Basil Box is a great spot for a vegan alternative to fast food while in the city. With a few locations all over the city, specificially one located only a block away from Toronto’s Eaton Centre and Yonge and Dundas intersection, you won’t need to wander far from shopping and sightseeing for a delicious and easy meal. And at barely $20 for your box, a side, dessert, and one of their house-made refreshers (more than I could eat in one sitting!), your wallet will thank you!
The boxes sell for $9.45 a piece, set up any way you like (base, veggies, protein, sauce, and toppings). I opted for the rice noodles with roasted edamame, charred sweet potatoes, and coconut curry tofu, then mixed the peanut sauce with the Penang curry for a spicy finish. The box was delicious and full of flavor, and the portion size was almost large enough to share when you get the noodles. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, get the mixed greens base instead for a build-your-own-salad option. There are only 4 veggie options to choose from (lemongrass corn, roasted edamame, charred sweet potato, and sautéed peppers) but you can’t really go wrong with any of them. The flavors pair together nicely and they are cooked to perfection without being fried. Unsurprisingly, tofu is the only vegan protein, alongside lemongrass chicken, chili lime shrimp, and five spice steak. The coconut curry flavor on the tofu is subtle enough that even if coconut is not usually your jam, you’ll still enjoy the tofu and won’t be desperate for another option. The sauces really add the final touch to the boxes with sweet, spicy, tangy, and peanut flavors. On recommendation from one of the girls working, I mixed the curry and peanut sauces and never looked back. My friend went for the sweet chili lime—it’s not very spicy (so fear not!) but has a nice kick to it.
Onto the sides, I tried the summer rolls with peanut sauce which are ready made and right next to the cash if you’re in a rush. The veggie rolls in a rice wrap are fairly standard but paired with their classic peanut sauce are not wanting for flavor. For dessert, I chose the sweet mango rice parfait which hit the spot and was just the right amount of sweet.
Now they really got things right with their house-made sodas! Your options are the pineapple rose, mango ginger ale, and passion fruit lychee as well as their authentic Thai iced tea. Not too sweet and full of flavor, they’re refreshing and the perfect compliment to your meal.
Located directly on Yonge street and on the Ryerson University campus, this Basil Box location is sitting in the heart of the city. The restaurant is wide open with more than enough large cement slab tables. The Yonge street wall has floor to ceiling windows to let in some natural sunlight and makes for a perfect spot to people watch.
Basil Box is set up to order at the counter so there is no actual table service. The staff is extremely friendly and offered recommendations on what to order. With no line when we arrived we didn’t have to wait (but it was between lunch and dinner and likely won’t speak for main meal times).
Written by TVJ contributor Sasha Langdon