Really good middle eastern food
This little store front had been getting some buzz on the Chow boards lately, so I stopped in for lunch today.
The place is a store front, but this guy cares about his place, and cares about what his customers see. This place is clean, and neat (Even with a new hood still in the shipping packaging in the front of the space) The chairs, tables and booths are something you might expect in a fancier space, and they were all perfectly clean and straightened.
You order up front at the register, a vantage point which allows you to see the entire kitchen. It , too, while crowded, is immaculate. Cafe MAwadda is run by a young (30 ish) man form Iraq, who has limited english. There was no problem ordering form the fairly large menu of falafel, Gyros, beef, lamb,kefteh, and chicken, all of it halal, and some italian dishes that seem superfluous.
He stated me with a salad that I wan't aware I ordered, I guess it is included in the platter, and it was good, with a yogurt /garlic dressing, and very fresh lettuce onions and tomato. The onions were really sharp, which I love, but I know is not popular in this part of the states in particular (Love them Sweet onions).
I had the Basha platter with a curried chicken, beef schwarma, and gyro. All of them were cooked well and flavorful. He asked for my spice preference,and delivered on the extra spicy. I have not had better Middle eastern grilled meats in Seattle.
The highlight of the meal though, was the basmati rice dish that is served with every platter. Perfectly cooked, with tamarind, herbs, cinnamon and other spices, it was spectacular. It created a disconnect for me between tiny storefront location and the quality of the food. It really transported me. It made me regret the amount of money I have spent on side dishes a fancy restaurants my entire life. This was fantastic, and a large amount of food for $12.
He also has sandwiches for around $6.
The storefront is located at 44th and Graham, just west of Rainier. It is in a newer strip of storefronts that also include a Halal market and a vietnamese coffee shop There is nothing on the menu over $14.
I would love to go again with someone who speaks Arabic, just because I would like to get to know the history of the owner, and what his plans and dreams for this place are.
The 4 stars is for food, and the care that he has given the place. The lack of a fifth is just the location and the limits of what you can do in a strip mall. Definite recommend for anyone who loves middle eastern food.
4433 S Graham St, Seattle, WA 98118
I would definitely give this place a thumbs up. The food here is really good, the guy really cares about what he makes. Everything was fresh, the flavors were good and the dishes were nicely prepared. My experience however, was that it was really slow and it didn’t seem that busy either, maybe it was just bad timing on my part. If it was closer to where I live I would definitely be a regular. Just be prepared that you might have a long wait.