Eating Around Los Angeles: Yalla Mediterranean
A lot of us wait anxiously for the weekend to arrive. In my case, I dream of the places I will visit and the restaurants where I am going to eat. This weekend I hit a big, big homerun. And, the reason is easy to explain. I had the opportunity to try a new Mediterranean concept that left me more than satisfied (and a bit surprised, in a good way, of course).
Yalla Mediterranean is a place where the spices, techniques and flavor of the Mediterranean are served in a fast and fresh way.
Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect by visiting Yalla.
Even though Yalla is somewhere within the fast food realm, that doesn’t mean the quality of the ingredients is compromised.
Each restaurant serves GMO free chickpeas, all natural chicken, hormone / antibiotic free beef and wild caught fish.
Moreover, each location has a whiteboard indicating the origin of all the vegetables and oil used in their dishes (all come from farms in California).
All sauces, spreads, sides and lemonades are prepared in house every morning.
Yalla offers a lot of the options found on other Mediterranean eateries: falafel, chicken shawarma, and several skewer options. Now, remember the proteins are going to have a superior flavor since they come from good quality purveyors and are seasoned with authentic spices. Plus, juiciness is retained by cooking all proteins in a 1,000 degree oven.
You have the option to have your protein in one of three styles: a pita wrap, a chopped salad (either power greens or fattoush) or a Yalla plate (served with rice, seasoned vegetables or spiced lentils, pita and a choice of three sides.
What We Tried
For the mains, we tried the kefta skewer and the chicken shawarma. We combined them with the basmati rice, spiced lentils and vegetables.
Everything was delicious. I was surprised by the tenderness and tastiness of the meat. The rice was very well cooked and the lentils were tender and packed with flavor (the fresh tomato flavor came thru).
Now, the sides, oh, the sides!
To me, this is one of the assets of this restaurant. The sides are different and not what you are expecting to find in your usual Med eatery. To be honest, they seem more Whole Foods than fast food (I am dead serious).
We had the following:
Israeli Cous Cous – with dried figs, apricots, almonds, parsley, scallions, fennel, olive oil and white balsamic vinegar
Greek Potato Salad – with olive oil, red wine vinegar and scallions
Medi Kale Salad – kale, grapes, cucumbers, red onions, kalamata olives, garbanzo beans, feta, parsley, dill, red cabbage, radishes and lemon Dijon vinaigrette
Beet & Kale Salad – with roasted beets, kale, feta and Greek vinaigrette
Roasted Parsnip Salad – with knob onions, roasted red peppers, pomegranate syrup and white balsamic vinegar
Moroccan Carrot Salad – with cumin, dill, olive golden raisins, honey and Greek vinaigrette
I really had a feast trying all those delicious sides. The carrot salad, cous cous and parsnips were my favorite. I would not get tired of eating those.
Also, we tried the Yalla Fries: French fries covered with a yogurt and feta sauce. Very tasty!
Other toppings, spreads and sauces such as hummus, spicy feta, tahini, tzatziki, harissa, chermoula, sumac onions, pickled cabbage and fresh vegetables are available to combine with wraps and plates.
Let me add that all entrees are clearly marked as vegetarian, dairy free or gluten free (where applicable). This makes the task of choosing something to eat according to dietary restrictions or preferences very easy.
In addition, catering, family meals and kid’s menus are available.
I know. I can’t believe I had dessert after that banquet of amazing food.
Even though I was full, I am happy I didn’t miss the dessert.
We had the Greek frozen yogurt topped with baklava and a honey sauce infused with rose water. It was the bomb! I have never had a frozen dessert so good! I enjoyed every bite of it. I can sing the praises of that frozen yogurt all day. I will go back to Yalla just to have the dessert.
The eatery’s interior is very modern and pleasing to the eyes. I enjoyed the soothing blue palette and bursts of color here and there.
The staff is very friendly and they are more than willing to help you with questions. They have a person maintaining the sitting area clean. You get tons of greeting when you enter the restaurants and the same number of byes when you left.
I think it is obvious how much I enjoyed the food in here. Recommended if you are in search of something fresh and delicious.
- For more information visit this link: http://yallamedi.com/
- Yalla’s Instagram account is gorgeous. I encourage you to follow them: https://instagram.com/yallamedi/
- For now, all locations are in California (Pleasant Hill, Freemont, Burbank, Dublin, Culver City and Walnut Creek). Keep checking for new openings.
What is you favorite Mediterranean eatery?
Note: I want to thank Wagstaff International and Yalla Mediterranean for inviting me to have lunch at their Burbank location. I had a fantastic time! As always, my opinions are my own.