If you are lucky enough to live in a city where there is a good raw food restaurant, or maybe even more than one, you can have a great time going there. It is so enjoyable to try everything on the menu and try to work out exactly what is in it and how you could make it yourself at home.
However, most people do not have easy access to a raw food restaurant and even if you do, you will have to eat in a standard restaurant from time to time. Social occasions are always a challenge for people who are following a raw food diet but eating out can be great if you handle it right.
Raw Food Restaurant Tips
First, you need to be aware that most people are not able to tell you what is raw and what is not. It is not their fault, so there is no point getting angry. The question of what ‘raw’ means is not something they ever think about. Amazingly, a lot of people will expect you to eat ordinary bread. Until they think about it, they tend to assume that any food that is normally served cold is raw.
So if you are eating in a restaurant, do not ask the staff, “Is the salad dressing raw?” They will say yes, of course, because the chef does not cook the salad dressing. However, it will almost certainly contain some cooked or heat-processed ingredients such as soy sauce, pasteurized vinegar, heat-pressed oils, mustard etc.
Instead, ask for plain salad with no dressing, and bring your own which you will make from cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, raw vinegar with mother, freshly squeezed lemon juice, blended avocado and tomato or whatever type of truly raw dressing you like.
It is sometimes a good idea to contact the restaurant before you arrive (before you even reserve a table, if possible) to plan what you will eat and ask what exactly is in all the apparently raw dishes on the menu such as salads and fruit salads. This can be a time consuming process and it is better done on the telephone earlier in the day when the restaurant is not busy and your friends are not sitting there waiting for their food wondering why you cannot just go ahead and order like a normal person!
If you cannot talk to the restaurant ahead of time in this way, the quickest and most effective way to handle a menu is to have a quick look at the choices to see what they have in the kitchen and then say, “Can you please make me a HUGE salad with spinach, avocado and bell peppers [or whatever raw ingredients you saw on the menu], nothing else, and no dressing.”
Then check it when it arrives, because you will often find that you have the dressing anyway. Maybe restaurant staff have a blind spot when it comes to salad dressing. It’s like it flies out of the bottle and drizzles itself on your salad without anyone being aware of it. This may be because restaurant chefs who take a pride in their work want to make everything they produce taste as delicious as possible, and dressing does that. They add it automatically.
Remember, in this situation you are a missionary for the raw food way. It is important to see the funny side and show people that going raw does not mean becoming uptight and super critical of the cooked world. You will also have a lot more fun in your raw food restaurant experiments if you can stay cool.