Aladdin is an Armenian restaurant that specializes in Middle Eastern dishes in Addis Ababa, on Japan Embassy road. Since it opened 20 years ago, it has been serving up classic Middle-Eastern dishes like shish kabob, falafel, mezzes and tabbouleh.
The menu naturally encourages family-style dining. Traditional Armenian cuisine features a lot of game and ancient grains and is a medley reflecting its history and geography both from being conquered by many European and Levantine empires and through places where Armenians lived. The cuisine is always fresh and uses a lot of thyme, oregano, lemon, olive oil and za’atar which are very common in the Middle Eastern cuisines.
Shortly after ordering our drinks, a hot complimentary soup arrived at our table. As a big fan of lentil soup, this one was very delicious and creamy.
We first ordered the mezzes which includes tzatziki, tabbouleh, borek, dolmades and hummus. The tzatziki is a refreshing dip made from yogurt and cucumbers. Dolmades (also known as sarma) are small wine leaves wrapped with minced meat and bulgur inside. The tabouleh was our favourite from the mezzes, made from parsley, bulgur wheat, tomatoes and a zesty dressing, which balances out the different flavours from the plate. The hummus at Aladdin is one of the best we have had in Addis. Even though this dip consists of simple ingredients; tahini, garlic, lemon and salt, we have not been impressed with the way hummus is made in few other restaurants. The drizzle of olive oil on top and paprika adds a nice touch to the overall taste and look. Lastly, we had the borek, which is a traditional stuffed pastry, similar to samosa, filled with cheese or meat.
Before we were done with the mezzes, our main dishes arrived. We ordered the beef kebab and mixed kebab. The mixed kebab includes beef, chicken and lamb. The chicken was very juicy and beef was quite tender with a dominant oregano taste. The lamb mashwi, which is mashed ground lamb had a gamey taste, is suitable for people that like the taste of lamb.
Outside on the patio, they have an open wood-fire oven pizza. Their pizza menu is Italian influenced featuring classic pizzas like margherita, focaccia and pancetta. The overall ambiance of the venue is cozy with a touch of Middle-Eastern decor. We can’t wait to visit again!