A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of being invited to dine at Bitar’s at 947 Federal St in Philadelphia. Bitar’s isn’t located on the main strip or in some fancy brand new building. In fact, you might walk or drive past it and not give it a second look. Situated on the corners of Federal and 10th, the old weather beaten red building with aging signs appears to be “just another market”.
That’s what people are missing today in the search for shiny, fast and contemporary. We forget to slow down and check out the old, the weather beaten and the classic. I have found that often times the best food comes from the non-descript restaurants – the ones that have been there for ages and have a story to tell in the layers of paint and eclectic style. Bitar’s is no exception. The food is spot on and the service is excellent. Authentic Middle Eastern Food is served up in record time, complete with friendly service and a smile.
We started out with house made hommus – a blend of chick peas, tahini, crushed garlic, lemon juice, sprinkled with paprika and olive oil. A bowl full was served with warm pita but I could have eaten it straight up with my fingers it was so full of flavor. Anyone who passes hummus off as bland and boring has to try Bitar’s. Even my husband loved it.
We also ordered the Bitar Chicken sandwich and Greek Style Steak gyro. The Greek Style Steak Gyro is layered with steak, tomato, onion and tatziki sauce. The Bitar Chicken sandwich is a wrap stuffed with grilled chicken, French fries, yes, french fries, fried onions, green peppers and tomatoes served with harrisa mayo. Deliciousness. I was slightly skeptical of the french fries but it worked and worked well. A nice little twist of “American” in this flavorful Middle Eastern Wrap.
Eat in or take out, don’t let Bitar’s appearance fool you. Sometimes the small old time beaten restaurant/markets serve up the best meals. Word is they are renovating soon but don’t wait until then. Make time to stop in now. You won’t regret it.
Confession, the meal was free but I still bought a container of hommus and package of pita to take home. It was half gone by the time we got home. I even learned a little tip on buying pita. When you hold the bag of pita, hold onto the edge of the pita. If it flops easily that means the pita is fresh. as it gets older it gets firmer and doesn’t have as much flexibility. I dare you to walk out of Bitar’s with not hommus and pita for the rest of your