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My consultant friend, Ori, is even more of a foodie than me. His work takes him to really cool destinations all over the world. But he did have a gig here in Atlanta for several weeks back to back. And during that time he was able to eat at some terrific restaurants here in Atlanta. Zaya, he told me, was one of those restaurants. Ori, who is Israeli, discovered Zaya on his own and liked it so much (he said this the kind of food he grew up eating) he dined at Zaya 3 times during his Atlanta stay. The last time, I joined him.
Whenever someone knows the food really well, especially what’s authentic and what isn’t, I always let them order for me. And this time being no different, I barley glanced at the menu, letting Ori order everything, even the wine. They were out of the Italian wine he wanted to order so we settled on an Argentenian red, although it was a tad more expensive. I think if a restaurant is out of the wine of your choosing, then they should give you the next higher priced wine at the lower price point.
Ori told us that appetizers rather than entrees were to be ordered, as he found the apps to be more creative and tasty than the entrees which he said were decent, just nothing out of the ordinary. So, we started off with some hummus, lamb dip, mediterranean pizza, and the complimentary tepanade-like dip that is served with pita triangles. It resembles tepanade though not exactly the same. This spread is made with honey, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and a couple other items I was not able to identify.
I thought the hummus was kind of bland, but found the other appetizers very tasty. The pizza-like app was especially good, with a nice spiciness to it. The 2 other apps we ordered were an eggplant dish which was nothing to get excited about and a tomato cheese app that really stands out. Although the look of it is like tomato / basil / mozzerella salad, the taste is quite different. I love this cheese as it stays solid at high temps not melting and really is quite flavorful, without being a strong, pungent taste.
Full from our meal, we decided to try a Hookah. This was a first for me, and three of us shared a mango flavored Hookah. We also decided we had to give coffee and dessert a try. We ordered Turkish coffee and a Rosewater dessert. It was a huge portion, plenty for the 3 of us to share. Definitely an unusual taste, but in a good way. It wasn’t overly sweet, more of a subtle sweetness. I loved not only the taste but the texture of it as well.
I’ve had Turkish coffee once before at Cafe Intermezzo. Had I known you had to wait a while after pouring, to sip on your coffee, so that the grounds would sink to bottom instead of landing on your tongue, I think I would have enjoyed it more the first time. It is actually quite pleasant. Although it was freezing outside, we sat leisurely enjoying our coffee, dessert and hookah – the perfect end to our evening and to Ori’s stay in Atlanta.
Prices weren’t bad either. I had assumed that because of the Inman Park location and fancy decor, that it would be rather expensive. But for the all we consumed: 6 appetizers, a bottle of wine, coffee, dessert and hookah, the bill was just over $100, not too shabby.
240 N Highland Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
404 477 0050