RAW FOOD RESTAURANT

Raw Food Restaurant, Ionie's Raw Food Cafe, is a Not-To-Be-Missed Destination in Sarasota, Florida

My favorite raw food restaurant is Ionie's Raw Food Cafe, in downtown sunny Sarasota, Florida. Within view of the sparkling waters of Sarasota Bay, and nestled in among the palm trees and lush foliage, Ionie's is in a darling restored historical building that is yellow with white trim. I fell in love with the place before I even went in! 

Ionie's
Front Door
Outdoor Patio

Ionie Bergs

Though she had no idea I came to visit her raw food restaurant to possibly write an article about it, Ionie herself met me at the front door with a playful and cheery Hello! Confessedly shy, but really a fun-loving, spunky, huge-hearted gal born in Jamaica (with a fabulous islander accent!), Ionie proceeded to show me to a darling corner table, where I awaited my friend Heidi who was joining me for lunch.


When Heidi arrived, we both oohed and ahhed over the delicious menu items - everything just sounded amazing, even to my non-raw foodist friend. Personally, I was especially thrilled because I knew I could order anything from the menu. Every single selection was totally raw, vegan, and made from organic or wild-crafted ingredients that fit perfectly within my 100% raw food diet menu. As a raw foodist, I usually make all my own food every day and rarely eat at restaurants, so this was a special treat for me!


Lasagna

I decided to go with the Lasagna, made from "layers of zucchini noodles, marinara, macadamia nut cheese, spinach and a basil/pistachio pesto." Not only was it a generous-sized portion, but to my surprise, it also came with a side salad drizzled in a creamy nut-based dressing. Every bite was outrageously delicious. I admit, I'm a bit of a raw food chef myself, but Ionie's recipes are seasoned to such spectacular perfection that I was beside myself with admiration for her culinary talent.


Thai Noodles

My friend Heidi ordered the Thai Noodles dish, piled high with "kelp noodles, veggie noodles of broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, red and white cabbage, and cilantro, in a creamy cashew ginger sauce." The menu says "Yum!" and Heidi and I both agreed! Neither one of us could believe this was raw food, and we were both just rolling our eyes in bliss with practically every bite. I mean it! It really was THAT good!


We luxuriated over our lunch, which also included drinks and desserts, for over two hours. And during that time, Ionie's was absolutely packed. Every table was filled, and when one group of patrons left, another group came in! From the food, to the decor, to the delightful personality of Ionie herself, the patrons of this raw food restaurant know a good thing when they find it!


Ionishi Rolls

We talked casually to a few of these other patrons, who were all a super friendly bunch of down-to-earth, happy, hip and healthy fellow raw foodists, and we checked out what they chose from the menu. The woman across from me ordered the Ionishi Rolls, with "carrot almond pate, julienned vegetables and avocado in a nori wrap with dipping sauce and wasabi." As you can see from the picture, it was as beautifully presented on a plate as it was delicious.


Buddha Bowl

Her friend ordered the Buddha Bowl, a local favorite "coconut soup of fresh ginger, green onion, jalapeno, dates and spinach, served over julienned carrots, bok choy, watermelon radish, daikon radish, basil, mint, cilantro, mango, avocado, cucumber and grapefruit." Not only was it made with a unique concoction of exotic ingredients, but it was so artfully prepared it could easily be featured on the cover of a raw food magazine!


Garden Wrap

A woman at another table raved about her delectable Garden Wrap, full of "pumpkin seed pate, marinated spinach, carrots and onion plus avocado, tomato and tomato pesto all wrapped in a juicy collard leaf." I will have to order that the next time I'm there! Her friend ordered the Pizza, which was made from a "sprouted buckwheat, carrot and flaxseed crust and topped with marinara sauce, macadamia nut cheese, and diced sweet red pepper."


Everyone in the raw food restaurant just raved about how delicious their meals were, and I honestly believe you couldn't go wrong with a single item they offer. A raw mommy even came in with her two kids and the little boy enjoyed the Rise and Shine Granola, with "fresh sprouted rice and buckwheat, oats, raisins, coconut flakes and nutmeg, served with creamy homemade almond milk." His sister had the Chopped Salad, with "chopped veggies plus apples and berries tossed with a brazil nut-ginger power dresing." Their mom was enjoying the True Blood, a quart full of deep red juice made from beets, apples, lime and ginger. She said it was quite spicy, and super delicious.


But I would be remiss if I didn't tell you how decadent the dessert was! Heidi and I split two desserts:  the Pecan Frosted Chocolate Brownie which was so chocolately rich that the two of us found it easy to split, and the Creme Divine, which is very aptly named.

Brownie

Seriously, I am not kidding, it was the smoothest, creamiest, most delicious creme brulee I have ever tasted in my life! Even the "caramel sauce" on top had me stumped. THIS is raw food? Ionie, how do you do it?


Creme Divine

As our meal came to a close, we also noticed that we could order any of the "to go" items in the refrigerated case for 10% off after our meal. The selections included lasagnas, noodles, jars of freshly made juice drinks and smoothies, sides of marinara sauce, pesto, macadamia nut cheese, and this "shrimp" pate that made my mouth water just looking at it, even though I was already full! And, of course, rows of desserts to take home and share with your loved ones (if they even make it home without being devoured!).

Lasagna To Go
Juices To Go
Pate To Go


Healing Center

All of this incredible food, made and served with love, already had me gushing with rave reviews.

But there is even more to love about Ionie's. Not only is it a hopping top-notch raw food restaurant to rival any in the country, but it is also an entire Body and Mind Retreat Healing Center. Ionie took a few moments to give us a personal tour of the entire place. 


Yoga Studio

On the first floor, there are multiple treatment rooms for Massage, Reflexology, Feldenkrais, Acupuncture, Rolfing and other professional healing practitioners. Upstairs on the second floor is the most gorgeous yoga studio I've ever seen: clean, spacious and bright, full of natural light from the many windows and the high vaulted ceiling. Heidi and I can hardly wait to take a Kundalini Yoga class there someday soon. Just being in this delightful space was a vibration-raising experience!


So I've got to say, if your vacation destination includes Florida, and you're looking for an incredible raw food restaurant, you simply must visit Ionie's Healing Center and Raw Food Cafe, located at 1241 Fruitville Road in Sarasota.

You can also learn more about this delightful locale and the fascinating woman behind its creation at www.Ionie.com, or call (941) 955-4599.


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When you decide to go raw, consider journaling your experience. Changing your diet often brings up thoughts and emotions to explore and express. Journaling also gives you a place to keep track of new insights you learn along the way.


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Check out the page on Self-Evaluation. Going through these simple thought-provoking exercises can be profoundly revealing and very therapeutic. It can also be motivating, as you discover powerful reasons to change your life.