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23 October 2011

Haven for vegans and vegetarians

We can be lazy when it comes to food; we get used to going for the cheapest and quickest option. But with the number of healthy options growing, it may be time to change our diets and stop sacrificing our health.

Green Gables Cafe is a Coral Gables restaurant that serves local produce and organic food. Whether you are concerned about the treatment of animals or you’re just health-conscious, you can dine in delight.

“People love food and enjoy the environment here. They feel relaxed,” owner Ana Rabel said. “I have been a vegetarian for a long time. Once I had children, I started thinking about giving them nutrition without high calories. So I planned to open an organic food restaurant with my daughter when she decided to help me after graduating from the University of Miami.”

Rabel and her daughter, Laura Alfonso, opened Green Gables Cafe in October 2007. The cafe is fully committed to their local and organic ingredients, and to presenting a vegan and vegetarian-friendly menu.

“Burgers and fries are not good for health,” Rabel said. “I love my friends and community, and also care their health; green food can give us a healthier life.”

In Green Gables Cafe, you find “green” everywhere, from the food to the decors. Rabel’s daughter, Alfonso, used an eco-friendly paint that does not pollute the air or emit fumes that can be toxic. Local artists are invited to hang their art for sale. Carlos Santos’ work currently decorates the walls.

“We want to give our customers a relaxing environment and make them feel well,” Rabel said. “Respecting our environment is part of nutrition to me.”

Most items on the menu are less than $10 and made fresh daily. Dishes are marked vegan, vegetarian, wheat-free or gluten-free, easing the process for guests with allergies and dietary restrictions.

“I am happy about the soups we serve,” Rabel said. “They are very different from soups in other restaurants. Our soups are made with lots of vegetables and beans; they are really healthy and delicious.”

The restaurant has become a popular lunch haven for locals in the Miracle Mile area. Rabel is happy to see this development.

“I plan to operate an organic food market in the near future,” she said. “Then people can buy ingredients from our market and make green food by themselves at home.”

Green Gables Café is open Monday to Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m at 327 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, Fla. For more information, visit greengablescafe.com or call (305) 445-7015.