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Layla's, Chef Mathilda Chebat's Lebanese on King and N. Alfred Street in Old Town Alexandria - Closed


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Made a rare trip down to Old Town Saturday night. Around nine o'clock restaurants were either slammed, offering Alexandria Restaurant Week menus, or just didn't seem that appealing...we both felt like grazing and lighter food heavy on vegetables, so we stopped in at Layla's Lebanese Restaurant, merely on the basis of we were starving, it was empty, and mezze sounded good to us. Layla's is located on the same block as the Majestic and across the street from Red Rocks Pizza.

They brought us a basket of pita and a bowl of olive oil mixed with herbs (certainly seemed like sumac was in there) and toasted sesame seed. Pita was ordinary but the olive oil mixture was tasty.

Layla's Special Appetizer Platter - Basically a large collection of your middle eastern standards. $18
Very good falafel, delicious stuffed grape leaves, hommos and baba ghannouj were fine but not outstanding, spinach pies forgettable (seemed like they had been microwaved), tabouleh was ok

Makdous - pickled baby eggplants stuffed with walnuts, garlic and olive oil. Fantastic. $5

Fattoush - Very good. $7

Chopped Tomato salad - Nothing special. $6

Beer list was weak, the Lebanese beer Almaza was your basic generic pilsner.

Annoying middle eastern techno soundtrack...priceless!

But seriously, I would be very happy ordering the falafel, grape leaves, fattoush, and makdous again. Looks to be a very family run restaurant, there were clearly 3 or 4 sisters working the dining room. Overall, we were happy with most of what we got, especially for walking into a random restaurant in Old Town.

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I've eaten here a few times over the years, and despite my preference for Middle Eastern fare, I normally choose The Majestic or Vermilion when I'm in the area. Maybe it was the kibbee nayee I once had here, with some unidentified vein in it; maybe it was the too-oily falafel on another visit; or maybe it's just because another ordinary Middle Eastern restaurant does not advance the cause of heralding the contributions of this important ethnic culinary tradition to its rightful place among the world's gastronomic pantheon.

But I would gladly eat here on a Saturday night when all the other restaurants are full...!

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Looks to be a very family run restaurant, there were clearly 3 or 4 sisters working the dining room. Overall, we were happy with most of what we got, especially for walking into a random restaurant in Old Town.

You're right - dad is usually there, along with Layla and some of her sisters. I don't get in there as often as I should, but it's a nice place to have in the neighborhood. The dining room is one of the few relatively quiet ones along King Street, where you can have a conversation with your dining companions at a normal volume. The food I've had there is good, reasonably priced, and has pleased me on more than one occasion. I've mostly ordered from the appetizer menu and can also report that carryout orders travel well.

Keep in mind, I'm not looking for heraldic contributions to the gastronomic pantheon, and I'm more than happy to support a small, family-run business in my community.

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yeah, I think if I lived near Layla it would be on the rotation of where can I get decent food at a reasonable price with no fuss on a night when I don't feel like cooking, either stroll over and dine in or take out. Strikes me as a place where you figure out a handful of dishes that they do well and that's what you order everytime!

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