The most veg-friendly Mediterranean food in Jax!
Posted on 07 / 01 / 2013
This restaurant changed management to the current owners in late 2011, and since then it has become -- quite literally -- the most vegan-friendly Mediterranean restaurant in Jacksonville.
Shortly after the re-opening, my wife and I asked the new owners to consider adding some more vegan items to the menu; initially we thought this would be a lost cause since the owners were not familiar with veganism at the time.
We were utterly wrong. The first new item they created was vegan kibbeh, stuffed with mushrooms, chickpeas, pine nuts, red bell peppers, and flavorful spices. They now offer "Vegan Wednesday", a day when anyone (but especially me and my wife!) can order a vegan special -- everything from stuffed peppers and squash slow-roasted in tomato broth to vegan moussaka.
Even if it's not Wednesday, you can frequently make a request that their energetic, friendly cook (one of the owners) will do her best to fill. They truly love their restaurant and it shows.
Many of the dishes on the menu are prepared in the Lebanese tradition and thus are naturally vegan. They offer several flavors of hummus -- traditional, spicy, and "loaded" (with red onion, kalamata olives, and tomatoes) -- as well as a version made from fava beans. Spinach pies, vegan grape leaves, falafel, and the most flavorful and aromatic addas (lentil soup) are just a few of the other offerings. Most of their condiments are vegan; don't let the whipped garlic sauce fool you (it's corn starch and garlic with olive oil) -- only the tatziki sauce is made with yogurt.
They even make a version of baklava with simple syrup (sugar syrup with orange blossom extract) instead of honey for the vegans.
They make everything by hand and from scratch; they will not serve an item if they could not get fresh, high-quality ingredients for it. This is NOT the "fast food" you may have encountered at lesser Mediterranean restaurants!
For your first visit, order the addas and the vegan kibbeh; get some loaded hummus if you have the room (or if you brought friends!).
I cannot rave enough about this place! It's my favorite restaurant in town by far, and would definitely be a 5-cow rating if they were fully veg. If you are there on Wednesday for lunch you will likely see my wife and I there!
Delicious, freshly-prepared food., Huge selection of vegan options., Low prices and generous portions.
Small seating area -- can be crowded., Fresh food takes a while to prepare.