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Category Archives: Deli

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe

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I want to begin this review by admitting that I do not eat Mediterranean food often. I cannot speak about this restaurant’s authenticity or how it compares with other Mediterranean restaurants in the area. I can say, however, that as someone who is not a huge fan of Mediterranean food, I really enjoyed my meal at Taziki’s.

Taziki’s is a chain restaurant with locations around the South including locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The Tuscaloosa Taziki’s is located in Midtown Village which can be very convenient if you plan on shopping after eating (or vice versa). However, this location can pose problems if you are trying to find parking on the weekends (particularly Saturday around noon when I went for lunch). Upon entering, you see that the restaurant itself is pretty standard. It is very roomy with many tables and a few booths. There are also a few outdoor tables available. I was there on a busy Saturday at lunchtime and there were still many empty tables. If eating in, it’s an order-at-the-counter-and-take-a-number system. Someone brings your food, but you do not have a waitress. Instead, the staff is free to move around constantly throughout the restaurant and are regularly cleaning and checking on diners. If you don’t feel like dining in, they also offer larger “Dinner for Four” to-go meals after 2:00 p.m. including meals like a whole baked chicken and roasted pork loin.

The menu has a lot to offer including starters, soups/salads, desserts, beer and wine, gyros, deli choices, and Taziki’s “Feasts,” which feature various meat and fish options. They also have daily specials Monday-Friday ranging from pasta to roll-ups. In fact, I look forward to going back on a Monday for the Portobello mushroom sandwich (which Natalie loves along with the Friday Pasta). On my recent visit, I ordered the Village Veggie Gyro, which features tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, garden slaw, feta, and Greek dressing in a pita wrap. I opted for no Greek dressing and chose pasta salad as my side out of their many options which include fresh-cut fruit, tomato-cucumber salad, and jasmine rice. The gyro was fresh and the vegetables inside were crispy and flavorful. The vegetables were complimented and easy to taste in contrast with the surrounding pita bread. The pasta salad is some of the best I have had at the few restaurants around town that offer pasta salad. It has a tangy taste and the crumbled feta cheese adds extra tartness to counteract the olive oil. Also, the olive oil/vinegar combination, which can sometimes go awry in pasta salad, succeeds here with a good balance of the two.

Prices at Taziki’s are reasonable; for almost seven dollars I was given a large gyro, a plentiful helping of pasta salad, and a small side of chips. While Taziki’s may not be my favorite place to eat in Tuscaloosa (then again Mediterranean food is not my favorite), it is a good place to go if you want good food quickly. It is also a good place to go if you are looking for healthy alternatives to the typical Tuscaloosa fare of ribs and burgers. It is certainly worth checking out.

[Amanda Stevens]

Taziki’s is located at 1800 McFarland Blvd East #300 toward the back of the Midtown Village Shopping Center.

Monday-Saturday: 11am-9pm
Sunday: 11am-8pm


Manna Grocery

In a town like Tuscaloosa, home to pulled pork and wings, being a vegetarian can be hard.  The answer, my fellow herbivores (and omnivores), is Manna Grocery and Deli.  Manna is separated into two sections: the grocery section located at the front of the store and the deli/restaurant section near the back of the store and is a fabulous spot to eat whether you are grabbing lunch for the afternoon or for the next week.

The grocery section, while not large, is adequately stocked with products you can’t find in most other stores around Tuscaloosa.  While Manna is slightly pricier than say Target or Publix on products you can get around town (primarily Morningstar and Boca products), it is only a dollar or so difference and you are supporting a local business rather than a chain store (not to mention the selection of vegan/vegetarian/organic options is much larger).  Also, Manna offers more than just organic food, sporting organic beauty products, supplements, and some other miscellaneous items like jewelry and candles.

If you venture out of the grocery section, you will find the small deli in the back.  The deli section offers cheeses, cold vegetarian and vegan snacks, limited fresh produce (you should note that this is all the fresh produce that is offered), and to-go wraps, sandwiches and burritos.  If you aren’t in the mood for cold selections, however, you can order something hot from the restaurant area.

The restaurant area is right next to the deli and offers four types of vegetarian pizza and all vegetarian burgers. But fear not, my meat-loving friends, there’s plenty for you too (and it’s healthier than anything you can get from a crinkly paper bag)!  Manna offers both vegetarian and non-vegetarian paninis, sandwiches, burritos, and salad and soup plates, as well as daily specials, which vary from day to day (you can find them on their website). The restaurant, like the store, isn’t large, but there is ample room.  I ate there at around 11:30 a.m. and though it was busy, there were still tables available.

For lunch, I chose the veggie and goat cheese panini.  I should note that I’d never had goat cheese before and subsequently discovered that I am not a fan, but the panini was still very flavorful.  The portabella mushroom added a tangy taste that mixed well with the other veggies and ingredients.  The bread was well toasted and really added to the flavor.  The panini was also very filling but if you’re still hungry you get your choice of chips to go with it—not to mention you can add dessert to your meal. Chocolate or mint chocolate pie, anyone?

The staff there is also very helpful.  Anytime I’ve been in the grocery section I’ve received assistance and found the same to be true when ordering food.  With great food and a helpful staff, Manna is a nice place to visit if you’re looking for a quick meal between classes.  As a vegetarian I feel lucky to have a place like Manna that offers alternatives to the limited selection of vegetarian foods found in larger stores around town.  It’s a good place to go if you’re a vegetarian looking for variety or if you’re just looking for healthier alternatives to Tuscaloosa’s usual fare.

[amanda stevens]

Manna Grocery is located at 2300 McFarland Blvd East across from Snow Hinton Park.

Manna’s store hours are Monday-Saturday 9am-7pm.
Their deli/restaurant/lunch hours are from 11am-2:3opm Monday-Friday and 11am-2pm on Saturdays.