Looks like Tempe's got not one, but two new spots for wallet-friendly Mediterranean food served up Subway-style.
Following the arrival of Hummus Xpress in January, Tzikii Pita Grill, at 7510 South Priest Drive (Priest and Elliot Road), opened its doors in late March.
Featuring eats like a family-recipe chicken shawarma, tahini-infused tzatziki, and the vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dish koshari -- Tzikii serves up its fast-casual food with a Greek-Egyptian twist.
Owned by three Egyptian friends (they own Nara Lounge, the hookah shop next door to the restaurant, as well), Tzikii, like Hummus Xpress, serves satisfying, build-your-own pitas, bowls, and plates using fresh ingredients as well as signature sauces and hummus creations.
You'll want to try the chicken shawarma, chunks of nicely grilled meat with a well-seasoned flavor that one of the restaurant's owners, Mo Khalek, credits to his grandma's family recipe. Like another good dish, the beef shawarma, it's best had in a pita, perhaps with an order of crunchy pita chips and a creamy and spicy cilantro jalapeño hummus. Ask for an extra bit of tzatziki, too. Made with tahini, the sauce takes on a deeper flavor than those you may have had elsewhere.
For those in search of a starchy snack sans meat, there is koshari. A popular Egyptian street food, this vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dish features rice, lentils, noodles, and garbanzo beans topped with a sweet and spicy tomato sauce and caramelized onions.
Skip the soda for a nice glass of housemade cucumber lemonade.
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After the meal, if there isn't homemade baklava, there will probably be kataifi. A dish Khalek calls "baklava's cousin," this sweet and nutty snack is topped with a golden nest of thin pastry strands for a dessert with crunch.
Tzikii Pita Grill 7510 South Priest Drive, Tempe 480-456-5555 http://tzikiipitagrill.com/Home_Page.php
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday