Yum Yum: Naf Naf Grill


By Rachael Kossy

Tender chicken, soft pita bread, hot lentil soup, a tasty Israeli salad, and Basmati rice? What more can one ask of a meal?

If you’re in the mood for Middle Eastern, Naf Naf Grill, located off of Touhy Ave. across from Village Crossing, is a deserving option. Stepping into Naf Naf, I am immediately struck by the newborn chain’s modern, interesting layout. The backs of benches form a diagonal line for customers to order. The walls are white, but orange, red, and brown cushions and artwork create a warmer atmosphere.

I am greeted at the counter by a friendly server named Robert, who promptly puts in my order. Though Naf Naf is a chain,  it’s definitely not fast food. When the place is busy, they have buzzers that let you know your food is ready. It looks deceivingly like a high-class fast food joint, but you’ll likely wait at least ten or fifteen minutes to eat. Even so, the colorful, warm plate of food is well worth the wait.

While I was impressed by the restaurant’s design, I initially hesitate when I see the  prices on the menu. An “On the Plate” meal, which is what I want, costs $11.99. That said, the meal comes with healthy portions of two sides (Basmati rice and Israeli salad) or one side of Naf Naf’s uniquely-shaped fries, plus a large portion of whatever meat you choose. I decide to order the chicken breast kebab. I end up splitting the meal, along with a cup of lentil soup ($2.99) and a small order of hummus (an additional $2.99.) I am completely full by the end. The entire order came to $19.55.

The food on the plate reflects the restaurant’s decor, with bright yellow rice sprinkled with a brown spice,  the cucumber/tomato/parsley Israeli salad, fluffy pita bread, freshly grilled and seasoned chicken, steaming soup, and creamy hummus with olive oil. It all tastes as good as it looks. The chicken is tender and flavorful; the rice and salad mixed together complement the meat well. And the pita bread is to die for!

As we eat, I’m happy that an eclectic selection of music plays from the speakers. Bands like The Black Keys accompany my meal. It’s a nice change from the usual Top 40 stations played in most chains.

Naf Naf is great if you’re looking for a yummy meal with a friend. While it’s a bit pricey, meals are big and tasty enough to be worth splitting. You can’t see Naf Naf as a normal chain; if you go in expecting a short wait and a higher priced menu, you won’t be disappointed by the food.

Check out their menu online!