Editors Pick Lamb kabob plate from Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant in Orland Park. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania
New Middle East restaurant in Orland Park

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New Middle East restaurant in Orland Park

Orland Park has added one more quality Middle East restaurant to its growing stable of great restaurants, Qasr al-Deyafah on 159th Street. The Mediterranean cuisine is among the region’s best. It’s the perfect place for Americans to experience the best Middle East foods

By Ray Hanania

Ray HananiaI’m constantly on the prowl for great Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food and I was pleasantly surprised to find some great Arab dishes at a new restaurant on 159th Street in Orland Park called Qasr al-Deyafah.

Although the signage won’t appeal immediately to Americans — the storefront boasts a large name in Arabic, not English — once inside the restaurant you’ll be mesmerized by the menu’s phenomenal food choices. The Arabic name “Qas al-Deyafah” means “Palace of Hospitality” in English, reflecting the commitment of the owner to traditional Arab and Middle Eastern courtesy.

One of the reasons is that Qasr al-Deyafah, located at 9218 W. 159th Street in Orland Park, is so good is that it has hired the Midwest’s best Arab Mediterranean chef Emma Jabreen.

The menu is standard but the food is phenomenal. The lamb kabob is succulent, placed on a bed of safron white rice and basmati rice. The tabouleh is perfect. The hummus is amazing. And the service is on the ball. But most importantly, the restaurant interior atmosphere is so clean, refreshing and family friendly reflecting what one might experience in a cafe in the heart of Cairo, Dubai or Arab East Jerusalem.

Lamb kabob plate from Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant in Orland Park. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Lamb kabob plate from Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant in Orland Park. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Restaurant manager Ihsan Abualia (tell him you know me) said that although he will be preparing large buffet dinners to cater to the Muslim American observance of Ramadan (religious fasting from dawn until dusk), a dinner “Iftar,” a full menu of recipes will be available during the day from 11 am on. That’s unusual as most Middle East restaurants during Ramadan cater only to the Arab and Muslim community and pretty much close down during the fasting hours opening only with full service at nightfall when the fast ends.

All that means is that if you are an American who loves Middle East and Arab food, or who adheres to the health-driven Mediterranean diet, Qasr al-Deyafah is ready and open to you and your family.

This is a family restaurant. (You do not need to know Arabic to order, of course.) Qasr al-Deyafah also offers online ordering and pickup and takeout service so you can visit their website, order online and pick it up for a family lunch or dinner at home.

Lamb-stuffed Kibbeh plate from Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant in Orland Park. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Lamb-stuffed Kibbeh plate from Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant in Orland Park. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

One of the great surprises is that while most Middle East restaurants have been slammed by rising costs for food, substituting hamburger and steak for lamb, Qasr al-Deyafah is using all high quality lamb for its food ingredients including to stuff Kibbeh, the little “football” shaped deep fried bulger (cracked wheat) shell stuffed with real lamb chunks — not hamburger.

That’s an instant sign of high quality Middle Eastern food. There’s no sacrificing great taste for cost expediency at Qasr al-Deyafah.

People who have been following my writing reviewing Middle East restaurants in Chicagoland over the years know that I love lamb over steak, and that kibbeh stuffed with lamb is a rarity when it should be the norm. It is one of the best menu options for any lunch or dinner experience.

Before and after Ramadan, Qasr al-Deyafah offers a Friday afternoon Middle East experience, the Arab Food buffet from 1 pm until 5 pm. Many restaurants offer this Friday tradition including Fattoush restaurant in Worth at 107th Street and Harlem Avenue.

Click here to visit Qasr al-Deyafah’s Facebook Page.

Click here to visit Qasr al-Deyafah’s website.

Click here to view Qasr al-Deyafah’s in-restaurant menu. (They have a take-out menu, too).

Fattoush salad from Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant in Orland Park. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Fattoush salad from Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant in Orland Park. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Qasr al-Deyafah is open from 8 am until 11 pm on Friday and Saturdays, and 8 am until 10 pm Sunday through Thursday. You can order online from their website at www.qasraldeyafah.com.

The restaurant offers not only a meat lovers paradise but a specialty vegan menu.

I hope you will check it out.

Qasr al-Deyafah Middle East/Mediterranean Restaurant
9218 W. 159th Street, Orland Park, IL
708-966-4331
www.QasralDeyafah.com

Women enjoying a dinner at Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant

Women enjoying a dinner at Qasr al-Deyafah restaurant

 

Assorted mezza dishes (hummus, salad, pickles, pickled beats, bread and spice dip

Assorted mezza dishes (hummus, salad, pickles, pickled beats, bread and spice dip

 

Roast lamb plate at Qasr al Deyafah restaurant

Roast lamb plate at Qasr al Deyafah restaurant

 

Qasr al Deyafah restaurant

Qasr al Deyafah restaurant

 

Qasr al Deyafah restaurant

Qasr al Deyafah restaurant

 

Inside the Qasr al DeYafah restaurant dining room

Inside the Qasr al Deyafah restaurant dining room

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist, author and former Chicago City Hall reporter (1976-1992).

He is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club Lisagor Awards, the 2009 Sigma Delta Chi Award for journalism, and was named Best Ethnic American Columnist by the New America Media in 2007.

His personal web page is The Daily Hookah at www.TheDailyHookah.com (and www.RayHanania.com).

Hanania writes a weekly syndicated column for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia and is the managing editor of the American Arab online news website, www.TheArabDailyNews.com.

His mainstream columns are published in Chicago's Southwest Side and Suburbs in The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers, the Southwest News-Herald and the Des Plaines Valley News.

Hanania is the managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com.

Email Ray Hanania at rghanania@gmail.com

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