Awai’s mission is to serve utterly delicious plant-based foods, to demonstrate that plant-based cuisine can be as appealing, or even more, than any other. We’re proud to be doing our part to inspire a cultural shift towards more plant-based foods.

Why plant-based cuisine?

To be kinder to our planet – a shift away from animal products is the most effective action that most people in wealthier countries can do to reduce their carbon footprint. Studies show that we need to reduce meat consumption by 75% globally to avoid the worst of climate change.

To be kinder to animals – the standards for treatment of farm animals is shockingly cruel. Shifting towards plant-based foods prevents this needless harm.

To be kinder to our health – many studies show dramatic improvements in health when people eat mainly plant-based foods. People in “blue zones” (regions of the world where many people live much longer than average) eat about 95% plant-based food.

What does “awai” mean?

The word translates to “light, delicate, bringing out the best of ingredients,” from shojin ryori cuisine, originating from Japanese Buddhism.

Awai was the name of our first restaurant, which started as a pop-up, an experiment meant to last no more than one year. It actually ran for 2.5 years before the landlord decided on another use for the building. The restaurant critic from the Toronto Star called it the best plant-based restaurant in the city. Avelo is the evolution of these concepts, in a more refined form in our permanent location.