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Global Eats: Israel, Naf Naf Grill (Naperville, Illinois)

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Israeli cuisine is extremely diverse being comprised of foods brought by Jewish immigrants from all parts of the world.  There are however two main avenues that Israeli food tends to follow, those of the Jews originating from the Middle East and those from the immigrants from Europe and the West.  It’s the food from the first group, with its roots in the Arab world that have inspired the menu at a new eatery Naf Naf Grill in Naperville, Illinois.  Continue on for the review.

Snapshot:
Restaurant Type: Middle Eastern/Mediterranean
Dress Code: Casual
Alcohol: Nope
Price Range: Bargain (6-15)
Flavourgasmic Factor: Highly Recommended

Full Review:
Having just opened in January of this year the first thing you will notice about Naf Naf Grill is an unshakeable feeling that the building might have been at one point a Taco Bell.  However unlike any Taco Bell I have ever been to the food at Naf Naf is really good.  I can only hope that more Taco Bells are shut down to make way for chefs that truly want to share their culinary perspectives with the world.  Given the cramped confines of the layout however, things can get a little tight when they are busy, so plan accordingly and give yourself 15-20 minutes to order and get your food.

Focusing on fresh ingredients, just about every thing in this unassuming restaurant is made to order including their heavenly pita bread.  This is without question some of the best pita bread that I have ever tasted.  Perfectly golden brown and light as a feather it’s the perfect partner for one of their delicious pita sandwiches.  Choices include along with several Kababs, chicken shawarma, Falafel or Kifta.  Their chicken shawarma, think gyros meat with chicken instead of lamb, is a thinly sliced, perfectly seasoned, spit roasted chicken which matches perfectly with the subtle sweetness of their warm pita bread.  Their Falafel, a mixture of chick peas and herbs formed into balls and fried, proves to be another perfect filler for their pitas.  Perfectly seasoned and fried to perfection the Falafel strikes a great balance with a crisp outside and soft inside.  Either of these sandwiches can be had for just $6.59 which given the quality is a real food bargain.  All the meats that star in their sandwich selections are made available in entrée portions as well for just a few dollars more.  Included with the entrées are a pita, pickles, and your choice of Basmati Rice, Salad or home made fries, you will not be disappointed by any of their choices.

I have found that after eating at Naf Naf more then a dozen times I try to make the pitas the focus of my hunger lust.  One of the best ways to showcase the pitas is with their homemade hummus.  Available plain or topped with falafel or shawarma this blend of chick peas, sesame paste and spices is topped off with extra virgin olive oil to provide a silky texture that just begs to be scooped up with a warm pita.  At only $4.99 for their plain hummus and $.50 for a pita you can get yourself 6 pitas and some hummus for a cheap meal for 2 that will beat the pants out of any fast food in both price and quality.

If you have a sweet tooth then save some room for Baklava, while I have never tried them myself if their other food is any indication then for those with a passion for sugar should not be disappointed.

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