Where: 209 E. Canon Perdido St., 963-1293, zaytooncafe.com.
What: SoCal relaxed + Middle Eastern food = delicious experience.
How much? Appetizers: $7.95 and up; entrees: $6.95-$14.95; hookahs: $15.95 (seven flavors including margarita, mango, etc.).
The dish: Hidden behind the historic Presidio and neighboring the Alhecama Theatre lays an oasis for the hungry looking for something a little exotic. An expansive patio garden with inviting chairs, the fragrance of citrus and flowers, tables with fireplace centers, and gurgling fountains greet diners as they venture into Zaytoon. The atmosphere is pure Southern California relaxed, the food delicious Middle Eastern. Start off with the hummus, the kibbah (fried bulgur wheat balls stuffed with ground beef, onions, and pine nuts) or the cheese sambosik (fried puff filo pastry rolls with cheese, parsley, and onions). Kebabs and shawarmas (strips of meat marinated, slowly broiled on a vertical rotation grill) are available as either chicken or beef and vegetarian entrees are also served. End with baklava, served up la mode and drenched in honey. Lunch specials are everyday from 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., catering to those on the go, right to your table within 10 minutes. And on Mondays, Zaytoon is a wine lover’s mecca: they have half-priced bottles of wine from places we’re familiar with (Sta. Rita Hills, Bien Nacido) and places we’re not (Lebanon). You may not be familiar with Zaytoon now, but you should be.
This week at independent.com, X/Y/Z are also for: Ye Olde Butcher Shop (independent.com/yeolde) and Zia Cafe (independent.com/ziacafe). And for all of our restaurants, see independent.com/restaurants. Next week, see what A is for :