Cruda Café: St. Lawrence Market

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Deep inside the hustle and bustle of the St. Lawrence Market lies a tiny little café. It is by no means fancy nor is it boastful. It is just a simple little unit tucked away in the lower level of Toronto’s bustling food market. Welcome to Cruda Café.

The seasonings in the dishes are unmatched in any other raw restaurant I’ve been to in Toronto – everything is infused with such a magnificent depth of flavours. Cruda Café has a menu filled with juices and smoothies, green wraps, salads, tacos, entrées such as  cashew quiche, gypsy and mesquite sandwiches, a mushroom nut burger, and gnocchi, and an ever-changing assortment of rich desserts. My favourite thing to order on the menu is the Sweet Potato Mesquite sandwich – it is the most satisfying quantity of food for a reasonable price (about $11).

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Every time I have gone to Cruda Café, I’ve ordered my way through the wraps and sandwiches – and each time I felt fully satisfied with my meal. However, the last time Julia and I went for lunch, I wanted to try something a bit different so I ordered the raw tacos. They were priced about the same as the sweet potato sandwich but were about half as filling. Although the tacos were delicious, I felt disappointed with my meal because I left the market still hungry. I spent about the same amount of money as I have on other occasions but I didn’t feel satisfied by those tacos and had to seek out a juice bar just to feel like my meal was complete. I have been wanting to try some of the other entrées (the quiche, particularly), but when I asked to see the size of the crust, it was slightly bigger than the size of my palm – I’m thinking it is not worth the $10 price tag.

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Overall, the flavours at Cruda are amazing. I love going to Cruda when I’m in the mood for something raw and delicious and fresh, but I am hesitant to be too adventurous with my order because the portions can be small in some cases. Despite the discrepancy in portions, it still remains my favourite raw restaurant in the city.

Cruda Café is open during the St. Lawrence Market’s regular hours (Sunday and Monday: Closed, Tuesday-Thursday: 9:00a-5:30pm, Friday: 9a-6:00pm, Saturday: 7a-5:00pm). Due to the nature of the hours, Cruda isn’t a good place to go if you are looking for somewhere to dine, but you can go during the day and save your delicious meal for later.

Note: Not only is Cruda a restaurant, but it also provides raw non-cooking classes, cleanse programs, and raw-challenge meal plans delivered to your door. Visit their website for more information on the services they offer.

Scores:

SERVICE – 5 [The staff is always friendly and provides sauces on the side free of charge. Some days, the staff puts out raw tortilla chips and dips for guests to snack on while they wait.]
PRICE – 3 [The prices can be a little expensive depending on what you order.]
ATMOSPHERE – 4 [It can be tough to find somewhere to sit because Cruda is part of a small food court. However, we have always managed to find a seat and had happy conversations with our table-mates.]
FOOD – 5 [The food is so flavourful and prepared fresh in front of your eyes.]

Juliana gives Cruda Café 4 beets out of 5.

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