Agathe Mathieu wants everyone to give uncooked plant foods a chance.
According to the North Vancouver resident, switching to a raw vegan diet nine years ago has improved her health and helped her have a smaller environmental footprint.
On March 9, Mathieu opened Café by Tao (120-260 West Esplanade), a raw vegan restaurant in North Vancouver.
“To many, it looks so overwhelming, because it’s a new way of preparing food,” Mathieu told the Georgia Straight by phone from her Lower Lonsdale café. “But, actually, it is so much easier. I find it easier than when I was doing the cooked.”
Found in the courtyard of an office complex across the street from Waterfront Park, Café by Tao offers indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a menu that’s totally organic and wheat-free. It lies several blocks away from Buddha-Full Juice & Smoothies (101-106 West 1st Street), another vegan eatery in North Vancouver.
Aside from coffee, tea, and the cooked soup of the day, everything Café by Tao serves is raw. The restaurant isn’t fully vegan, because it offers customers the option of having cow’s milk with their coffee and tea.
Entrées range from $4 to $8, salads and soups go for $4 to $10, and juices and smoothies are priced at $6 or $7.
Mathieu noted the Rawkin’ Pizza and the Real Lasagna are customer favourites. The pizza features nut cheese, sweet chilli sauce, kale, carrots, cauliflower, and mushrooms on a sprouted buckwheat crust. Layers of zucchini noodles, marinara sauce, nut cheese, spinach, and mushrooms combine to make the lasagna.
The café’s menu also offers crêpes ($4 each or $9 for three) for breakfast and NorShore Please Cakes ($3.5) for dessert. There are seven kinds of sugar-free vegan cheesecake, including acai berry, double chocolate, and mesquite.
“Being raw cuisine, the accent is on being fresh and being healthy and being colourful,” Mathieu said.
Through her company Tao Organics, Mathieu provides raw food products, such as coconut orbs, to several stores in Metro Vancouver. In the future, she plans to offer raw food classes and seminars in another space in the office complex housing her café.
“Try it. See for yourself. It really is delicious,” she said of her food.
Café by Tao is open seven days a week, between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.