awai toronto

One of Toronto's favourite vegan restaurants is closing

One of the restaurants that arguably made vegan cuisine popular in Toronto is shutting its doors after two and a half years in operation.

That might seem short for a successful business, but Awai was actually meant to be a nine month pop-up in a space intended for demolition.

Over those two and a half years they put in a patio and soared to the top of pretty much every vegan’s list of favourites

Goodbye to Awai, and hello to a new beginning! Our restaurant was originally designed as a nine month pop-up in a space slated for demolition. We saw an opportunity to experiment, and to show that plant-based cuisine can compete with any other. It’s now been two and a half years, and we feel good about our impact on the Toronto food scene. As we prepare to close Awai on June 23, we gratefully reflect upon all that our team has accomplished. Just a few months after opening, The Toronto Star rated Awai 3.5 out of 4 stars, calling it the best vegan restaurant in the city. Toronto Life named Awai in its Best New Restaurants list. Several other publications included Awai on various “best” lists, and wrote glowing reviews. Some of our guests took the time to write: "I am a full-on meat eater and I always feel cheated without it, but then came AWAI. The food is insane. This kitchen turns out some of the best most flavoursome food I have eaten certainly in Toronto, probably Canada. My new favourite place." "I'm not sure, before last night, that we would have been drawn to a vegan restaurant. Not for any great lust for flesh, but more the flavoring of fat, cream and eggs. Did you ever broaden our horizons! Each dish was terrific, without repetition and each a revelation." . Since Awai’s opening, we have introduced our more casual everyday restaurants: Away Kitchen on Queen, and Away Kitchen on College ( @awaykitchencafe ). Gift cards will always be valid at all of our locations. Our new upscale restaurant will launch in a central location this July. Keep watching, as we'll be sharing more details about what's coming next!

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"We saw an opportunity to experiment, and to show that plant-based cuisine can compete with any other," states the caption of an Instagram post announcing the closure.

Though Awai will be no more, the folks behind it are busy working on a new as-of-yet unnamed upscale project located near Bloor and Yonge, where there will be a tasting menu and a la carte options.

In the meantime, you can still enjoy their animal-free eats at more casual Away locations, where Awai gift cards will be honoured. Awai’s last day of service will be June 23.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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