• October 26th, 2010quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), virginia beach

    field report time, and this one comes to us from a new operative located way over on the other side of the country! check out christina’s review of baladi, a middle eastern restaurant in virginia beach. this post seriously had me drooling. it’s got vegan baklava, turkish delights, and the best looking plate of hummus i’ve ever seen. enjoy!

    Attention all military families, beach travelers, those visiting PETA in Norfolk, or anyone else mysteriously finding themselves in Hampton Roads, VA: I have found a gem in the seven-cities.

    By chance one morning, I bumped into Khaled, the owner of the Mediterranean restaurant Baladi in Virginia Beach as he was delivering food to my workplace for lunch. You don’t have to pull my arm to get me to try a new Mediterranean restaurant—by the end of the workday I was dying to take that thirty-minute drive to his restaurant to scope out the falafel.

    Needless to say, Baladi has become a restaurant that I frequent—due to the superb customer service, the vegan-friendly menu, and the drool-worthy dishes. Each vegan item on the menu has a “VV” next to it, which makes me want to high-five everyone around me.

    The word “baladi” in Arabic means “local,” and the restaurant most definitely has a local vibe. The owner is ALWAYS there—taking orders, preparing food, delivering food to tables, learning customer’s names and humoring you if you try to speak mediocre Arabic with him (so what? At least I try). Baladi’s ambiance also happens to be refreshingly unique. I feel like it would have been a nice place to study during college—if there were more seating.

    The pastry case at Baladi regularly contains vegan mamool, vegan baklava, and Turkish delights. I’m the sucker that ends up purchasing so many sweets that I have leftovers for days (if you’re wondering: yes, these treats still taste amazing three days later). There is even a deal for people like me: six sweets for $7.50.

    The Jalapeno Hummus with spicy garnish is hands-down the best hummus I have ever eaten. I have no idea what “spicy garnish” is—but it is bangin’.

    Both the tabbouleh (above) and the couscous (below) are part of the mezze menu, and are affordably priced ($4.95 each!). The tabbouleh is fresh, not too lemony. The couscous is joist moist enough and has some tiny bits of green onion and tomato mixed in. A little lady, such as myself, could purchase one of these and be perfectly satisfied.

    Seriously—Baladi consistently crafts the perfect falafel. Above is the Falafel Supreme wrap (crunchy lettuce, warm falafel, hummus, tahini, and Lebanese olives on the side. Mmmm). This baby is only $7.50, too.

    This dish is a dream … thick pita bread covered in lentil soup and topped with that wonderful spicy garnish. The lentil soup here is spectacular by itself, but there is something about eating thick, soup-soaked pita bread that makes me drool a little.

    These Turkish delights turn me in to an American delight—all I’m sayin’. They’re coated with just enough confectioners’ sugar and they’re not so chewy that they stick in your teeth (in case you want to talk later).

    I grew up on this stuff as a kid. Until I was 14, I thought baklava was a staple at everybody’s Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, thanks to my Arab-American family. After transitioning to veganism I really missed baklava, so this is a great find for baklava fiends—or anyone wanting to have their taste buds tantalized with phyllo dough, rosewater, and pistachios.

    No one should ever leave here without getting a Turkish coffee. It’s always made fresh, and it’s served in the most elegant of demitasse cups and saucers. They’re so fancy that I take them up to the counter after I bus my table so they don’t get broken. I know, I know. I’m a sweetheart.

    Cute, yeah?

    If you’re ever in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, Baladi is definitely worth a visit (or five). Say hi to me when you go, I’m sure I’ll be sitting in the corner scarfing down dish, after dish, after dish …

    Baladi Mediterranean Café
    640 Hilltop West Shopping Center
    Virginia Beach, VA 23451-6139
    (757) 425-8877
    Monday through Saturday, 11am-8pm

    Tags: , , , ,