Joaquin Phoenix Toronto

Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara spotted at vegan restaurant in Toronto

You know your vegan restaurant is tight when one of the world's most famous animal rights activists stops by with his entire family just to compliment the menu — which is exactly what happened at Toronto's Animal Liberation Kitchen on Wednesday.

Academy Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix and his wife, actress and philanthropist Rooney Mara, were spotted at the popular Riverside food outpost around lunchtime on Nov. 18 along with their young son, River.

"He walked in yesterday around noon, with his family, and told me he had our food and it was amazing," said ALK owner Tanya Spasic to blogTO on Thursday.

"They had ordered a bunch of food for lunch the day before. Someone from the studio came to pick it up. Of course, I didn't know it was for them."

Spasic says that Phoenix came in just to say thank you for all the work her company does, and to order more food in person (he's particularly fond of their Smokey Mac and Cheese!)

"We had a nice chat where he complimented menu, and I thanked him for supporting animal liberation groups in Toronto," says Spasic, who noted that Joaquin was already familiar with the restaurant's community and animal rights work. "I guess he checked our website?" she ventured.

The fact that he was wearing a Toronto Pig Save t-shirt at the time suggests that the actor is more than simply a poster boy for local animal justice demonstrations — he truly supports Toronto activists and the important work they do.

"My daughter Siki was coming soon and she respects them so much, so I told him she will be crying to miss them," Spasic continued. "He said 'let's take a selfie for her.' I didn't want to ask him for a photo, he offered."

Spasic described the celebrity couple as "lovely" and "engaging. Of baby River, named after Phoenix's late brother, she said he "was so chill."

It's not clear why the actor is in town, but if he's filming here for even a little while you can bet he'll be visiting Animal Liberation Kitchen again – and with good reason. Their food is dope.

Lead photo by

Animal Liberation Kitchen


Latest Videos



Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Eat & Drink

Politicians are finally shaming Canadian grocery stores for screwing over customers

Toronto cafe that was a neighbourhood favourite has permanently closed

Toronto celebrity explains the perfection of beef patties to 'ignorant west coasters'

Laid-off chef that worked in top Toronto restaurants now serving up street food

Toronto restaurant known for its chicken has permanently closed

Here's what to know about the restaurant replacing Momofuku in Toronto

Mother and daughter team-up to launch Toronto bakery that's getting lineups

50 mind-blowing sandwiches in Toronto you need to try at least once