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#31
Posted February 12th 2009, 3:02pm
Just back from a very good lunch @ Albawadi. I didnt have my camera, so no pics.

We enjoyed everything that was served including the eggplant/tomato taster that was brought to our table after arriving. We also ordered Foul Moudammas, Arayes with cheese, and the mixed grill. All items were flavorfull, and very good. I particularly liked the humus and babaganouj. The beef shish kabob was very flavorfull & tender, and the kafta kabob was another favorite.

All in all I really enjoyed this visit, and will definitely be back.

I am also glad to have another good option within striking distance of Burr Ridge for lunch.
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#32
Posted February 13th 2009, 3:33pm
With the mensef at Steve's and the grilled items at Al Bawadi you have to wonder why anyone would bother eating Middle Eastern food anywhere except the southwest suburbs. I had a very nice lunch at Al Bawadi last week with Mike G and PIGMON. Just about everything we ordered was excellent.

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This merguez-like sausage would be good on its own but the shallow pool of tart and spicy sauce put it on a different level.

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I think it's pretty much agreed that the charcoal grilled items are one of Al Bawadi's strengths. This aggressively seasoned and expertly cooked quail, served with two perfect rice preparations, is another bit of supporting evidence. A third type of rice came with the stuffed lamb (a special of the day).

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The toshka was the only dish I didn't love (but every bit got eaten). I think I'd prefer it without all that cheese so next time I'll try the arayes with meat, which I think is similar.

Great place!

Al Bawadi Grill
7216 W 87th St
Bridgeview IL
708-599-1999
http://www.albawadigrill.com/
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#33
Posted February 23rd 2009, 11:09pm
Few things could be simpler than pita-- flour, water, yeast, oil, salt, bake-- and yet it's the simple things that find greatness. After our lunch at Albawadi a week back I grabbed a bag of fresh pita at Al-Amal Grocery, from Al-Watan Bakery on 63rd St.

And let me tell you, there's nothing I've had a craving for this week more than one of those pitas tossed in the oven for a few minutes, then used to scoop up a little Chef Earl's hummus. What's better about this pita than the ones at Whole Foods? I can't tell you exactly. All I know is, man, they're good-- spongier, fluffier, breadier, pita-ier. Better, lots better.

Al Watan Bakery
3326 W. 63rd St.
Chicago, IL 60629
773-737-2722
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#34
Posted February 25th 2009, 4:55pm
I live about 10 minutes away from Albawadi (actually smack dab between Steves Shish Kabbob on Roberts Road and Albawadi on Harlem)and Ive been curious about it since it opened. Im pretty new to middle eastern food, but it looks delicious.

I have to say after these reviews, I think Ill be trying it pretty soon. It looks delicious!

BTW, I seriously want to say that the building used to be a Taco Bell about 6 years ago, then I think it might have been a florist shop and was once an Arbys I believe.
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#35
Posted February 25th 2009, 10:52pm
Mike G wrote:
And let me tell you, there's nothing I've had a craving for this week more than one of those pitas tossed in the oven for a few minutes, then used to scoop up a little Chef Earl's hummus.



The hummus I bought from here makes one wish to forget you ever even heard of Chef Earl (IMHO).

I lost my earlier post. I don't get out to this area much, but I was there yesterday and I will be back tomorrow morning.

I stumbled on a charming market, Al-Aqsa where I picked up pita, a tub of olives, hummus, and some ripe persimmons yesterday. Yesterday was my second visit there.



Al-Aqsa
8515 S. Harlem Avenue
Burbank, Il 60459
708.599.4393

Open every day 9am-10pm (close at 8pm on Sunday
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#36
Posted February 28th 2009, 7:55pm
After attending The Haute Cuisine of Ancient Mesopotamia at the Oriental Institute we were all jonesing for some Mesopotamian chow. We decided Al Bawadi was about as close as we were going to get.

Although mensef, the daily special, tempted us greatly we decided on the Large Mixed Meat Platter ($74.99). The menu says this feeds five but seven or eight hungry adults seems more accurate. After the usual complementary plate of appetizers we were served dishes of hummus, baba ghanouj, fatoush and motawma. We were getting reasonably full when The Platter arrived.

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Peeling back the blanket of markook revealed a huge mound of rice studded with virtually every grilled meat on the menu: shish tawook, kufta kebab, shish kebab, chicken shawerma, lamb & beef shawerma and quail. Grilled lamb chops on a bed of onions were served separately.

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Excellent food, impressive presentation and a pretty good deal.

Al Bawadi Grill
7216 W 87th St
Bridgeview IL
708-599-1999
http://www.albawadigrill.com/
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#37
Posted February 28th 2009, 8:19pm
Holy Crap!!!!
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#38
Posted February 28th 2009, 9:08pm
Hi,

What you may not appreciate is the sense of scale of this platter. It was probably 24 inches long and maybe 15 inches wide with that all that meat arranged on top of two different kinds of rice.

The motawma, which the menu advised was pureed garlic and potatoes, was my favorite new dish. I love whipped cream. I love garlic. The motawma had the consistency of whipped cream, although it was whipped cream with a heady garlic taste. When everyone else declared the dish finished and ready for transport back to the kitchen. I grabbed it and a piece of bread to wipe the last bit of motawma.

The only thing I was not excited about was the hummos, which had an evaporated milk aftertaste to it.

Otherwise I cannot wait to return.

Regards,
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"You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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#39
Posted February 28th 2009, 11:34pm
The only thing I was not excited about was the hummos


This seems to be a frequent complaint about this otherwise fabulous restaurant.
Perhaps the chef visits this site & is aware of this thread? If so, please less tahini, more chick peas !
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#40
Posted February 28th 2009, 11:47pm
As I said above, I had it that way so frequently down there that I have to think it's the style for Palestinians and Syrians.

Oh well, just order baba ghanoush instead. I think that's usually better, or at least has the potential to be, in a restaurant anyway.
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What are the charred orangey things on the edge of the platter? Sweet potatoes?

That is an astounding plate.
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In the front it's the quail, there are also grilled tomatoes.
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After my one visit to Al Bawadi a couple of weeks ago, and my wife tasting the leftovers from my excellent lunch, we have been anticipating our return visit for lunch on Friday 3/20. I cant wait to eat more of that grilled meat.
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pairs4life wrote:
I stumbled on a charming market, Al-Aqsa where I picked up pita, a tub of olives, hummus, and some ripe persimmons yesterday. Yesterday was my second visit there.


The olives are worth the trip alone. A tub of them packed in oil, complete with their pits, was a mere $5.99. They are quite good. They are better than all the fancy oil-packed ones I have purchased from Whole Foods and Fox and Obel and the price is right!

We keep them on the counter, and when my husband first opened them he warned me to go easy. They are accessible, infectious, and delicious.

Al-Aqsa
8515 S. Harlem Avenue
Burbank, Il 60459
708.599.4393

Open every day 9am-10pm (close at 8pm on Sunday)
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Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
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Mike G wrote:Image

Village Pita & Bakery
This small shop would have been easy to miss in the same strip mall as Albawadi, but I'm glad I didn't. They sell a variety of baked goods stuffed or topped with things like za'atar (a green spice of herbs and sesame) or mohamara (a spicy red pepper topping), dirt cheap and, if not mindblowing, totally easy to like. Not surprisingly, it was the one place where I saw non-Arab customers— the Irish kid delivering Pepsi chimed in to urge me to try the potato filled one. The owner (you can see his picture at Time Out's site) clearly takes serious pride in his wares, as he was very insistent, almost worriedly so, that I not under any circumstances microwave the ones I took away (hey, I'd already had two lunches), but warm them on a cookie sheet in the oven. I did, they made a great dinner that night.

Village Pita & Bakery
7378 W 87th St, Bridgeview
(708) 237-0020

I stopped here over the weekend while on the way further south for a BBQ at a friends house. I had mentioned I was going to bring something and he rolls his eyes every time I bring something foreign.

We picked up about 7 treats to share and even my friend was impressed with their tastiness. :)
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had lunch at al-bawadi this weekend. Was down in the neighborhood for a soccer game and hit it up for an earlyish lunch.

while the food was very good, it wasn't better by a large margin than a number of similar restaurants, though that maybe is attributable to the the fact that they seemed to be just getting started for the day. I did quite enjoy the little complimentary platter of "smushed eggplant" and olives.

While I might not drive all the way down there solely for Al-Bawadi, knowing about it defintely was nice - thanks for this thread and all the reports.

One more data point: Afterwards looking for my favorite middle-eastern dessert of khoulaj I got into a discussion with the proprietress? of Al-Bawadi. After giving us a fairly comprehensive listing of the nearby bakeries, she said her favortie for sweets was Nablus on 83rd and Harlem. Since I didn't try all the others I can verify to its supremacy, but it was very very good. I did get the sense that it fucntions mainly as a wholesaler to restaurants and stores as they were somewhat befuddle by the question of how much per piece the koulaj was and I had the feeling the price (and quantities) might vary from day to day or depending on who was at the counter . . .
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Since I typically do not go to work with my camera I did not have it when I made another lunchtime trip to Al Bawadi. Sorry no pics.

At about 11:15 we were the only customers in the place, and they have pretty much completed their expansion project. A dining room easily double the existing one seemed finished.

The food, I love this place, from the complimentary dish to munch on, to the hummus, the babagnoush, the motawama, the grilled items and the rice, they knock it out of the park on each imho.

The motawama, I would never guess there were potatoes in this dish based on the flavor, and consisitancy. THe server told me that it was simply potatoes, garlic, whipped egg whites, lemon juice, and seasonings. Awesome dish.

The hummus was very good again, and I am acquiring a tase for babagnoush.

The grilled platter was as good as last time, medium rare shish-ke-bob, flavorfull kafta, chicken, and shawerma.

Great service, very good food, it is the best lunch place I have found that is in striking distance of my work in that area.
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Wow. Just wow.

The husband loves Mediterranean food. He called on date night to say that's what he wanted, and I pulled up this thread to find a place. It's a haul from our house, so we can't go too often. However, he was so entranced that we returned on Sunday. We tried the mixed grill, which comes with hummus and that baba thing, falafel, Arabic salad, stuffed grape leaves, and more. But the revelation to him was the whipped potato dish (tried because of Cathy2's rec.) We had four carryout trays in the end.

On Sunday we brought the very picky grandmother, and she liked it even more than he did. She instantly noted that the place is halal, and prefers that style of meat prep. We switched up a bit and got the very tender chicken, hummus and returned to our favorites - falafel and motawma, and added the sausage. We only had two carryouts this time!

Now the grandmother wants to bring her Chinese Muslim cook friend to try it. Then they can discuss the spices and ingredients with their "proper" names. Both she and the husband have become true LTH believers. It used to be tough to get him to try new places, and she was convinced that most American places are crap. Thank you very much!

Sincerely,
Chinois
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another very good lunch @ Al Bawadi today. The dining room was the busiest I have seen it which makes me happy.

I shared the following with one other diner:

- motawma - awesome as always, this fluffy potato, and garlic dish is awesome with pita, the meat, or anything
- sausages - nice dish with lemon, and garlic, and flavorfull bites of sausage
- falafel - my first time trying this and I thought it was pretty good, as is anything deep fried
- hummus - a solid version imho
- babganouj - a solid version of this dish imho
- the mixed grill - nice beef kabob, perfectly cooked and tender meat. The kefta kabob is another favorite. The chicken, and shwarma is also good. I really like the dish is served with 2 kinds of rice.

It was a real feast for 2 with alot leftover.
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here are the pics of my very good lunch @ Al Bawadi, sure this place is down south, and off the beaten path, but it is the best food anywhere in this area. And being in the suburbs, parking isnt an issue

comp appetizer:
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motawama:
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babaganouj/hummus:
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falafel:
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sausage app:
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grill plattter:
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thanks for looking, folks gotta check this place out.
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#51
Posted November 7th 2009, 12:25am
We took a long trip down here to try Albawadi Grill after seeing its GNR win. They had the plaque proudly displayed on the counter, and even offered to show us their kitchen setup when they saw us reading the plaque (still can't find it on LTH, oddly). Nice!

We ordered a Grilled Meat Platter and a side of Muthawama (as it was spelled on the menu). Loved the bottomless bowl of pita which we made good use of on the Muthawama. This is similar to the Greek skorthalia, but a bit lighter on the garlic. Hummus and baba ghanoush came with the meat platter. Both were good, the hummus having a taste reminiscent of peanut butter. We enjoyed the grilled meats and rice, but were disappointed in the shwarma: at first we thought it was just bits of the kabob that had fallen off, because there was so little on the plate. Overall they were unappealing and very dry. It was a small misstep in an otherwise very delicious meal. I'd go back if I was ever in the area.
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#52
Posted January 19th 2011, 3:19pm
Had a killer good Lamb platter from Al Basha today. Lamb was served cut up a bit on top of rice.
Serving was large... pita, humus and salad were included. Great meal for the day!
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#53
Posted January 30th 2011, 8:47pm
Went to Al Bawadi today for lunch. Inside of this joint is way tricked out....sat in the older part with the cool tent like tables. Had a VERY good lunch...good timez all around!

Stuffed grape leaves AKA dolmades - Nice I liked these
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Humus
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Mixed Grill with lamb shish kebab, kafta kebab, chicken kebab & sahwerma. I forget the names of the rice, the brownish one was very good (bottom), the yellow not so good (top)...kafta kebab was great, the star of the show.
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Little sprout chicken kiddy kebab
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Al Bawadi Grill
7216 W 87th Street
Bridgeview, IL 60455
708-599-1999
http://www.albawadigrill.com/
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#54
Posted January 30th 2011, 11:11pm
A friendly word of warning that Al Bawadi was featured on Check, Please! this weekend and received overall positive comments. IOW, it may be busier than usual for the next few weeks, which is great for them.

=R=
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GNR Sultan
Made my first trip out to Al Bawadi recently. It's not often that I'm out this way, but I'm glad to have the GNR list handy for just such an occasion.

To start, the plate of appetizers they give you while you look over the menu is awesome. The pickled vegetables were perfectly crunchy and tangy without being too salty (a very common problem in middle eastern pickles). Even better than that was the smoked eggplant with tomato that was gone seconds after it hit the table. You know a restaurant is doing something good when the free appetizers are getting rave reviews.

We started off with an order of fattoush and motawma. The fattoush was good but oversauced and the pitas got soggy quickly. Still it had plenty of fresh parsley and the right balance of sumak and lemon juice. The motawma (I think it's the same as toum, never heard of motawma before) was spectacular. We should've ordered it with the meats because it would be the perfect side dish for kebabs. As hard as I tried, it was simply too good for us to save any for the next course.

For meats we ordered the shish kabob, kufta kabob, and the mix plate of shawarma. Both of the kabobs were top notch. They were tender and juicy, and clearly tasted like they were cooked over wood (it makes a big difference). As good as everything else was, I have to say I was disappointed by the shawarmas. While they were tender, and thus avoided the unforgivable sin of dry shawarma, they lacked the crispy exterior and assertive spicing I associate with great shawarma. Not sure if this was an off night, but after everything else was so well prepared, it was kind of a let down to get bland shawarma.

Not sure when I'll make it to Bridgeview next, but I wouldn't hesitate to return.
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#56
Posted October 31st 2011, 9:14am
Rene G wrote:With the mensef at Steve's and the grilled items at Al Bawadi you have to wonder why anyone would bother eating Middle Eastern food anywhere except the southwest suburbs. I had a very nice lunch at Al Bawadi last week with Mike G and PIGMON. Just about everything we ordered was excellent.


Easily the best Arabic food my wife and I have had in ages was also in Bridgeview, I mean Worth, but not at Al Bawadi. We ate last night at Almawal. A place, I'm guessing based on lack of coverage, relatively new. We were kinda on our way to Al Bawadi but turned in at the first strip mall that looked good. And this place struck us as chowdar worthy.

It was! Now, going back through this thread, and the Al Bawadi pics, I wonder if there is some kinda connection between the two places, like maybe someone at Almawal (note, they spell it that way, not Al Mawal) worked at Al Bawadi. Not the least, the eggplant salad with the pickles is very similar looking. It's been a few years, at least, since I've been to Al Bawadi, so I cannot fully compare eggplant to eggplant, but this gratis salad, quite spicey and like I make, was about my favorite thing eaten.

Not that most everything else was not very good too. And such a deal! We ordered the Almwal mixed grill and the whole grilled chicken. We were warned that the grilled chicken would take 45 minutes. That was fine as we mostly wanted that dish as something to take back to the kids. By the time we ate the mixed grill, including the baba and humus that comes with it, and I mean not finishing the mixed grill, we had no room for the awesome platter of chicken and rice that came to us. We packed it nearly all a way. With a glass of tea and an outstandingly tart lime (a/k/a lemon) drink, the bill came to $37. There's a meal for four in our fridge.

The menu notes daily meal for $11.99. We never got around to asking about that. I'm guessing it's good. There's a few things on the menu not always seen around town, spleen sandwich anyone, as well as some amusing translations: kodseya is "hummus with food."

Almawal
10718 S. Harlem
Worth, IL
708-361-5100
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#57
Posted November 5th 2011, 11:59am
I have hit Almawal in Worth a few times now. Saw bags of Royal Oak lump on a recent visit.
Tried there humus ($4.25 large order, 2-4 pita w/sides of pickles N things included), grape leaves, foul, kodseya, chicken shaweman and kufta keba pita/wrap and duh kids chicken fingers. Never a bad meal, all good worth a stop if your in or near the friendly village of Worth....for sure!
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#58
Posted November 8th 2011, 11:12am
Vital Information wrote:Now, going back through this thread, and the Al Bawadi pics, I wonder if there is some kinda connection between the two places, like maybe someone at Almawal (note, they spell it that way, not Al Mawal) worked at Al Bawadi. Not the least, the eggplant salad with the pickles is very similar looking. It's been a few years, at least, since I've been to Al Bawadi, so I cannot fully compare eggplant to eggplant, but this gratis salad, quite spicey and like I make, was about my favorite thing eaten.


Tremendous detective work and speculation there, Mr. Vital Info!

According to my waitress (the daughter of the owner) her father was the original owner of Al Bawadi as well as being somehow affiliated with The Nile Restaurant on 63rd St. some years back. She also said that Almawal has been open for about a year now. The split sounded somewhat nasty as she felt compelled to mention that "Mexicans are running the kitchen at Al Bawadi now..."

My lunch at Almawal yesterday was quite good, with the chicken shawarma sandwich being the clear standout item. I also had the musabaha (Whole Chickpea Hummus), Arab salad, and falafel...I like to test the basics out whenever I first try a restaurant but I can assure you that I'll definitely be digging into this menu soon.
Last edited by PIGMON on November 16th 2011, 3:46am, edited 1 time in total.
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#59
Posted November 8th 2011, 3:18pm
I also stopped in on Saturday. My eldest son will be having biweekly meetings in Chicago Ridge for the next several months, about a mile and a half east of Almawal, and I happened to see this thread before driving him there that afternoon. I just grabbed a falafel sandwich to go as a snack since I had a couple more things to do in the area before picking him up again. It was more of a falafel burrito, or a grilled wrap I suppose; a very thin flatbread wrapped around a filling of broken up pieces of falafel, tomatoes, tahini sauce, probably some other things, lettuce maybe? and griddled to a nice crispness. I was a little dehydrated* and the sandwich seemed a bit dry to me, but might not under other circumstances. It was tasty enough. I don't know that I'd go out of my way to check it out again, but since I'll be in the area regularly in the near future, I'll likely stop back in to check out the shawerma or some hummus or something. Seems like a no-brainer for a pretty good $5 lunch in the area.

*this is a euphemism for hungover, sh don't tell anyone
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#60
Posted November 15th 2011, 5:39pm
I had a chance to try Almawal and thought it very good overall. Many dishes seemed identical to Al Bawadi's but a few fell a little short of what I remember.

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Eggplant relish and torshi seem identical. One of the nicest free starters anywhere.

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Also identical is the muthawama, another favorite from Al Bawadi. This garlic fluff is great.

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The sausage is similar but the sauce lacks the citrus zip I recall.

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Ultra-crispy falafel is some of the best around.

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I think I enjoyed the stuffed version, filled with spicy fried veggies, even more.

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Stuffed spleen is an option but I'm glad we ordered the smaller sandwich instead. I ate my portion but feel no need to order it again.

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I wasn't wild about Al Bawadi's toshka and this similar arayes didn't wow me either.

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Fateh humus, incorporating toasted pita, is an excellent version.

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Roast chicken was the only real disappointment of the meal. I suppose it was cooked over coals but it sure didn't taste like it. Just a boring bird. Very good rice though.

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Almawal Restaurant
10718 S Harlem Av
Worth IL
708-361-5100
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