Aida is the name of a new Mediterranean restaurant that has opened in Richfield (just south of Minneapolis), where Christopher and I went with a couple of friends earlier this week. It took over an old Taco Bell location, and... well... I wasn't happy to have my closest fast food go away, but now that I've tried the replacement, I'm no longer upset.
The place is small (it was an OLD Taco Bell, after all), and they've opened up as much of the space as possible, even allowing customers to watch what's going on in the kitchen, if they want. (We didn't, honestly... we were too busy talking.)
The menu isn't huge, but it covers all of the bases - you can get everything from hummus to falafel to gyros, as well as various kabobs. And here's the great thing: Everything we tried actually had FLAVOR. The hummus wasn't just paste - and it had a dollop of jalapeno in the middle. The falafel weren't just weird clumpy fried balls. Even the (perfectly cooked) french fries were flavorful.
Oh, and Christopher tried the "fiery red" sauce. When he asked the guy behind the counter about it, he was warned that it was "very hot," but we weren't sure if that was Mediterranean hot or Minnesota hot. So Christopher got some, and we all loved it. It's hot. Actually hot. And perfect on the fries, and... well... almost everything else.
It's so great to go into a place that isn't stuffy and isn't expensive and still be treated to a meal made by people who really know the food. In fact, if you read my blog on Wednesday and remember that I mentioned a restaurant having sundown feasts for Ramadan, this is where they are happening. (While you're perusing their regular menu, here, you should also look at their Ramadan menu...)
If you're thinking of going - and you really should be - always check their website, because they seem to have rotating promotions. And they have a "frequent buyer" club, too. (Yes, I plan to be one of those...)