A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains.
Last month, we set out in search of Middle Eastern delis and kebab shops, and found find so many we only made it halfway through the alphabet. This month, we pick up where we left off.
8204-111 Tryon Woods Drive, Cary
Run by a charming couple from Egypt, this Cary newcomer serves up scratch-made Middle Eastern fare accented by the traditional flavors of the owners’ native country.
Try: Koshari (traditional Egyptian medley of rice, noodles and lentils), tagon lahma (beef simmered with apricots, plums, almonds, caramelized onions and spices), house-baked pastries.
Nur Mediterranean Deli & Market
2233-108 Avent Ferry Road, Raleigh
Don’t let the generic strip mall location fool you. Open since 1980, this deceptively modest-looking shop in Mission Valley is a local landmark.
Try: Chicken gyro, lamb shank platter, flatbread pies (five variations from spinach to lahmajun: minced beef, tomatoes, onions and parsley).
6091 Capital Blvd., Raleigh
They cater to a wide variety of tastes at Petra Grill, where you can get anything from gyro to a club sandwich on pita. Even the kids’s menu includes grilled cheese, chicken nuggets and kebabs.
Try: Chicken shawarma, gyro, veggie sampler (grape leaves, hummus, baba ghanoush, falafel).
1129 Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill
Pita Grill’s extensive, eclectic offerings include Greek lasagna, grilled chicken with artichokes, and pretty much anything you can think of in a flatbread wrap, from chicken souvlaki to hot pastrami and Swiss.
Try: Chicken avocado wrap, chicken souvlaki, homemade baklava.
9650 Strickland Road, Raleigh; 1347 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary
919-847-2700 (Raleigh); 919-300-5586 (Cary)
Brought to you by the locally legendary Lebanese-American family that owns Neomonde (though they’re not connected except through familial bonds), Sassool raises the ante with house-baked pita still warm from the oven.
Try: Four-item sampler (choice of salads, dips and hot items), spinach carré (fresh spinach, onion, feta, lemon juice, olive oil and spices baked inside a rectangle of pita dough).
1459 Beaver Creek Crossings, Apex
Located near the cineplex in the Beaver Creek mega-shopping complex, Sultan’s Deli is an oasis of fresh, healthy fare in a desert of national chain restaurants.
Try: Steak and lamb kofta sandwich, Lebanese chicken kebab platter (with baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, falafel, hummus and grilled pita).
5645 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh
Friendly staff, a broad selection and consistent execution have made this cheery little eatery a North Raleigh favorite ever since it opened in 2013.
Try: Stuffed sweet bell peppers, chicken shawarma wrap, Tarbouch platter (choice of three sides or salads), baklava.
6325 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh; 10940 Raven Ridge Road, Raleigh
919-872-7161 (Falls of Neuse); 919-845-7772 (Raven Ridge)
The original Taza Grill in Sutton Square has proved so enduringly popular that another location opened a few years ago on Raven Ridge Road. Visit either one, and you’ll understand why they’re both still packing them in.
Try: Lamb platter, vegetarian platter (anything with hummus, actually), beef kebabs, chicken salad pita.
The Urban Turban
2757 N.C. 55, Cary
Mixed in among the expected Greek and Lebanese fare, temptations include Indian, Pakistani, even the occasional northern African dish – all beckoning to you from an all-you-can-eat buffet. Probably not the place to go if you’re on a diet.
Try: Turn off your calorie counter, grab a plate and dig in. Follow your whim, but don’t miss the Moroccan lentil soup if it’s on offer.
Who else made the list?
Here are the restaurants Greg Cox picked last month.
▪ Al Baraka, 3815 Hillsborough St., Raleigh. 919-758-8118. albarakagrill.com
▪ Baba Ghannouj, 2468 Walnut St., Cary. 919-233-0907. babaghannoujcary.net
▪ Cilantro Grill, 5400-102 S. Miami Blvd., Durham. 919-472-2424. cilantro-grill.com
▪ Falafel 54, 2105-AA NC Hwy. 54, Durham. 919-237-1635. falafel54.com
▪ Flame Kabob, 7961-110 Skyland Drive, Raleigh. 919-596-2525. flamekabob.com
▪ Gussy’s Place, 2945-121 S. Miami Blvd., Durham. 984-439-8455. gussys.com
▪ Hummus Cafe, 962-A Airport Blvd., Morrisville. 919-650-1601. hummuscafenc.com
▪ Jasmin, Multiple locations; see jasminbistro.com
▪ Mediterranean Deli, 410 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill. 919-967-2666. mediterraneandeli.com
▪ Neomonde, 3817 Beryl Road, Raleigh. 919-828-1628. 10235 Chapel Hill Road, Morrisville. 919-466-8100. A third location will open in Durham in the base of the new Unscripted Hotel this fall. neomonde.com