Like thousands of others, after watching The Avengers movie in theater last year, I left wanting to eat shawerma.
That led to me buying a google offer for Aladdin, a Lebanese restaurant, which offers shawerma on their menu.
Aladdin Meza Platter ($27) Hommos, tabouleh, baba ghanouj, chicken and lamb shawerma, dolma, falafels, aladdin’s hot sauce, garlic sauce, pickles, served with pita bread
To get a good idea of what the restaurant has to offer, we started with the Meza platter, which offers almost a little of everything in the restaurant. I’m not sure why this was listed in the entree section instead of the appetizer section, since it was recommended to us as an appetizer.
This was a lot of food. We actually had a hard time choosing entrees after this because a lot of the ones we were considering were already covered in this platter.
One thing I noticed was that a lot of the dishes had a strong lemon taste. Unfortunately, I don’t really like lemon in my food, so I found a lot of the dishes to be pleasant until the sour acidic taste of the lemons hit. My favorite ones ended up being the non-lemon flavored dishes. Here’s some close-ups of some of the appetizers:
Chicken and Lamb shawerma!
This was my main reason for coming and while it wasn’t what I expected, I did enjoy it. The strips of lamb and chicken were lean and tender and marinated in various spices.
Shish Kabob Mix ($23) Three skewers of chicken, koufta and lamb tika served with basmati rice, garlic sauce, hommos, lebanese salad, and freshly baked pita bread
Here’s the starter salad:
Since we had already covered the shawerma in the appetizer, I ended up choosing kabob for my main entree. I couldn’t decide which one I wanted and luckily there was an option for three different ones. The chicken was very moist. The koufta was quite salty. The lamb was okay, but a little tough to chew because it was cooked so well done and it had a lot of char.
Koufta Kabob ($19) Two skewers of ground beef mixed with onions, parsley, and seven spices.
Strangely, while my koufta had been a salt mine, DH’s was just fine.
We barely made a dent into our entrees after all those filling appetizers, so there was a lot of leftovers.
The service here was quite friendly. We liked the decor, especially the heavy metal plated tables.
I haven’t had much experience with lebanese cuisine so I don’t know how this is in terms of authenticity. My favorite part was actually the shawerma. I thought this place was pleasant but I didn’t love it. I previously ate at Alforon and had enjoyed the food there a little better in terms of flavors and spices.
3900 Vermont Street
San Diego, CA 92103