OK, no picture because this review is really from about a month ago, but . . .
Here’s the thing. Aladdin’s is my all-time favorite restaurant, and has been for several years. I got a chance to eat there last month when I went home to visit, and I realized that it was more than deserving of a rave review on my blog. I promise my memory is just as fresh as if I’d eaten there yesterday!
The location of Aladdin’s Eatery is unassuming and even difficult to find, but the search is well worth it. Tucked away in a shopping plaza across from the Holiday Inn, the interior might not look like much, but the food is outstanding. They used to have several plastic magic carpets (actual magic carpet size) hanging over diners as they ate, but as of late, they’ve chosen a simple flower adorning the table instead. (I kind of miss the carpets)
When you first look at the menu, you may be overwhelmed by the numerous pages, and seemingly endless dishes. It almost made me question whether they could really pull of so many different dishes successfully the first time I dined there, but now, after 50+ visits, I rest assure that they can cook just about anything. With pages of appetizers and even more dedicated to entrees (including wraps, pitas, shishkabobs and plenty of vegetarian options), it can be difficult to choose just one thing. But fear not, the prices make it affordable enough to try plenty of food.
One of the best (and cheapest) meals on the menu is a combination special called the Flavor Savor Special. It comes with Chicken Mishwi, Beef Kafta, rice, Lebanese salata topped salad, hummus, falafel and pita on the side. Not bad for under $10. It’s recommended by all the very-friendly-very-attentive servers, and I’m told the meat is as delicious as the items on the plate that I have tried.
My favorite dish is the Jasmine’s Favorite which consists of a bed of rice with cooked carrots, peas, onions and potatoes, flavorfully seasoned with the option to add chicken tawook, chicken mishwi, chargrilled tuna, Lebanese salata, lamb, or shawarma shishkabob. I always get it with the hot sauce which is fifty cents extra and recommended for almost anything you order here. The spices are flavorful and distinctly Lebanese, with a strong vinegar-like taste and plenty of spice!
Aladdin’s also offers a number of typical Mediterranean and Lebanese appetizers like hummus, baba, tabouli, falafel and stuffed grape leaves (dawali). The portion sizes are quite big, and the food is delicious. And the grape leaves contain no meat, so they’re perfect for vegetarians.
Another menu I must recommend is the Tropical Storm smoothie. They have a large selection of fantastic smoothies, teas and other drinks, but the Tropical Storm takes the cake. I believe it contains banana, pineapple, mango, milk and honey, but whatever it is, it’s delicious. If you order one, it’s sure to be gone before the food comes out!
If you’re in the area, this is a must-stop foodie find. It’s mostly frequented by locals who know where to find it, but I urge anyone to stop by for some of the best and freshest Mediterranean food anywhere!
Recommended: YES YES YES!
Overall Rating: 10/10 (for the food!)
Prices: Specialty drinks are between $2-5; Appetizers including soups and salads are between $5-7; Most entrees are between $8-13, with lamb being a bit more expensive