Sunday, June 21, 2015

Mediterranean Bakery and Sandwich - North Hills

Mediterranean Bakery and Sandwich is a small Lebanese grocery store that can be found at 3362 Chamble-Tucker Rd, Atlanta GA 30341 in the tired North Hills shopping center. If you've been around as long as me you'll remember when there was a Kroger at this location - much of the architecture for the Kroger-as-anchor-store is still there and recognizable, only the main building is now a Big Lots. If you're traveling on I285 exist West and you'll see a McDonald's on your right - the shopping center is right behind it. Alternatively, if you're traveling on I85 exist Chamble-Tucker Rd and travel East - the road will wind North a bit. Within a mile or so you'll see a series of business on your left - the North Hills shopping center is also on your left before you get to the ramps for I285.



I'm a bit hesitant to review this place because I don't want it to become so busy it's impossible to visit. I've been piling on the praise of this small grocery store for many years - this whole shopping complex has an unusual number of very good ethnic restaurants and it all started with Mediterranean Bakery. Since I live about a mile from this place I've had plenty of opportunity to sample them all. Although the place has some very interesting retail foods (many common American brand snacks made with real sugar and not that crappy high-fructose corn syrup crap), the real treat is the lunch counter. Here you'll find Lebanese style Mediterranean food like swarma, felafel and the like. You line up and order at the counter - they take credit cards - and you're food is prepared like magic within a few minutes. There's a limited number of tables inside but there's also tables under the covered awning for overflow.

My favorites on the menu:

Chicken Shawarma - this is the real deal here folks. The pieces come on a bed of rice with a few Lebanese pickles (these can be a bit harsh but lately they've been supplying some that are more palatable to Americans). I like to get this as a platter with two sides - the baba ghanouj and the Greek salad. What makes the chicken shawarma special is the garlic spread - it's simply delicious. From what I can tell, it's pureed garlic with a bit of lemon and salt. Your taste buds will thank you even if you're coworkers don't.

Chicken Shawarma with Greek Salad and Baba Ghanouj (garlic spread in small container)
Beef Shawarma - many of my friends like this better than the chicken - it's really dripping-down-your-arm juicy as a wrap, but then again you don't get the garlic spread...

Shish Kabob -juicy bits of beef - what more can you ask for?

Shish Kabob with Greek salad and fries

Chicken Kabob - another favorite of most of my friends (sorry but I get stuck on the chicken shawarma) - 

Lamb Kabob - the lamb here is delicious.

Lamb Kabob with Baba Ghanouj and Fatoush Salad
Felafel - very good felafels here with good flavor. I've found better but these always work for me and you can get a couple as one of your sides.

Chicken Shawarma with Baba Ghanouj and Felafel
Baba Ghanouj - delightfully smoky and smooth - perhaps the best version of eggplant I've ever experienced.

The Hummos here is silky smooth and flavorful, the Fatoush and Greek salads fresh and the tabouli very freshly made - you can't go wrong with any of these.

Chicken Shawarma with Fatoush salad and Hummos
Don't be fooled by the styro-plates and plastic forks - Mediterranean Bakery and Sandwich has great food and very good prices. You can also get just about every spread as a carry-out in pints or larger. Also, take a look at their breads - I'm not sure where they get their pita but it's very good.

In any case, give this place a try - you'll be glad you did.

-- John

(shorter review also posted to Yelp)
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