Holy Land Deli

Holy Land Deli in Minneapolis.

Bet you didn’t think you’d see an Arabic sign on a site like this, didja?

The simple fact is that I’m an equal opportunity grazer and in Holy Land Deli I’ve found the best food of its kind in the three continents I’ve stalked about on.

The owners have brought this place from a little storefront just down the road from the current location to a major shopping and eating establishment with two locations. They are also a thriving commercial bakery and producer of hummus and other Middle Eastern treats. Unless I misjudge their business acumen they will be growing much larger in the future.

My wife and I first found the Holy Land Deli over 20 years ago and it’s been fun to watch them grow. If you’ve never had Arab food you’re missing out on something special. I’ve eaten in Arab restaurants in a lot of places (including in Arab countries) and nothing I’ve had anywhere else beats Holy Land for sheer variety of everyday meals cooked with great ingredients and beautiful presentation.

Years ago it was a challenge for the “uninitiated” to order in most Arab restaurants. Who knew what “Fool Maddamas” was, or even what those little green golf balls were (Falafel.) But with Holy Land you can go to the picture laden menu or sample the wares by getting the buffet. I’d recommend the buffet for the newcomer. There is bound to be something there that you will absolutely love.

Once you have the lay of the land, treat yourself (and 3-6 of your friends) to a Sheik’s platter. It is an assortment of dishes that represent some of the best offerings in the restaurant. Most Arab food is “finger food” and you will soon find a new joy in stuffing a piece of pita bread with rice, hummus, curried chicken in yogurt, and small bits of salad.

Make sure you have a pot of Arab Tea with your dinner. The proper way to serve that is to fill the bottom 1/8 of your glass with sugar. Add tea to within an inch of the top and stir. If all the sugar dissolves you don’t have enough sugar. Add sugar until it no longer dissolves and then add a bit more tea. Sounds crazy, eh? But that’s the way to drink it like a regular.

Holy Land is located in both the Midtown Global Market (a smaller version, but still very good) and the home base at 2513 Central Avenue NE, Minneapolis. Both locations have fresh meat and groceries, but the location on Central has a much bigger selection. I can spend a lot of money there if I’m not careful. You will find teas, fruit juices, spices, honey, cookies and different kinds of rice that you simply won’t find anywhere else in the upper Midwest.

Now, what if you aren’t here in Minnesota? It behooves you to make a trip. This place is world class.

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