Restaurant Review – Cedar Palace

Cedar Palace in Lincoln Park describes itself as a “Warm, casual stop offering an array of Mediterranean dishes from kebabs to hummus plates.”

With January being a month of resolutions for healthy eating and de-stressing after the holidays, there seems to be no better place to do both than the Mediterranean-inspired dining at Cedar Palace. The BYOB restaurant earned near-perfect marks (4.9) on Google.

The menus are virtually the same for lunches and dinners, just smaller portions. Nonetheless, many Google reviewers commented on the large portions of fresh meats and vegetables served at Cedar Palace.

For starters, try their Vegetarian Combo, which pairs hummus, baba ghanouj, dolma, falafel, feta cheese, and tabbouleh. Or Labneh, made of homemade strained yogurt topped with olive oil. Meat lovers will enjoy Soujouk-highly seasoned beef and lamb sausage served in a spicy tomato sauce. Or Arayess, which pairs seasoned ground beef and lamb with garlic, onion, tomatoes and served in a toasted pita.

Lunch sandwiches include a Soujouk Sandwich, which combines spiced ground beef, tomatoes, and pickles. Or a Kafta Kabob, featuring ground beef, lamb, parsley, and onions, blended with tomatoes, onions, tahini, and sumac.

The Kafta Kabob also comes in sandwich form at lunch.

For a lighter touch, fresh salads include Feta Salad, with a mix of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumber, black olives, feta cheese and house dressing.  Fattoush Salad mixes romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, parsley, lemon, sumac, onions, olive oil, and toasted pita. Or Jerusalem Salad, a combination of cubed tomatoes and cucumbers tossed with parsley and tahini dressing. 

But…save room for the entrees!At lunchthey are served with rice or bulgar wheat. For dinner, they also include a soup or salad. Shish Tawook combines marinated breast of chicken kabob, charbroiled and topped with tomatoes, onions, and green pepper. 

For the undecided, try the Dinner Combination, which gives you a choice of three: beef shawarma, shish tawook, kafta, or chicken shawarma.

The restaurant is currently running a review contest until February 1. That said, the reviews are very consistent, and stretch far back before the contest ever started. Two years ago, a Google reviewer wrote, “Came in with four friends for dinner.  We had four appetisers and two main entrees to share. Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Kibbeh, and Soujouk. The mains were the dinner combo platter and the beef kebab. All of it was extremely flavourful and masterfully prepared. The food was very generously portioned and the staff were very courteous. Definitely will be coming back.”

More recently, another said,  “The combo platter is big enough to feed 2! The Kefta is cooked to perfection with all the spices, the chicken shawarma melts in your mouth and beef has a tang I haven’t tasted before. On a bed of rice, you cannot go wrong with ordering this! Add a side of hummus and potato boorak and your world will be rocked – I can promise that! I come back here weekly and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Another wrote: “This Mediterranean (but mostly Lebanese) deserves this five-star rating in every way possible. This place definitely has the best Tabbouleh in the nation. It reminds me of the Tabbouleh of my childhood back in the day. The kabob sandwiches here are simply marvelous and are definitely worth trying out. The co-owner/cook here is very friendly and asked us about our preferences for our food. She greets all of her customers in person. The service is also speedy. All in all, I recommend this place to everyone!”

Cedar Palace is located at 655 W. Armitage Ave. They are open Tuesday-Friday, 11am-8:30pm, and Saturday Sunday 12pm-8:30pm. The restaurant is closed on Mondays, and reservations are recommended.