Restaurant Review: Rawlicious (Spoiler: It’s AMAZING)September 21, 2011
Welp, looks like I’ve got a new favorite Toronto restaurant.
This is really embarrassing to admit, actually. I’ve lived in this city for over two years now, and only last week did I finally make it out to Rawlicious, Toronto’s only 100% raw vegan resto. They have a few different locations scattered around the GTA; I visited their Yorkville spot for lunch, along with three of my friends. And boy howdy, was I blown away. Rawlicious is not only serving up the best raw food in the city, I dare say that they’re serving up the best vegan food as well, and maybe even just the city’s best food full stop (though of course, I have nothing to base this last comparison on). But don’t just take my word for it: rather, marvel at all the wonderful food I got to try…
First up, the Rawlicious fall lasagna, one of the items on their special seasonal menu. Though this plate did not have any of the melty-cheesiness or warmth of a traditional lasagna, the flavors were right on, making it totally irresistible. Its taste was largely propelled by the smart and liberal use of tomatoes, which are at their tastiest right now. Add a tasteful amount of nut cheese and some other vegetables, and you’ve got yourself one astounding dish!
Next up we have the raw ravioli, which at Rawlicious means sliced beets with cashew ricotta stuffed in between. I had no idea what to expect from just seeing this dish’s name, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to see this when it came out from the kitchen. Yet whatever initial scepticism I may have had was quickly put to rest by my first taste of this delectable plate. Of course, I’m a sucker for beets, so maybe this was an easy sell for me. But the cashew ricotta was perfect, too, which I know from first-hand experience is not the easiest thing to pull off. Superb job, Rawlicious!
This is the raw pizza, and it was definitely the star of the meal for me. Piled high with wonderfully seasoned veggies, covered with a flavorful tomato sauce, and sprinkled with a little nut cheese, this pizza slice gets high marks for both flavor and texture. The best part for me, though, was the crust, which Rawlicious totally nailed. I’d never tasted a raw crust that was so thick, soft, and chewy before! I don’t know how they did it (though from what little I know about dehydrator breads, I suspect that juice pulp was somehow involved), but I don’t really care: this pizza is too good to mull over; all you want to do is eat it.
Finally, we have the dish I ordered: the raw pad thai. Now this may be an instance of the grass always being greener, but I have to say that this was my least favorite dish of our lunch. It was still good, but I would’ve liked it more if the peanut sauce had stood out better, and if there were more kelp noodles mixed in, rather than the preponderance of spiralized zucchini you see here. Nonetheless, I happily ate this whole bowl up.
Of course, Rawlicious has a lot more on their menu than these four dishes, and a lot of it sure looked enticing. Plus, they have plenty of raw desserts options as well, which I can only guess are fantastic. The atmosphere is also very nice (if a tad small), and for a raw vegan restaurant, it’s surprisingly affordable, with lunch mains ranging between $10 and $14. Yet probably the best thing for me about eating at Rawlicious was seeing how much my friends loved it—friends, mind you, none of whom are vegan, and only one of whom is vegetarian. It’s not typically easy for vegan restaurants to win over the non-vegan crowd, but Rawlicious makes it looks effortless, and in my book, that’s the best sort of activism there is. So what are you waiting for? Go to Rawlicious now. And when you do, invite me along, because I already want to go back.
Until we eat again,