It’s rare that I make the trip to Ballantyne from Uptown. Afterall, it sometimes seems like it’s another world down there, but when the owner of Zeitouni Mediterranean Grill asked me to stop in to try their food, I didn’t think twice. Zeitouni, pronounced “Zey-toon-ee”, is a small Mediterranean restaurant located in the Toringdon Market off Johnston Rd. that opened in 2011. They’re known for serving up authentic Lebanese food including babba ghanouj, falafel, gyros, shawarma and more.
The owner, Wassim Zeitouni, gave me the run-down of their menu and story. While talking to him, I could tell just how passionate he is about his restaurant and food. I was able to sample a few different menu items including the Potato Harra (fried potatoes with cilantro, lemon juice and garlic), Grape Leaves, Falafel, and a special menu item called the Shish Tawooq Special (marinated chicken in a wrap with garlic sauce).
Everything was amazing but I was most impressed by the Potato Harra and Shish Tawooq Special. The potatoes were served in a huge portion and the seasoning of the Shish Tawooq was unforgettable. Even though I wasn’t too hungry, I kept eating. I decided that this is a place I’d definitely return to the next time I’m in the area.
It was obvious that Zeitouni is a favorite among Ballantynians (Is that even a word?) as well. I popped in well after usual lunch hours and they were still fairly busy with folks stopping by for to-go orders or a late lunch. Because most of the menu items at Zeitouni are healthy, it’s a perfect spot for those looking for a flavorful, filling meal that isn’t too heavy. Zeitouni Mediterranean Grill also serves specialty wine and beer from Lebanon to add to the restaurant’s authenticity.
Don’t forget dessert while you’re at Zeitouni. They serve a killer baklava.
If you’re searching for authentic Mediterranean or Lebanese fare, I seriously suggest finding your way to Zeitouni Mediterranean Grill sooner, rather than later. Tell Wassim I sent you. 😉