Hi! It's Vicky again... blogging again... This time, I'm finally featuring one of my favorite hole in the wall lunch places.
My friend Jennifer introduced me to this gem that's super close to work (since we work together) and it's fairly off the beaten path. I've always liked Mediterranean/Greek/Middle Eastern food, but this hails as some pretty authentic cuisine. I didn't realize that so many places had their "take" on hummus (similar to how Panda Express does "sweet and sour chicken.") Needless to say, this place does a perfect style of the traditional-going-back-to-the-founding-roots type of hummus. Perfectly balanced out with tahini and garbanzo beans, served with a flavorful extra virgin olive oil, it's the balance to my carb addiction. Ahhh... Tartousa... It's truly our mini oasis during lunch.
Jenn and I love sitting in the back patio, soaking in the sun and savoring our long awaited lunch break. This restaurant tends to be kinda slow during lunches but picks up during dinner. Their back patio turns into a quasi-hookah lounge that serves food - often they have music too.
Here's another shot of the hummus, with some of the pita bread served in the back. The hummus was perfectly creamy (not gritty like some places), thick, flavorful. It has become our fall back on comfort restaurant for rough day at the office.
Service here can be slightly spotty probably since we tend to sit on the patio and the waitress seems not to check up on us as much as I like. (I still have my camel tendencies and need multiple refills of water.) The upside is that when we just need to vent or talk, we're not constantly interrupted. Shortly after we scarfed down the basket of pita, our wraps came out. Delicious! The chicken was marinated perfectly, cubed and tossed in a creamy garlic sauce and wrapped up in a pita/shwarma bread. Paired with cubed tomatoes and their homemade Mediterranean pickles, it provided the perfect textural and taste balance. Ahhh...
I've always been particularly picky about my french fries. They need to be perfectly crisp and not greasy. Tartousa does a good job. They're cut thick so the centers are nice and mealy, tossed with some salt and paprika, served with a side of ketchup topped with a dollop of their garlic sauce. Delicious!
If you find yourself in the area on the way to SFO for a flight or having some time to kill, swing on by... The food was great!
Tartousa Mediterranean Bistro
514 Peninsula Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401