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Loop Middle Eastern

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I beleive I've tried all of the usual suspects:

1) Haifa, which kindof sucks but works

2) Petra, which is a little far away from my office but I thought it was better than Haifa

3) Taza, which is a new place on Franklin that I personally love

Are there any other places out there worth checking out? I'm located a approx. Washington and Frankin.

JW

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  1. Both are a quick cab ride from Washington and Franklin.

    Kan Zamman at 617 N. Wells serves very good Lebanese Food.

    Reza's at 432 W. Ontario for tasty Persian Food has a great lunch and weekend buffet.

    One of my favorite middle eastern restaurants is RAW BAR AT 3720 N. Clark street in Wrigleyville. The menu is extensive and fantastic. Great steak, seafood, chicken, appetizers, martini's, etc. This place is a hidden gem and way underrated.

    1. I agree with your thoughts on Haifa/Petra. I resort to one of those two about once a month. Never great, but they're OK for a cheap lunch.

      I'm a fan of Kan Zaman. Its a sit down restaurant - unlike Haifa, Petra, etc. Pricier, but still very reasonable and the quality is much better than those two. I've been there several times for dinner. BYO if you ever want to check it out after work (there's a Binny's about a block away). The veggie platter is my standby.

      On a related note, Tizi Meloul (sp?) is an interesting and quite good western/middle-eastern fusion restaurant a couple doors down from Kan Zaman. Great decor. Higher end than Kan Zaman, and I don't know if they serve lunch, but it would be an interesting place to visit if you like middle eastern food and want to try something different.

      1. I agree with you on taza it is very good - but IMHO the best Middle Eastern restarunt in the Loop is Oasis Cafe - it used to be in the Wabash jewllers mall - is is now at 17 S Wabash - just a block south from its old location - it is better than taza - and only about a 10 minute leisurely walk from where you are at (I am at Randolph and Franklin)

        check out for more info:

        http://www.chicagocarless.com/2006/09...

        http://www.lunchintheloop.com/new/res...

        1 Reply
        1. re: weinstein5

          I second the recommendation for Oasis. It has the best Baba Ghanouj I've ever had!

        2. Last week (I have been a steady customer for fifteen years) I had the buffet lunch at Reza's and found it to be awful---really deteriorated from the way it used to be. Fewer dishes were offered---I would say 30% fewer than formerly. The buffet used to include solid meat (beef on kebabs) and not just ground beef. There were several pasta dishes and more salads. Last week the "grilled potatoes" appeared to have been grilled about a week earlier and the lentil soup appeared not to have been salted at all. This was my third-in-a-row bad Reza's buffet experience and I have now regretfully crossed an old favorite off my lunch list. Will look forward to trying some of the other suggestions in this thread. Too bad we can't move the Loop to, say, Kedzie and Lawrence.

          1. I'm sorry to have to agree with Querencia - we've been to both Reza location in the past few months - and both experiences disappointed - which is saying a lot since over the years we have gradually lowered our expectations to begin with.

            It's a shame because we used really look forward to eating at Reza's. It's still "not bad" - but it's almost as if someone in charge kind of stopped "caring."

            1. Any opinions on Mezza? It's in the building immediately east of the Citicorp building as you take the crossover ped towards the river, I was noticing it the other day, but havent gone yet.

              My benchmark for the faster style of Mediteranian places like this would the Pita Inn (in Skokie) which is amazing.

              Sad to hear about Reza's, but I've also heard the same thing from friends of mine about the Andersonville location.

              There is a newer place under the loop El tracks on Wells in between Madison & Washington that was alright, dont recall the name but it was about as good as Oasis (which by the way, is now in a really dumpy looking food court next to a Popeyes).

              1. If Armenian counts as Middle Eastern (and I'd say it does), I've always had excellent lunches at Sayat Nova, just east of Michigan Ave. 157 E. Ohio St. Excellent lamb kebabs.

                1 Reply
                1. re: YoYoPedro

                  Oasis Cafe. I think they moved though. They used to be in the Wabash Jewelry mall.

                2. I tried Taza this week. You're right - far superior to Petra and Haifa. I thought the fallafel were excellent, as was the Hummus, Jerualem Salad, stuffed grape leaves. In fact, the whole meal was great. Thanks for the rec.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: wak

                    I'm happy you found a new spot - good stuff. I actually think the shwarma sandwiches are delicious...go there at like 12:30 as the line moves quickly and the turnover is high. I've had some dry-ish shwarma if you go too early / late.

                    Also, they have great Gyros as well as Kofte. They make small batches of Kofte so they are usually juicy.

                    1. re: jjweerts

                      Today it was the kefta kebab. Excellent and tender. A nice grilled taste and the dill rice was perfectly light and fluffy. I ate it so fast I think the servers were a little concerned. I'd say this food is similar in quality to Kan Zaman up on Wells.

                  2. Is the new Kan Zamaan downtown the same Kan Zamaan that used to be on Clark just north of Foster? That one used to have extraordinary cold stuff like hummos, baba ganooj, and tabbouleh.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Querencia

                      It moved from an old Andersonville location to Wells, so maybe so. I never went to the former location. They do have great baba ganooj.

                    2. Glad to hear that Oasis is back, albeit in a new location. I'm in school in DC now, but when I visit home and, more to the point, my dad's loop office, we'll have somewhere to eat again!