By Diana Condolo
Live Organic Food Bar is one of my favourite restaurants in Toronto! The food is absolutely delicious featuring creative gourmet dishes. Rarely do you ever find organic and vegan food that is prepared this well.
The restaurant serves a wide variety of smoothies, juices, cocktails, martinis, organic wine (yeah!) and beer. I couldn’t decide what to order so the server recommended the Green Electricity based on my preference to have something healthful and yummy. The refreshing drink made from kale, apple, grapefruit juice, cilantro, ginger and lemon looked so pretty topped with fruit slices and edible flowers.
I looked at my drink and thought that there must be an online psychology test somewhere which classified your personality based on your system of drinking – do you eat the flower first or last…or do you eat it at all? I ate the fruit slices and flowers last. My rational is that I want to keep the prettiness for as long as possible.
We decided to go for the full raw experience by having only the raw menu items. Menu items are broken down as cooked (c) and raw (r). I have always been impressed by their selection and quality of the meal so I knew any choice would be top notch.
The Mediterranean plate with tasty, fresh vegetables along with the creamy pâtés and handmade flatbreads is such a delectable starter. If I ordered this by myself, it would have been enough for a light dinner with dessert. This dish is perfect for sharing.
For the entrée, I chose the raw combo, a sampling of four main dishes, which is a foodie’s delight! Whether you are trying it for the first time so you want to sample as many choices as possible or you simply like your meal to have lots of variety – this is the plate to order.
This is the freshest-tasting manicotti I ever tasted! It is wonderfully rich but not at all heavy. Succulent Botija olives are rich in heart-healthy nutrients and absolutely delicious. The zucchini noodles are filled with creamy cashew spinach ricotta.
I love the walnut sweet potato crust of the pizza – the sweet chewiness of the crust is so satisfying and complements the tangy toppings so well. I could just chew on the crust alone and be very happy! Does anyone say that about regular pizza crust? I found out how many people are crazy about the pizza when I brought it to a potluck and they asked me to go to Live to get more.
I wowed over the tostadas – a great blend of textures and flavour.
The portobello dish, just like the rest of the menu, is so infused with flavor and nutrition. Wondering what Chimichurri is? So was I. It is a spicy, vinegar-spiked, pesto-like condiment of Argentina origins. It has oil, vinegar, parsley, garlic, and other herbs, spices, and vegetables. Its bright flavours reflect the combination of Spanish and Italian cultural influences in Argentina. Beautiful.
Next up is dessert!
Stroll up to the dessert counter to see which sweet tempts you most. If you are like me, you’ll want to sample a few at a time. Perhaps they will offer a dessert sample platter soon?! Live has so many amazing desserts so it’s important to leave room for a treat. This insanely gorgeous display is droolworthy. Please excuse the poor photo – hopefully I was not the one fogging up the glass!
The Black Forest Cake is not exactly like the classic, but is delectable in its own right. Bite into and taste the layers consisting of a sweet fruit topping, creamy cocoa, a bit of nuttiness and hints of coconut flakes in the crust.
The back patio is a lovely retreat from the world and seats 35 people – this is the place I would have my birthday party if I were a summer baby.
The friendly staff are always happy to explain how items are prepared or share their knowledge. They are attentive to the customers’ needs and will be happy to chat with you if you feel inclined. There is a nice energy about the place.
I wouldn’t normally go into detail about getting to the restaurant, but this is worth going into. I used Google maps to plot my trek to the restaurant keying in my starting coordinates from the north east side of Toronto. Google maps returned several options including taking the Yonge line all the way down the Union Station loop up to Dupont Station. No where did it suggest I get off at Rosedale and just walk to the restaurant. The subway loop between Rosedale and Dupont and the walk route were pretty much the same length of time so I opted the walk route and I was so glad I did!
Walking from Rosedale subway station is only a 20 minute walk through Ramsden Park, along Pears Avenue, Bedford Road and Designers Walk Lane. Designers Walk Lane, officially named in 2013, is a back route to a commercial centre that is home to more than 25 of the city’s most prominent design showrooms. So if you are coming from the east side, take this charming little urban exploration trek; you enjoy a little bit of exercise before you dine at Live Organics. It is also a lovely 12 minute walk from Spadina station. The restaurant is in a very walkable and bikeable location, as well as just steps from the Dupont subway station.
Some people may flinch at the prices, but their prices seem reasonable with the high price of quality organic foods. Your body will thank you for treating it so well. You deserve the best.
What is raw?
Raw food advocates believe that food is best eaten in its natural unprepared state, with all the essential nutrients and enzymes intact. A raw-food diet typically consists of a wide range of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as fermented foods. While foods are not cooked, they may be dehydrated using heat up to 46 C (117F). The dehydration process helps preserve food and also adds textural variety. The variety of choices goes well beyond salads to keep the palate and tummy very happy.
According to their website, Live offers gourmet, gluten and sugar free, vegan dishes to invigorate and cleanse your body, mind and soul. The focus is on local ingredients from farmers who practice sustainable organic food production. Those are all great things. With such a selection of scrumptious foods that leave me feeling completely satisfied but still light, this is a place to visit often.
Items are also available for take out or can be delivered via OrderIt.
Also visit Live Market for healthy lunches and gourmet coffee in Liberty Village, 134 Atlantic Avenue.