I was not to be denied.
After finding what many consider the best Mediterranean restaurant in Tucson—Zayna—had been replaced by a UPS store, I went home and double checked. Yes, there had been such a restaurant, but it had
The first thing that you notice when you enter this small (thirty-two seats) café is the amazing smells coming from the kitchen. Intermingled with the olfactory presence of garlic was the smell of the exotic and often unidentified (at least by me) spices used in Mediterranean cooking.
There isn’t much that I can say about the décor. Other than the walls painted in bright reds and yellows, the red ceiling,
Since my forays into Mediterranean restaurants usually result in my eating a meat-free meal, I consider this healthy dining. And so does Chloe Levinson at examiner.com, when she writes: “…When you eat too much at Zayna, you feel contented, buoyant and ready to sleep while your body derives the multitude of nutrients out of lentils, green beans, garlic, parsley and chickpeas. The food at Zayna is delicious, and it is the type of place where ‘too much of a good thing’ is still a good thing…. Parsley, the primary ingredient in tabbouleh, contains huge amounts of vitamin C and iron (the body needs vitamin C in order to digest iron, so parsley is a win-win, nutritionally speaking). It also aids in digestion, along with many of the other ingredients found in Mediterranean food, such as green beans and garlic. Lentils provide iron, protein and B vitamins. The only nutritional-negative to this cuisine is in the pita, if one eats too much of it.” While neither of us overate on this occasion, neither did either leave feeling calorie deprived.
Chuck stuck with his Mediterranean go-to meal, the gyro sandwich with a side of Zayna’s fries. His plate contained three variations from
One of the reasons that I enjoy Mediterranean restaurants is that I have the chance to order an assortment of small plates. I started with the falafel—vegetarian patties of chick peas with cilantro, onion, and sesame seeds.
While these weren’t as highly seasoned as my favorite falafel from Lebanon’s Café in New Orleans, they had a moist almost creamy interior texture, while having an amazingly crisp exterior. These came with a small cup of the garlic yogurt sauce that was on Chuck’s gyro.
Next I ordered the za’tar pita which is sometimes referred to as Mediterranean pizza.
My third item was a side order of long-cooked string beans that had been seasoned with caramelized onions (that gave a sweet note to the beans), garlic, and olive oil.
No, I didn’t eat all of this. One falafel and two pieces of za’tar pita came home with me and were consumed for breakfast. In that way, I could again enjoy a 4.0 Addie meal.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.