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Aladdin’s Eatery review: fresh, fast, and delicious

Alison Matas taste-tests hummus, falafel, fatayer, tabouli, the lamb plate and the hummus shawarma plate at Aladdin’s Eatery.

Aladdin’s Eatery is fast, fresh, reasonably priced and—most importantly—delicious.

The Lebanese-American restaurant chain opened in Lakewood in 1994 and now boasts close to 30 locations mostly in Northeast Ohio, though a few are out-of-state.

Stark County got an Aladdin’s Eatery at The Strip in Jackson Township in late 2014. I went for my birthday last year and remembered liking it, but I returned on a weeknight this summer to sample more of the restaurant’s big menu.

Aladdin’s slogan is “eat good, eat healthy,” and it certainly is reflected in the choices, which include salads, pita pizzas, rolled pitas, smoothies and raw juices.

We started with a bunch of appetizers, many of which also make appearances in main dishes—Aladdin’s award-winning hummus ($12.90 for the large size with a side of hot sauce), tabouli (a dip of chopped parsley, onion, tomato, cracked wheat, lemon juice, olive oil and herbs for $6.75), falafel (fried patties made from chickpea and bean) served with yogurt dressing ($6.75) and a fatayer (a pita pie of spinach, onion and feta for $6.75).

A basket of pita bread rounded out our (huge) first course. Even Andrew—who is great to bring along for reviewing because he can eat way more than I can—looked intimidated by the amount of food on our table.

The hummus is excellent. It’s thinner than the popular brands you can buy at the grocery store and much creamier, plus it’s drizzled with olive oil. The falafel also was a standout. The patties were crispy without being dry, and the tahini yogurt paired nicely.

My extreme love for the hummus translated into my dinner choice. I ordered the hummus shawarma plate ($10.95), which the menu describes as hummus topped with strips of roasted beef sirloin, pine nuts and tomato. The beef-to-hummus ratio was heavy on the hummus and light on the beef, but, like I said, the hummus is wonderful, so I dug in with some pita bread. I especially liked the seasoning on the beef, which tasted like cinnamon to me.

Andrew got the Mediterranean lamb plate ($14.95) with brown rice and garlic sauce. I usually don’t like lamb—it’s too gamey for me—but I enjoyed the bite of Andrew’s I tried.

Oh, and for a treat, we split a mango lassi ($3.25)—a refreshing, sweet blend of mango and yogurt served with a straw.

We had a couple minor dining mishaps. One of our water glasses had a lipstick print on it from a previous customer. Our waitress forgot to put our entree orders in and came back to our table while we were eating our appetizers to ask whether we planned to get dinner. But she made up for it with a fun, friendly attitude—and by bringing us a mountain of pita bread to take home with our leftovers.

The restaurant also offers carryout and catering menus.


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