Winter Park’s trendy living cuisine
Fresh & nutrient rich entrées satisfy a variety of tastes
Tucked along a side street of the affluent Park Avenue area of Winter Park, Florida is a restaurant serving cuisine based on the raw/living food lifestyle. Cafe 118° exemplifies a fresh and delicious living cuisine menu.
For those unfamiliar with this type of cuisine, allow me to give you a brief explanation. The raw/living cuisine is plant-based foods that are prepared by not cooking foods in the traditional sense. Foods are never cooked above 118° allowing the natural enzymes, nutrients and vitamins to be preserved.
Cafe 118° menu items include juices, nut-milk shakes, living entrées, raw desserts and raw ice cream. During my few recent visits, my guests and I tried a variety of items. My personal favorite entrée were the Crispy Vegetable Rolls. The textures were crunchy with a smooth dressing and dipping sauce. The sweet and crunchy shredded cabbage, carrot and sliced creamy avocado was tossed with a cashew, almond dressing all wrapped up in a vibrant green lettuce leaf. Four generous sized rolls were accompanied by a sweet and sour dipping sauce. The flavors were well balanced and resembled an Asian influence with hints of sesame and soy.
My guests and I also enjoyed the Traditional Italian entrée. Endless strings of zucchini ribbons topped with diced fresh tomato and flavorful herbs. Also paired with full flavored sun-dried tomato sauce, garden fresh tomato slices and avocado wedges. All sprinkled with crunchy hemp seeds and cashew Parmesan.
This dish was so delicious and fresh that I would choose it over a cooked pasta and marinara dish any day!
We also had the pleasure of trying the living Pad Thai entrée. Ribbons of zucchini and carrot noodles tossed with a rich, creamy, and nutty sauce. Then drizzled with a sesame cashew glaze. Although the dish was flavorful, the sauce was a little heavy and thick.
All the desserts that we tried were divine! The desserts appear small in size, but the flavors are intense and rich. The Raw Black Forest Cake was dense, slightly chewy and rich. It was finished with cinnamon glazed cherries and a cherry ginger syrup.
It is a toss up for me to chose between my two favorite desserts, either the Chocolate Hazelnut Tart or the ‘Smores.’ The Chocolate Hazelnut Tart was rich, dark chocolate densely pressed into a crumbly, hazelnut crust. Served slightly chilled, the texture was smooth and creamy.
The ‘Smores,’ as described on the menu, is a cinnamon graham cracker with marshmallow filling and cocoa sauce. I felt the flavors more resembled that of a Caramel Delight Girl Scout cookie. The ‘graham crackers’ were two chewy layers of cinnamon and coconut flavors. Pressed between them was a light and airy ‘marshmallow’ cream, which offered more of a smooth texture rather than adding to the flavor of the dessert. Then the dessert was drizzled with a dark, rich cocoa sauce. So delicious, it is incredible to believe that all the ingredients were vegan and raw.
Cafe 118° also offers a small international wine list with vegan and organically produced wines. I enjoyed the De Martino Cab-Malbec, which was an excellent pairing with the rich sun-dried tomato sauce on the entrée and then complimented the dark chocolate on the desserts.
Cafe 118° is a delightfully unique experience of flavors and textures that challenges our preconceived assumptions about vegan food. For some of us, it may even introduce us to the niche raw/living food lifestyle. Overall though, Cafe 118° will please even non-vegetarian diners and leave all patrons with excited taste buds and a full, but not overly stuffed tummy feeling.
153 East Morse Boulevard
Winter Park, FL 32789
$10–26 an item
Hours: Monday 11:30am-5pm, Tuesday-Thursday 11:30am-9pm, Friday-Saturday 11:30am-10pm, closed Sundays.