Last week, as I was scrolling through the @IHeartOldTowneOrange Instagram, I saw a post from Byblos Cafe in the Orange Plaza. The picture showed a yummy stuffed bell pepper with the hashtag “#vegan” under it. Naturally, I love anything and everything plant-based (hummus is the best snack in the entire world… but that might just be an opinion) and I know how delicious Mediterranean food can be. Needless to say, I was all in!
Now let’s talk about Mediterranean cuisine. Mediterranean cuisine comes from - where? - well the Mediterranean region, of course! Southern Europe flourishes in legumes, beans, and red bell peppers: ingredients we now see in hummus, falafels, baba ghanouge, gyros, and labneh. And although the Mediterranean diet also hones savory lamb, beef, and chicken, the route of the flavor comes from the fresh vegetables of Southern Europe.
Luckily, we have a taste of the Mediterranean right here in Old Towne Orange. Byblos Cafe is located on Chapman Avenue, less than a block West of the Circle. Here, you will find lovely decor, friendly faces, very quick service (I think my meal was served in less than 5 minutes!), and a broad menu for meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike.
From Byblos Cafe, I ordered a vegetarian platter appetizer, beef gyro, and halva for dessert. The vegetarian platter came with grape leaf wraps, a falafel, tabouli salad, and hummus. By far, the most outstanding part of the dish was the hummus. I consider myself a hummus connoisseur, and I would visit Byblos again just for their creamy and flavorful hummus.
Similarly, the beef gyro was juicy and saucy, the only thing that would have made it better is more hummus!
Lastly, the halva. Halva is a dense, flakey dessert made from sesame seeds and sugar. Additionally, Byblos’s halva has roasted pistachio meat pressed into the side, a nice touch. It was a flaky, yet creamy, nutty, sugary sweet dessert that I would highly recommend to anyone solely for the experience of having halva.
Visiting Byblos Cafe this weekend is the perfect destination for you, your friends, and your family. And no matter what the dietary restrictions of your party are - Byblos will have something to immerse you in the Mediterranean world.