I was flying into Salt Lake City airport on a Wednesday morning and thought I'd only have one meal in the city. So as I began my research, I came across a little restaurant called Omar's Rawtopia. The reviews for it were great, the pictures of the food looked spectacular, but the website was very basic. I wasn't sure what to make of that, but figured I'd give it a shot anyway.
Located in the Sugar House neighborhood of Salt Lake City, Rawtopia is nestled on a block with other small businesses like clothing and antiques. I walked in from the street and to the right there was a case filled with vegan desserts. It looked more like a take-out joint as there were a bunch of things for sale in the front and in the back, there was a very small, simple dining room. I wondered if many people stayed to dine in. There was only one other table occupied at that moment.
Regardless, I was happy to be there. Having just landed and hungry as I could be, I took a look at the menu. I started with a special drink they were serving that day. One sip of it though reminded me that I need to ask a question at any restaurant claiming it is "raw vegan." Does this have honey in it? The answer was "yes" and, once again, I was foiled by a restaurant claiming to be vegan, but serving honey. *sigh* After a bit of back and forth, I decided to let the issue rest and ordered a bottled kombucha instead as that was the only non-smoothie drink without honey. Disappointing to say the least.
The dining room was very simple with its small, blue wood tables, vinyl chairs, and fresh flowers. I began talking to the server about the restaurant. They opened back in 2005, 9 years ago, and are doing so well that they are moving to a larger space. Yay! I asked if Omar was a trained chef. He was actually a geologist who had a passion for good, healthy food. Everything in the restaurant is organic, gluten-free, and vegan with the exception of the use of honey. The food is washed with purified water and takes at least two days to prepare.
The menu, though extensive, is quite simple. There are appetizers, soups, salads, rolls, pizzas, and entrees -- many with a Lebanese influence. It was so hard to choose, but I finally ordered and handed over my menu in a committed way.
I went with the cleverly labeled "bean burrito." As beans must be cooked, it wasn't actually made with beans and it wasn't in a burrito. Instead, there were sunflower seeds and walnuts soaked and processed into a mushy bean-like substance and mixed with herbs and spices. It was served with romaine lettuce and cabbage that you used as a wrap. And it was topped with fresh avocado, cucumber, celery, tomato, red bell pepper, onion, olives and cilantro. It was a bit odd as it was a gooey mess, but goodness gracious was it good! Once layered in the cabbage leaf with the veggies and topped with macadamia nut sour cream and the house made hot sauce, it was an amazing mix of flavors that made my tongue jump for joy. The raw olives gave it the oomph it needed.
Also, the crackers served with it were incredibly good. They were raw crackers made of veggies dehydrated. I bought a bag for $5 on the way out!
So all I have to say is "wow." Who would have thought I'd find such a treasure in Salt Lake City. This restaurant is one of the best raw vegan restaurants I've ever been to. If only I'd had room for dessert! The service was great, the food was spectacular, and the prices were consistently high for a raw joint. If you only have one day in SLC, this is the place to go. I can't wait to come back again in the near future.
2148 Highland Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84106