Favourites: My 5 favourite raw-vegan restaurants

Buckwheat coconut kefir

Great health starts with great food!

The raw-vegan food scene has become synonymous with inventiveness, creativity and a passion for delicious flavours, along with being enzyme-rich. Yes long gone are the days when being a vegan or vegetarian means sitting eating soymix and baked potatoes! I know, I was a teenage suburban vegetarian in the 1990’s! Contemporary approaches to plant-based diets are taste-driven, exciting and inspirational.

These days I am vegan, gluten-free and refined-sugar-free, and in seeking out plant-based food I have encountered passionate philosophy, pioneering environmental practices and a warmth and a depth to the stories behind each restaurants conception.

I’m all for food being a conscious, ethical, sustainable, nutritious, positive force in the world. I have selected restaurants which minimise negative environmental impact and prioritise organic, local, and seasonal food sources – as well as tasting great and making you feel nourished, buoyant, young and alive! Woo hoo! Please note that you don’t need to be vegan or vegetarian or anything else to sample and enjoy them!

The menu choices included below are also gluten-free and refined-sugar-free.

My five favourite raw-vegan restaurants:

1. Crudessence, Montreal, Canada


Raw salad and grilled tempeh in Crudessence, Rue St Viateur, Montreal

Five branches of raw-vegan heaven in Montreal, Quebec. Focus on raw, live high enzyme-rich dishes. The mango raspberry lassi is made with cashew milk and sweetened with agave and is both a drink and dessert in one! Everything in here is good!

Starter: tapas trio (sprouted almond hummus, creamy quinoa pâté and guacamole, with sprouted crackers)

Main: majestik wrap (rice paper, tempeh, avocado, carrot, beet, lettuce, nori, sprouts and sauerkraut)

Drink/dessert: mango raspberry lassi (almond and cashew yogurt, raspberries, mango, vanilla, agave)

Menu here

2. Plant, Asheville, North Carolina, USA


Menu interior, Plant, Asheville – note the “Massaged Kale” 

My friend Rachel first took me here in 2014 and have been back each time I am in town! Plant-based gourmet vegan restaurant, impressed every time! Their own vegan “cheese” (100% dairy-free) is also completely delicious!

Starter: fried plantain  (plantain, vegan sour cream, scall’antro, plant hot sauce, sea salt) + plant cheese (aged cashew, farmer’s involtini, rosemary amber and fruit, pickled vegetables, black garlic oil)

Main: applewood smoked porto’house (chard & garlic, seared polenta, fennel salad, grape, tomato) 

Menu here

3. Wild Food Cafe, London, UK

Daisy and I at Wild Food Cafe

Daisy and I at Wild food cafe, Neals yard, London

Raw-centric vegan/vegetarian restaurant passionate about wild, natural, delicious whole foods. Use local independent suppliers wherever possible. Beautiful presentation, daily specials. Amazing central London pick-me-up. Be sure to grab some in-store made stoneground nut butter, the pistachio nut is incredible!

Starter: hummus and raw-crackers (sprouted chickpea hummus, raw sundried tomato, sunflower seed and shallot crackers)

Main: karma kameleon curry (raw squash and coconut curry, wild rice, seasonal vegetables, red cabbage slaw)

Dessert: raw caramel slice (brazil nut and almond base, medjool dates) 

Menu here

4. Little Bird Organics, Auckland, NZ

Little bird organics auckland

Summer bowl, Little bird organics unbakery, Ponsonby, Auckland

Award-winning, raw vegan cafes. Gluten-free, refined sugar-free. Also offer classes (I attended a great one by Green Kitchen Stories) cleanses and food packs. See their wonderful un-cookbook the Unbakery too! Eliminate the geographical distance and connect with their amazing recipes and inspiring vision online.

Drink: banana nut milk (banana, vanilla, cashew nut milk, agave)

Main: spring bird bowl (tasting bowl of asparagus and kale pesto salad with sprouted wild rice, nicoise salad with maõri potatoes, beetroot, avocado, dehydrated kimchi and sprouts, millet, oat groats, brown rice, wild rice, white and red quinoa.)

Dessert: raw passionfruit cheesecake (passionfruit with almond base, no dairy, no soy, no-gluten, no refined-sugar)

Menu here

5. Chocolatree, Sedona, Arizona, USA

Buckwheat coconut kefir

Kefir Parfait: sprouted pumpkin seed, buckwheat & almond in homemade coconut kefir, fruit, Chocolatree, Sedona

100% organic/wildcrafted produce. 95% is seasonal and local. Strong environmental responsibility and awareness. Delicious. Wholesome. Best smoothie ever! They also have selections of positive affirmation/tarot cards on the tables which help connect you to the Sedona vibe!

Drink: chocolate and maca milk smoothie (almond milk married with honey, maca & chia seeds blended)

Main: avocado herb sandwich (famous live onion flat bread with creamy herb pate, avocado, red onion, clover
sprouts & seasonal greens)

Dessert: banana bread and almond butter (home-baked banana bread served with stone ground heirloom almond butter)

Menu here

All photographs by Rhona Clews