Over the past few years, the raw food diet has become huge among healthy eating proponents. However, all raw food followers know that sometimes it's not that easy to find a venue that serves a really good raw menu. Check out our short list of the best spots in Toronto where you can explore the richness of raw cuisine. Let us know what you think about these listings.
Located in the St. Lawrence Market, Crudacafe is a lovely raw vegan fast food take-out restaurant that can be a great final dining stop after your visit to the market. The restaurant is dedicated to using the best local products. Its mission?
Provide people from all walks of life nutritious concoctions that give energy and health.
The venue's owner, Claudia, learned about the power of healthy eating when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2003. She had a nine-year-old boy and simply refused to die. She successfully recovered thanks to a complete detoxification program, yoga therapy, and,
Fasting 6 litres a day of greens and transitioning to a plant-based diet.
This life-changing experience made her open a restaurant that serves pure and fresh food to everyone.
According to Claudia, Crudacafe's bestsellers are their raw vegan wraps and desserts. Wraps ($8.50 to $10.50) are made with flax seeds, vegetables and fruits, nori sheets, kale, collard, or lettuce leaves and customers can choose from four options — sun-dried tomato, enchilada, norita, or green wrap.
The dessert menu changes every day, so every visit is a bit of a surprise. However, many raw vegans with a sweet tooth sing the praises of the signature Nanaimo bar with cashew cream. One interesting thing about Crudacafe's menu is that they usually don't use tofu or soy milk, as neither is a "living" food. But there's no dogmatism here. For example, the restaurant offers scrambled tofu on Sunday mornings.
Besides the tasty food, Crudacafe also provides customers with raw food preparation classes and various events. The restaurant also has a special raw challenge program and juice-cleanse options. Future raw food chefs and experts can also apply for the Raw coach program and get trained under the supervision of skilled Crudacafe staff.
Location: St. Lawrence Market, 93 Front Street East, Toronto
Email: via form on their website
Hours of operation:
- Tuesday to Thursday: 9:00 AM–5:30 PM,
- Friday: 9:00 AM–6:00 PM
- Saturday: 7:00 AM–5:00 PM
- Sunday and Monday: Closed
Opened in April 2013, Superfood Eateries' mission is to merge the positives of the top gourmet chef-inspired food and a friendly takeout venue. As Amy De Wolfe, co-owner of the restaurant, says,
We didn't create superfood just to feed dedicated raw foodies. We made superfood to show the world that healthy food can be unbelievably delicious and to make it easy to incorporate all your servings of fruit and veggies into your diet each day, no matter what else you might enjoy.
Amy's discovery of raw food is also connected to health problems. Thanks to altering her diet, she managed to get rid of her headaches, plus she also qualified for her dream position as a chef and a partner in Superfood Eateries. Leaving her freelance illustrator and graphic designer job behind, Amy now follows her passion and comes up with new raw recipes that are both healthy and tasty.
The philosophy of this venue is simple — get ingredients as locally as possible and serve only top-quality organic living foods. To achieve this goal, they established a coop with Golden Orchard Fine Foods at St. Lawrence Market.
When asked what dish is customers' favourite choice, Amy replied,
Our customers' favourite meal is the tacos. They look as good as they taste, so people are generally attracted to them right away.
She further adds that staff's most loved item on the menu is pizza. The restaurant also offers a range of fresh juices, snacks, and desserts that you can just fetch from the fridge and serve yourself. Examples include nachos with a tasty cashew-based dip that are certainly worth a try. The prices might be a bit higher, but they stay within the usual range of similar restaurants, ranging approximately $11–$30.
The place has a cosy vibe and everybody you meet here is very knowledgable and friendly. It's a pity that the restaurant doesn't have more seating spaces and is mostly designed for takeout.
Toronto Veg Card holders save 15% off regular-price food and beverages here.
- Monday to Friday: 8:00 AM–7:00 PM
- Saturday: 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
- Sunday: 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
Live Food Bar offers a range of gourmet raw and vegan dishes that will satisfy even the pickiest foodies. The menu is quite short, so all ingredients are served fresh at all times. The restaurant boasts that 95 per cent of their menu is local and organic, as the idea behind the restaurant is to promote sustainable and healthy lifestyles. As their motto says,
We believe that the only way food should be processed is by the human body.
Some of the highlights of the menu include the restaurant's excellent raw tacos ($14), prepared with flax corn wraps, sunflower refried beans, guacamole, corn and tomato salsa, walnut taco "meat," and an optional cashew sour cream or nacho cheese sauce. You also can't go wrong with raw portobello steak ($15) made of mushrooms, massaged kale, horseradish celery root mash, chimichurri pesto, and lemon.
The restaurant itself has a warm, welcoming feel and is conveniently located near the University of Toronto, so it's often filled with hungry students. Besides the food, Live Food Bar also organizes customized cooking classes for 12 and more people, offers special cleansing programs, and sells a range of live organic raw products.
- Monday to Thursday: 11:30 AM–9:30 PM
- Friday: 11:30 AM–10:00 PM
- Saturday: 11:00 AM–3:00 PM (brunch menu), 4:00 PM–10:00 PM (regular menu)
- Sunday: 11:00 PM–3:00 PM (brunch menu), 4:00 PM–9:00 PM (regular menu)
You could say that Belmonte Raw started out of necessity. As Carol Belmonte says, a few years ago, there was no place in Toronto offering the bottled juices and raw food that her body craved so much while she was a yoga student. At first, she started delivering her creations on her bicycle around Toronto's downtown, and as demand grew, the Belmonte Raw takeaway restaurant was born.
You can easily understand Carol's passion from the way she talks about her culinary inspiration:
I find inspiration for my juice and food creations from the little things... the colour of the fruit and veggies that come through the kitchen, the glowing smiles of people who have done our Cleanses, the knowledge that we are transforming the food scene in our own way to make healthy tasty food more accessible to everyone, the creation of systems that make Belmonte Raw the best in the city. I find inspiration everywhere!
Belmonte Raw's bestseller is their delicious wilted kale and pesto, a hearty salad with kale, tomatoes, red onions, cashews, sprouted adzuki, mungo, and garbanzo beans, and more. Some of the other customer favourites are a unique sunflower pesto dressing and a selection of curry dishes. The menu generally changes every two days, so there's always something new to try.
When visiting Belmonte Raw, don't forget to try their delicious raw chocolate thimbles and enjoy the heavenly taste without feeling guilty about eating unhealthily. Most of the ingredients used in the recipes are locally grown by farmers around Ontario in order to ensure maximum freshness and quality. Prices are generally $11–$30.
- Monday–Friday: 7:30 AM–6:00 PM
- Saturday–Sunday: 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
Are there any other must-try raw restaurants you like? Let us know in the comments and we might add them to our list!