A new fast casual concept has washed ashore in Southern California — Yalla Mediterranean comes to Seal Beach!
As have other new restaurants, Yalla has adapted the production line success of Chipotle to a different cuisine, in this case Mediterranean food that originates in Israel, or Greece, or North Africa. (French fries sneak in, too.)
A big plus for me personally is that Yalla is right up front about allergens and special dietary considerations for their menu items. On top of that, almost everything is wheat-free. I just have to avoid the kefta meatballs, pita, and baklava!
On the day that Orange County Breeze staff visited, I ordered a salad of “power greens” topped by freshly-grilled chicken. Very fresh and very good! I also can recommend the pomegranate lemonade, made in house.
Our office manager ordered a plate of Basmati rice and lentils with grilled chicken. On the side came Greek potato salad, baba ganoush, and white beans. She especially liked the potato salad and baba ganoush.
Your food is served in a recyclable (“compostable”) tray, like a TV-dinner tray. After walking down the production line picking out your food for the servers to put on the tray, you pay at the far end. Soft drinks and cutlery are off to the side. Then you carry your food and drink to a table on a re-usable metal tray.
The available space inside the restaurant is not large, but you can also eat outside in the common area shared by the other small eateries close by.
Although we both ordered skewered grilled chicken, Yalla also offers falafel, chicken shawarma, shalafel, kefta meatballs, chicken skewers, steak skewers, and salmon skewers. (Any portion of protein can be doubled for an extra $2.50.)
In addition to Greek potato salad and baba ganoush, sides include Turkish slaw (red cabbage, cilantro, lime juice, honey, olive oil), Moroccan carrot salad (shaved carrots, cumin, dill, olive oil, golden raisins, honey, Greek vinaigrette), and hummus.
We both drank lemonade, but regular fountain drinks are available as well as wine and craft beers.
Dessert is Greek frozen yogurt with a choice of possible toppings.
You can also order family-style meals for take-out, $38 to serve four people.
Although the restaurant is new — a “now open banner is still up outside — it has definitely already been discovered. Business was brisk during our weekday visit.
The new Yalla Mediterranean location in Seal Beach is at 12420 Seal Beach Blvd., next door to Rubio’s and down the sidewalk from Z Pizza in the Target shopping center on the east side of the Boulevard.