Aladdin's Eatery (Second Visit)
Akron, Ohio         Date of Visit:  10/25/15
 Click Here for Original Visit

Been quite a while since we have been to our little Aladdin’s outpost in Fairlawn. On our first trip it seemed the little eatery with a focus on vegetarian Lebanese options was also trying to gross meat eaters into changing their orders and life style. Our second trip was much more omnivore friendly and friendly in general.





Mint Tea Is Interesting In A Good Way

The interior has the same “a little too nice for a strip mall interior” but seemed much more relaxed. Our server started out well and stayed the course the entire time we were there. After a tannic but floral and fresh hot mint tea we started with an appetizer of kibbie. All meat all the time. The fried nuggets of beef and bulgur wheat were studded with onion and pine nuts and served with cups of tangy plain yogurt and a Lebanese salad (much like but Israeli salad…but don’t want to start an international incident). Just right, flavor, texture, contrasts, just right.

We tried a couple of the plates from the specialty list, the flavor savor special and the hummus shawarma plate. The flavor savor had a foundation of seasoned brown rice and vermicelli, which could have used more seasoning. It tasted like it was probably close when they finished cooking it but serving it cold cost you taste. The greens were nice and nicely dressed, the falafel was as good as the kibbie and their hummus remains silky smooth and tasty but I would still prefer a splash of something added.

Fried Nugs Of Beef & Wheat...

...With Delicious Pine Nuts Inside

  Meant to savor two flavors it’s all topped with beef kafta and chicken mishwi. The kafta consists of grilled little sausage shaped links of ground beef mixed with onions, parsley, herbs, and plenty of spices. If you’ve ever had a burger fall apart on the grill, it would amaze you how well these things hold together. There is something in the texture that suggests there is a trick to their integrity but if you don’t mind burping the spices up for the rest of the day, they’re good. The mishwi was disappointing for me. In my years at Kent I had a number of chicken mishwi salads from the Continental Grill across from White Hall and loved the explosive and unique flavors coming from every element of the dish. This was more chicken sprinkled with some seasoning, fine but I was hoping for something close. The hummus shawarma had a reservoir of their subtle and smooth hummus, topped with strips of lightly seasoned beef, roasted pine nuts, diced tomatoes, and parsley. We took a couple of pieces of baklava home, also not quite as good as the stuff they buy at the Continental Grill (all the pistachio makes a difference) but still pretty good, as was our trip over all. Much better than the previous.

Specialty Dinners (Meat Ones Anyways)

Were Much Better If A Little Underwhelming

  Change in Ranking        
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  D+ C Service And Food Both Improved
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Aladdin's Eatery
 Akron, Ohio (Fairlawn)     Date of Visit  07/02/11 

We just ended up here…I was coerced into another trip walking around Joanne Fabrics…wait they now have more than fabric…and yet still nothing I am interested in. In a way this place violates our policy of not writing up “franchised” restaurants. I don’t rightly know if these are franchised but I can’t imagine this remains all locally owned. There have to be at least 30 of them. I had eaten at the one in Highland Square years ago but didn’t believe them to be connected until later. It is a relatively unique option in this area so what the heck. The Akron location has a much more homey feel to it than Fairlawn, both inside and out if I remember correctly. The Fairlawn location is in the strip mall and the interior is almost too well appointed.



Vegetarian Appetizer Platter...Almost Perfect

I had that odd feeling of slight discomfort that comes with wearing jeans and tennis shoes in a place where the servers are done up to match a nicely decorated dining room. You can take comfort in the fact that every other customer is attired just like you. It’s hard to pull off a destination restaurant in a strip mall.

Our server did a pretty good job to start with but was apparently abducted at some point during the end of our meal and we ended up at the register asking for our check. The manager at the register didn’t add our hastily added dessert to the bill in unrequested recompense. Smart. The baklava was small but consisted of layers of tasty with a hint of sweet and a load of nuttiness. We started with the vegetarian sampler appetizer including Hummos, Tabouli, Baba, Falaffel, and Dawali. The Hummos and Baba were smooth and simple in a very nice sort of way and got a boost from the odd looking hot sauce our server was nice enough to offer us.

Warm Crunchy Fried Chickpeas

Eggplant Based Baba

Different but Great Compliment to Platter

Aladdin Salad
  The falafel were well seasoned and just crunchy goodness, and the tabouli was lemony and herbaceous making for a pleasant number of varying combinations as we kept stacking different layers together. The grape leaves had some serious tang which was actually strong enough to be a turn off, especially with the subtlety of the rest of the plate. I prefer the Greek preparation by far. The appetizer platter overall was definitely rated a success regardless.

We also tried a couple of house salads which had quite a variety of flavors and textures and really would have filled us after the appetizer platter but we had already ordered dinner. We moved away from the vegetarian options and found that vegetarian is the way to go here. I ordered the rolled lamb pita and while it was stuffed with all of the things that I love about Middle Eastern cuisine, especially those pickled radishes. The veggies, the spices, the dressing, all stupendous.


Disappointing Lamb

Disgusting Tuna

The lamb. Not so much. It was dry, stringy and sliced in a way that didn’t help matters. It was much better once I pulled the lamb out and just had a veggie wrap. Steph ordered the tuna wrap and I was suddenly much more happy with the lamb. Whatever spice concoction they put on the fish should be illegal. Not even the remainder of the ingredients could cover the simple wrongness of this travesty. At first I just thought there might be something she found weird but once I had a bite I had to agree, it was just bad. I had to take two more bites to try to figure out what in the world was going on…was it just flooded with other things because the fish was already bad, maybe they just don’t get a lot of fish in some regions, I don’t know.

I am  beginning to think the Eatery might be waging a sneaky war to convert us all to gnoshers of fruit and bark solely. If it’s what you have a hankerin’ for; get it here. Just avoid any protein and everything should work out fine. I think I will stick to the Main Street Continental Grill in Kent when I get a jones for sumac and pickled radish AND meat.


Very Nice...Almost Got Taste of Tuna Out of My Mouth



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