Taste Test: Toronto’s Top Spring Salads

This month Grant van Gameren samples eight of uptown’s top spring salads — from classic Italian to an Asian chicken slaw. Find out which greens have enough crunch and creativity to keep him coming back for more.

WINNER:
JOEY, 15 O’Neill Rd., The 500 Salad, $17
Chef eyes the salad, rattling off the ingredients: chicken, quinoa, almonds.… “I’m seeing things we have in our salad, like the raisins and cauliflower,” he says. “There’s a lot of good texture going on — it’s nice to get bitefuls of different things.”

Classic Italian
PAESE, 3827 Bathurst St., Arugula Salad, $13
“The oven-dried tomatoes with the portobello mushroom and the Parmesan is a classic pairing,” chef says. He enjoys the fresh arugula and the side of focaccia but would improve the salad with a balsamic — as opposed to the red wine — dressing.

Seed-isfaction
LIVE, 264 Dupont St., Big Bowl, $12
“How does one eat this?” chef queries. Besides finding it a touch tricky to eat (the hummus in particular), van Gameren enjoys this pick — especially the sprouts and seed components.

Tasty Cobb
HOTEL GELATO, 532 Eglinton Ave. W., Cobb, $16
“I love Cobb salads,” van Gameren notes. The tarragon dressing impresses: “I really like that kind of green, herbaceous quality of the tarragon. A+ for originality.”

Heathy twist
FRESH, 90 Eglinton Ave. E., All Star, $13
Chef dives in. “I’m really digging the salad,” he says. “There’s a lot of texture — I feel healthy just eating it.” Noting that he’s never had a goji berry in a salad before, chef says it would be great if the sweet potato were worked into the salad, rather than sat to the side. This pick was a close second.

Sweet surprise
DELICA, 1440 Yonge St., Asian Chicken, $9.50
“It’s hard not to like the combination of ginger and sesame,” chef notes. The pumpkin seeds wow further, adding a nice texture and nuttiness to the dish. “Not all salads work with sweeter dressings, but this one does.”

Primo pork
TERRA, 8199 Yonge St., Crispy Porchetta, $17.95
Van Gameren enjoys the generous size of the porchetta hunks, noting that they’re moist to boot. However, he finds the pink peppercorn dressing too strong, suggesting a mustard-based one instead.

Charismatic kale
TRATTORIA NERVOSA, 75 Yorkville Ave., Kale Salad, $13.99
“I love kale,” chef says. “If it’s a trend, then keep it going!” He likes that they’ve used the dinosaur variety and points out the generous serving of pricey pine nuts.

Article exclusive to TRNTO