Restaurant Review: Hadia’s Home Cooking
I had the pleasure of visiting Hadia’s Home Cooking, a cute and quaint Mediterranean cafe in Tarzana last week. As I was schooled by Hadia, not all Mediterranean food is created the same and theirs has a Lebanese influence. Like most food from the Mediterranean, many options are vegetarian and vegan. I absolutely adore this kind of food. Hadia makes everything from scratch herself including her own yogurt, which I did not sample, and her special pickled olives, turnip, and spicy peppers. They have hookah’s you can smoke outside if you are into that. Plenty of seating inside and out, which is perfect for the beautiful weather we’ve been having. And easy parking right out front. If you don’t live in the Valley it might be a trek for you, but it is totally worth it if you want to taste some of the best Mediterranean food I’ve tried in Los Angeles.
Hadia’s opened her restaurant two and half years ago with the help of her husband. He says he stays out of the kitchen to let Hadia work her magic. The met in the 80’s at a wedding and fell in love even though she is Lebanese and he is Israeli (a big no-no he made it sound like!). Her grandma and mom taught her how to cook back in Lebanon where all her family has stayed. She loved it here in America so much she never moved back.
The first dish I tried was the lentil soup. It was simple yet the most perfect blend of veggies to lentils. It came with a slice of lemon, which I gladly squeezed into the soup, taking it up a notch in flavor and life. The second thing I tried is a special Lebanese dish you won’t find at any other Mediterranean restaurant called Mjadra. It’s cooked lentils and rice with grilled onions on top. By itself it was kind of plain, but when I had it with the mint, tomato, cucumber salad it was served with it was incredibly tasty. Hadia says it usually served with yogurt too.
Next was the Grape Leaves, which tasted like the dolmas I’ve had other places. Nothing too special but when paired with the Babaganoush it was yum. I guess it was more a vehicle for the dip more than anything! I must say that Hadia’s Babaganoush was probably the best I’ve ever had! The Homus was good, not the best I’ve tried, but it wasn’t overly spiced with too much garlic, so that made me happy.
The Vegetarian Plate runs $8.99 with Homus, Babaganoush, 4 Falafels, and Tabouli salad with tahini sauce (more than pictured here, I had her give me a small portion to try). The appetizers go for $3.49-5.99. Overall it’s a very affordable place to eat. It’s not organic, but they do buy their produce all locally on a daily basis.
I consider myself a falafel snob. But, many of the falafel in restaurants contain eggs, are too soft on the inside, and not crunchy enough on the outside. I found Hadia’s falafel to be almost perfect. It was a bit too crunchy for me on the outside, but the inside was a perfect blend of fava and garbanzo beans without the usual overpowering garlic taste.
For dessert, I figured they wouldn’t have anything that didn’t have eggs. Turns out Hadia had one pastry that’s vegan. I don’t remember what it was called but it was like a yummy sweet empanada looking thing that had a walnut filling that she combines with orange blossom water. It’s flash-fried then dipped in a sweet syrup. It’s was heaven in my mouth.
Hadia’s does dine in, take out, and catering. If you have an event where you want delicious vegan food this would be an awesome place to consider for your catering needs. It’s also great for larger parties. We should get a Meetup.com group there soon! Unfortunately, they are using Styrofoam take-out containers, but when I told them of more eco-friendly options they seemed very open to my suggestions.
I hope you’ll try this hidden gem sometime soon. Mention this blog and get a drink or dessert with your meal for free. Believe me you will not be disappointed!
Hadia’s Home Cooking
19657 Ventura Blvd.
Tarzana, CA 91356
Check them out on Yelp!