delicious, with a hint of heat. The bowl feels almost bottomless, it’s an ‘Elaine-sized’ salad that packs a protein punch, and proof you don’t need meat to make the most of your meal.
Desserts aren’t left out either, notable sweets include the decadent Chocolate Mousse ($8), made with coconut-date crumble, toasted buckwheat and dulce de coco. It’s decked out with a fresh mint garnish, proving the mint/chocolate combo isn’t reserved just for ice cream.
While Rosalinda makes a case for eating a vegan diet, it’s easy to forget that it’s a plant-based restaurant, the menu is adaptable and so on trend. Check their website for events, specials and more. Rosalinda is open daily, and accepts reservations.
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