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From the cave to Granville Street

Festal Paleo Café serves up sophisticated caveman food.

The Spicy Chicken and Waffles from Festal Cafe.

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Abby Wiseman / Metro Order this photo

The Spicy Chicken and Waffles from Festal Cafe.

The base of Granville Street past Dunsmuir is experiencing a healthy lunch food revolution.

Several grab-and-go or sit-in spaces that offer wholesome food that cater to different dietary needs have opened in the past year and Festal Paleo Café is the latest.

For those who don’t keep track of diet trends, the paleo diet – or lifestyle – takes its cue from our paleolithic ancestors. The basic premise of the diet is to only eat unprocessed foods, so no cereal grains, dairy, sugar, salt and all the terrible for you food like pop.

It’s considered an anti-inflammatory diet and I’ve done a version of it at one time and I have to say, I felt great, but missed the pleasure of wine, bread and cheese.

Festal originated as a food prep service with recipes by Andrea Witthoeft. This is the first brick-and-mortar location at 433 Granville St. Funny enough, I had reviewed a spot less than a year again the same location – the city never sleeps!

There is no shortage of zucchini pasta bowls, collagen balls and pizza on the menu. The Butternut Lasagna ($14.95) was highly recommended and the Spicy Chicken and Waffles ($14.95), which came as a sandwich caught my attention.

The Butternut Lasagna was excellent with grass-fed beef, spinach, herbs and squash layered like a lasagna sans-noodles. Topped with cashew cheese, the dish was hearty and tasty and just what you’d want on a rainy October afternoon.

Moving on to the waffle sandwich. These waffles aren’t like the soft and sweet waffles we know and love. Made with cassava flour the waffles are more dense with a nutty flavour – more like a bread. I liked that they weren’t made with nut flours (I must confess that I’m a little allergic to nuts and usually have to pop a Benadryl after eating for these reviews, because that’s how dedicated I am.)

The chicken was cooked and slathered with a spicy jalapeno sauce, topped with coleslaw and served between two waffles. There was also boar bacon somewhere in the mix, but it was lost between the waffles and hot sauce. I wasn’t sure if it was the waffles or the sauce, but there was also a hint of coconut in there. The sauce was nice, the chicken was great and I enjoyed the side of maple syrup, but I didn’t love it. I think it’s an awesome choice for someone on paleo or gluten free diets, it just wasn’t totally for me.

I liked what they did with the place. The space was clean and comfortable with long communal dark brown picnic tables. After years of being Cannibal Cafe and then Masaladobo, the space needed some new life.

All in all, I like Festal and recommend anyone – paleo people and non-paleo alike – to try it. Next time I’ll definitely try a zucchini pasta bowl and pick up some more of those collagen balls.

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