Pass the Plate

Skip out on the boring old burgers and fries tonight


Colette Balas & Kathleen Gartner, Writers

Stop #1: Holy Land Café

Ethnicity: Middle Eastern and Mediterranean

Rating: 4.0

Price: $

Location: 12275 W 87th St Pkwy (2.5 miles from West)

Entree we sampled: Sampler platter- fresh baked pita bread with hummus, beef and chicken shawarma (meat that has been slow roasted on a spit), tzatziki sauce (crisp cucumber yogurt sauce to spread on the meat), and a greek salad.

What we thought: The Holy Land Cafe is nestled in a small stretch of Middle Eastern stores right off of 87th. The cafe itself is cozily decorated with various Arabic symbols and had Persian rugs hanging on the walls. Everyone in the restaurant, such as the wait staff and customers, were of Middle Eastern descent. This place is about as authentic as you can get without traveling across the ocean! The food was fantastic, and is characterized by strong spices such as turmeric, cumin, and nutmeg. Other items on the menu are falafel sandwiches (fried chickpeas in a pita wrapping) and gyros (shawarma meat in a pita wrapping with tzatziki sauce).


Stop #2: Thai Place

Ethnicity: Thai

Rating: 5

Price: $$

Location:  9359 W 87th St (0.6 miles from West)

Entree we sampled: Phad Thai- Creamy stir fried noodles with different protein options including tofu, chicken, and shrimp. Choice of spicy or not spicy.

What we thought: The Thai Place is slightly fancier than the other restaurants we reviewed, so it would be perfect for a night out. Also, all the employees were Thai, which added to its authenticity. The Thai Place was our personal favorite in terms of cuisine. The portions were very generous, and we found ourselves licking the bowl! Even if you are not wild about Asian food, the Thai Place is still a great place to try because of  its unique menu item such as curry and various noodle dishes.


Stop #3: Elsa’s Ethiopian Restaurant

Ethnicity: Ethiopian

Rating: 4

Price: $$

Location: 8016 Santa Fe Dr (1.3 miles from West)

Entree we sampled: Meat combo- Key Wat (spicy beef stew), Alicha Wat (beef stew simmered in barbeque), Doro Wat (Chicken drumstick stew simmered in barbeque sauce) 2 vegetarian sides, ayb (traditional cottage cheese), served on injera bread.

What we thought: We enjoyed the Ethiopian place the most in terms of customer service. Our waitress was Elsa, the owner of the restaurant. She was very kind and eager to teach us how to eat Ethiopian food. Instead of using utensils, Ethiopians use their hands. We were packing up our food to head to the next restaurant when the other waiter brought out a sample vegetarian platter, free of charge. He told us that we needed to try his favorites before we left. We were very pleased with the unique experience and great customer service.



Stop #4: El Salvadoreño

Ethnicity: Salvadoran

Rating: 3.0

Price: $$

Location: 7926 Santa Fe Dr (1.4 miles from West)

Entree we sampled: Sampler platter- Pupusa (handmade corn tortilla filled with meat and cheese), enchilada, yuca frita (fried root of the cassava plant- like a french fry), and a tamale (meat and cheese wrapped in a steamed masa corn wrapping).

What we thought: The Salvadoran place is a larger restaurant with a lot of character. Flags and artwork cover the restaurant. Like the other restaurants, the wait staff’s ethnicity added to their credibility. We enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and the delicious food.  Almost all Salvadorian food is fried and many dishes are spicy. El Salvadoreño is a great place to try and experience the great food from El Salvador.