I ask the readers to compare culinarily speaking the food served at Wafa's restaurant - downtown, Sanabel's Mid-eastern bakery on South Street in central Akron and Aladdin's here in its newest location as part of Portage Crossings in Cuyahoga Falls. For me these three eateries cover the same culinary terrain and serve much of the same food from the eastern mediterranean area and Lebanon. They cover the same gastronomical playing field with different results for obvious reasons. I believe that if you like the food served at one place you should also find reason to like the food served at the other two places although the places differ in size and presentation of food to say nothing about clientele. You can find and consume a full meal at all three places although the selections will be limited since they are eateries rather than full scale restaurants. Yes, I went to Aladdin's recently after having been to the other two places just to see what what was behind the display window. They had as treats at the counter samples of greek baklava piled up in what appeared to be a wedding cake-like display. They did not seem to run out those treats for they brought out more samples for customers to take home or to eat in house. Nice gesture. We ordered a sandwich and salad with soup I believe. Waiter was most helpful and willing to discuss many aspects of the food in question as well as the history of the place and owner's predilection for being successful. We occupied a table meant for seating four people near the entry. We did not sample much more of the entire menu but we praised the waiter for doing his work well and for serving us good food. We are willing to return. The comparison mentioned earlier in this review is a legitimate question to put to people who are often attracted to much the same food. I believe that Wafa's occupies a notch above regular for lunch time visitors to that part of Akron. Sanabel's occupies much the same category all by itself in one way for its proximity to the university. Aladdin's customers might wear a different brand of clothing to what is worn often by frequent visitors to Sanabel's for the one has been emerging as a gastronomical shrine of sorts for suburbia and the other is still locked in the inner city gathering groups of working people from far away places only because they know the value of the food there. Prices are most reasonable at Sanabel's and a little higher at Aladdin's Eatery. Different clientele is emerging for Aladdin's than what has been in place for years at Sanabel's. The owners of Wafa's and Sanabel's are most communicative with their customers and will explain what is done in the preparation of their food. Outside dining plays a part in attracting people to Aladdin's eatery. Although eating on the side walk might not be a reason to send post cards home from Aladdin's Eatery there is an element of freshness in the possibility for eating outside there. Yes I am glad to have an Aladdin's eatery in this proximity to my town - whether or not it measures up to the
standards of excellence envisioned by the people who planned this location it too early to tell and I will leave that question up to you to ponder and to answer later. I do like mid-eastern food especially that which is associated with or comes from Lebanon. I found it interesting to notice that there is health and physical fitness center near by. The prices are not easily affordable if you are on a budget but a meal here will not break your piggy bank. Ask about food preparation and whether or not the food has high content for salt, sugar and cholesterol. No reason really to travel with traveler's check to dine here. I imagine that many of the regular customers here are from the near by neighborhoods in the city. Yes, the visitors from out of city form a crowd that is present often enough to make this place a culinary shrine for suburbia. I did think that the food which we ordered was prepared right. Left-overs were packed away with a little pita bread thrown in for extras. Food tastes nurtured at Giant Eagle will be brought to fruition and full culinary blossom here. We will return to same more parts of the menu. We hope that they lure customers with discount coupons and reduced prices. I imagine that they make their own pita brad and other food items but I am not certain. I will go with you to first or second base with baba ganoush (?) and those favorable embellishments for so much of the menu but I am not enamored totally with a dinner that has food smothered in that stuff. I like like vegetables in lentil soup, rice pilaf and sandwiches better. I am speaking about hummus and tabouli as well as kibbi. I am willing to see what they do with anchovies and other fish. I do recommend it. I would suggest that you try out the food for lunch first. I was not disappointed.