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Restaurants

Feel Good Guru

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Reviewed on October 5, 2012 / review policy

feel good guru torontoFeel Good Guru has been a quiet fixture in my neighbourhood, across from Trinity Bellwoods Park, for the past several months. I've even walked in--on an occasion where I was slit-eyed with distrust at their colourful array of fresh raw and vegan foods. Yes, raw dishes impart every iota of their ingredients' nutritional value, but I was one of those kids liable to throw a tantrum if pressed to eat my vegetables.

feel good guru torontoFeel Good Guru is the brainchild of Moira Nordholt, a wonderwoman-type who, aside from being a self-taught vegan chef, has studied yoga in India, massage in Thailand, and written books and articles on plant-based diet (we are not worthy, etc.) She's also helped by Anushka Garnier, a nutrionist whose passion for their product is infectious. "It's important to us that we be both nutritious and delicious," Garnier tells me, and as she describes the various benefits of their dishes-heightened energy, improved digestion, generally feeling like a unicorn--I'm actually excited.

feel good guru torontoI went in with an open mind, and came out, if not as a convert, than at least with my interest piqued. There is much talk of "live" food, which brings up memories of sped up plant growth videos from science class, and the wall of sprouts by the entrance--which you're encouraged to feel, smell, taste, and garnish your meal with--feels a bit alien.

feel good guru torontoIt's indicative of their mandate for freshness and local foods that, during an unplanned evening visit to the small, three-seater restaurant, a farmer drops off crates of heirloom tomatoes and kale from the nearby Trinity Bellwoods Farmers' Market. Their indoor urban cultivator is blindingly verdant and contains sunflower sprouts, spicy lentils, and wheatgrass (among other greens).

feel good guru torontoFor those who like to grab and go, Feel Good Guru offers a juice bar, including their wheatgrass happy hour. A bit pricy at $5, you get the benefit of knowing it was grown and pressed on-site--it travels a mere 8 feet. We try the energizer ($8), which blends together carrot, apple, and ginger for a well-balanced mix of zest and sweetness.

feel good guru torontoTo begin, we opt for the "wild inspiraled" ($14) and the "cosmic quinoa" ($12). You can either get the noodles and salads separately, or mix and match within the same size container for an even $14.

feel good guru torontoThe "wild inspiraled" features yam spaghetti (spaghetti made out of, not flavoured with, yams, and it's incredible) in a sundried tomato pesto with broccoli, black olives, cherry tomatoes, and a convincing Parmesan look-alike made of walnuts. The quinoa salad mixes cucumber, sprouted chickpeas, tomatoes, spices and an olive oil and lemon dressing for a combination that tastes remarkably garden-fresh, although the uncooked chickpeas give me pause.

feel good guru torontoThe "Earth burger" ($15) is, to put it mildly, not our favourite. The patty is composed of sprouted buckweat and quinoa, hempseed, as well as chia, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and considering its contents, is dense and quite satisfying. It comes sandwiched in a "live" yam bun and garnished with tahini garlic sauce, house-made mustard, cucumber, tomato, pickle and cashew cream cheese, but is, for reasons I don't understand, sweet. There's a fruity aftertaste, the sauce is laid on a bit too thick, and the patty has an almost chalky texture.

feel good guru torontoThe "feel good falafel" ($14) is a definite improvement. The falafel balls are made of sprouted chickpea and quinoa, the wrap is made of live yam and red pepper, and the toppings are fresh, plentiful, and most importantly, full of flavour. Cucumber, parsley, tomatoes, house-pickled veggie and local radishes add a lot of colour, crunch, and paired with the tahini garlic sauce, there's a lot of chest-warming spice and the right amount of tartness.

feel good guru torontoI really can't resist the "sexy raw carrot cake" (for many reasons, including its confident name). We brought our meal home, so by desert time, I had already resigned myself to more tastes of the earth. This one was a pleasant surprise. Yes, carrot is front-and-centre, and no, the vegetable itself hasn't been miraculously sweetened. But with the help of raisins, dates, spices, nuts and a gooey cashew, cream cheese and maple icing, it does a good impression of that oh-so-beloved cake.

I'm not Feel Good Guru's target market, and while I can appreciate the manifesto--including 100% compostable takeout ware and the 2-stage carbon filtration system for water--I remain skeptical.

feel good guru torontoPredictably, for a restaurant focusing so heavily on vegetables, the salads are the best part, and maybe it's because they're not trying to be something they're not. Both sandwiches certainly look like their non-vegan counterparts, but they taste overwhelmingly of garden--they're also far better for you, and that's the true payoff.

Discussion

22 Comments

ecn / September 9, 2012 at 11:07 am
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In my stupor, I failed to glance up at the pricing, thinking that it would be roughly $15 for a salad and juice. While there may be a cost to "hyper-local super-awesome organic plant-powered food" it wasn’t so tasty to warrant the actual $25 cost.
Ben / October 5, 2012 at 09:50 am
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Went the other day. Too expensive and not very rich in flavour. More like the bland flavour of hospital food.
Mikey / October 5, 2012 at 11:01 am
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Looks tasty, but too expensive.
Welshgrrl / October 5, 2012 at 11:35 am
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I think that's a big problem with a lot of the vegan/raw food that I have tried - healthy, good for you, but REALLY bland. The dishes these restaurants serve are not cheap, and it wouldn't kill them to add some spice!
Michelle / October 5, 2012 at 02:06 pm
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I wanted to eat there but didn't want so much food. They have nothing on the smaller side. And again, the cost is a big factor. Perhaps they could give the option for a smaller salad for less money.
mark / October 5, 2012 at 03:20 pm
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pay for good health now or pay for your bad health later.. it'll even out.
elisa / October 5, 2012 at 08:09 pm
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I loved the food when I went there last weekend (not bland at all), but it is pricey. It would have to be a special occasion for us to go there for lunch more often! I will certainly try to frequent it once a month, but I cant imagine that really helps their business!!
Schroeder / October 5, 2012 at 09:14 pm
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Def agree with Mark - pay now or later - either way you're paying. If you're not eating enough organic veggies now, you'll pay for it later.
Gabe / October 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm
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LOOKIN GOOD Y'ALL!!!!
vivien / October 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm
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The burrito or avocado+cheeze sandwich are worth trying too. Bangkok doc and kale salad are the best selling salads in the house. I think those items are more representative. Cheers!
A / October 7, 2012 at 04:30 pm
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Love the Kale Salad!
Lennie / November 16, 2012 at 09:04 pm
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After looking through the many comments, I must admit, I really liked what Mark had to say. It is a wise investment in your longterm health to eat healthy now. Plus, it has been my experience that once I began to incorporate raw foods into my diet on a regular basis my palate adjusted to it. Pretty soon I was able to pick up the rich natural flavours in raw food that I wasn't able to previously.
Thanks for the wise words Mark.
helen / December 16, 2012 at 04:12 am
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have been here.. thought the food was pretty good. best raw food place though is live up on dupont at spadina. for those saying they have never had non-bland raw food, give it a try. delicious and flavourful!
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Sandra / May 2, 2013 at 02:38 pm
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Joe / May 15, 2013 at 11:41 pm
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A shot of wheatgrass should never cost $5. I worked in a juice bar that grew its own and shots were $2. Also 8 bucks for a 14 oz juice? Insane. I'm all for investing in my health, I do if all the time. Paying $25 for lunch is just silly though, go buy your own food and learn to cook and get a juicer.

Food here is actually great and the staff are nice. But with these prices I won't be back.
Gloria / September 4, 2013 at 02:56 pm
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I've given them a try several times. The food is tasty but they've recently cut back on portions. The NoBull Burrito used to be fantastic and now you can barely find the fillings. The prices haven't changed so it's just to costly for what you actually get. $25 for lunch simply doesn't make sense. I'm hyper invested in eating well and a vegan, organic diet but the cost for what you get doesn't match.
Fletcher / November 22, 2013 at 01:49 am
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work and coverage! Keep up the wonderful works guys I've added you guys to my personal blogroll.
suzan / November 28, 2013 at 08:25 pm
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Oh my God inedible!
Where to begin... Seeking delicious vegan and raw desserts for a friend's birthday, I decided to try feel good guru. I had read reviews and was aware that most customers considered this location overpriced. However, seeing as it was for a special occasion I had no problem paying any price.
Went to the location with a friend and chose to purchase the raw cinnamon buns and few slices of the avocado pie. One thing we noticed right away....no price listed on the dessert.
Knowing it would be pricey my friend and I were still astounded when the woman announced our total !!!
WARNING EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE
Sadly the price was the least of our worries !
We celebrated our friends birthday and APOLOGIZED REPEATEDLY to her for the INEDIBLE desserts we spent a small fortune to purchase.
Between five woman (two are vegan,one raw diet, and two who are vegetarian)we could not even eat one piece of dessert !!
NOT EDIBLE !!!
The cinnamon bun was bitter and had an odd sour taste ...as for the avocado pie ....it was tasteless with a very strange texture.

Nothing about these desserts are 'Feel Good'
I would not recommend it to anyone with taste buds.
Alice / February 23, 2014 at 11:34 am
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I had their Rainbow Wrap. It tasted like grass and costed like $13 bucks with taxes. Blah.
Joy / March 16, 2014 at 02:57 pm
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Can the people that cover vegan and 'healthy' spots at least have some knowledge of clean eating? The "I'm-not-a-fan-but-maybe-I'll-be-converted" is an old play and doesn't give much insight to those of use that are looking for healthy, raw and vegan options.

If you're not knowledgeable about food movements and the variety in today's restaurants than don't write about food.

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