While a raw-food diet won’t make you clairvoyant or able to float on air, it at least will make you feel lighter and livelier. At Omar’s Rawtopia (formerly Living Cuisine), owner Omar Abou-Ismail swears by the health benefits of raw food, but isn’t pushy. “People can eat whatever they want, that’s fine by me. But, this place is for people tired of what’s often served and called food [highly processed and refined],” Abou-Ismail says. “I teach people how to eat vegetables.” He also taught himself seven years ago when he switched to only raw foods.
Beautiful plate presentations, healthful dishes and a peaceful atmosphere are the restaurant’s lure. But, even more, the eatery represents Abou-Ismail’s passion, or, as he’d say, “love.” He believes this work is his calling, his gift to the world. That passion sometimes means he gets called an extremist—for singing over food and even washing vegetables in distilled water. But he’s fine with the label and believes that he needs to be extreme to balance current food manufacturers’ processed offerings.
A vegetable purist, gardener and forager, Abou-Ismail harvests most of the restaurant’s herbs and spices himself. Also, he serves only organic foods at his store, much of which is bought locally. “We’re here for the community, for people to eat well and for farmers to sell their produce.”
It’s all culminated with fine cuisine, such as raw pasta made from zucchini, piled with greens, sprouts and hand-chopped vegetables, then topped with a sun-dried tomato sauce and a pureed macadamia nut & Irish moss Alfredo-style sauce. And for dessert: chocolate cream pie.
Such a dish, unfortunately, comes with a lofty price. “You pay for what you get: organic ingredients and all your daily vitamins and minerals,” Abou-Ismail says. But, it’s worth it, and contrary to preconceived notions, raw foods do fill you up—and leave you feeling great.
2148 S. Highland Drive
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