The Mediterranean Diet Is Hip (Again): Here are Five Places to Find Your Tabbouleh
The Mediterranean diet was bolstered by a study recently released by the New England Journal of Medicine. The report concludes not only that a diet based on olive oil, nuts and fish can prevent cardiovascular disease but that it's more effective than the previously recommended low-fat diet.
Researchers tracked more than 7,000 test subjects as they followed guidelines recommending more than a quarter cup of olive oil a day in addition to vegetables, legumes and fatty fish, compared with a control group which was restricted to a low-fat diet. Those who ate Mediterranean style had a 30 percent lower risk of major cardiovascular problems.
Pie lovers, avert your eyes: Commercial bakery goods, sweets and pastries were discouraged in both groups.
My line of work prevents me from indulging any sort of sensible diet, but I have on multiple occasions leaned heavily on tabbouleh when I feel like my eating habits spiraled out of control. Considering I'm actually eating a bowl of leftover beef stew while I type this, I think it's time I go visit some of my favorite Mediterranean diet friendly restaurants here in Dallas.
Qariah (pictured above)
This Greenville Avenue Lebanese restaurant opened late last year with one of the most compelling buffets I've seen in some time. Their tabbouleh is coarse and bright with lemon and the bake fresh bread to order.
Ali Baba has become a go-to for East Dallasites. The buffet is always busy during the week, and evenings the dim and cozy dining room is filled with people munching on kebabs and flat bread.
The last time I dined at Baboush I was taken by their babaganoush, which boasted a dollop of creamy basil and sweet pomegranate seeds along with the subtle heat of fresh jalepeños. Baboush's menu may lean towards Moroccan flavors but the focus on grilled lean meats and fresh vegetables fit perfectly into the Mediterranean diet guidelines.
No Mediterranean restaurant list would be complete without a nod to Fadia's falafel. The texture is perfect, with a super crunchy exterior that's not at all oily and a center that's cooked though and not doughy. This recommendation comes with a disclaimer, however. The tiny storefront is filled with baked sweets including baklava, which are delicious, but definitely not the cornerstone of a healthy Mediterranean diet.
Pera Turkish Kitchen
Pera's freshly baked pide bread is a reason to visit this Far North Dallas restaurant on its own. And the rest of the menu holds up, too with perfectly grilled, whole branzino, handmade dolmas and other salads and dips that pack big flavors, even though they're simple and healthy.