Al Maidah, Arabic for “the table filled with food,” is Key West’s newest Middle Eastern restaurant. Housed off the tourist path on White Street, this location has housed several other restaurants in the seven-and-a-half years we have been in Key West. I hope this one sticks around.
The large garden is a beautiful setting, and while they have a few tables indoors, I am not sure why anyone would choose one when the outdoor terrace is available. Service is friendly, and it is important to note that Al Maidah does not have a liquor license, so if you want beer, wine, or cocktails, you need to BYO. (No corkage fee.)
Like many ethnic restaurants, it seems that Al Maidah feels the need to be all things to all people. In addition to Middle Eastern food, they also have pizzas, pasta, cheesesteaks, and an odd assortment of breakfast. One of the previous tenants in this location was a pizza place, so I suppose if the ovens were there anyway, it might make sense. Sort of.
We were not interested in the pizza, however, but were eager to try some of their specialties. The lamb somsas, billed as “Uzbek bread filled with lamb and onions,” is a tasty appetizer. I thought this was the dish they had pictured on their website. As it turns out, the photos on the website are not of their actual food but are generic food photos. The appetizer was delicious if a little greasy. Warm, delicious bread filled with meat and onions is clearly a winner. At $7.95 the significant portion is a bargain.
As our main dish, we shared the Iskender Kebab, thinly sliced lamb with sheep’s butter and yogurt. I thought an extra salad would be overkill, as the entree came with three side dishes. I was right, and the portion was large enough to share. We chose the salad, mashed potato, and vegetable side dishes and enjoyed the tasty meal immensely.
Since our visit, FKGuy returned for a to-go order of Felafel and eggplant salad, and both were delicious. I enjoyed the leftover eggplant salad the next day.
Al Maidah is located at 1019 White Street and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Have you been there yet? Share your thoughts in the comments below.