Relishes at Al Bawadi Grill (Complimentary)
My hands-down favorite for Middle Eastern is Al Bawadi Grill in Bridgeview. Set within a former fast food joint, it opens at 10 a.m. on the weekends, and a crave-worthy relish tray—pickles, eggplant spread, sumac-sprinkled pita chips—is waiting when you arrive.
Motawma at Al Bawadi Grill ($4.99)
You can’t go wrong with the cloud-like motawma, whipped-until-airy potato-garlic puree. Slather it on pita. Heck, lick it off of a spoon. No one will judge you either way—it’s that good.
Mixed Grill at Al Bawadi Grill ($15.99)
Exemplary at Al Bawadi Grill is its juicy mixed grill, a banquet’s worth of moist, hardwood-grilled chicken taouk, kefta kebab and beef kebab, accompanied by ultra-smooth hummus, smoky baba ghanouj, singed tomatoes, charred onions and a mound of fluffy rice. Foul mudammas—pureed, tahini and lemon-spiked favas ($4.99)—makes for an appealing, add-on companion.
Fresh-squeezed OJ at Al Bawadi Grill ($3.99)
A mug of fresh-squeezed orange juice is a sweet-as-candy accompaniment to a savory morning meal.
Meat-filled Arayes Al Bawadi Grill ($9.99)
Al Bawadi’s arayes, crisp, savory meat-stuffed pita wedges are the perfect vehicle for motawma, baba ghanouj and foul mudammas.
Hummus at Al Mawal ($4.25)
Just down the road from Al Bawadi is an unassuming but wholly satisfying alternative: Al Mawal. Whether you carry out or settle into the simple, welcoming dining room, a feast of epic proportions is in store. The perfectly creamy, citrusy hummus is a great way to start.
Al Mawal, 10718 S. Harlem Ave., Worth, IL 60482 (map); 708-361-5100
Musabaha at Al Mawal ($4.25)
Al Mawal’s musabaha is plenty pleasing. Chunkier than hummus, topped with whole chickpeas and drizzled with olive oil, it’s tasty on pita or spread on anything else that comes your way.
Mixed Grill at Al Mawal ($14.99)
Al Mawal’s hardwood-infused mixed grill is of note, but make room since it includes a mesquite-grilled shish kebab, kefta kebab, and chicken kebab, with carved shawarma meat, grilled tomatoes, grilled onions and lush baba ghanouj to go with.
Lunch Special ($6.99, available anytime) and falafel ($3.99) at Fattoush
While at Al Mawal, wander further down the same strip mall and find Fattoush, its cheery coffeehouse-like confines an inviting place to linger, starting at 7 a.m. Get an order of its crisp-outside, fluffy within falafel, pairing it with the a.m.-available lunch special, a generous serving of chicken taouk, shish kebab and kefta kebab.