Taste of Lebanon (Malouf's - Sacramento, CA)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

From the Fall 07 issue of Edible Sacramento, Errant Gourmet section, by yours truly. Please support local food and local writing about it, pick up a free copy or have it delivered to you via a subscription which helps support us in covering all local food!

When I researched Lebanese food, I honestly couldn’t find much information about it which made me all the more curious, so when I met up with my editors for dinner, I wasn’t surprised they had run into the same electronic stalwart. Lebanese food was a mystery. So we all decided to sit down at Maloouf’s to finally figure it out.

Maloouf’s is a little family owned restaurant on Fulton, which houses a surprisingly large and comforting interior. The open kitchen is worked efficiently by one man, and is kept sparkling clean.

The menu might be foreign to even the most experienced eater, so I suggest going with a group and everyone order something different and then share. It’s the best way to learn what’s what and figure out what you enjoy.

We were presented a colorful small plate of pickles and kalamata olives to begin with, which was a nice change of pace from the tired bread and butter. We also ordered a plate of homemade bread, covered with oregano and sesame, then topped with some tomatoes and feta cheese.

The kafta kabob was a kind and homey dish. Ground sirloin mixed with parsley, onions, and various seasonings was served over rice pilaf; uncomplicated and delicious. The falafels are a safe bet if you aren’t feeling too adventurous, and were deemed “One of the best falafels I’ve ever had,” by my editor. The food has an overall homemade feel to it, like they’re the meals all the Lebanese moms make after a long day.

The desserts are amazing; baklava is made in house and had nothing I could protest. The knafi, a pastry with shredded phyllo dough and ricotta cheese, is texturally playful. But the aish al saraiah is the true winner here. Toasted French bread soaked in a rosewater (we think) syrup, with a layer of creamy pudding, and ground pistachios. To. Die. For. We even asked for the recipe so we could publish it for you, only to be denied like so many before us eager for the recipe.

The only thing I would avoid would be the yogurt drink. Water, mint, yogurt and salt - it’s like a drinking a vegetable dip; only if you don’t drink it fast enough it curdles and separates. The mint tea however is subtle and comforting and acts as a nice counter balance to the insanely spicy chili sauce condiment sitting at your table.

The menu does have a few rules such as appetizers not being served to a table without a meal being ordered, or lunch menu items having an additional charge when ordered during dinner service. However, the respective menus are tasty and varied, and heck, when it comes down to it, it’s just a dollar.

All and all, a tasty and new experience that was exotic and thoroughly tasty! I think by the end, we were all planning to make a return visit.

Maalouf’s Tate of Lebanon
1433 Fulton Ave, Suite G
Sacramento, CA 95825


  1. Wow - it's hard for me to imagine someone in a city (and who loves food) hasn't had a lot of experience with Lebanese food. I live in Halifax (NS, Canada) and we have tons of great Lebanese food. I think a lot of people moved here from Lebanon a long time ago, I can't imagine a city without tons of cheap Lebanese food though. Did they have Shish Taouk (or tawook)? It's usually chicken or beef skewers, I've never had it done badly, and it's usually amazing.
    ps. Love your blog - discovered it a day or two ago and I've almost read through the entire archives

  2. Kyla - It's just something I never got around to having until a while ago. It's all very new to me still. Glad you like the blog! =)

  3. I live outside of NYC, so getting Lebanese food never presented a problem. I am also going to recommend a glance at the fabulous cookbook "Arabesque".

    You can thank me later.

  4. My grandparents on my mother's side are from Lebanon, so i was always surrounded by my Grandmother's amazing Lebanese cooking as a kid. I love love LOVE Lebanese food, and i love when people are introduced to it for the first time! I currently live in Florence, Italy, and there is even a Lebanese restaurant here--so it's becoming easier and easier to find it wherever you live.

  5. Garrett - do any of the recipes in this website look familiar to what you had


    THanks for the review. We r heading there this weekend!

  6. Yes, Lebanese food is quite delicious and I had the pleasure being introduced to it by two of my customers. Not only was my first introduction to it marvelous, it was homemade &x free!

  7. Yummmmm... the aish al saraiah sounds delicious!

  8. Nice description of Malouf's!
    Sacramento has a relatively small Lebanese population, surprisingly. Malouf's is the only authentic all-Lebanese restaurant here and I wish that was not the case. However, I am very spoiled to have a sister-in-law that make amazing home cooked Lebanese cuisine true to Lebanon!
    There are a few restaurants in the area started/owned by Lebanese that don't specialize in Lebanese cuisine -- I highly recommend The Kabob House (Greek food) on East Bidwell in Folsom*. Rocky, the owner, is a doll and the food is excellent!
    (*Don't go to the Kabob House on Fulton Ave in Sac - current owner has taken an excellent thing and turned it sour - very sad and not what it used to be. Go to Folsom!)

  9. I lived at the apartments opposite Maalouf's for close to a year. Needless to say, it became the favourite restaurant for me and my husband. A light lunch over there is about the same price as thoroughly unimaginative, sprayed-with-artificial flavour and without-inspiration stuff you find at McD's... not so hard to make a choice.

    Thanks for the pictures, it brought back a lot of good memories for us.


Hey, you're leaving a comment! That's pretty darn cool, so thanks. If you have any questions or have found an error on the site or with a recipe, please e-mail me and I will reply as soon as possible.

Vanilla Garlic All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger