The cool thing that makes Sadie’s Diner unique is that it does American style diner food for vegetarians and vegans.
Believe it or not, sometimes we do want food that isn’t health conscious and raw. Sometimes, we look with envy at those diners, or what we call “greasy spoons” in Australian and Britain. And Sadie’s fills that niche.
Inside, we’re treated to the genuine diner décor experience. We could be on the set for Grease, except for the pop-punk blaring out of the stereo. By the third NoFX track, I can garner that one of the staff is a NoFX fan. Good thing I am too!
When faced with a whole menu when you usually have one option that you can modify, choosing a meal can be a daunting task.
So we make that easier. After asking our lovely red-headed waitress about what her favourite dishes are, we choose four and share: deep fried vegan golden chicken nuggets, quesadilla (with daiya cheese), the vegan BLT with fries, and the BBQ plate.
Everything is satisfyingly “greasy spoon” for my liking.
The deep-fried nuggets are crispy and lack the usual visible oil with deep-fried servings. The crunch is nice and I suspect that they’re made out of some sort of soy textured protein, but don’t taste so much like chicken that I can’t stomach it.
Our mains arrive, and there is a little confusion surrounding the queasadilla. When our waitress pops over to ask how our meals are going, we ask her. She notes that she did put the order for vegan cheese in, but she’s also concerned the cheese looks a little too “real”. She has another vegan version cooked up for us.
And when we do try it, they’re worth the discussion. The mix of red peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms is nice and crunchy and goes well with the vegan cheese.
We settle back into our meal. The BBQ plate is stacked high and looks impressive: char-grilled eggplant, corn on the cob, peppers (or capsicum as we say in the Southern Hemisphere), with what looks like three chicken drumsticks.
These arouse our curiosity – what are they meant to be? And what do they taste like? The texture is similar to chicken, but again, not so much so that it’s confusing. The marinade is nicely sticky and rich, and has a sweet and sour flavour, with a hint of aniseed.
My vegan BLT is densely packed with lettuce, tomato, and faux bacon, and comes on rye bread with vegan mayo.
I like my sandwiches like this – spilling out the sides. And it comes with lots of fries, which always pleases me.
And even though we’re both entirely stuffed, we decide to share a dessert. It’s not every day either of us even have dessert as an option when we’re eating out!
We pick the strawberry and rhubarb on our waitresses recommendation. She tells us the other desserts are from Sweets of the Earth, and given I frequently pick their muffins, cakes, and cookie batters up from Longos and Noah’s, it’s nice to try something different.
Despite how stuffed we are, I think the dessert is my favourite part of the meal. How can this be dairy free and taste so bloody delicious? And it comes with delicious coconut ice cream – one of my favourite things!
We almost have to roll ourselves out of Sadie’s Diner and up the street. But it’s nice walking away from a place having been spoilt for choice and having a proper four course meal – not something vegans are used to enjoying.
Location: 504 Adelaide Street West Toronto, ON M5V 1T5
Getting there: It’s about a 20 minute walk from the Eaton Centre (Yonge Station) or Union Station. Or you can catch the TTC to University and walk up Queen Street West. If you drive, there is actually free parking at the diner’s premises.