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La Palma Small changes to this Middle Eastern standby create a wonderful new experience

La Palma

113 E Canfield St, 48201
  • Neighborhood: Midtown
  • Price Level:   
  • Open for: Lunch, Dinner, Weekends
  • Vegetarian Options
  • Cards Accepted

Tags: dine in, dinner, lunch, mediterranean, salads, midtown, carry out, Saturday hours, take out, La Palma, pitas, shawarma, falafel, hummus

If you haven’t visited La Palma – Midtown’s Middle Eastern eatery – in the last few months, pencil in a lunch date on your calendar this week. New owners and a new executive chef have transformed this ordinary lunch spot into a delicious dining destination.

It’s not an Extreme Makeover-style transformation – many of the same items that they’ve served for years are still there – but a lot of little changes (fresher ingredients, greater attention to detail in cooking) have been upgraded which altogether produce a wonderful new experience.

Inside this spacious corner cafe, you’re greeted by a squeaky clean dining room, attentive service and seriously delicious eats. If you’re short on time, you can call ahead or order your meal online and take it home (or back to the office). But if you have time to linger, this is a pleasant place to spend the lunch or dinner hour. The space is unexpectedly gorgeous, with stunning architectural details we wouldn’t have expected to find in a quick service spot. Oodles of exposed brick walls and brick arches give way to intricately carved wood ceilings in a rich, chocolatey hue.

The garlic sauce and toasted pita that you start the meal with is tasty enough to make this rocket to the top of your list of favorite lunch spots. The creamy, garlicky spread is addictively tasty, and it pairs well with the soft, chewy rounds of dough that have been warmed in a brick oven until they get toasty golden spots on the outside.

While it would be fine by us to sit around stuffing our faces with garlic sauce all afternoon, it would mean missing out on the hit parade mouthwatering dishes that headline La Palma’s menu.

Crushed lentil soup is the breakout star of the show, a warm cup of love that tastes of cumin and saffron with a slight spice kick. The thick, hearty texture makes it the perfect accompaniment to a light, crisp fattoush salad with a zesty lemon dressing.

La Palma’s baba ganoush is large enough to share as an appetizer with your dining companions, and it’s one of the best baba ganoush recipes we’ve tasted. Smoky, broiled eggplant is blended until smooth with tahini, garlic, lemon juice and spices. The silky dip is another great excuse to chow down on that freshly made pita.

Don’t fill up too much on appetizers, though. There is shawarma ahead.

Specifically, a delish chicken shawarma wrap. Thinly sliced marinated chicken is cradled into a soft pita round, accompanied by pickled cucumbers and more of that garlic sauce (noticing a theme? Hopefully you don’t have a date later tonight). The wrap can be served with fries, cajun chips or coleslaw. We always go for the fries.

The fries are very good all by themselves, but try to save a little of the garlic sauce from the start of your meal so you can dunk the light and crispy, seasoned little potato nuggets into that good stuff.

Another good option is to go for a platter from La Palma’s grill. The chicken kafta kabob is made with charbroiled chicken tossed with onions and parsley. Beef gallaba, shredded marinated meat, is tender and flavorful. Most entrees come with a side of rice and grilled veggies – lovely, charred hunks of bell pepper, yellow squash, carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes.

Subs, burgers and Mediterranean-inspired wraps mingle seamlessly with authentic kebabs, tawook and kafta recipes to round out the menu. There are plenty of vegetarian options, including falafel, mujaddara (cracked lentils), and a hummus & veggie wrap. Whatever you order, be prepared to take home leftovers. The portions are generous, and they taste great the next day.


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