As a half Yemeni and half Czech student, I find myself craving traditional Arabic comfort food all the time.
Growing up, dishes like Hulba (حلبة), a frothed fenugreek paste made from fenugreek powder, were a household staple. In a non diverse city not particularly known for middle eastern cuisine, I’ve hunted out small treasures that bring back a taste of home.
Situated in Vinohrady, Layla is an authentic Lebanese restaurant. They offer traditional food like makloubeh (مقلوبة), a rice dish served with meat and fried vegetables, and Fatteh (فتّة ), toasted flatbread with a range of toppings from chickpeas to toasted nuts. Their Knafeh (كنافة), a dessert made with spun pastry called kataifi, cheese and rose water, is something I look forward to every time.
In the summer, their outdoor seating adds to the experience of such a peaceful neighborhood. Every time I go something is always offered complimentary as a thank you for supporting their business, showing the generous Arab spirit I know and love.
Habibi Cafe is a spot I love to get green tea and shisha. Their high quality, intricate design shishas and beautifully crafted silver tea pots are just like they would be in Morocco and I usually always visit it after lunch at Jaffa, a restaurant just a five minute walk away.
Jaffa Restaurant is another middle eastern restaurant with dishes like ‘Bamia’, which is a translation of the word ‘okra’. It is a meal consisting of okra in a rich tomato sauce served with fluffy yellow rice. Here too I can munch on my shish kebab and enjoy their outdoor patio. Most of the servers here speak Arabic which gives me a chance to practice, and when bringing the bill, complimentary tea is given.
When I want something fast, fresh and filling, I get Original Shawarma. Easily overlooked due to its size, its reputation for flavor is not.
However, the best time to go is during the day, as past midnight it gets busy with people leaving nearby clubs to find something to eat. It’s a classic middle eastern fast food that delivers both on taste and time.
Looking to make middle eastern food at home? Farrah food store offers all the ingredients not available in most supermarkets – from zaatar to orange blossom water, it has it all.
After tasting all dishes that these restaurants have to offer, making them at home is a way to elevate your own home cooking.