Posted by: nekojita | February 19, 2008

Mediterranean Delite

So this is my first post for a Bay Area restaurant–this despite the fact that I have been to quite a few since I have been back here. In all fairness though, this is the first one about which I have had both the time and inclination to write… Given the unassuming exterior and location of Mediterranean Delite, I feel that this wonderful restaurant needs all the publicity it can get, even if it is only among my friends.

Mediterranean Delite occupies a tight spot on El Camino Real in Southern San Carlos, in that no-man’s-land between Trader Joe’s and Downtown Redwood City. You can easily miss it, unless you are looking for it, so go by the giant sign for Baskin Robbins Ice Cream next door (do NOT take this as an endorsement for 31 Flavors, however). Once you hop out of your car–there is no way that you are going to walk here; remember what I said about no-mans-land?–wonderful and tantalizing aromas will assault your nose. Stroll inside and be prepared to experience more of the same–y’know, in terms of tastes, sights and really considerate service.

We ordered three of the plates–because I think that it’s easier to actually get a sense of the taste of the food in plates, as opposed to wraps. I had to get the 1/2 chicken plate, because the first thing that I saw as I walked in the door was a rotisserie oven-ful of spinning, glistening, reddish-golden birds. It was from this apparatus, I suspected, that a large portion of the delicious aromas were emitting. You can get a 1/4 chicken plate instead of a 1/2 chicken–but since there is only $1 difference in price, it seems a shame to chose the lesser option ($7.95 vs. $6.95). This is especially true since it lived up to all of my high expectations–moist, flavorful meat with a crispy savory skin. It was served with very good, buttery basmati rice and a lovely Greek salad. I highly recommend it, especially if you have discovered (as we have) that your oven is defective and there will be no home-roasted birds in your near future.

Dad had the lamb shawerma plate, which is typical for him ($7.95). It was very good; served with a lovely parsely-rich tabbouleh and super-smooth hummus. I still prefer the shawerma at Mediterranean Wraps in Palo Alto, but this was very good as well and probably healthier since it had many more vegetable accouterments.  Okaa-chan had the Vegetarian Combo plate which allowed her to try all manner of tasty things: dolma, babaghanouj, tabbouleh, Greek salad, and (my favorite) falafel ($7.25). The falalfel was amazing–despite being made of chickpeas, the little fried balls were actually fluffy (!) in texture. Add that to a crispy exterior and you’ve got culinary gold!

Even with this excellent technique, the best things about Mediterranean Delite, though, are their sauces. Besides the wonderful babaghanouj (smoky and chunky) and hummus (rich and smooth), we got a quartet of delicious condiments brought to our table: a curry-based salad dressing, tahini sauce,  a harissa-like hot sauce and “green” sauce (based around tahini, green chilis and parsley?). All four were delicious and added the just the right accent to the food brought to us.

As far as beverages, get the Guava-Mango drink ($2.95). It’s fresh and sweet and good for you! Or get the traditional Yogurt drink, which is also good for you but available in more locations (hence my relative lack of enthusiasm).

For reasons about which I can only speculate, Mediterranean Delite is quite vague about the country of origin of the owners/workers (unlike the similarly named Mediterranean Wraps of Palo Alto, which is quite openly and proudly Jordanian). The walls are decorated with murals depicting the pyramids, a walled village in the hills and a tent in the desert. We speculated from the menu that they might be Lebanese, or Egyptian (because of the papyrus scroll decorations) but it’s difficult to tell since they have the traditional range of Middle Eastern dishes.

*Note: They have a family meal plan for ~$14 which includes a whole chicken, pita bread and two sides. This seems like an idea thing to take out for home when you feel neither like cooking nor going out to eat.

Here is where it is, if you want to check it out:

Mediterranean Delite

1620A El Camino Real
San Carlos, CA 94070
Phone: (650) 654-9172


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