Falafel Grill...New ethnic restaurant in Naples!
Stumbled upon this newly opened little place tonight in the Asia Pok market plaza at 2075 Pine Ridge Road. Went in to ask how long they'd been opened...very friendly staff said only a week. Gave me a sample of lovely pureed lentil soup with caramelized onion accent and a sample of a semolina dessert (can't remember the name). I ordered a falafel pita to go since I hadn't eaten dinner yet. Lovely fluffy falafels enclosed in a thin whole wheat pita (some places give you a wrap that's so thick and doughy...really not how I like it) with tons of greens, tomato, fresh red onion and tzatziki for .... $4.95!!!! (Menu says tahini but I love my falafel with tzatziki, period) so they happily made the substitution. They bake their own bread daily...Owner may be a former Ritz Carlton chef...did they say Egyptian? ... not entirely sure but oh, man, their prices are so NOT NAPLES! Lamb gyro...$5.95...Kofta Kebab $5.95. Right now, they only have a lunch menu but they were open at 5:30 p.m. when I finished my shopping at Asia Pok market on way home from work. Hope you try it!
My friends were in Falafel Grill today, saying how they enjoyed their meal, and they would email me as soon as they got home to tell me hw wonderful it is...and, in I walked, right on cue!
It's everything you said, and now more, as dinner service has started! The food is super fresh and authentic, and the prices are 1/4 of Naples prices. The customers while I visited were a mix of small families, a few couples, and two elegantlyoung women in casual clothes!
Friendly, warm family owns it, and chefs clearly enjoying what they do. The chef is from Egypt, and he was at the Registry Hotel years ago. He flattens the felafel to a disk before frying, giving better crispness and better heat penetration, whereas my Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli friends serve the round falafels..
I had the great lentil soup bowl ($3.75) for my appetizer, and the large Sampler of baba ganoush, hummus, tabouleh, and delicious hot, crisp falafel with tahina sauce for only $5.95 as my dinner! The deep fried pita is a treat-I can eat that for a meal. Wonderful!.
For dessert, I had the basbosa, sort of a cornbread textured semolina dish with mild sweetnesss, best paired with a dollop of its whipped cream in evey bite. The owners' kids were there-bright -and fun to talk with th whole family. I'll have a write up soon on my blog.
re: An Insatiable Appetite
Ah! So glad...I saw that sampler offering on the menu but knew there was no way I could eat it all...I'm crazy for anything eggplant so next time I go, will bring someone who also loves the ganoush. I think the basbosa was the sample dessert they gave me that night ...I just couldn't finish even the small sample, as it was so sweet but I had guessed it was semolina and she said I was correct. Happy that you were able to go!
Thank you for the heads up. Your food is delicious, and priced right for families!
We were wondering when Porto Cafe was going to open-now we know.
For readers, it's in the former spot of Sweet Mamas, across from NCH.
BTW, many hospital workers I know are on "odd" shifts compared to most 8-5 workers. It's 3-11pm, 11-7am, and 7-3pm, Others are on 12 hour shifts.
Point is, most have no time to go out for lunch, so those restaurants that can deliver are set. Same for dinner, workers make pick up take out to go home to their families, but not have time to eat dinner alone at the restaurant.
FYI - Sweet Mama's was forced out by the landlord, and moved to Mr. Mom's on the East Trail, serving great breakfasts and lunches, and perhaps dinners again in season.
Feibi, I visited Porto today for lunch..!!! Had the falafel pita...it.WAS.SO.GREAT!!! Beautiful fresh falafels with pickled eggplant (!!) a happy surprise addition for me, lovely tzatziki and fresh tomatoes, red onion and lots of green romaine lettuce. She only charged me $5.eighty something when the menu said $6.95..., but so happy to visit and told co-workers: "GO to Porto!!!" Other diners were having your lovely lentil soup and tzatziki (really quite a balanced meal when you think about it, but no greens)...and another person ordered one of the lunch specials. Everyone looked very happy!
all i can add is that the newer places that have opened do not compare to Falafel Grill for mediterranean fare (esp falafel).
happy to hear of your new opening.
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