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Garlic n Lemons

OK, based on the Taste review I went to their Facebook page. The specials could be my Teta or my mother's weekly dinners. Is it as good as it sounds?

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  1. I just had a sampler at taste of allston. It was damn incredible, I was a happy guy. I can't wait to get back there.

      1. re: Jenny Ondioline

        Hi Jenny -- can you elaborate? What have you eaten here and what is it like? I'm intrigued.

        1. re: yumyum

          I've had the chicken shwarma (regular and spicy versions), the kofte and eggplant kebab, several of the salads, the stuffed grape leaves, the falafel, the small spinach, cheese and meat pies, and a few of the desserts. I hadn't had any of the off-menu specials they announce on the Facebook page, but only because it's too difficult to extricate myself from work to rush over for them.

          The ambiance is strictly fast-food counter service, and I have no idea if they have a beer and wine license, if that's important. But the food is uniformly excellent and some items are superb.

      2. Went to Garlic and Lemons yesterday after a hot day looking at sand sculpture on Revere Beach, and it was great! The wife had a spicy chicken schwarma sandwich with hummous on the side, I had the spicy beef schwarma sandwich with grape leaves on the side, and we split a dessert (name escapes me, phyllo dough with creamy goodness inside, with pistachios and rose water- right out of the oven). Excellent food, decent prices (2 big sandwiches, two sides, one dessert , three bottled drinks, $26). Can't wait to go back and try some other stuff, the tabbouli looks awesome. Nice people too. Stop by, if you like Middle Eastern food, this is a great addition to an already burgeoning restaurant row. It;s located right next door to New England Comics on Harvard Ave.

        9 Replies
        1. re: kimfair1

          I just went there recently as well and I was wowed. I think I've finally found a replacement for the dearly departed Skewers in Cambridge (alas, Garlic n Lemons is in Allston, not Cambridge, but it's closer than going to Lebanon!)

          I really enjoyed my sandwich, as well as nibbling from my DC's platter --- tabbouleh was indeed a standout. In addition to standard sandwiches on pita, they also make sandwiches on saj --- a flatter bread that crisps up really well. They have a number of interesting dishes, including some cured beef options that I really liked. They also have jallab, a date and grape based drink. I wasn't as thrilled with their desserts, but I only tried two of them --- will have to try more. Very nice family too.

          1. re: lipoff

            As I recall, Skewers was brown bag - same for G & L?

            1. re: BobB

              Bob - I've been trying to figure out what this means. Do you mean take out only? If so, they do have several tables (four or five 4 tops) at Garlic and Lemons.

              1. re: kimfair1

                No, it means you can bring your own beer or wine. Not strictly legal in Boston but some smaller places that have no license to serve tolerate it (and will even provide a corkscrew or bottle opener) while others don't.

                1. re: BobB

                  I get the vibe that they not only wouldn't tolerate it, you would be asked to leave.

                  1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                    On one hand it is counter service, not table service, so you don't see too much BYOB at those types of places. However, the guys who work there do seem pretty cool and friendly so you never know....

                    It can't hurt to try it... well maybe it can, but it can't hurt to ask.

                    1. re: tysonmcneely

                      I get it now. Eh, I can have a meal without beer or wine (though I love my booze!), so it's not something I'd ever think of in a place that doesn't serve liquor.

                  2. re: BobB

                    I'd say guzzle away at the Sunset Bar across the street and then hit Garlic and Lemons :)

                    1. re: Trumpetguy

                      Or you can always use a soda can full of wine...

          2. Finally got there and based on one meal (kebab/eggplant rollup on saj, and tabbouli) I'm jumping on the bandwagon. I advise a spoon for finishing the tabbouli.

            1. Garlic 'n Lemons

              Garlic 'n Lemons
              133 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134

              1. Went back for a late lunch Sunday. Outstanding. Had the spicy beef schwarma again, but a plate rather than sandwich with rice, grape leaves, and the absolutre best tabouli I've ever had. The wife had the same spicy chicken schwarma sandwich, with a side of hummos. A friend whom I sent there has an Israeli wife, and she said it was the best Middle Eastern food she's had in Boston.

                1. Experienced this place for the first time yesterday and all I can say is WOW! Best falafel outside New York City. Five shawarma machines, soujouk shawarma, too! They also have authentic Armenian pizza - Lamajun. This place enhances the ethnic diversity of eateries in the area. With great prices, an incredible array of traditional Mediterranean foods and freshness, Garlic 'n Lemons is tough to beat. It's worth the visit -- your taste buds will thank you.

                  Garlic 'n Lemons
                  133 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                  1. Stopped in last night and first have to say that these guys are really nice! I don't eat meat but they were so patient and bemused while I tried to choose falafel and sides from the--what, 12 or so?--offerings. My young meat-eating DC had the grilled chicken rollup with 3 fillings, the greek salad AND a lamejun, and pronounced everything delicious. In fact everything had that wholesome, home-cooked goodness.

                    1. Ate lunch there today. Easily best Shawarma I have had in Boston. Count me a fan.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        hang on a second here ! you have used up your quota of absolute statements for the day about 2 posts ago, therefore this cannot be the best shawarma in Boston ever ! ;) =)

                        but SRSLY, i really gotta get to this place. high up on the list along with Istanbul'u (was Constantinople'u) these days.

                        1. re: Nab

                          Yah, what can I say, chow schmoozer at heart ;-)

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            so glad you liked it too. I suggested it as an addition to your fabulous list and think it deserves a place there. and thanks to allstonian for bringing it to my attention on CH, early on.

                            1. re: teezeetoo

                              I believe it's already on the voluminous list.

                      2. thanks to all you CHs and the boston food press, we had a delicious time at Garlic 'n Lemons today. as usual, we did a pretty thorough menu sweep.

                        --Spicy chicken shwarma rollup on the thinner crispy Saj bread.
                        A really unique experience of textures and robust flavors with tomato, beet radish, shredded lettuce, garlic sauce, all mixed with juicy marinated chicken shwarma. (This was so superior to the eggplant burger(sujek) rollup and the spiced chicken kebab rollup(both served as naked kebab on bread)- that this is what we will keep with.)What a huge difference that saj bread makes!

                        --2 soups of the day- red lentil and chicken rice tomato- were both very hearty and well flavored.

                        -- Mousaka (not the casserole as in Greece)- rich cold 'stew' of eggplant, onion,chickpeas, tomato sauce. The Egyptian Aziza further down Harvard- also does an excellent version of this.
                        -- Couscous (not, it's actually bulghur)flavored with tomato sauce,onion, parsley.....
                        --Babaganoosh- smoky, creamy perfect
                        --Spiced fried potatoes (our only not-cold side)Unique and so flavorful

                        Other Good dishes:
                        --Tabouli- primarily parsley and lemon, w/ a bit of cracked wheat/bulghur
                        -- cucumber tomato feta salad

                        Not again:
                        spiced chicken kebab rollup and eggplant sujek rollup. not bad tasting or anything; just nothing special compared to the textures and flavors of the chicken shwarma rollup.

                        Did not try any of the desserts.(i detest rosewater and wasn't in the mood for the baklava type things)

                        Friendly helpful people. Atmosphere bright and light filled (though they need to do a better job cleaning up and bussing tables.) A much better room experience than Aziza(no, really?)

                        Looking forward to many return visits,thanks to youall.

                        Garlic 'n Lemons
                        133 Harvard Ave, Boston, MA 02134

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          i love the spicy chicken shwarma on the saj - i think this is such a neat place - i also hate rosewater. family story about that: 50 years ago in NY we had a favorite little Pakistani restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue around 106th street. the owners were darlings and they insisted on giving us desert free it was always a rosewater custard. I was young and ate it because i didn't want to be rude. I've tried hard never to touch the stuff again.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef

                            btw, if any of you are tempted to stop at the Brazilian bakery next door, I advise you NOT to purchase the chicken empanadas and chicken cone- shaped pastry. They both have the flavor profile of a thick matte of wood shavings.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              "thick matte of wood shavings" ... hmmm ... Ash or Elm?

                              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                brazilian rosewood. (you asked for it :)

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Brazilian rosewood is a prized material used for guitar-making. Most guitars that have real Brazilian rosewood back and sides fetch upwards of $3000 or more. If those empanadas really tasted like it, I'd try it just to see

                          2. I guess I'm going to be the one naysayer for this place. I've tried it twice because it's close and people were raving about it. The first time I got the chicken shawarma sandwhich and a spinach pie. iThe chicken tasted like it had been sitting at the steam table for awhile. The spinach pie was OK but nothing to rave about. I figured maybe it was an off night? Second time I ordered falafel just to make sure I got something NOT from the steamtable and it was served to me cold(?) Falafel should never be served cold. I also found the menu confusing and the dining area dirty. I don't understand how people think this is better than Shawarma King or Rami's or any number of other places.

                            Shawarma King
                            Brookline, MA, Brookline, MA

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: nachovegas

                              I'll join you in this. I ordered a beef and lamb shwarma and it was meh. Not bad, just not something I would return for. In contrast, the gyro sandwich from Esperia (Washington Street in Brighton) was excellent with the kind of bread that i'm hearing on this thread.

                              1. re: gourmaniac

                                Every time I poke my head in, the spits look sad. Which, of course, is a sign of its wild popularity, but I do wonder - when they're all shaved down and not crispy-caramelized, do they give 'em some fire on the grill/griddle ? I am very curious to try the place, but always walk out at the sight of the spits thinking my timing is bad.

                                1. re: Nab

                                  Nab, if you're referring to Esperia, they griddle the shavings to crisp and carmelize and it's pretty good. I would try it. The only other items I've had are the pastitsio and moussaka and both were good and generous.

                                  1. re: gourmaniac

                                    Hey g - whoops, sorry, I'd meant to say it was Garlicky Lemons that I was referring to, but thanks for the Esperia look, as it had somehow fallen off my radar.

                              2. re: nachovegas

                                I didn't witness the steam table - my spicy chicken shwarma was carved off the meat on the rotating spit... Yea, it was damn good!

                                1. re: okra

                                  I think timing is everything at this place. When I went in the first time, it was mid-day, very busy, and the chicken was being carved in nice crispy bits off the spit. Another time I popped my head in later in the afternoon and things looked quite wan. Place was sparkling clean both times though.

                                  I wouldn't say it's better than shawarma king, but it's another good option in Allston/Brighton restaurantville.

                              3. Garlic n lemons, sing the bells of St Clement's!

                                (Why has no one said this yet?)

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                  i know this just cannot be a riff on the bells of rhimney (sp.) and i know that i don't know what this is.

                                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                                    It's from an English nursery rhyme. The actual lyrics start "Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement's."


                                    1. re: BobB

                                      thnx bob! sounds like good stuff for spy code!