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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Almawal Mediterranean

Almawal Mediterranean is the BEST.  I wish is was a little closer to me, but luckily it's close to Christina so when I visit, we can eat there!  We found this little gem by searching on the internet - Christina found it on Yelp.  I don't know why, but it has very mixed reviews, the negative ones are completely farce.  This place is delicious.  We went twice during my time in Chicago. 

We didn't order some of these items, they just showed up as courtesy? Maybe condiments?  I didn't enjoy these pickled vegetables, but I did try them, both times we went.  I just don't like pickled anything but Christina loved them!

This was another dish that they brought out to us as a courtesy appetizer.  It was probably one of my FAVORITE dips (?).  It is an eggplant mixture with the most beautiful spices!  They were kind enough to bring me a separate plate without the pita on the side.  I ate it with some of my other dishes and it was great on it's own.

Just as an FYI, I never actually ordered an entree - I had all appetizers, which I do quite a bit.  This was a lentil soup which was very warm, earthy, and spicy.  The lemon juice added a nice layer of brightness.

These were two different hummus plates, well maybe a hummus and a sort of yogurt based dip.  Both perfectly flavored, beautiful texture, and went with everything we ordered.  That was what I enjoyed the most - all of the condiments (I'm not sure what you would call all the dips and sides) went so well together and you could mix and match them all!

I also ordered the stuffed grape leaves.  They were filled with rice and seasonings - I probably liked these the least.  They were beyond rich and after the first two I couldn't really eat any more of them but they were so good but just too much.  However, I was very surprised by the portion sizes!  I had so much food!  

This was the real glory and what I was really waiting for!  I was confused because the falafel was $1.99 for 6 or $3.00 for 12 so I was thinking they were pretty small - like bite sized.  Well they were pretty full sized!  These were so incredibly delicious - I could honestly eat these for the rest of my life.  I loved dipping them in all the different sauces we had on the table and even in my lentil soup!  I took half of them home and ate them cold for breakfast the next morning - still amazing.

Christina ordered an entree called the mixed grill platter based on the reviews.  She said it was great because you really got to try so many different items and many of them were flavored with different spices.  Again the portions were enormous - we could have easily shared this platter.  It was great for me to be able to taste some of her dish because almost everything on the menu was safe for me to eat - the only thing I had to watch was the pita bread!

I think the best part was the service!  The staff was so incredibly friendly and welcoming - and our food was delivered to our table exceptionally fast.  Some of the reviews on Yelp complained about the decor, the old table cloths, and the religious aspect of the restaurant but that's what you're suppose to be getting when you visit an ethnic restaurant!!  That's the best part!  If you want a fine dining experience - go somewhere else - if you want the absolute best middle eastern food - go here!!  

We honestly at all this food for about $30 dollars total (with tip) - that's insane!  

I noticed this restaurant wasn't on Urbanspoon where I normally connect my reviews so I've sent them a note to add this restaurant.  I'll let you know when it's posted.  

Update:  3 hours later - it's on there, Urbanspoon is awesome!! 

Here is the yelp review.

If you're in the south Chicago suburbs - this is worth the drive.  I give it my highest recommendation!

Al Mawal on Urbanspoon

Always, J ♥