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Camilya's Mediterranean Cafe

10942 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
(405) 418-4141

Camilya's Mediterranean Cafe

Camilya's Mediterranean Cafe has built up a good reputation since it opened by providing good quality food that is freshly cooked. In 2010 Camilya left and new owners took over, but so far the food seems to be as good as before. In fact, the menu is now larger, and if anything I think there are now more options for great Middle Eastern food (specializing in Syrian cuisine).

Camilya's is rather inconspicuous, being a small restaurant in a strip shopping center in the north part of Oklahoma City. Food is cooked on a grill in view of the dining room, and the small scale on which food is prepared is a main reason for its high quality. Even though there are less than a dozen tables in the dining room I have never seen it so full that people had to wait for a table. Those who do eat here, though, seem to appreciate the good quality of the food served in this true "family restaurant."

Normally when a restaurant changes owners I have to start over in writing descriptions of the food, but in this case there have been few differences from before. If I experience any major chages they will be noted.

Greek salad
Greek salad

Several salads are available, served in both small and large portions. The Greek Salad was one of the freshest and best I have had anywhere. The portions of lettuce and other ingredients were not huge, but the quality was very good.

Lentil soup
Lentil soup

Lentil Soup is apparently a new item that was added in 2010, and it was excellent. This was a home made soup made from yellow lentils, and with a generous amount of vegetables included. This was a smoother soup than others in the city, with the lentils being puréed to the point that round beans were not noticeable. I enjoyed the flavor, the texture, and the inexpensive price of the soup.

It looked as if the introduction of the lentil soup was an attempt to expand the number of appetizers available, as well as the menu in general.

Chicken and beef skewers
Combo dinner with tawook and keftah skewers

The chicken and beef skewers were every bit as good as I had expected, having been referred to Camilya's in the first place by family members who have too limited a budget to waste it eating out on food that is not truly worthwhile. The Keftah Skewer was made with ground black angus beef seasoned with what is probably a family recipe. I thought it was well prepared, and had especially good spices.

The Tawook Skewer was made with flavorful chicken and similar spices as the keftah skewer. I have gone back and forth on different visits trying to decide whether the chicken or beef was better, but I can definitely say that both are good.

The Hashwa rice cooked with black angus beef, pine nuts, and almonds was an excellent accompaniment to the skewers shown in the photo. This is one case, though, where I thought it was a little less flavorful after the ownership change.

Mjadara is a vegetarian version of hashwa, made with lentils and steamed rice. I thought Camilya's version was better than a similar dish served at Nunu's (but this was when Camilya's first opened, and may not be the case now).

Falafel sandwich
Falafel sandwich with Middle Eastern style tea

The fact that I really enjoyed the Falafel gave me confidence that if the vegetarian dishes were good, other dishes would also likely be above average. The key to falafel seems to be preparing it fresh and not making it too greasy. Camilya's hit the mark on both of these. I have tried the falafel on more than one visit, and it has always been moist with good spices. The pita was very good as well.

Vegetarian platter
Vegetarian platter with tabouleh, grape leaves, hummos, and baba gannouj

Although some of Camilya's vegetarian dishes were equal in quality to the meat items, I was only mildly impressed with the baba ganouj, grape leaves, and hummos. The Hummos in particular seemed to have too much garlic. Served together on the vegetarian platter, though, the vegetarian dishes made an excellent combination (there is no vegetarian plate on the menu, but Camilya made them at a customer's request at a lower price than if the items are purchased separately).

Tabouleh was one of the best items served on the vegetarian plate. I thought the tabouleh had a strong taste of olive oil, and all ingredients were fresh and good.

I have not had a chance to try the vegetarian dishes at the "new" restaurant, but based on the lentil soup I think they should be pretty good, and possibly better than before.

Gyros sandwich
Gyros sandwich

I would rate the Gyros as one of the best items served at Camilya's, and in fact I enjoyed it even more when I tried it recently under the restaurant's new management. The meat was tender, flavorful, and definitely high quality.

Beef Shawerma is the "Mediterranean version of fajita," according to the menu, and I also thought this was quite good. Made with tenderloin steak, tomatoes, and onions, it provides a different type of beef than the keftah skewer, but I thought the meat was of equal quality.

On my first visit I enjoyed a Middle Eastern style Hot Tea that was very good, and was similar to the mint tea served at Cous Cous Cafe. On a later visit, though, the tea came from a tea bag. As of 2010 I have been able to order a brewed masala tea that was not as impressive as the original one, but very good with Middle Eastern style food.

Some of the plates have a large portion of meat, and on my first visit Camilya told me that if I ever wanted a smaller portion of food (either meat or vegetables) they would serve it. There have also been specials served that were not on the menu, and the ones I have tried have been very good. The new owner also offers specials written on a chalk board, but I think the menu is also gradually being expanded to offer more items. As has always been the case, though, if you want something that it not on the menu it does not hurt to ask for it. They will try to accommodate any request.

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RESTAURANT DETAILS

RATING: 24

Cuisine: Mediterranean
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit
Oct. 19, 2010

Number of Visits: 9

Best Items
Falafel, Keftah Skewer, Tawook Skewer, Gyros, Greek Salad, Lentil Soup

Special Ratings
Falafel:
Keftah Skewer:
Tawook Skewer:
Beef Shawerma:
Gyros:
Salad:
Lentil Soup:
Tabouleh:
Hummos:
Hawhwa:
Pita:



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