We waited over an hour to get seated and shared a slice of pizza from a movie theatre three ways to ward off hunger pains during the wait. You'd think it wouldn't be worth it. But it was, 200%.
The Makdous called out to me instantly: baby eggplants poaches and stuffed with walnuts, garlic, and chili peppers, then cured for olive oil for several days. It was served in a perfect little jar.
Of course Ya Hala gives you piles of steaming pocket bread to sop everything up.
The Veggie Mezza plate, a highly recommended must-order read from our yelp apps was brought out on various plates, starting with falafel, stuffed grape Leaves and aranabeet (aka roasted cauliflower) all drowned in a garlicky tahini sauce. The falafels, made of fava beans, had a nice crust with soft green cilantro innards.
A velvety hummus spiked with a good dose of fresh garlic and a nice dusting of sumac on top arrived next. This is the part where my friend started licking the plate.
The baba ghanouj was smoky and creamy.
Tabouli: juicy, lemony and fresh.
The Makaly Plate with slices of fresh eggplant, cauliflower, yellow squash deep fried and dusted with garlic was also ordered (not pictured because I apparently got kidnapped my baba ghanouj aliens).
Ya Hala stores their phyllo pastries out in the open as a taunting mechanism. An order of pistachio baklava was is a must. Crispy, light, and not overly saturated in sweetness, their nut and honey pastry is a class act.
I was even more surprised by the date cookie, which was super fresh and bursting with smooth macerated dates. Next time I'm getting a few to take home with me for breakfast.
My two lady friends and I split all this with a bottle of wine and paid about $14 each!
8005 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97215