The Mediterranean (Berkeley)
Having read a few old posts, I believe this used to be a not-well-liked branch of SF's Truly Mediterranean.
I had the chicken shawerma with a tremendously gloopy and flavorless "tomato and garlic" sauce. I ordered it spicy, so there was also a chili sauce on it that was actually pretty good. I made an effort to taste the chicken separately and was hard pressed to identify what made it shawerma. Maybe the lamb would've been better.
Overall, mediocre. If I did go back (and I doubt that'll happen), I'd give the lamb a go and lose the tomato/garlic sauce.
Any similar experiences or violent disagreement?
I actually had a falafel recently there that was pretty disappointing, partially due to some inattentive behind-the-counter folk who seemed to be more interested in the goings-on of one of the customers seated inside than tending to my food.
On the flip side, I've never had a disappointing experience at the other The Mediterranean branch in Concord (which also used to be a branch of Truly Med.)
I second on the Concord location, had a lamb shawerma and bakdonneh salad for late lunch today and it was excellent. Service was very good - they asked if my wife and I wanted to split the sandwich and brought over extra plates and napkins, checked if everything was okay and waved and said thanks as we left. This may not seem remarkable but they genuinely seem to want to please.
I've been to the Berkeley location once, the food was the same but parking makes it less viable.
I'll agree that they're great folks in the Berkeley shop, but there are things they just
don't get. Like serving me a falafel sandwich with ICE COLD (like from the fridge) falafels
at the same time as they've got their falafel frier up and frying new hot ones. I have
no idea what they were thinking. Expectations and reality did not meet in my mouth.
On the upside, that's gotta be the best parking block in downtown Berkeley. And there's
a metered, mostly empty, lot around the corner.
The food was the same?!? You can't mean Berkeley and Concord. The MENU is the same both places. The food, however, is definately is not. I had the lamb shawerma at both locations within the past week and they were worlds apart. Even finally noticed on my last visit that the Concord location uses Niman Ranch lamb.
Uninspired, confused versions of the (usually) good food at the Concord location. Not a fan of the Berkeley location. I've been there three times and have sworn not to go back again. Inattentive service, cold food arrives hot, hot food arrives cold... Very sad. I don't want to have to go to Concord to get my fix. One begins to wonder if the staff has ever eaten their own cooking.
I think they are terrible. The food just does not taste good, period. I've only been to the Market St. one - but they all must have the same recipes so they cannot be that different. Like, the recipes are just not good versions of what they should be, and things that should be moist are dry.
Go to Jerusalem Organic Kitchen at Solano and the Alameda in Berkeley. Truly wonderful people and wonderful food. Great lamb and chicken shwerma, excellent mezze platter, wonderful lamb burger or hamburger, yummy veggie wrap, great couscous and excellent tabouli. Falafels? I thought good but I'm not a felafel fan.
last time I went I nearly cried it was so bad. I waited forever for service, for food, and while I waited I looked around, and noticed canned garbanzos, reconstituted lemon juice, and other crap PROUDLY on display on big shelves in the dining room. Like--hooray! the food comes from factories. This is what I tackled driving and parking on College Ave. for.???
so, all the food was greasy, cold, unmemorable.
Luckily, Ici, the new fancy ice cream shop was open, so I rectified my damaged taste buds
with some flavorful honey lavender ice cream and a perfect blue bottle espresso.
For the falafel fans - Fertile grounds on Shattuck is the best around the berkeley area - although prepared by mexicans it taste like taken directly from a real arab place in the meds.
as for Shawarma - no real good place around.