Archive for the 'Mediterranean' Category

Rudy’s Mediterranean Grill & Bar

7185 Columbia Gateway Drive
Suite D
Columbia, MD 21046
410-290-2004 / 410-290-2010

Pros: Doner kebabs, seafood

Cons: Other dishes may need more flavoring

We have been longing for a good diner in Columbia, and we may have finally found one. I have to admit that it took us a few visits to really fall in love with this place. One thing this place suffers from is the standard Columbia curse: hard to find. You really have to hunt for this one, but we hope word of month will help them out.

We tried first some of the more standard and some not-so-standard diner dishes. The crabcakes, and stuffed mushrooms, and calamari were quite tasty, but sandwiches and wraps were thoroughly mediocre. A lot of the side dishes could use more flavoring; the table-side salt and pepper will be your friend for the lentil soup and breakfast potatoes.

The dishes that finally won us over, however, were the doner kebabs. For dinner, the Famous Iskender Kebab is pretty close to perfection. Think of it as an open-face gyro pita sandwich drenched in a tasty tomato sauce. The garlic yogurt helps balance out the peppers on the dish. The gyro, itself, is perfectly prepared, and the toasted pita adds a welcome crunchy texture.

The place does quite well with its seafood, such as the Crabcake Benedict and Fried Calamari, but the doner kebabs are what have my taste buds talking for days.
Rudy's Mediterranean Grill & Diner on Urbanspoon


Athens Grill

9124 Rothbury Drive
Gaithersburg, MD 20879

Pros: a lot of food for your money, Zorba Platter, neighborhood atmosphere

Cons: not many options for vegetarians

How much do we love Athens Grill? Enough that each time we run an errand in Gaithersburg, we make it a point to stop in for a bite. And for the last 3 weeks, we have been making excuses to come into Gaithersburg each week. Be warned…if you are a vegetarian, then this is not the place for you; although they do have a few vegetarian options, they are rather skimpy compared to the rest of the menu. But for everyone else, this is a Mediterranean meat-lover’s paradise.

You get a real bang for the buck, when you order off the Platter section of the menu. Not only do you get some exquisitely cooked meat, but it also comes with some pita bread, a greek salad, and your choice of french fries or rice. We always go for the rice, as it is cooked in some sort of mystery mixture of spices and butter that really hits the spot. And of course the meat is prepared to perfection. Our favorite platter is the Zorba Platter, which is a combination kabob platter with a mix of chicken, beef, and lamb, along with some gyros. Each platter is usually enough to feed the both of us.

This restaurant also has an amazing neighborhood atmosphere. As you dine here, you will likely see a bunch of people come in and out and chat with the restaurant owner as if they have known each other for ages. Seriously, tough, eating here just once made me want to move into the neighborhood so that we would not have to drive an hour to enjoy Athens Grill.


806 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-5308

Pros: You can’t beat the food quality; wonderful meat-filled and vegetarian options

Cons: A bit pricey, but it’s well worth it; can be very crowded for dinner

After being introduced to Afghani food by Maiwand Kabob, we were looking forward to Helmand, especially after being invited to dinner by my supervisor. Helmand has apparently become quite a fixture in the Mt. Washington area of Baltimore; it has a reputation for fine dining and superb food. The food certainly lived up to my supervisor’s raves.

We started off with pumpkin Borawni, which is so good, you might not want to share your appetizer. The entrees encompassed a great range, and it was definitely hard to choose from the menu. Many of the entrees are served atop a bed of rice, which goes perfectly alongside the various vegetable and/or meat lawand dishes. The beef tenderloins were indeed marvelous, as were the sauteed mushrooms. They were so good, that it was difficult to put my fork down. In addition to the amazing entrees, the desserts were also wonderful. The prices were a little high, as compared to Maiwand Kabob, but you definitely will not be complaining about quality.

Helmand is clearly not a secret to the community, as the restaurant was definitely packed. If you come, be sure to make a reservation.

Samos Restaurant

600 Oldham St
Baltimore, MD 21224

Pros: Lean meats, grape leaves, spanakopita

Cons: No credit card, extremely crowded

We originally found this restaurant through a website that advertised the best cheap eats of Baltimore. If you go for the small items on the menu (e.g., pita wraps, gyro sandwiches, etc.), these are indeed pretty cheap, and a good bang for your buck. Other items, such as dishes off their Samos Platters sections are priced a little higher, but still offer a lot for your money. We tried one of their combination platters (Pekilia platter), so we got to taste a little of everything. We ended up eating one of the best meals of our lives.

The meal started off with a light salad, that had just enough feta cheese, that it was not over powering, and the greek salad dressing added quite a bit of zing to the flavor. The platter, itself, was amazing. The gyro meat was incredibly lean, and the chicken kabobs were grilled excellently. Each of the grilled vegetables in the platter (onions, red and green peppers) were amazing. Then there was perhaps the best spanakopita we had ever had. The grape leaves were amazingly juicy. The potatoes added an excellent texture to the dish.

This restaurant also offers pasta and pizza dishes, but we neglected these to fulfill our Greek desires. Based on the descriptions of these items, some might also offer a Greek twist. If you come to this restaurant, be sure to bring cash, as they do not accept credit card. Also be sure to come early, as the restaurant fills up quickly and could leave you waiting a while.

Maiwand Kabob

Harpers Choice Village Center
5467 Harpers Farm Rd
Columbia, MD 21044

839 Elkridge Landing Rd, Suite 110
Linthicum Heights, MD 21090

Pros: What isn’t a pro? Amazing food!

Cons: Built more for take-out

Two words: Maiwand Kabob

One word: Yum!

Seriously, we can’t rave enough about this restaurant. Simply the tandoori bread warrants a visit. It’s hard to think of anything bad to think of this restaurant. The only very minor issue is that it has very few tables and seems to be built more for take-out. Whatever…the reason you come is for food! If you like meat, this one offers up an array of meats, each prepared with an excellent range of spices. Simply thinking of the food right now as I type this has me drooling and wishing for another visit.

During our visit, we munched on some Bowlani (potato and scallion filled pastries), then proceeded to devour some Beef Kabobs and Chicken Jalfarazi. The seasonings, spices, and sauces create such an amazing flavor. Unbeknownst to us, Afghani food is slightly spicier than most other Mediterranean foods, but this was a welcome surprise for us.

Like we said, there isn’t much to complain about here. Now please excuse us while we make another visit.

UPDATE (11/10/2013): This local chain has opened up a new location in the Columbia Crossing shopping Center (next to the Books-A-Million). Whereas the other locations did not really contribute much to a dine-in atmosphere and begged for more of a take-out experience, the Columbia Crossing location is quite nice and offers a warm dine-in atmosphere.