Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saad's Halal Place

Saad's Halal Place

Having been back at Penn for only a little over one month, I am already exhausted with all the dining options near campus. Looking to break out of my standard repertoire of restaurants, I scoured Yelp for a new place to try. My search yielded Saad’s Halal Place, a Middle Eastern restaurant with great reviews. That evening, two of my friends and I decided to make the trek out to the restaurant on 45th and Walnut.

What struck me when we arrived at Saad’s was that it really isn’t that far away from campus. As soon as we entered the door, we were greeted by a large list of no’s. No: Cell Phones, Pets, Alcohol, Smoking, Soliciting, Unruly Customers, or Credit are allowed in Saad’s(although they do accept debit cards). We moved up through the throng of seated customers to the counter to order. While we were waiting countless locals came in and out to pick up their to-go orders, often uttering a warm salaam alaikum to the owner. There were many local families dining at the restaurant and very few Penn students. It felt like we had been transported far off campus, even though we were only five blocks from the high rises. The server could sense that we had never been to Saad’s before, so explained to us that orders are taken at the counter and paid for after dining. The menu was full of standard Middle Eastern fare such as falafel, gyro, dolmas, and baklava, but also featured such Philly favorites as hoagies and cheese steaks. They have plenty of vegetarian and non-veg items. I was blown away by their extensive drink selection, which included extremely odd selections ranging from Aloe Vera juice to an African melon drink. I am a huge fan of off the wall drinks so quickly picked up an Aloe drink, which I’ve had many times before and thoroughly enjoy. I ordered a falafel sandwich with hummus, for a total price of less than five dollars.

The place was packed, so after ordering we were lucky enough to snag a few seats near the door. We waited over half an hour for our food (I suspect the long wait is a result of the massive quantity of to-go orders they fill), but the wait was well worth it. My falafel sandwich was extremely tender and flavorful, dripping with Tahini and hummus. The hummus was smooth and tasted fresh. Without a doubt the best falafel sandwich I have had around campus.

So, in closing, I wholeheartedly recommend that you take the ten minute walk to Saad’s if you want superior Middle Eastern fare at dirt cheap prices in an authentic West Philadelphian environment.

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