There are a few restaurants in town with a Mediterranean themed menu, and most sit solidly in the category of quick-and-easy pita sandwich place. Sure, you can get the traditional falafel, hummus, tabouli, and the like, but it still feels like fast(ish) food. I had a chance to sit down for dinner at the Grape Leaf  on Frankfort Avenue this week, and I’ve finally found a place with a bit more of an upscale feel to it, and an excellent menu to boot.
For starters, you might notice the menu is a bit more expensive than the usual Mediterranean cuisine you’ve eaten - but trust me - the quality and portion sizes more than make up for it. I had the vegetarian sampler, and I figured it would be an easily eaten meal, probably with little left over (after all, aren’t sampler plates usually that way?). Boy, was I wrong. The tabouli salad alone could have been a whole meal, and I finished it well before the rest of my food was brought out. It was an excellent preparation, nice and lemony and with the satisfying crunch of fresh parsley, tomato and onion supplemented by a nice sprinkling of bulgar wheat. In short, it was up there with some of the best tabouli I’ve had.
Then came the main course, which at first glance looked entirely manageable. Two falafel balls, a small spanakopita, some hummus, baba ganoush and tzatziki and tahini - that’s not too much, right? Well, throw in a large basket of pita slices, and my eyes definitely did the eating. I was stuffed.
That being only my first time at the Grape Leaf, I was amazed at the quality and quantity of food, the speed of the service and the variety on the menu. They don’t serve alcohol, but interestingly enough have a BYOB policy - there was a table one over from us of some older women clearly enjoying single-serving bottles of wine, and I wish I’d have had one to wash my meal down with.
I would wholeheartedly recommend the Grape Leaf if you enjoy Mediterranean food. It’s a step up from the usual, both in portion and in flavor.
Photo courtesy of The Grape Leaf