African and Middle Eastern Food and Cooking

  • Calendar

    August 21, 2014
  • Blogs

    July 3, 2014

    Layla Debuts New Menu Focusing on Burgers and Shawarma

    Jason Sparks bought Layla (4317 Manchester Avenue; 314-553-9252) in September 2013 when it was strictly a Lebanese restaurant. Now, he's finally turning it into a spot that matches the vibe of the Grove, the up-and-coming, eclectic neighborhood it's a part of. Sparks added burgers and made the resta ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 25, 2014

    The Best Food at St. Louis Earth Day

    The St. Louis Earth Day Festival celebrates sustainable products and services available in the St. Louis area -- including food. It's apparently the second-largest Earth Day celebration in the country. The festival covers a huge area of Forest Park (specifically, the Muny grounds), and it can be a l ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2014

    Oasis Shisha Lounge: An Obscure Hookah Restaurant with Afghan Family Recipes

    Welcome to Hidden Gem, Gut Check's short love letter to restaurants, coffee shops and bars that lie off the beaten path. These places soldier on in relative anonymity, beloved by their regulars, but largely overlooked by the greater populace. Hidden Gem will attempt to rectify these terrible oversig ... More >>

  • Dining

    April 10, 2014
  • Dining

    March 20, 2014
  • Blogs

    December 12, 2013

    Critic's Notebook: How Baida Went from Fast Food Joint to Moroccan Jewel

    It's hard to believe, but Baida (3191 South Grand Boulevard; 314932-7950) was almost a burger joint. "My aunt and uncle [Assia and Abder Meskine] were going to open a fast food restaurant," says Adam Bennis, general manager of Baida, the new Moroccan restaurant on south Grand. "Then they found out ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 9, 2013

    Baida Brings Moroccan Food to South Grand

    When Abder Meskine came to America from Morocco, he just thought he'd invest in a fast food franchise. Then he realized St. Louis didn't have any Moroccan food. "We found this place and we fell in love with it, and we decided to create a Moroccan restaurant. It's time," Meskine says. Enter Baida (31 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 30, 2013

    Try This Now: Lamb Liver at the Kabob House

    When scanning a menu, it's easy to gravitate toward the familiar, the go-to. Far too often, though, that means missing out on a specialty dish or ethnic delicacy. In this series Gut Check tracks down St. Louis' more unusual culinary offerings in hopes of expanding our collective food knowledge and a ... More >>

  • Dining

    August 22, 2013
  • Blogs

    March 18, 2013

    Louisiana-fied Cajun and Creole Vegetarian Cuisine at The Kitchen Sink

    The Veggielante has had it up to here with people bitching that St. Louis restaurants are vegetarian unfriendly. Sure, we'd like to see more restaurants offering more meatless dishes, but there are excellent choices out there if you take the trouble to look for them. We're not here to proselytize ab ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 4, 2013

    South Grand: An Updated Guide to Restaurants on South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis

    St. Louis' neighborhoods are gems in their own right: full of history, great people and, as far as Gut Check is concerned, fantastic food. Each week we'll take you into a specific neighborhood and point you in the direction of the best places to grab some bites. One could easily argue that aside fr ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 11, 2013

    The Veggielante Relishes Robust's New Downtown Wine Bar in the MX Building

    The Veggielante has had it up to here with people bitching that St. Louis restaurants are vegetarian unfriendly. Sure, we'd like to see more restaurants offering more meatless dishes, but there are excellent choices out there if you take the trouble to look for them. We're not here to proselytize ab ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 3, 2012

    Ultimate Meatless Burgers: Meat? No. Listeria? Maybe.

    So maybe you don't have to ponder the ethical dilemma of eating meat when you tear open a package of Veggie Patch's Ultimate Meatless Burger. You do have to ponder the risk of listeria. Veggie Patch has announced a voluntary recall of two products, its Ultimate Meatless Burger and its Falafel, bec ... More >>

  • Dining

    September 14, 2012
  • Blogs

    May 16, 2012

    Iron Man Doesn't Know What Shawarma Is? Bull. Crap.

    Ever the pop-culture sheep, I plunked down my hardly earned 26 clams and took my wife to see The Avengers this past weekend. Now, growing up, I was always more of a DC than a Marvel kid, so I appreciated the movie as popcorn entertainment, not a geek apotheosis. At any rate, I'm not to here to provi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 29, 2012

    Fish Fry Frenzy: STL's Best Deep-Frying Destinations

    Friday, February 24, marked a special day for Gut Check: The beginning of fish fry season. We asked you to share your favorite fish fries with us, and combined the results with a list of our own to create a map of our favorite fried fish destinations. On each of the six spectacular Fridays leading u ... More >>

  • Dining

    November 24, 2011
  • Blogs

    July 28, 2011

    [UPDATED] Starbucks Introduces Bistro Boxes. USDA Says Not So Fast.

    StarbucksA Starbucks bistro box, recalled.​Last week 5,400 Starbucks stores took another baby step into the food market, introducing Bistro Boxes: savory meals like chicken and hummus, chipotle chicken wraps and sesame noodles with fewer than 500 calories. Great news, right? Well, except for ... More >>

  • Dining

    July 14, 2011
  • Blogs

    June 1, 2011

    Guess Where I'm Eating this Crispy Falafel and Win a $10 Gift Certificate to Gioia's! [Updated With Winner!]

    Falafel this good and this crispy has been through torture. Impaled on a drumstick sized skewer before deep frying, each patty gets beautifully crisp and an increased surface area thus, more crunch to munch! Tell me where I chowed down on this gorgeous Mediterranean dish and win a $10 gift certific ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 12, 2011

    Falafelwich Wagon Prepares to Hit the St. Louis Streets

    Inside HospitalityLook for this logo on a falafel wagon near you. ​ The St. Louis food truck fleet is set to expand in June when the Falafelwich Wagon hits the streets. Falafelwich is the first local food truck for St. Louis-based Inside Hospitality. The restaurant public relations and brand ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 5, 2011

    A Whole Lotta Falafel: Day 4

    Kristen Klempert​Here at Gut Check, we are firm believers in a good Saturday morning sleep-in. There's nothing better than lounging about in bed, doing absolutely nothing productive until the tummy starts a-rumbling. Then, it's brunch time. This lazy mid-morning we made a frittata, first pan ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 4, 2011

    A Whole Lotta Falafel: Day 3

    Kristen Klempert​Honestly, this morning we woke up and thought, "Damn, falafel again?" Feeling slightly uninspired, breakfast was a repeat of Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts, and falafel, but this time around the taste and texture of the yogurt was almost welcoming and really hit the spot.

  • Blogs

    March 18, 2011

    Gut Check's Week in Tweets

    ​Don't you know? Gut Check has a Twitter account. You can follow us @gutcheckstl. Here's some of what you missed on the Twitter feed this week: Back from two days of jury duty, during which I was reminded that The Terrace View has damn good fries. I wonder if Cafe Natasha ever has to cut so ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 23, 2011

    South Grand Gyro Express Reopens

    Ian FroebColorful new graphics adorn the front window of the reopened South Grand Gyro Express.​South Grand Gyro Express (5622 South Grand Boulevard; 314-481-1033) has reopened after closing "until further notice" last June. Not only has the restaurant returned, so have the original owners, Kahled ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 22, 2010

    #9: Meat Shawarma at the Vine Mediterranean Café & Market

    Jennifer SilverbergThe meat (right) and chicken shawarma on the spit at the Vine Mediterranean Cafe & Market​Inevitably your order of meat shawarma will contain a few pieces from the exterior of the spit -- crisp, even crunchy, and enjoyable in its own way, like the edges of pork carnitas. But ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2010

    Frozen Vegetables Recalled for Broken Glass

    Pictsweet has recalled frozen vegetables sold at Walmart and Kroger. Some products may contain broken glass. CNN has the list of product codes to avoid. Campbell's Soup is facing a boycott over halal soups in Canada. The Washington Post reports that blogger Pamela Geller, who was a vocal part of t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2010

    Day 11: My Oh My, Oh Momos!

    Editor's note: Aspiring photojournalist and Gut Check contributor Kholood Eid is chronicling her Ramadan fast in diary form. Click for all Ramadan Diary entries to date. Kholood Eid​I love Greek food. Pair it with a shimmying belly dancer balancing a sword on her head and I'm in nirvana. My ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 26, 2010

    Day 5: Let's Hear It for Home Cookin'!

    Editor's note: Aspiring photojournalist and Gut Check contributor Kholood Eid is chronicling her Ramadan fast in diary form. Click for all Ramadan Diary entries to date. Kholood Eid​For many, Sunday is a day of rest. For Mama, Sunday is a chance to shovel a ridiculous amount of food onto her ... More >>

  • Dining

    June 23, 2010
  • Blogs

    June 20, 2010

    World Cuppage: Brazil 3 - Ivory Coast 1; French Lessons at Tam Tam African Restaurant

    photos by Keegan HamiltonTam Tam owner Kassim Kone (left) and some of the Ivory Coast contigent​Tam Tam African Restaurant is an inconspicuous storefront next to a liquor store in one of the countless strip malls that line North Lindbergh Blvd in Florissant. On a sweltering Sunday afternoon, the p ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2010

    The Morning Brew: 6.15

    Almost ten years after "Fast Food Nation", author Eric Schlosser's fighting for food safety reform. He recently answered some questions from Food Safety News about the FDA, the USDA, and how the American food system favors commerce over safety. Yesterday we looked at the crazy amount of junk food ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 8, 2010

    Ian Froeb's 100 Favorite St. Louis Dishes, #75: Meat shawarma at the Vine Mediterranean Café & Market

    Jennifer SilverbergShawarma on the spit at the Vine​I'm counting down -- in no particular order -- 100 of my favorite dishes in St. Louis. Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are expensive, others dirt cheap. All of them, I guarantee, are delicious.Please do not hesitate to share your own f ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 30, 2010

    The Morning Brew: 4.30

    As the oil from last week's rig explosion creeps closer to the Louisiana coast, New Orleans restaurants are becoming concerned about the fate of their local seafood, especially on the verge of oyster reproduction season. The Chicago Tribune interviewed people whose livelihoods rely on Gulf oysters t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 17, 2010

    Review Slideshow: The Vine Mediterranean Café & Market

    Jennifer Silverberg​In the mood for the best meat shawarma in town? Or some really good falafel?My review of The Vine Mediterranean Café & Market (3171 South Grand Boulevard; 314-776-0991) is now available online.In this week's Back of the House slideshow, Jennifer Silverberg takes you throug ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 16, 2009

    A Table for How Many? at Ranoush

    Ranoush6501 Delmar Boulevard, University City314-726-6874Special for YouRanoush seated our large party at a special table toward the back of the restaurant. We had to walk through a colorful tent to get to it, which gave it a festive and authentic Middle Eastern feel. As we were seated, the owner ... More >>

  • Dining

    July 15, 2009
  • Blogs

    April 24, 2009

    FoodWire: South Grand Gyro Express Now Open

    This one slipped under my radar -- especially embarrassing since I live only a five-minute drive from here. At any rate, South Grand Gyro Express is now open at 5622 South Grand Boulevard. The restaurant features gyros (duh) as well as kabobs, biryani, falafel and other Mediterranean and Middle East ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 1, 2008

    Happy Canada Day!

    Today is Canada Day, which is when Canadians celebrate the Fourth of July. (Sorry about that. I'm pretty sure Dave Barry made the same joke, like, fifteen years ago. It wasn't funny then, either.) At any rate, to honor our neighbors to the north, I decided to feast on some Canadian cuisine. As soo ... More >>

  • Dining

    September 12, 2007

    Hyderabad to the Bone

    Ruchi will delight fans of northern and southern Indian cuisine alike.

  • Dining

    July 18, 2007

    Southtown Bound

    Ian finds a trio of local gems that hit close to home.

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2007

    Review Preview: Queen of Sheba

    As far as non-Western dining customs go, using injera as both a food and utensil seems straightforward. But if learning to use chopsticks is like learning to ride a bike -- tricky, but second nature with practice -- learning to eat with injera is like learning to kiss. The mechanics are obvious, but ... More >>

  • Dining

    August 2, 2006

    My Ohm My

    Solid eats, electric atmosphere

  • Dining

    March 12, 2003

    Into Africa

    New restaurant's offerings are impossible to categorize, impossible to resist

  • Dining

    August 21, 2002

    Georgia Satellite

    Café Lavash goes to the Republic of Georgia so you don't have to

  • Best of St. Louis

    September 26, 2001
  • Dining

    January 10, 2001

    Side Dish

    Mohanned Alsaliti takes his delicious Middle Eastern fare to Union Station

  • Dining

    September 1, 1999

    Greek Goods

    An offering of thanks for the Greek Festival's heavenly food

  • Dining

    June 9, 1999
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