To the casual passerby, the red and white, neon-lit decor of this Albany Park
restaurant may scream fast food. As one opens the door and steps inside, however, the black pants, white shirt and bowtie-clad waitstaff charmingly and quietly offers to show you to your table. There may be a long takeout counter lining the wall of the first room of the restaurant, but the back room has the cloth napkins and comfy seating that make you want to eat in.
Thankfully, upscale Mediterranean doesn't make for upscale prices. Only five of the dozens of entrees, sandwiches and items from the "Delights" section of the menu cost more than $10. Indeed, if you’re simply in the mood for some falafel a la carte to take home, Salam charges about 25 cents apiece.
For more than 20 years now, Salam has been an Albany Park institution. Locals rave about everything from the hummus to the mint tea, and if you find yourself dining with a Middle Eastern native, chances are good you won't be able to get them to stop going on about how authentic the dishes taste. The sandwiches are hearty and affordable, with the beef and lamb kifta kabob ($5) perfectly spiced and complemented by the tahini sauce. Amongst the entrees, the beef shawerma kabobs ($9) served over a pile of fries or rice on top of pita bread make for a filling, satisfying meal.
Service is professional and attentive. The space, thanks to a recent overhaul, is bright and attractive. The dining room features large paintings of various places of import in the middle east, such as the ziggaraut at Ur, the Burj al Arab in Dubai, and one skyline from the Midwest especially dear to the staff at Salam: Chicago's.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Bill Burman
Salam Restaurant was mentioned in these articles...
An Albany Park Stunner, 3/3/08
Becoming reacquainted with the neighborhood involves first-rate falafel and other foodie finds.
The Choicest Chicken , 10/15/07
Misty finds the tenderest bird around at an unassuming Middle Eastern storefront.