Sunday, February 17, 2013

Naf Naf Grill

Location: 309 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL 60606 & 1739 Freedom Dr., Naperville, IL 60563
Naf Naf Grill on Urbanspoon Naf Naf Grill on Urbanspoon
A Quick Word:
I was first introduced to Naf Naf Grill at their original Naperville Location.  Once I heard they were coming to downtown Chicago, I knew I would be making frequent visits.  Naf Naf's claim to fame is their pita.  They have pita bakeries at each of their locations with workers making fresh pita bread constantly.  Their pita comes out like pillows and steals the show when concerning the overall meal.  The falafel is made frequently and they offer other options other than the typical shawarma.  The Loop location serves their meals "chipotle style" in cardboard to-go bowls.  Overall, I could only give Naf Naf a 4 mile rating because of their disappointing hot sauce and just OK food when dealing with cost and quantity.  I would definitely walk the 5 miles for just their pita, but I would do the same for Sultan's Market's prices and Pita Inn's hot sauce.


What I Ate:

Schnitzel Bowl

At the Chicago Loop location, Naf Naf serves their meals more like Chipotle.  You choose either a sandwich or a bowl, a protein, and then a bunch of veggies and toppings are added.  For my meal, I choose the bowl.  It begins with a basmati rice base layer that is topped with my choice of protein... the schnitzel.  I asked for everything on top including a cabbage based "slaw", pickles, tahini, and a hot pepper sauce.  The schnitzel is a chicken breast that has been pounded thin, lightly coated with sesame, and fried.  It is not deep fried so it doesn't have a crisp but the flavor is amazing and the meat itself is extremely tender.  The overall size of the bowl is significantly smaller than Chipotle bowls, so I suggest asking for extras of certain items... like the rice.  The hot sauce is just ok at Naf Naf, nothing comes close to Pita Inn's hot sauce.  I would definitely come back for the bowl, I am now just aware of the size and cost issue.

Falafel

The nice part about the falafel is that they are made fresh and made frequently.  The ground chick pea patties are seasoned well and just fried enough to give that crunchy crust but remain that soft, grainy center.  You can choose the falafel as your main protein or you can just order them separately like I did.  Each costs $0.50 so I suggest ordering at least four of them.  They are on the smaller side when it comes to size, but they are packed with flavor and can be eaten plain.  Now I just wish they offered a decent hot sauce to accompany them.

Pita

Naf Naf Grill has the best pita I have ever eaten.  They make their pita in house which makes all the difference.  Workers are constantly making fresh pita dough and forming them into that round pita shape.  Each pita is as soft as a pillow.  They are fluffy and served warm.  Honestly, the only way to describe this pita is PERFECT.  Order extras at $0.75.  Definitely worth it!

The DOs/DON'Ts:
DO:
- Order extra pita... If you somehow leave the restaurant without eating pita, I will think you are crazy.  And you will be missing out.
- I suggest asking for extras because at the Loop location, they aren't very generous with their spoonfuls of ingredients.

DON'T:
- Parking around the Loop area is insane... It is extremely limited and costs a fortune for just a few minutes.  Try not to drive.
- They are closed on weekends so don't get fooled like I did.

How far would I walk for this food?




(I WOULD WALK 5 MILES FOR THEIR PITA... 
IT IS THE BEST I HAVE EVER EATEN!)

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