Portland >Aladdin's Cafe
Aladdin's Cafe is the only Middle Eastern joint I've come across that dishes up Mehumara, a delicious dip combining pomegranate with jalapeno, olive oil, and walnuts. That alone will bring you out to deep 33rd Avenue, but so too should the lentil soup, which is perfect parts lemon and lentil.
You don't get what you pay for. This
place is like a used car dealership. Want to get ripped off by a restaurant? Go here. This place should be closed down. Rude staff, dishonest actions and dirty dining...and I'm still hungry.
I went in just by myself, I had a Groupon and it said that I needed to spend a certain amount. I tried to tell the waitress what I wanted. She was unfriendly and hard to understand. I ended up getting the family dinner for $35. I was told it was going to be $16 extra difference after using my Groupon. That didn't sound right to me, but I thought maybe they added gratuity. Later I looked at my receipt and I was actually charged $18!!
On top of that I didn't even get that much food. I expected more for the $25 gift certificate and extra $$ I put on my card. It was like a dinner for 1 person. and they only threw in one measly piece of naan. For $43 value I could've gotten a nice gourmet meal at Jake's Seafood Restaurant and received much friendlier service and a more comfortable atmosphere.
All I wanted was a nice take-out experience but, now all I feel is cheated and mistreated.
If it wasn't for the Groupon I would've never gone here. Why? I'll tell you...
1. It's in NE Portland. This should be a warning within itself.
2. The place from the outside looks like a beer-lottery store...same goes for the inside. This is not fine dining. This is not dining at all. This is eat-your-food- while-you-check-your-lottery numbers-and-watch-middle-eastern-MTV. This place is dirty.
3. The staff is the rudest bunch of people I've ever met in the restaurant industry. I consider myself a friendly, polite person; always smiling and saying thank you. The young female staff here never smiled or acted like they cared once while I was there. They didn't smile, greet me or even say "Thank You". It was like I was an inconvenience to them.
4. They will rip you off. No value for you money.
5. Mediocre food. When my order was ready, the waitress didn't even have the courtesy to go around the counter and hand me my food face to face. Instead she said "Hey!" I turned around and had to get up and reach for it over the counter. I said "Thank You" and she just turned and walked away without a word. Unacceptable after I just payed a fortune for their food!! Not even a "Thank You?" come on..
but let's talk about the food...
I'm vegetarian and I had the veggie kabobs on top of curried rice. They were grilled nicely. But I only received two with my family meal. (Seems like a jip to me). The hummus was not to my liking. It tasted old. I've had better hummus at the Fred Meyer's deli. The grape leaves were okay, the felafel was dried out and crumbly and then I had an itsy bitsy salad with tomatoes and dressing- that was it, that was my $35 family meal. I want to know where the $43 value is? In the pockets of some very dishonest and rude people.
Please, for your own sake, consider going somewhere else! I will never go back and I will continue to warn people about this place
I have been professionally cooking for 11 years across north America. This little family run restaurant is probably the best run operation I have seen in Portland in the last 2 years living here. Here's why:
The chef clearly understand his ingredients and portion control. The food is very carefully seasoned, well balanced in taste and consistent. The service is not perfect at times, but they do an excellent job to correct any mistakes with expedience. Patrons are greeted in and out the door. The owner takes the time to "sugar" the room, by personally engaging the customers at the table. They make sure to let you know, how much they appreciate your business. I have not seen this level of passion in ANY restaurant in town as long as have lived here. They do a fantastic job making you feel right at home. This has earned regular business from me on a weekly basis.
Food: Simple presentation with a tremendous focus on taste. Most ingredient are fresh and properly cooked. Underpriced in my opinion, but in turn they have created a loyal customer base.
Recommendations: I have become a great fan of their Beef Bourguignon, Braised lamb and Mazza (sampler) platter. I suspect the chef has some French school training based on his understanding of traditional Bourguignon.
Conclusion: I highly recommend this place to lovers of good home-cooking style food, and most importantly, I invite other restauranteurs to visit and take note of how customer relations are built and retained!
Delicious and reasonably priced. Don't let the rough looking exterior fool you, inside this cafe is clean and tastefully decorated. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and made good suggestions. Everything on the mezza platter was great. Perfectly creamy and balanced baba ghannouj and hummous, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside falafel, and expertly seasoned stuffed grape leaves. This is a new favorite restaurant for us.
All Around Great Place. I'm glad I finally tried Aladdin Cafe. I'd driven by many times but was skeptical of the tucked away restaurant next to Foodvilla. The food and service are both excellent. Thet ake out is fast and the food travels well. I highly recommend the lentil soup and bread.
A Real Gem!!!. My family loves this place! It was such a nice surprise to find a gem like this little out of the way restaurant. The service is great, its kid friendly without being a "kids restaurant" and the dining room is comfy. The food is really good. The lamb or beef shwarma is excellent; the hot out the oven bread is awesome, as are the grape leaves, the mildly spicy falafel and lentil soup. This place is like Nicholas on Grand Ave except it has no long lines,no loud crowded dining room and no lame servers! Give this place a try--its worth a drive if you're not from N.E. Oh, and the prices are good too. My hubby and I can eat fat for less than $30 with appetizers. Go,Go,Go!!!
Food is fabulous!. A friend (who has worked as a cook at a number of restaurants) highly recommended Aladdin's and I am glad we went. The food is delicious and our server was very helpful and friendly without being too chummy. The owner asked how my husband and I enjoyed our meal and when we told her we were at Aladdin's as a "do over" after being unhappy with our anniversary dinner at another restaurant, she insisted we order dessert on the house. It's not a fancy place, but the food was excellent and the service was great. The prices are extremely reasonable, too!
Brilliant! It is wonderful to have such authentic Middle-Eastern food, coupled with great service and prices that
truly show that the customer is the focus here. I have eaten there 3 times, and brought the place to the attention of my closest friends, it is, and has been unanimous among us all...... they do it right.
The lamb is fall off the bone tender with just the right spices, and the bread, well lets just say I blew out my low-carb diet when I visit.
I am married to a lovely Greek woman who if nothing else is a wee bit critical, she can always say nothing but great things about Aladdin's, our 2 year old has always been welcome there and it has a true "relax you are family here" feeling. Other restaurants should visit and take notice of how it should be done.
Editorial Review. Fresh, authentic Mediterranean specialties served in a tastefully simple dining room by courteous, attentive waitstaff.
Fantastic!. I had the pleasure of stopping in and checking out this hidden gem earlier this week and am looking to go back very soon. The owners and waiters make you feel right at home and have some of the best Middle Eastern / Mediterranean food I have had anywhere. I highly recommend the Lamb Shawarma! Check this place out - you will not be disappointed.
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