Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An Awesome Lunch at Amwaj

I've always had a hard time finding vegan-friendly places that have a good variety of food, yet remain affordable. Hugo's is great, but their vegan menu can be a bit overpriced without a deal or coupon. I had heard about a new Mediterranean restaurant that just opened up in Los Feliz and at quick glance, it seemed really expensive. A few days after reading a review on, I noticed the restaurant was added to the already extensive list on I jumped at the opportunity to try the restaurant at a discount, since I had heard so many positive things about it and I was already planning on heading in that direction to take a free cardio barre class.

My friend and I headed over to Amwaj for a late lunch around 2:30 pm. The place was fairly empty and we could pretty much sit anywhere we pleased. We opted to sit outside, since it was a gorgeous day and there was a gentle breeze on the covered patio. As we scanned over the expansive menu, I noticed how many varied vegan options there were. Various meat alternatives were offered as traditional Mediterranean dishes, pastas and even pizzas. Everything sounded so enticing, I had a difficult time choosing! My friend, who is nonvegan, also found herself debating over what to order on the regular menu. 

While we took our time deciding, the waitress brought out this amazing onion focaccia bread drenched in oil. This bread was amazing and it's so hard to find bread this good that's vegan. It was so thick and the onions on top took it over the top. I was already sold on this place just by the bread and serene atmosphere. That was until our appetizer came: the hummus platter, which cost $6.50 and was composed of various hummus: olive, red pepper and plain.

This hummus is some of the best hummus I've ever had. I love that there was such a great variety all in three little dishes. Each hummus had its own really strong flavor and they were all very oily and rich and creamy. They were so decadent as an appetizer, especially the red pepper one, which my friend and I enjoyed the most. We even both agreed that the regular hummus tasted way better than plain hummus usually does. I think it's because it had a richer texture and a stronger taste of tahini. 

We each got our own entree. My friend got a chicken dish, while I ordered the vegan beef shawarma: beef strips, roasted garlic, onions, middle eastern spices, baby mixed greens, tomatos, cucumbers, tahini sauce for $13.95. This thing was so scrumptious and just bursting with flavor. The "beef" was tender and juicy (although I believe they use gardein) and the vegetables were soft and well seasoned. The hummus and tahini added a creaminess to the sandwich. The salad that accompanied the dish was also outstanding. The greens were very fresh and were topped with a delicate, sweet dressing that closely resembled molasses. 

Since we were using the $25 gift certificate, we had to spend atleast $35. I thought since this place was fairly pricy, it would be easy, but the waitress came out to announce we had only spent $30. We were thus faced with a dilemma, as we were both stuffed and could not imagine eating any more food. I asked the waitress if any of the desserts were vegan and after going back to check, she told me there were no vegan options. My friend decided she would get a dessert to go and thus we were finally able to get the bill just at $35. With tax and tip, we each spent about $10, which was a great deal considering how great the food was and how large the portions were. I will definitely be back and next time will be sure to order drinks with my meal!

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