Rosalinda is Toronto’s answer to plant-based eating. The Mexican restaurant has been around the block, but since Chef Matthew Ravenscroft departed we figured it was time to check back in now that the O&B team has officially taken it over.
The lush design mimics the menu. It’s vibrant, approachable and on-trend. The space is casual and inviting but also a little edgy, all at once. Neon clashes against antique mirrors and frilly flourishes. It’s fun. It’s feminine. And it’s perfect for May celebrations.
FEEL-GOOD IN THIS GREEN-THEMED PLANT-BASED EMPORIUM
Since opening in 2018, Rosalinda has been a bright spot in Toronto for those following a plant-based diet. But there’s more under the hood of this shiny spot than just more kale. Rosalinda impressively delivers yes, an all-plant-based menu, but it’s of course not just for vegans.
One sure sign of leaning towards la vida loca – is the stunning array of tequilas and mezcals at the bar. They’re not just for display, the bar program is strong here, leaning towards stiffer classic cocktails than frilly. Standouts include the Mezcal Negroni ($20), a 3oz concoction of Sombra Mezcal, Aperol, and sweet Martini Vermouth. The Rosa Margarita ($18) is quite chuggable, shaken with Dejado tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice, sweetened with agave.
Elizabeth, tasked with doling out the drinks was energetic and effusive on the bar menu. The entire staff are friendly and kind and service is wonderful throughout. (18%-25% wonderful, speaking as a former server).
ROSALINDA RESTAURANT IS A GEM MEANT TO BE SHARED WITH EVERYONE
Meatless yet satiating isn’t a new prospect. But unexpected mains here make for memorable inspiration dishes. Like, the Roasted Eggplant ($24). Infusing a silky texture like roasted eggplant with crispy sesame salsa macha is a playful combo of textures. I love the plating, it’s a gorgeous show-stopper. While eggplant technically belongs in the fruit family, you could see how savoury types would prefer ordering this for dessert instead.
Taco lovers will be pleased with the offerings at Rosalinda, especially with the Mushroom Birria Tacos ($19). Served with a rich consommé, this ensemble really resembles the real deal. Dressed with queso blanco and shaved cabbage, it’s addictively dippable.
Rosa’s Nachos ($26 + $3 for guac) have to be the standout. They’re practically an architectural feat. Layers on layers of in-house-made crispy and still warm tortillas provide the foundation for the butternut queso and cashew crema. You will not miss the cheese, in fact, you will want to replicate it yourself at home (we suggest Mother Raw). Rosa’s are the real deal, even if you are a meat lover.
Next to the nachos, the Maca Tofu Bowl ($24) is a winner. Everyone loves the neverending bowl trend and at Rosalinda, we don’t want it to end yet either. Tofu sets the standard for what all tofu wants to be. Tender and crispy, perfectly seasoned. The grilled pineapple makes the whole dish sing.
IMPRESSIVE PLANT-BASED AND OH YEAH, THIS BEAUTY BAR TOO
Desserts do beckon, so save room for the sweet stuff. Itziar’s Churros ($10 lead photo) come stuffed with dulce de leche and a side of liquid chocolate for good measure. They’re hot, crunchy and like everything else, they’re made in-house. Deceivingly creamy, the Pay de Queso Vasco ($12 above, middle) is a dairy-free and gluten-free cheesecake replica with all the fruity fixings. Both are sensational.
Between the countless cocktails, plentiful plant-based plates and decadent desserts, Rosalinda is worth a second look. Or third, or fourth…
Check out Rosalinda Tuesday-Saturday, Noon to 9 pm. Give them a follow @rosalindarestaurant and book ahead for that Mom’s Day Brunch!
All images by Libby Roach.