Restaurant Review #3: Tao Natural Foods

I have another Minneapolis restaurant to share until I move on to new locations next week! This restaurant is an old favorite made new again by introducing outdoor seating and at your table service.

Tao Natural Foods, located at 2200 Hennepin Avenue, is a small health food store with an attached cafe, which recently expanded to include an evening menu that is served by wait staff (instead of ordering at the counter and waiting for your food).

On their home page, Tao writes “For over 40 years we’ve been quietly chipping away at creating, quite possibly, the best little health food store around. Please come and relax over a great cup of coffee or enjoy a nourishing meal in our cozy cafe. While we are busy preparing your meal, you can browse our supplement shop and grab that cream, pill or herb for what’s been ailing you. If you can’t find what you need in a bottle, no worries, we’ve got specialized health practitioners here too! We offer services ranging from Integrative Health Coaching to Therapeutic Massage, Acupuncture, Ayurvedic Medicine and Reiki. Call today to make an appointment, or just stop in and see all that we have to offer you. Hope to see you soon!” They offer quite the repertoire of options for any of your health needs. 

Usually, after we order our food, we wander the health food store and see what new products they have. On the cafe menu, I’ve been known to order the Warm Garden Salad, “A generous portion of steamed veggies on a bed of mixed baby greens topped with swiss cheese, sunflower seeds and Goddess Dressing!” And I seriously can’t recommend it enough. I usually get it with a side of their Balsamic Dressing, and as a girl who can’t get enough of her veggies, I am always pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of the description (a generous portion of steamed veggies). I’ve also enjoyed the homemade Black Bean Veggie Burger, which I also love.

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About two weeks ago I went back with my brother, dad, and grandma to try their new nighttime menu. We started with the Pickled Plate and Warm Medjool Dates. The dates had meat on them, but got rave reviews from my brother. However, they are very rich so it is definitely an appetizer you’d want to share with at least one other person, if not more. The pickled plate was good, but not something I’d go back to Tao for.

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We also tried a few drinks. Jens ordered the Muscle Mania smoothie (banana, peanut butter, hemp protein, maple syrup, vanilla and almond milk) which was delicious, thick, and filling. My dad tried a juice, which was tangy from ginger but very delicious.

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The real stars of the meal were the main dishes. My brother tried the spicy chicken quesadilla on the started menu and liked it. My grandma went with the cheese plate, which includes local cheese, olives, fruit and crackers. She was happy with her meal, and the tastes I stole of local cheese were delicious.

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My dad and I both decided on the The Tao: Macrobiotic Inspired, which is both vegan and gluten free. Our plate came piled with delicious food: ginger-steamed vegetables, brown rice, black beans, fermented cabbage, and grilled tofu on top. The plate was delicious, my only complaint being that there was not enough flavor. This was quickly solved by tamari and soy sauce, and I chowed down happy as a clam.

Although too full for dessert on this particular occasion, I can’t wait to go back and try the Goat Cheese Ice Cream (with strawberries in balsamic reduction) 

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