This month, we’re back in Toronto again with Revitasize; specifically, the chain’s location in the Bay Adelaide Centre, in the PATH. This location is only a few steps away from Saks Fifth Avenue’s basement floor, which, for the uninitiated, is the gateway to the Eaton Centre.
For those unfamiliar with Toronto, allow me to explain why this location is extremely convenient for gluten-free folk. The PATH is an inside walkway that allows visitors to travel through a good chunk of downtown Toronto without having to step outside. The PATH also connects with some TTC stations (for example, Queen and Dundas) and Union Station. For those unfamiliar with Toronto, Union Station houses VIA rail trains, GO trains, GO buses, TTC streetcar and subway connections, along with the UP Express, which transports customers to Pearson Airport.
I can’t speak for Revitasize’s other locations, but this one is 100% gluten-free and at least 90% percent vegan. Oh, and did I mention it’s 100% guilt-free?
Yep, you heard that right, there’s a completely gluten-free place where refined sugars don’t exist, and where smoothies, salads, wraps and bowls are packed with real fruits and vegetables. (This is a big plus for me because the majority of gluten-free establishments don’t try to help their customers get the needed 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables).
The store offers bottled juices and shots for cleanses, along with pre-packaged noodle bowls, salads, pucks and snacks. If you want something different, go to the front counter a grab a smoothie, a smoothie bowl or build your own parfait. For a smoothie, I recommend the chaga smoothie with strawberries and cinnamon. It tastes just like strawberry pie! For a smoothie bowl, I recommend the strawberry and peanut butter feature (it’s super sweet and perfect for a light meal at the end of the day).
The store also offers a few hot beverages. While it’s not on the menu, you can order a mocha and they’ll give you extra sweetener if you need it. One thing that makes this place stand out, is the fact that the hot beverages are all made with cashew milk (which is a nice change, given that the majority of gluten-free cafés stick to almond or coconut milk).
Recently, I tried the maca power smoothie which is made with cocoa, cinnamon, dates, banana and peanut butter or almond butter (your choice!). If this still doesn’t satisfy your need for caffeine, you can add espresso to it. (I did, and I enjoyed every single creamy jolt of my drink.) Warning: if you’re used to consuming a lot of sugar, most of the food here will taste a little bland to you, since they use very little sweetener. Additionally, if you want more vegetable matter in your smoothie, the staff are happy to add in kale, if desired. On top of that, you can add in some vegan protein, if you’re on the run and need a quick lunch.
However, if smoothies and smoothie bowls aren’t your thing, pick up Revitasize’s meaty vegetable wraps, located in the refrigerator in front of the counter. They come in packs of three and are stuffed with sweet potato, pomegranate, lentils and quinoa which are then wrapped in rice paper. The rolls are surrounded by lettuce leaves and come with a complimentary dressing. Not only will they fill you up, but you will probably be unable to finish a pack by yourself; (I usually wind up eating one and half of them).
The staff are friendly and helpful with clients who are unsure about what juice or menu item to order. They’re a very health-conscious bunch and they’ll help you meet your nutritional goals.
Another fun feature is the earthy décor. Where else can you eat lunch next to a cactai arrangement in a glass case? (A move which demonstrates not only natural class but that these folks mean eco-friendly business).
If you’re thinking of picking up lunch or a snack here, place the order ahead of time. The day you want to go, phone the store in the morning and they’ll make sure what you want gets put to the side. Trust me, you don’t want to wait, because most of the stock is gone by the end of the lunch rush.
While I enjoy the convenience of visiting Revitasize, the prices are very steep. All the same, they do offer some budget-friendly options, like the small size of the Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl and all the hot beverages, the latter being under $6. Furthermore, I saw an advertisement for a “Happy hour discount on Thursdays”.
On another note, if you are planning to order some hot soup, you’ll receive a very small portion for $6. The better option is to get a large jar of soup and take it home with you. The only soup I’ve tried is the vegan queso chili and it’s amazing!
(P.S. Can you tell I like strawberries, coffee and chocolate?)