Café Mogador

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For over 30 years, Café Mogador in the East Village is serving Moroccan and Mediterranean food, morning til night. And it’s no surprise how this restaurant has stood the test of time. They’re serving tasty, authentic food at super affordable prices. 

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The vibe is extremely relaxed and casual, but you still get friendly and attentive service. Sit where you’d like, whether it’s inside their cozy, yet simple, dining room, or at their outdoor patio. 

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Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day, and they’re serving it until 4pm. I love breakfast food, so I had to take advantage. I ordered the Middle Eastern Eggs (two eggs any style with hummus, tabouli, salad and zahatar pita). I love this type of meal, it’s fresh, healthy, and substantial. Each component was delicious, the salad is chopped, with a really nice zesty citrus and oil dressing. You can really taste the fresh parsley flavor in the tabouli, and their hummus is creamy and flavorful. The zahatar pita is also amazing, served warm and pillowy with the amazing Moroccan spices. 

The Shorts:
Name: Café Mogador
Location: 101 Saint Marks Place, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Well, I’ve been going for years, and I don’t plan on slowing down now. 
Would I recommend it? Definitely. It’s in the heart of the East Village, and the perfect spot to grab a casual meal or snack at any time of day. I also recommend trying their famous tagines.

Balaboosta

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I love Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food. And any place that’s serving it with a creative twist, well, I’m automatically intrigued. So, I knew I had to go to Balaboosta in NoLIta. The husband and wife duo who own Balaboosta definitely pay homage to their heritage and family throughout the restaurant, from the pictures on the wall and the backs of the menus. Now, before going, I honestly had no idea that these were the same brilliant minds behind Taim, which I had just recently gone to and had the most incredible Falafel Sandwich. Well, it explains a lot, and these guys are absolutely doing things right. 

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To start, I had a cocktail, Camelia (Pimm’s no. 1, strawberry, cucumber, mint, ginger ale). It was a little fizzy, a little sweet, refreshing, and a little bit strong. No complaints here. 

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Then, we were kindly given a complimentary appetizer along with some friendly conversation. These personal touches really go a long way and bring in an added connection to the restaurant and full experience. I had their Fried Olives with house made organic labne. Oh. My. Goodness. So, I could probably eat these all day, all the time, they were delicious. There’s a common idea that everything is better fried. Well, I’ve never had a fried olive until now, and, yup, it’s way better. The labne, similar to a yogurt, was creamy and delicious and really balances out the saltiness of the olive. 

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For my meal I had the Shakshouka (baked organic eggs in spicy tomato sauce, spinach, grilled sourdough). I loved this. I’ve had Shakshouka before, but this might have been the best one. It’s fresh and healthy, but still has a spicy, comfort food quality that really hits all marks. The sourdough on the side is crunchy and makes for the best little spongy scoop to spoon up all of the tomato goodness.

The Shorts:
Name: Balaboosta
Location: 214 Mulberry Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Without a doubt. Fun fact, Balaboosta is a “Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook and gracious hostess. She does it all and she does it well!”. And yeah, she’s killin it! 
Would I recommend it? Oh yeah, food so good, even if you don’t know any Yiddish, you’ll be saying “oy” at how delicious it is.