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Naranj - Middle Eastern Cuisine
#1
A foodie friend raved about Naranj several times so we decided to give it a try last Friday.  My friend said the breads and the mezzeh were amazing.  And so they were.  

We were there for lunch so we limited our selection to soup, salad and mezzeh.  

Both of us ordered Naranj Soup (7.99).

   

This is a smoked wheat soup with some toppings.  I have never heard of 'smoked wheat soup' but it was hearty and delicious.  

After soup I chose the Maqdoos Salad (11.99) because the picture of it looked amazing.  

   

The Magdoos Salad was beautifully presented but the taste was a bit too strange for my liking.  Perhaps it was the eggplant preserved in olive oil or the red pepper paste that didn't please my tastebuds. 

My husband chose the Jarjeer and Grilled Halloumi Cheese (12.99) salad.               

   

The salad looked appetizing and the (perfectly) grilled halloumi cheese made me wish I had chosen that salad instead of the Magdoos Salad.  

After the soup and salad we were happy that we only chose two mezzeh from the menu.  We chose the Hummus  Beiruti (7.99) and had a plate of 8 Yalanji (11.99).  The Yalanji is stuffed grape leaves that is available at most middle eastern restaurants.  

   

The Hummus Beiruti came with fresh baked flat bread and I have to say that it was probably the tastiest hummus I have ever eaten.

   

The Yalanji was also delicious.  It was full of subtle flavours that other stuffed grapes lack.

I was too full for dessert but my husband has a sweet tooth so he tried the Kishk Al-Omaraa (6.99).    This dessert is the Naranj house special.  It is a light and creamy milk flan topped with strands of cotton candy and crunchy pistachios.  It was delicious.  I know because our server brought two spoons in case I wanted to try it.  And I did.

Naranj is a Syrian success story.  The folks who own this restaurant came to Canada in 2015 and, according to an article in the Waterloo Chronicle, they employ 15 people.  And as you can probably tell from the pictures this is not your run-of-the-mill shawarma joint.  This restaurant is large, clean and nicely decorated.  

My only complaint is that the service was a tad slow and the restaurant was too cold.  Regardless, we will be back to try some of their other dishes.        

Naranj is located at the roundabout at Erb and Ira Needles.  It is in the same small plaza as Freshii.
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#2
I didn't realize we were limited to five pictures per post so here are a couple of pics I wanted to include with Naranj.

Here is a picture of my husband's dessert,  Kishk Al-Omaraa.

   

I also ordered some mint tea.  

   
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#3
Wow, looks delicious! Thanks for posting, this one's on my list of places to check out.
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#4
(02-14-2019, 08:49 AM)jgsz Wrote: Naranj is located at the roundabout at Erb and Ira Needles.  It is in the same small plaza as Freshii.

Looks good! An urban location would have been nice, but maybe in the summer I can go there by bicycle …
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#5
(02-14-2019, 12:45 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(02-14-2019, 08:49 AM)jgsz Wrote: Naranj is located at the roundabout at Erb and Ira Needles.  It is in the same small plaza as Freshii.

Looks good! An urban location would have been nice, but maybe in the summer I can go there by bicycle …

They have an output in the Kitchener Market also. I've had their egg-and-tomato dish a few times. It's great.
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#6
(02-14-2019, 02:27 PM)plam Wrote:
(02-14-2019, 12:45 PM)tomh009 Wrote: Looks good! An urban location would have been nice, but maybe in the summer I can go there by bicycle …

They have an output in the Kitchener Market also. I've had their egg-and-tomato dish a few times. It's great.

In that case, I withdraw my complaint! I shall seek them in the market ...
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#7
I don't go up to the International Food Court at the Kitchener Market very often so I didn't know that Naranj had an outlet there.  So we checked it out on Saturday.  

   

It is not the same as the restaurant at all.  Most of the items on the menu are different too.  I noticed they call themselves Naranj Blossom and I wonder if they are the same people.  Regardless we ordered some food for breakfast.  My husband ordered the Breakfast Burrito.   He said it was good but way to much food and he couldn't finish it all.  I ordered the Lentil and Pasta Stew.  

   

It had lots of lentils and baby shell pasta and it was topped with dried flat bread, the kind that is used in Fattoush Salads.   The stew was a bit heavy for breakfast but it had a nice lemony flavour that made it seem lighter and refreshing.  

Although our experience was positive we strongly prefer their restaurant in Waterloo.
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