Travel by Taste: a Mediterranean deli and market
Travel by Taste
When I first heard about Travel by Taste, I thought I needed to get over there and try the newest place in town. Mediterranean food is quickly surpassing Mexican food as my favorite, and I didn’t want to miss out on a new option. Boy was I surprised to learn that Travel by Taste has been around for over 10 years! How had I not heard of this place? Probably because you can’t see it from the street. To find it, go to the light at NW 49th and MacArthur, turn east and go about 100 yards to find a small strip mall behind the other, main strip mall, and (hopefully) you’ll see it there on the right.
It’s not much to look at on the outside, but here at EatAroundOKC, we often find favorites in unlikely places, so I was excited to see what tasty treats awaited me on the inside.
The front part of the restaurant is actually a mini grocery store stocked with Mediterranean items such as grape leaves, Greek yogurt and fresh dates still on the twigs. There are a variety of fresh-roasted figs and nuts beside the cash register (see a pic). One of my new favorite snacks is their lemon-roasted sour almonds. With just the right amount of tart and a little bit of salt, they are delicious. I can’t leave the store without purchasing about a half-pound to take with me.
Take note, the grocery store counter is also where you place your order for restaurant items off the menu, and the process can be a little inconsistent. Sometimes I’ve been asked to pay when I order. Other times I’ve paid on my way out. When you dine here you just need to be willing to go with the flow. Also, Travel by Taste is not the best option if you’re in a big hurry. Service can be a bit slow.
But if you have the time, it’s worth the wait because the food here is homemade and very good. I always start with two of my favorites — the tabouli ($3.99) and the hummus ($4.99 – see a pic). The tabouli is nice and lemony, not overly oily like at a lot of places. The hummus is creamy and wonderful with a very “olivy” olive oil drizzled on top. The strong olive flavor is unique, but we enjoyed it. You get a very generous serving of tabouli and plenty of hot pita slices to go with the hummus. I usually just make a meal out of these two items. If you’re splitting lunch with someone, you can add an order of the falafel bites ($3.99 – see a pic), which is served with their homemade yogurt and cucumber sauce, and you’ll leave plenty full.
Others I’ve dined with have tried the gyro platter ($8.99 – see a pic) which includes a generous serving of gyro meat, pita bread, fresh vegetables and sauce; the kabob sandwich ($5.49); the blackened chicken ($8.99); and the shish kabob ($11.99 – see a pic). The kabob sandwich had ground beef seasoned with sumac and onion, which was skewered and broiled with tomato, onion and pickle. It was pretty darn tasty. The blackened chicken was served with grilled veggies and saffron rice, and the shish kabob was especially good with a grilled and marinated filet mignon, also served with grilled veggies and saffron rice. The steak was especially tender and tasty. I’ve also added the samoosa ($2.49) to my list of regular items. It’s ground beef, onion and spices in an egg roll wrap served with a delicious tamarind sauce.
I really enjoy the variety of antique, mismatched dishes on which everything is served. It makees me feel as if I am a guest in someone’s dining room at home.
One thing I have found is that you can spend as little or as much as you want on a meal here because the lunch and dinner menu are available all day long. I usually end up on the high side because I have to also purchase my staples of Greek yogurt and lemon almonds while I’m there. And I’ve discovered the almonds and other delicious fresh roasted nuts make great gifts.
For another great, local Oklahoma City eatery that’s very off the beaten path, I highly recommend you give Travel by Taste a try. If you’ve been already, please let us know what you think in the comments below!
More Photos from Travel by Taste
Photos by Nicole McDaniel Photography