You know that health tip advising against grocery shopping on an empty stomach? Well, Jerusalem International Foods & Grill can make sure you heed that advice. The restaurant and grocery store have separate entrances and suites, but are connected through a doorway inside.
The immaculately clean and orderly store side is where you’ll find Middle Eastern and Indian products, including a large variety of legumes, spices and grains sold packaged and by the pound, and a fresh meat and cheese counter. The restaurant side is where you’ll find earth-toned decor, comfy dining chairs and a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches and platters, along with traditional Persian dishes.
With so many options, it’s best to try a little of everything by ordering the appetizer sampler and a platter. The appetizer sampler comes with pita bread, crispy falafel, smooth and creamy hummus, spanakopita (feta and spinach wrapped in filo dough) and rice wrapped in grape leaves, which are cool and refreshing. The orange lentil soup is a customer favorite, but harirah (garbanzo beans, tomatoes, onion, noodles, cilantro) and ash-e reshteh (cilantro, parsley, spinach, beans, noodles) are just as enticing. The meat combo platter (vegetarian options are also available) comes with your choice of any three meats, like chicken or lamb shawerma, kebabs, gyro, beef kebbeh or curries that have a tomato-based, spiced garlic and ginger sauce. Platters come with basmati rice, hummus, salad and pita. If a platter seems like too much food, most of the same items can be ordered as a pita sandwich, served with your choice of rice, salad or fries.
It doesn’t get much better than feasting on international delicacies and then shopping for hard to find products like rosewater, tamarind and tahini pastes, besan flour, and even hookah supplies. If you’re too full for one of the seven filo or semolina and nut-based desserts, you can always buy some treats from next door to take home.
5360 N. Mesa; 915-231-9600; Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Vegan friendly; $3.50-16.99; www.jerusalem-grill.com