I was introduced to Neomonde Bakery and Deli (3817 Beryl Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27607), a great place that specializes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes, in the early 1990s by John, my then fiancé. John is of Lebanese descent and tried to teach me how to make tabouli and stuffed grape leaves. I have the tabouli down pat, but I have to admit his grape leaves were the best I’ve ever tasted. However, he rarely bothered to make his own hummus because he loved Neomonde’s so much (as well as its pita bread) and almost always had both on hand. John and I parted ways many years ago; luckily I cannot say the same of my relationship with Neomonde – it’s still going strong!
According to its website, the Saleh family emigrated to the U.S. from northern Lebanon in the 1970s, along with a passion for bread and their mother’s recipes. In 1977, the Salehs opened Neomonde Baking Company in a strip mall in Raleigh, and then later moved to its Beryl Road location in the 1980s. At first it offered just a few types of bread, but in 1989 decided to open a deli which featured the family’s recipes.
At first, food only was available for take out. However, over the years, the Saleh brothers created a dining area and patio seating. They also added a small Mediterranean grocery that sells the exotic staples and spices to prepare Middle Eastern cuisine at home.
In 2000, Neomonde opened a new café/market and relocated its wholesale baking facility and corporate offices to Morrisville Square in Morrisville. And just recently they opened their North Raleigh Café (9650-149 Strickland Road, Raleigh, N.C. 27615), much to the delight of many of my friends who live on that side of town.
Neomonde has a number of sandwiches, sampler platters, specialty pies, salads and sides and desserts that will satisfy anyone who loves Middle Eastern Cuisine. It has a wide variety of choices for vegetarians. While I have not tried everything, here are some of my favorites:
Sesame Pita Bread ($2.49 a package) – Neomonde bakes more than 10,000 pieces of bread every day. The sesame pita bread is absolutely my favorite – it’s so fresh and tasty. Pita bread is also available in white and wheat. Love, love, love this stuff!
Stuffed Grape Leaves– Neomonde chefs roll rice, ripe bits of tomato and Mediterranean spices in grape leaves and bake them to perfection. I like these either hot or cold.
Baba Ghanouj ($6.99 per pound) – This delicious and creamy dip consists of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt and spices that are blended together. It is great on toasted pita points or in a pita sandwich with chick peas salad or tabouli.
Tabouli ($6.99 per pound) – This traditional Lebanese salad has a ton of finely minced parsley, chopped tomato, cracked wheat, diced cucumber and chopped scallions, which are tossed in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and other spices. This tabouli is great on its own, or in a pita with hummus, chick pea salad, and/or baba ghanouj.
Chick Pea Salad ($5.49 per pound) – Whole chick peas are mixed with scallions, premium olives, parsley, red wine vinegar, spices and extra virgin olive oil to make a salad that is tasty and filling. I like to fill pita bread with a mixture of it and some tabouli or hummus, or just eat it on its own.
Kafta Kabobs Platter ($7.99 and it comes with two sides) – The kabob is made of spicy lamb and comes with Tatziki, a yummy yogurt and cucumber sauce. I usually get the fatoush and potato salad (both described below) as sides.
Fatoush ($6.99 per pound) – This salad has tomato, cucumber, green pepper, parsley, onions, extra virgin olive oil, spices and crunchy croutons. It is perfect on a hot summer day (or anytime, for that matter.)
Potato Salad ($4.99 per pound) – Neomonde takes baked potatoes and mixes in freshly chopped mint, scallions, green pepper, parsley, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and spices. It’s a wonderful alternative to mayo-based potato salads!
Chicken Salad ($6.99 per pound) – This is one of my favorite chunky chicken salads in Raleigh (I will be blogging about those soon). It has nice chunks of chicken with celery, golden raisins, walnuts, low-fat mayonnaise, parsley and spices. Great on its own, or on some pita bread.
Hummus ($4.99 per pound) – Neomonde’s award-winning hummus is made from chick peas, tahini, lemon juice, garlic and spices. It’s a true classic! If you like something a little spicier, check out my roasted red pepper hummus recipe.
Sadly, I have not tried any of Neomonde’s desserts, but they all look great, especially the baklava. Note to self: Get this next time. Seriously.
- Price: Good. Super fresh food at decent prices!
- Service: 4.50. You order at the counter, and the food is brought to you if you are dining in. The counter staff is usually quite efficient, so don’t balk at the long line – it moves fast.
- Food: 4.75. Everything I’ve had has been great.
- Recommend: Absolutely! Whether you decide to dine in or take out, you will leave happy!
- Kid friendly: Sure, if your kids like this type of food.
1= hater, 2=poor, 3=adequate, 4=above average, 5=superb
Eat, drink and be merry!