Shawarma, falafel and more make for a casual Middle Eastern feast at Hannah’s Kitchen

Forget the ambiance, this friendly Boca Raton eatery is about fresh-cooked food.

Falafel wrap

Chicken shawarma pita

A tasty bit of the Middle East has been transplanted to a down-at-its-heels strip center in Boca Raton.

Found at NW 2nd Ave. and Yamato Road, midway between I-95 and Federal Highway, Hannah’s Kitchen, has the ambiance of a pizzeria, which its space may have been in a former life. It’s been open only for a few months. There’s no sign above the door; merely a paper banner in the window indicating the occupant of the storefront. (H/T to blogger Jason Perlow for the tip.)

Inside Hannah’s, there are billboard menus on one wall and a shelf lined with hookahs on another, just behind a display case filled with pickled vegetables and Middle Eastern sweets. Another wall is filled with beverage dispensers. A blaring TV is the only decor on the remaining wall of the small, plain dining room.

Hannah’s exterior

Hannah’s interior

But don’t get fooled by the ambiance.  You’ll be well taken care of and well fed here.

The odds are good that you will place your order at the counter with Hannah, a friendly, short, middle-aged woman, head wrapped in a scarf, with the bluest of eyes.

Those eyes glowed when I inquired if they served sweet mint tea, which was not listed on the menu. It’s the authentic beverage with this cuisine. Yes, she responded. “Would you like some? Of course.

Sweet mint tea

The tea, like the rest of the food served here, is made to order.  Find a seat and wait for your food to be delivered to your table. This is not fast food.

And that food is very good. Order a chicken shawarma sandwich and you’ll get a pita or wrap filled with his ancient street food — spiced, roasted meat shaved off a turning spit, and smothered with such toppings as hummus, tomato and cucumber salad, green pickles, and bright purple pickled turnips.  Beef here is halal.

Falafel, deep-fried golden balls with a crunchy exterior and a light interior of parsley green, ground chickpeas, is terrific.  I enjoyed it in a wrap with a variety of toppings.

A side of kibbeh, a blend of ground meat, bulgur cracked wheat, minced onions, and spices, arrived as a miniature football, encased in a crispy deep-fried, but greaseless, dough shell. It’s mildly flavored, but delicious nonetheless.

There are burgers, cheesesteaks, chicken tenders and wings and fries for those disinclined to order the house specialities.  A burger, ordered medium, arrived well done. And those fries, the coated variety, were cooked to a crisp.

That sweet tea, unlike other beverages served in plastic at Hannah’s, arrived in a small, cut clear glass cup with a handle The tawny liquid inside surrounded a sprig of fresh mint. There’s also Arabic coffee, spiced with cardamom, for those who prefer this unsweetened hot beverage.

A plate of warm kanafa, a bright orange Palestinian dessert of crunchy shredded phyllo dough baked atop a layer of creamy sweet cheese and then drenched in rosewater syrup  and topped with crushed pistachio nuts, was a simple, yet impressive finale to my meal.  Other sweets offered are baklava and warbat—phyllo dough filled with custard.

You don’t pay for your food (priced quite reasonably) until you’re ready to leave. I inadvertently almost walked out on one visit. I was happy to pay for my Middle Eastern feast.

Hannah’s Kitchen

4822 NW 2nd Ave

Boca Raton, FL 33431

(561) 672-7015

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