By Kent Barry –
Hungry for some Mediterranean cuisine? Need to pick up some food items from the market? Time for Asr? You’re in luck.
Located in downtown Tempe, steps away from the Tempe mosque, the Phoenicia Café offers all sorts of food items from apple crepes to zatar bread within its walls.
The restaurant is integrated with a small marketplace within so that you can shop after you have some tasty kabobs or scarf down a burger.
Just make sure you get some freshly made baklava afterwards.
When you step inside (you enter through the market), the restaurant is to your left. You are promptly greeted by the hostess/waitress and told to sit anywhere.
Surrounding you on the walls is a nice stretch of painting of Mediterranean scenery – the royal blue of the Mediterranean Sea and little ships floating on the water as they are being guided by a lighthouse.
The wait time for the food is reasonable. My food arrived within fifteen minutes of ordering.
I started my Mediterranean meal experience with a plate of dolmades (grape leaves) and hummus. The dolmades were tossed with olive oil and tasted fresh. The hummus was plentiful and paired well with the included pita bread.
Next I had the chicken kabob platter. The meat was grilled and lean, marinated and juicy. It came with a couple sides but I was too busy chomping away on the tasty chicken.
I also tried the Classic Burger and Phoenicia Burger. The burgers are nearly identical except the Phoenicia Burger has green peppers in addition to the other classic toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cheese.
The burgers were good but not great. They had a kabob taste to them, which isn’t bad at all but if you’re looking for the “traditional” burger taste, this was not it. The fries that came with the burgers were of average quality. Not the worst but certainly nothing to write home about. I had to add more salt than I would have liked to get a better taste from them.
The meat was well-seasoned and the beef patty was charbroiled. The toppings tasted fresh and clean.
Pricing is very affordable. My burger-kabob cost just under $7 and the platter a few dollars more at $13. Both were filling and with the platter I had enough to take home with me for lunch the next day.
Bottom line – if you’re looking for a place that serves Mediterranean food that won’t break the bank but is also of quality and tastes good, try Phoenicia Café. It will fill your taste buds and your stomach.
It also has the benefit of being next to the Tempe mosque and having a little market attached to it if you need to grab some items for the home.
If Tempe is too far from you they also have a second location in Gilbert.
I’d give it 4 out of 5 chicken kabob platters.