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The black-bean burger will highlight new restaurant Rosalinda’s vegan take on Mexican cuisine.

Alexa Fernando

With their newest project, Rosalinda, Toronto restaurateurs Max Rimaldi, Jamie Cook and Grant van Gameren are betting Toronto’s Financial District diners are ready for a taste of vegan Mexican. Aiming for an April opening, the 136-seat restaurant will feature a greenhouse canopy over the dining room and a menu of tacos, tostadas and salads along with low-alcohol cocktails suited for daytime tippling.

Teaming up with van Gameren, the chef behind Bar Isabel and Bar Raval, consulting chefs Kate Chomyshyn and Julio Guajardo of Quetzal, Rimaldi and Cook are aiming to provide a dining experience that will please vegans and meat-eaters alike. “The Toronto dining scene has evolved so much since we first started talking about this concept,” says Cook.

As a burger fanatic, Cook is most excited about Rosalinda’s “out-of-this-world” black-bean burger that will be topped with vegan mozzarella, mole, chipotle, and slices of smoked eggplant reminiscent of bacon. Other dishes on the menu will include jackfruit pibil, Tijuana-style broccoli, spicy carrots in mole, and Japanese eggplant marinated in salsa macha.

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Van Gameren, a self-professed carnivore, says he was initially reluctant to join the project, but a few early menu tastings changed his mind. The restaurant has provided an inspiring opportunity to play with Baja flavours and textures. “Mexican cuisine before the Spaniard invasion was mostly plant-based... masa, beans, naturally higher protein stuff. The climate allows for beautiful produce,” says Cook. “It’s a natural fit for me, because it’s not trying too hard and looking a bit further back into history.”

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