Eats, chews and leaves: Health food for hedonists

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Family and friends ask me many personal questions that I often don’t answer, such as, “Why are you still single?” Other questions, however, I do answer, and with enthusiasm. My favourite? “Where should I eat out in Victoria?”

I take restaurant recommendations very seriously. (My dating life? Not so much.) While my friends want to dine downtown and sometimes request a relatively inexpensive menu, my family prefers someplace “hip” (father’s word, not mine) with a lack of tourists. Neither asks for healthy options, but I always have their best interests at heart.

I regularly suggest ReBar, which can be a challenging recommendation. First off, ReBar doesn’t serve any red meat. The only proteins on the menu are fish, legumes and tofu. The drink menu contains mostly fresh juices and vegetable tonics. A large percentage of their ingredients are organic, and the food is healthy. It’s not a bad thing, even if these items don’t usually make up a huge portion of your diet.

I talked my roommates into going. They liked it. My brother and father cleared their plates when I dined with them (both are notorious carnivores). I visited again when my mom was in town and she loved it, confirming that ReBar serves tasty food and that I give good recommendations.

Despite dining on a weekday, the last time I went the space was almost full for the dinner service. Tables are set close together, so be advised that ReBar doesn’t provide an intimate setting. (I must remember this for future dates.)

Consider eating at the bar, as seats are usually open and the service excellent as always.

I’ll skip the decor details. ReBar’s design is the offspring of a hipster’s basement that mated with an upscale juice bar.

For an appetizer, my mom and I shared hummus with warm, whole-wheat pita bread and tomato chutney ($9). The hummus is blended with cilantro and cashews providing a tangy finish to a normally mild dip.
I sipped on a Jack Lalanne tonic ($7) throughout the night, a blend of carrot, apple, beet, ginger, lemon and ginseng that sounded good on paper. I’d suggest skipping this ultra-healthy brew if you like things that taste good. My mom had a beer and I’m still jealous.

For our mains, my mom ordered a bowl of monk’s curry over rice noodles ($12). Despite appearing bland (mushrooms, eggplant, and tofu aren’t known for being colourful), the green curry sauce with coconut and crushed peanuts held plenty of flavour.

I ordered my favourite dish: quinoa, black bean and avocado salad with grilled salmon ($13 without salmon, $21 with salmon). The salad is tossed with dried apricots, spinach, scallions and a lime-cilantro dressing. It comes to the table looking like a glossy photograph from Pinterest. It’s a smorgasbord of fresh ingredients with amazing taste chemistry. With avocado and apricot together, there’s no way the salad could taste bad. (I’m still searching for this chemistry in a romantic sense.)

ReBar Modern Food
Four out of five stars
50 Bastion Square
Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. ­–11 p.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday: 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
P: 250-361-9223 (reservations recommended)

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