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Petra Cafe

Petra Cafe
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  • Petra Cafe

    Post #1 - January 31st, 2005, 2:53 pm
    Post #1 - January 31st, 2005, 2:53 pm Post #1 - January 31st, 2005, 2:53 pm
    I was walking back to the office on Franklin between Van Buren and Jackson and noticed this small, storefront Middle Eastern restaurant. Has anyone tried it? Any recommendations from the menu? Prices are reasonable but there were very few diners inside.
  • Post #2 - January 31st, 2005, 3:03 pm
    Post #2 - January 31st, 2005, 3:03 pm Post #2 - January 31st, 2005, 3:03 pm
    Amata and I have had lunch there a couple of times. I would say it is serviceable: at least some of the stuff is pretty good and if one wants Middle Eastern in that neck of downtown, I don't know that there is any better option nearby. But it's not up to the quality of, for example, some of the Middle Eastern places up in Albany Park. At the moment, I can't remember specifically what we had; perhaps Amata can fill in.

    Antonius
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #3 - January 31st, 2005, 3:08 pm
    Post #3 - January 31st, 2005, 3:08 pm Post #3 - January 31st, 2005, 3:08 pm
    This is one of my regular lunch places. I like it; not because it's the greatest middle-eastern food, but because it's better than the other choices within walking distance. They have a different special everyday, which are the same each week. Go for those.
    there's food, and then there's food
  • Post #4 - January 31st, 2005, 3:38 pm
    Post #4 - January 31st, 2005, 3:38 pm Post #4 - January 31st, 2005, 3:38 pm
    I've been to Petra. It's OK. I prefer Haifa Cafe near Clark and Van Buren. Haifa has the benefit of roast turkey, but the Middle Eastern standards are about the same with perhaps the slight edge to Petra. I wish I could give better detail, but I haven't been there in a while. Definitely worth a trip though.

    Below is a link to a discussion of other lunchtime options in that part of the Loop:

    http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.ph ... =van+buren
  • Post #5 - January 31st, 2005, 3:59 pm
    Post #5 - January 31st, 2005, 3:59 pm Post #5 - January 31st, 2005, 3:59 pm
    Antonius wrote:At the moment, I can't remember specifically what we had; perhaps Amata can fill in.


    I don't remember what Antonius had the last time we were there, but I believe he liked his lunch better than I liked my chicken shawerma. In general I preferred Petra under the previous owners than its current incarnation (Israeli owners; daily specials include some Moroccan dishes, as I recall). But I'm sure LTHers who work near that corner of the loop can add more up-to-date details.
  • Post #6 - February 1st, 2005, 11:57 am
    Post #6 - February 1st, 2005, 11:57 am Post #6 - February 1st, 2005, 11:57 am
    I'll have to try it on my next walk to area of downtown. Thanks to everyone for the feedback.
  • Post #7 - February 1st, 2005, 12:40 pm
    Post #7 - February 1st, 2005, 12:40 pm Post #7 - February 1st, 2005, 12:40 pm
    I enjoy this place as well. Unlike A&A, I thought the restaurant actually improved with the new owners....at least the service improved. :)

    Petra as some of the creamiest hummus I have ever had. I am not sure if that is a plus in your book or not....but I thought it was delicious.

    I like Haifa as well, but have not been to the new place. The old place had no seating.

    I live near Andersonville (and plenty of friends in Albany Park) so I don't indulge M.E. cravings that often downtown, but I think it is worth a stop.

    pd
    Unchain your lunch money!
  • Post #8 - February 4th, 2005, 1:10 pm
    Post #8 - February 4th, 2005, 1:10 pm Post #8 - February 4th, 2005, 1:10 pm
    I've just returned from my first ever lunch at Petra Cafe (I didn't know it existed until this thread), and it was not very good.

    I had today's special, the moroccan cous cous with veggies and beef. The cous cous itself alternated beteween dry in spots and mushy in others. The veggies were steamed past the point of recognition (except for one carrot which was a welcome burst of flavor). The beef was a flavorless disc, also overcooked. Halfway through this dish, I decided to try something else and I went for a small order of grape leaves which were significantly more flavorful but still not particularly enjoyable.

    I hope that I just ordered wrong. I intend on giving them another try for their Morroccan Chicken (tues) or just a shwarema. I've tried Haifa Cafe's dishes a few times and I find most of them barely edible (if they have what you order at all).

    Best,
    Michael / EC
  • Post #9 - February 4th, 2005, 1:56 pm
    Post #9 - February 4th, 2005, 1:56 pm Post #9 - February 4th, 2005, 1:56 pm
    I was also going to try it Tuesday for the Moroccan Chicken. I did go yesterday and had the special, which was a boneless chicken breast with spinach, feta cheese, and spices, served with rice. I thought there could have been a little more cheese, but the flavor very much reminded me of a dish I used to have years ago when I lived on a kibbutz in Israel. I can't say it was an incredible meal because, quite frankly, the food on my kibbutz was horrible, but I always liked that chicken dish and was pleased to find it at Petra Cafe.

    I really liked the hummous. It is much creamier than I have had at other places, but it was delicious. I don't think their pita is as fresh as I have had elsewhere, but I was spoiled by a little Palestinian grocery in Orland where they make it fresh every day.
  • Post #10 - July 13th, 2009, 8:22 pm
    Post #10 - July 13th, 2009, 8:22 pm Post #10 - July 13th, 2009, 8:22 pm
    Petra Cafe is gone.

    It has been replaced by "I Dream of Falafel", a "lebanese food meets Chipotle" concept that's all slick and shiny. And, surprisingly, tasty.

    You choose your base (bread, salad, hummus base, rice) your meat (shwaremas, falafel, kefta) and your sauces and condiments.

    See their menu here for more details:
    http://www.idreamoffalafel.com/files/idof-menu.pdf

    They have a bunch of side dishes like Jerusalem salad, hummus, and tabbouli (something Petra never did right--you couldn't just get a falafel and a side dish).

    I walked in fully expecting to hate this place and I acutally quite liked my kefta sandwich. Is it going to replace Salam for me? Not by a longshot. In fact, if this place were on Kedzie, I'd probably never go in. But, I grade on a curve in the loop and "I Dream of Falafel", while it may qualify for the worst-named restaurant in Chicago, is now part of my loop lunch rotation.

    Best,
    Michael

    I Dream of Falafel
    http://www.idreamoffalafel.com/
    331 S FRANKLIN ST
    CHICAGO, IL 60606
    312.913.9660
  • Post #11 - July 13th, 2009, 10:43 pm
    Post #11 - July 13th, 2009, 10:43 pm Post #11 - July 13th, 2009, 10:43 pm
    One of these is currently being renovated around the 2000 block of n. Broadway. I'm pretty sure it's a different company, but 'falafel' is in the name, and it looks like a similar concept to what eatchicago described.
    Logan: Come on, everybody, wang chung tonight! What? Everybody, wang chung tonight! Wang chung, or I'll kick your ass!
  • Post #12 - July 14th, 2009, 6:25 am
    Post #12 - July 14th, 2009, 6:25 am Post #12 - July 14th, 2009, 6:25 am
    eatchicago wrote:Petra Cafe is gone.

    It has been replaced by "I Dream of Falafel", a "lebanese food meets Chipotle" concept that's all slick and shiny. And, surprisingly, tasty.

    You choose your base (bread, salad, hummus base, rice) your meat (shwaremas, falafel, kefta) and your sauces and condiments.

    See their menu here for more details:
    http://www.idreamoffalafel.com/files/idof-menu.pdf

    They have a bunch of side dishes like Jerusalem salad, hummus, and tabbouli (something Petra never did right--you couldn't just get a falafel and a side dish).

    I walked in fully expecting to hate this place and I acutally quite liked my kefta sandwich. Is it going to replace Salam for me? Not by a longshot. In fact, if this place were on Kedzie, I'd probably never go in. But, I grade on a curve in the loop and "I Dream of Falafel", while it may qualify for the worst-named restaurant in Chicago, is now part of my loop lunch rotation.

    Best,
    Michael

    I Dream of Falafel
    http://www.idreamoffalafel.com/
    331 S FRANKLIN ST
    CHICAGO, IL 60606
    312.913.9660


    This looks good and I love lentil soup. I wonder if they have free wi-fi.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #13 - July 14th, 2009, 7:55 am
    Post #13 - July 14th, 2009, 7:55 am Post #13 - July 14th, 2009, 7:55 am
    This is right by Jaffa Bakery, which, though occasionally spotty, is very good.
  • Post #14 - July 14th, 2009, 3:49 pm
    Post #14 - July 14th, 2009, 3:49 pm Post #14 - July 14th, 2009, 3:49 pm
    I Dream of Falafel is OK. It's very basic with not many choices of main dish at all and the workers (at least the few times I've gone, it's only been open a month) are brand new and very inept. I went 3-4 times and each time they had to be trained while working on my food. Too little sauce most of the time, and sometimes they forgot a piece of the puzzle. They originally gave you two small falafels for free with purchase, but they have stopped doing that - now it's $2 for 3 small ones.

    I miss Petra. Hearty skewers of meat for a reasonable price. I know it's probably owned by the same people, but it just doesn't seem the same. There are enough chain-looking places around the area, I'd rather they have stayed the same.

    :sigh:
  • Post #15 - July 14th, 2009, 3:49 pm
    Post #15 - July 14th, 2009, 3:49 pm Post #15 - July 14th, 2009, 3:49 pm
    spinynorman99 wrote:This is right by Jaffa Bakery, which, though occasionally spotty, is very good.


    LOVE Jaffa. I was so excited when it opened there. Used to get it on Michigan Ave at my old job but then I got a new job by the Sears. So I can have it again :)
  • Post #16 - July 14th, 2009, 4:04 pm
    Post #16 - July 14th, 2009, 4:04 pm Post #16 - July 14th, 2009, 4:04 pm
    Taza is still my go to spot for Mediterranean in my Loop 'hood.

    Taza
    176 N Franklin St.
    (312) 201-9885‎
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #17 - July 31st, 2009, 1:36 pm
    Post #17 - July 31st, 2009, 1:36 pm Post #17 - July 31st, 2009, 1:36 pm
    Chitown B wrote:I Dream of Falafel is OK. It's very basic with not many choices of main dish at all and the workers (at least the few times I've gone, it's only been open a month) are brand new and very inept. I went 3-4 times and each time they had to be trained while working on my food. Too little sauce most of the time, and sometimes they forgot a piece of the puzzle. They originally gave you two small falafels for free with purchase, but they have stopped doing that - now it's $2 for 3 small ones.

    I miss Petra. Hearty skewers of meat for a reasonable price. I know it's probably owned by the same people, but it just doesn't seem the same. There are enough chain-looking places around the area, I'd rather they have stayed the same.

    :sigh:


    Update:

    Service was much better today. 150% better. Prices increased slightly (25 cents here and there), and new signs inside with better descriptions. Food is the same, still decent. Seems like they fired all the noobs and got real workers in there. They really know what they're doing now.
  • Post #18 - July 31st, 2009, 1:54 pm
    Post #18 - July 31st, 2009, 1:54 pm Post #18 - July 31st, 2009, 1:54 pm
    I must have hit IDOF on an off-day. Just okay. Not coming back. Between Semiramis and Pit Inn in Skokie I think my standards have been set and established.
  • Post #19 - July 31st, 2009, 2:00 pm
    Post #19 - July 31st, 2009, 2:00 pm Post #19 - July 31st, 2009, 2:00 pm
    no I agree, it's just okay. but Skokie isn't an option for me ;) it's decent for walking distance at work.

    here's a menu scan if anyone is interested:
    Image
  • Post #20 - July 31st, 2009, 2:05 pm
    Post #20 - July 31st, 2009, 2:05 pm Post #20 - July 31st, 2009, 2:05 pm
    spinynorman99 wrote:I must have hit IDOF on an off-day. Just okay. Not coming back. Between Semiramis and Pit Inn in Skokie I think my standards have been set and established.


    You can't hold a loop lunch-only counter up to the standard of Semiramis. It's ok food for what and where it is. Hardly a destination, but a worthy loop lunch option. I had a kefta sandwich today that was perfectly satisfying.

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