Monday, April 30, 2012

El Souk

Location: 808 N State Street
Cost: About $8 per person

During my neurology clerkship, we had these teaching days each Friday. For the first time in a while, we were given a dedicated lunch break. While a bunch of us were tossing around ideas, one of my fellow students, Romie, asked me if I'd ever had "the big plate of food" (as if this were some regular thing I should obviously know about). What he was referring to was the lunch special at El Souk, and that's where we decided to go.

El Souk is a pretty simple store front restaurant. They have an order at the counter operation and a handful of tables up front. It was incredibly efficient, and our group of probably 6 students was able to get in and out in 40 minutes easy.

The staff was very friendly and even made us some extra food. They didn't mind that one of our party brought in her own food. The cost was really cheap too. The lunch special, which had way more food than one should reasonably eat for lunch, was $8. Sides, soups, and sandwiches were all pretty cheap as well. It's worth noting though that I didn't end up paying for my meal. I guess some guy had forgotten that it was Good Friday before ordering his meat filled dish. Upon realizing this, he gave it away to me. I made sure to share the wealth.

The Food
A few of us went straight for the lunch special which included Chicken Shawarma, Lamb Shawarma, Jerusalem Salad, Hummus, Falafel, Rice, and Pita. That basically runs the gamut on key menu items. Some of my other friends ordered falafel sandwiches or platters. The best overall thing was the chicken shawarma. It had plenty of juicy dark meat and a nice dry rubbed flavoring. The lamb was a little dry but had some nicely crisped chunks mixed in. The hummus was a little thin and runny but had a strong tahini presence and a gentle dusting of paprika. The falafels were crispy and not too dry on the inside. They were oddly shaped like those Monet haystacks, but the flavor was there nonetheless.

The Lunch Platter

The Falafel Sandwich

 The Falafel Platter

They met all of my expectations at El Souk. I came in looking for a big plate of food, and that's what I got. The chicken was superior by far to the other dishes, but the falafel are nothing to scoff at either. It was really inexpensive and quick too. When comparing cheap Mediterranean food though, I'll have to give the flavor nod to Sultan's Market. I'm giving El Souk 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.

El Souk on Urbanspoon


  1. Makkah Market serves you the most delicious Falafel sandwich with hummus tomato and pickles. Falafel is a popular recipe from Middle East, consists of chickpeas that are shaped into patties.

    Falafel sandwich