by Steven Doyle
Cafe Izmir, the tiny restaurant packed with loads of flavor and spirit, is located on Greenville Avenue where diners have enjoyed romantic get-a-ways for decades. The new locations in Plano, downtown and even at the airport still bring in the flavors, but it is the original location that continuously brings me joy.
I like the fact that I can grab mezze when I am downtown at lunch, or a cocktail with a side of the best hummus in Dallas while on the town. It is convenient to have delicious kabobs when running through Terminal D at the airport. But for date night, it seems that Izmir on Greenville cannot be duplicated.
A recent visit proved that Cafe Izmir is not just for lovers, but it is perfectly acceptable to dine solo as well. The staff is caring and inclusive to the frenetic atmosphere of customers filing both in and out, listening to live music or a deejay, sipping incredible wine at the bar, or making new friends due to the close quarters and convivial atmosphere.
Russian Chicken Salad
All this stood out just as much as the vast array of hummus, tabouli, babaganouj, and the many warm and supple triangles of pita that flow generously throughout your meal. The hummus, if we may remind you, is the very best in Dallas. We learned a secret last visit as to why the hummus is so creamery smooth, they actually take the time to peel each chickpea by hand, an act that most will forgo due to the labor intensive pain it can be. You can also find this delicious hummus without the copious amounts of garlic for those observing a first date.
Grilled Lamp Chops
It doesn’t take long for your table to quickly fill up with these amazing dishes. We actually needed a side table to store all the little plates that held lovely morsels. Even if there is only a bite or two remaining of the Russian Chicken Salad, you will not want to send the plate back until it is perfectly clean. That chicken salad will haunt you in your dreams, and bring you back sooner that later for more.
Izmir is vegetarian-friendly, and even the most persnickety vegan will find their way around the Izmir menu, and the staff is more than pleased to provide, especially when it comes to mounds of Mom’s Safron Rice. Often you will spot mom overlooking the tables, or taking a quick breather outside.
Be sure to check out one of the most beautiful dishes, and one that packs the biggest punch, the Pomegranate Shrimp. If you wish to taste the dish and are a bit of a lightweight when it comes to heat levels, just ask your waitperson to tone it down a bit. But seriously, why?
There is no toning down the flavors or the fun you will experience with each visit to Cafe Izmir.