Amena Organic Arabic Deli & Bakery, Las Vegas, NV
Amena's motto "We Cook With Love" extends to the family style warm welcome you'll receive by their cute deli staff as you enter this brand new (4 days and counting!) Mediterranean/Arabic deli and bakery. It shares the same shopping center as Trader Joe's on Decatur (near Oakey). I suspect this will bode well for them locally as patrons of Trader Joe's can stop in for the best baklava in town (oh yes! more on their baklava in a second), a stuffed pita with shawarma or any of their fantastic fresh salads. The salad selection here is outstanding from the sweet sesame nazarene with crunchy shredded cabbage and nuts to the soft green tabbouleh with bulgur to the shredded spinach to the cubed cucumber and lemon to the corn with tiny bits of red pepper, all of Amena's salads will please though the nazarene does stand out as the star of the salad show. I recommend you try them all as each has a unique taste and flavor all its own. The shawarma here comes with a taste of curry and you can ask them to pile your pita sandwich high with fresh lettuce, sliced red tomatoes, pickles, garlic sauce, yellow roma tomatoes in spices, cucumbers, hummus, tahini and the list goes on. I asked for everything; the result was the most flavorful shawarma sandwich on the planet with explosions of creamy hummus and tomatoes and pickles at every turn. Mouthwatering! The baklava sold here wins for the single best baklava in town. None of this sticky slimy stuff you get everywhere else. What are those places hiding anyway with the slimy stuff? No, this is flaky and lightly sweetened with so much nuance, it's like fine art. They also serve dark chocolate dough bites dusted in coconut, assorted other mediterranean/Arabic pastries including hard to find borma and organic pita topped with coarse thyme. The owner brought out a 5 gallon bucket of thyme to show to a customer. I've no idea where he acquired this thyme but it was most fragrant thyme. Simply intoxicating like something out of the movie "Perfume" or perhaps, the owner has a secret wormhole to a spice market we're not privy to. I'd love to know where he found this high quality thyme in a city of substandard herbs and spices. My only suggestion to Amena would be to add a combination plate to their menu so everyone can sample the variety of salads and pastries here. Everything is fresh, organic, healthy and made with the utmost care. The owner and his staff were so incredibly friendly - I looked behind me to make sure they were talking to me?! Service like this is unheard of anywhere and only surpassed by the quality of their food. You can sample anything you like at Amena. Like family, they are more than happy to have you try anything they made with their loving hands. Lunch here averages about $8.95. I fully expect Amena to be packed once people learn about the treasures that await inside. It's clean and sparse inside but the food is flavorful and packed with what they promise: love.
UPDATE: Went back 03/11/08 for lunch with three friends and had their beef pita sandwich - delicious along with the first dessert listed on their menu (kunafi) which was a lightly sweet baked cheese, mmm. Order the kunafi with your meal, it takes 20 minutes to bake, and you can ask for it at any level of sweetness you like from not sweet at all to dripping in sweetness. Everything, delicious and fresh as usual. I move them to 5 stars.
The owner, Amir, and his staff are delightful and kind and care so much about pleasing you - they really make you feel welcome and at home. BONUS: Free day-old bread in a basket - the owner's generosity knows no bounds. I took a loaf, even for yesterday's batch, it's softer and fresher than anything sold at the supermarket. The in-house bakery here uses mostly organic ingredients. A million thumbs up. Patronize this place, it's a jewel in the desert.
EVEN MORE AMENA UPDATES: Their in-house baker is a third generation baker, he makes all of their breads and pastries (to perfection, I might add). Their pita bread is hot and fresh out of the oven ($1.49 for an ENTIRE bag, unheard of - dry stale pita at Von's across the street for $2.79!!). Had lunch here today with a group of 12 - everyone was floored by the food and the sweet attentive service.
Amena means Honest and True in Arabic - their name suits their business so well. Honest and True Organic Deli and Bakery, yes!
Amena Organic Arabic Deli & Bakery
2101 S. Decatur Blvd (at O' Bannon, north of Sahara/south of Oakey)
Suite 9 - in the Trader Joe's Shopping Center
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Hours: 10 AM to 8 PM, 7 Days (I believe?)
no idea if they have a phone and definitely no website
Cash + Credit Cards Accepted
Thank you so much for writing about Amena Organic Arabic Deli & Bakery. As non-locals, we never would've found it on our own although we do drive about town quite a bit when visiting. Anyway, we went there on Friday 4/18 for lunch. My husband had the beef shawarma pita and I had the chicken shawarma pita. The pita bread itself is the most unique and freshest I've ever had, with an amazing supple texture. I like that you can customize your pita - to mine, I added cucumber, pickles, seasoned green cabbage, hummous, their spicy sauce, their totally unique spicy orange peel, and probably something else that I'm forgetting. The result was a savory, juicy, crunchy pita sandwich that positively exploded with flavor. I also like that besides pickled turnips, they offer pickled cauliflower and carrots. The people there were so sweet. Our two pita sandwiches and one fountain drink for my husband was just cents over $20.00. A definite winner! We considered a piece of baklava but sadly we were just too full. Hopefully next time.