Written by on October 31, 2012 in I Eat America, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

( – Ballston neighborhood, Arlington, Virginia

How I heard of this place: My friend and fellow gourmand, Eamon had a Groupon and invited me to partake of its splendor.

Type of cuisine: A family owned and operated, Lebanese & Syrian establishment.

Ambiance: Set in a mini strip mall, Layalina is quite unassuming from the outside. However, upon entering the glass door, one is immediatley immersed in a Lebanese or Syrian home. Turquoise, rounded backed chairs sit up against tables covered with white linen, and maroon napkins at each setting. That is the only thing in the entire dining space that feels bland. The cream-colored walls are beautifully decorated with a plethora of batiks, rugs, and intricate Middle Eastern, textiles and artwork. The ceilings, too, displaying draping runners in stunning reds. Beaded and stained glass chandeliers make those fake crystal ones with which we grew up look bleak and boring. The far wall completely decorated in what could only resemble a mosque-like mosaic of pale blues, golds and stained glass windows amidst the tiles. Against the aqua marine colored wall, covered pillows create make-shift seat cushions and comfortable backs for booth seating, as black and white tiled floors clash marvelously with fabrics which surround us.

What I ordered: We decided to stick to mazza plates and share as much as we could! We began with the Hommos with Shawarma ($8.95): hommos topped with beef shawarma, and added, Beet M’tabal ($6.95): a Syrian classic of shredded beets mixed with tahini, lemon, yogurt, and garlic, topped with walnuts, and sprinkled with olive oil and parsley; Layalina Beef Arayis ($7.95): baked pita bread stuffed with mixture of ground beef, chopped onions, herbs, and special spices with pomegranate extract.


We finished the ordering off with Kizbareyeh ($6.95): fried potatoes smothered with garlic and cilantro, another Syrian favorite.


What I loved: The potatoes. Fried potatoes. That’s all that needs to be said. Mmm.

Why I loved it: Great company, fantastically colorful and vibrant interior, tasty food, friendly service and a steep reminder of our time in Turkey.


Cost: Average to high ($6.95+ per mazza)

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