T.H.R.I.V.E.: Vegan/Raw Food Eatery Deeply Hidden in South Beach

Categories: First Bites
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Lee Klein
Raw burger made from...um...
T.H.R.I.V.E. is the name of this little vegan/raw food/juice bar at 1239 Alton Road on South Beach, but you won't see any indication of it existing if you walk by. Even knowing the address won't help, and if I tell you that it is within the Garden Center, you will still have trouble finding it. Too much trouble, if you ask me. But vegans and raw food aficionados won't bother asking me. Instead, they'll be grateful for my having pointed out that it exists and ignore my quibbles over the "chickin burger."

First of all, let me say how lovely the spacious and secluded outdoor dining patio is -- great place to sit and relax with one of the fresh-squeezed fruit juices and smoothies served ($6). There are a few seats indoors, too.

But as for the "chickin burger"...I always feel uneasy ordering a dish in which both words require parenthesis due to their mock natures. The "chickin" is some sort of greyish brown, mushy (but moist!), patty-shaped foodstuff culled from...actually, I've no idea other than it isn't meat. I do know that it was raw or what is referred to as "living food". If I was a food, I'd want a better life than that.

The "burger bun" is two leaves of kale. And in case you're wondering, it does not come with ketchup and pickles. Salad on the side was decent enough, and a miso dressing was awfully thin, but tasted just fine. The tomatoes atop the salad were great. I would have loved a salad made exclusively from those tomatoes -- hold the mushy patty.

Seriously: That's my beef with raw food restaurants. I mean I LOVE raw food. A good tomato salad is just one of dozens of uncooked meals I can totally enjoy. A whole array of vegetables can be eaten raw in salad form -- shaved fennel and radish...well, it's not even worth beginning to list, because it's almost everything. They can be cut in different ways to bring out different textures, they can be combined in new ways, flavored with fresh herbs, marinated in citrus juices (imagination is not the strong suit of raw foodists). How about a raw food joint that specializes in serving only salads made from only perfectly ripe produce?

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Lee Klein
Inside looking out
​Thrive's "burger" was eminently edible, but $11 could have bought me a better sandwich just about anywhere. Price is a real raw food restaurant conundrum: How come food that doesn't need to be cooked always costs more than food that has to be? Don't they save some labor on not needing to hire somebody to work a stove, grill, fryer, etc.? Jeez, you'd think not needing to even buy and run all that equipment would make operations cheaper.

Some desserts are cooked, like a recommendable "German chocolate cake". This time the quotation marks come in because it's vegan, so no eggs, cream, etc -- more mousse than cake. But quite tasty with coconut flakes on top and a mock German frosting (also good) on the bottom, serving as crust. The cake was $6.

Although there are fruits in the house for juicing, nobody at T.H.R.I.V.E. has thought to offer a fruit salad. Biting into fresh, ripe fruit is, again, my idea of raw food bliss.

As I say, vegans and raw foodists will want to know about this restaurant. I'll stick to produce stands.

T.H.R.I.V.E.
1239 Alton Rd., Miami Beach
305-490-6361


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5 comments
Revend
Revend

Well it is an informative blog and i really like it. I am also a vegetarian and i love to eat raw food.  Raw food has lot of health benefits and we can live and stay healthy with eating raw food.  

Lisa Lothian
Lisa Lothian

As a former restaurant chef and one that dabbles now in creative raw fooderie, the labor involved in raw food creations is generally MUCH more that that for conventionally cooked food - the soaking, the sprouting, the dehydrating, etc.  Well worth it in my opinion, but I agree, that a burger is a tough "nut" to crack - pun intended. 

Swalsh1977
Swalsh1977

I ate there and felt sick afterwards. There are bugs all over the "secluded" patio area and the food quality is subpar.

Meatless In Miami
Meatless In Miami

Raw places can indeed be hit or miss but I happily had a "hit" when I went there. The fettuccine alfredo was wonderfully fresh zucchini strips in a cashew-macadamia cream sauce. The spinach-avocado bisque was also to die for! I think I've yet to have a great raw burger anywhere but I'll definitely be going back to Thrive to try some of their other dishes.

Lee
Lee

Glad to hear it. My post was just a first bite sort of thing, so I didn't sample any foods outside of burger and dessert -- and, as you say, raw burgers are a tough nut to crack. I admit to remaining skeptical, but at the very least, that outdoor garden patio is a cool place to sip a smoothie.

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