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Live Food Bar – Restaurant Review

May 17, 2010

You’ve already heard my spiel on the nutritional benefits of the raw, vegan and organic  diet, so I’m just going to jump into what we all really care about.  The restaurant review for the Live Organic Food Bar.   

Keith and I ran into each other in the parking garage one night after work, both feeling tired and famished.  A bad combination when your intention was to hit the gym.  Our bodies were begging us for nourishment.   We knew the workout would take the back seat this time and we would succumb to our hunger, grabbing food somewhere.   The compromise – we needed to choose something  healthy.  This sounded like the perfect opportunity to try the Live Organic Food Bar, a raw vegan restaurant who offers “an array of gourmet, gluten and sugar free, vegan dishes to invigorate and cleanse your body, mind, and soul”.    Those are their words, not mine.  So we put them to the test and made our way to Dupont St (you can’t possibly feel guilty eating at a place called “Live”).

The Location:  264 Dupont st. in Toronto (North East corner of Dupont & Spadina)

The Menu:   It was very similar to Raw Aura in some respect.  Kale salad and “sushi” made with sunflower pate were a few of the familiar items, but there was no shortage of menu options.   The menu offered an average of 5 items under each category: Appetizers, Salads, Rice Bowls, Sandwiches, Burgers and of course, Shakes and Desserts.  Click here to view it all.    I was so engrossed in the menu and deciding what to order,  that I didn’t realize the menu caught on fire!   Apparently plastic and candlelight don’t mix.  Hee, hee…oops!

Menu on fire 

Our Order:   

  • Green Giant ($12) – I made my decision to go ultra healthy with a bowl of steamed greens topped with hemp oil, dulse, sprouted mung beans, sunflower seed sprouts.  I paid a few extra dollars to add some tempeh and extra protein to the dish, and boy am I glad I did.  I expected to see a visible portion of dulse (seaweed) but had to squint really hard to find the ‘dulse flakes’ that were merely sprinkled on the bowl of veggies.   The dish was what I was looking for…a guilt-free bowl of goodness but I still disappointed.  Why?   I was suffering from food envy.   Keith had ordered the better meal and I wanted it. 

Green Giant with Tempeh

  • Sunshine Wrap ($10) –   This was Keith’s order, and the result of my food envy.   The wrap, made from sprouted flax seeds, sun-dried tomatoes and carrots was the perfect balance in terms of texture.  Delicate enough to cradle the abundance of veggies (sunflower seed hummus, cucumbers, kale, tomatoes, red onions, avocado and sprouts), hearty enough to keep the contents together and give the wrap some substance.   Keith and I did our usual taste exchange (he tries my meal, and I try his) which was a big mistake.   His was better than mine and I wanted it.    Hence my food envy.  He must have been sick of my pouting , because halfway through our meal he offered to switch plates and let me enjoy the rest of his wrap.   Now that’s love.  I was thrilled but tried not to make it obvious, quietly savouring every bite.   So long food envy!

Sunshine Wrap

 

  • Raspberry cheesecake ($10 – I think) –  We debated for 15 minutes whether to go for dessert.  Afterall, we bailed on working out and should have ‘punished’ ourselves accordingly.   BUT (yes there’s always a but when it comes to dessert), Live’s desserts are all homemade without any flours or refined sugars.  The excuse – we HAD to compare their cheesecake to the AMAZING version we had at Raw Aura.    The verdict – It was good.  But not as good as our first non-cheesecake experience.   The serving was about 1/3 the size which hurt the rating as well.

Raspberry Non-Cheesecake

The Damage: 

  • $47 with tax.   This included a chocolate shake ($8) that we forgot to take a photo of.  For those of you suffering from sticker shock, I realize you’re thinking this is expensive for a meatless meal.   However we have to remember that 90% of the food here is local and organic and good food costs more.   What we should really worry about is the indirect cost (on our health) for eating that $2 burger.  Sorry for being Debbie Downer there for a moment. 

The Damage (aka the bill)

 You should go if

  • You decide to skip your workout and want a guilt-free meal.
  • You’re patient.   This hidden gem is no longer ‘hidden’.  It’s a tiny space and there’s clearly a lot of pent-up demand for local, organic, raw dining with only a few options in the city.  So you may be waiting 15 minutes or more for a table.
  • You’re a regular at Fresh by Juice for Life and thought they offered the only vegetarian and vegan dining in Toronto.   Live Food Bar is a worthy alternative. 
  • You’re having a tough time getting your 7 servings of vegetables every day.  Have one meal here and you’ll be well on your way.

 

Live Organic Food Bar on Urbanspoon

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