Where Can you Get Mediterranean Cuisine with a Jewish Accent?by Eileen Sondak August 24, 2017
For an answer to that question, head out to the hills near 4S Ranch, where you’ll find Sababa Kitchen in a pristine new center on Camino Del Sur. Owner Daniel Schreiber (who calls himself the “Head Falafel”) has combined Israeli culinary delights with an innovative assortment of healthy Mediterranean dishes – all made fresh in-house from scratch.
The restaurant is only a few months old – located in a growing area known as Del Sur. There’s plenty of parking right outside the door, and the contemporary atmosphere includes comfortable tables and booths inside and a huge outdoor patio for alfresco dining. The patio is dog-friendly too.
Schreiber’s vision for this family-style eatery was to bring organic, sustainable, and local produce wherever possible. Even the chickpeas used in the heavenly hummus and crispy falafel are organic. Kosher diners will find plenty to like on the menu, including the delicious kosher chicken schnitzel – which we loved – and sous-vide lemon chicken breast. There’s always a fresh local fish of the day, and vegans, vegetarians, and diners with allergies or other dietary restrictions can find a plethora of excellent choices. Sababa prides itself on being a “green” (a.k.a. environmentally friendly) restaurant.
You can make a meal from the starters menu alone. “Bubbie’s” matzo ball soup ($4.95 or $6.95) certainly made this Jewish grandma proud. It’s chock full of carrots, celery and other veggies, and loaded with chicken. The chicken is free-range and organic – Schreiber insists it’s the “Rolls Royce of chicken.”
Another must-have from the appetizer list is the sababa ganoush, made with pureed grilled eggplant and tahina and topped with organic date syrup, mint, and pomegranate seeds. You can build your own sampler plate (three cold sides for $7.95) or select one side for $5.95. Another favorite is the beet and tahina salad. The restaurant also features pickled sweet and sour red beets and red cabbage (all pickled in-house) which are wonderful.
One of the many unique items we enjoyed was the eggplant fries ($6.95). These habit-forming creations beat French fries by a mile. Sababa Kitchen makes the pita bread right in the open kitchen – and once you try these beauties you’ll never want to eat those dried-out packaged pitas from the grocery store again. Sababa’s are made Israeli style, so they’re fluffy. You can take home a pack to hold yourself over until next time you make it into the restaurant ($4.95 for a bag of six).
Moving over to the larger entrée options, if you have an appetite for lamb and beef shawarma or chicken shawarma, this is the place. The restaurant offers several meal deals, where you can combine your favorites, and the kids meals are bargain priced from $5.95.
The menu tells you to pick your protein, pick your style (in a salad, on a plate, or stuffed into a pita or collard green wrap) and then to pick your sauce. Sababa makes selecting your meal almost as much fun as eating it – and you can sign up for their “Frequent Falafel Program” to get extra discounts.
There are plenty of hot and cold drinks to accompany your meal, including Mediterranean horchata (a new take on the Mexican classic, with house-made almond milk, rose water and cinnamon) and craft sodas, Moroccan mint green tea, and French press coffee. The home-made desserts are unusual as well. Try the salted tahina chocolate chunk cookie ($2.95) or the Israeli smore ($3.95).
Sababa Kitchen is located at 16475 Paseo del Sur, Suite 105, San Diego, CA 92127. Food is available to-go, and catering orders are welcome. Call
(858) 312-6858 or visit sababakitchen.com.