>> Akkad Mediterranean & Iraqi Grill | Eat the World Los Angeles

Sunday 3 November 2019

Akkad Mediterranean & Iraqi Grill

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ถ IRAQ

EDITOR'S NOTE: An updated version of this article (18 December 2023) is available as part of the Historical section of our Substack page. Check that out here:
With its subdued small sign on the front of a building perpendicular to East Colorado Street, it would be easy to never notice the tiny advertisement of an "Iraqi Grill" in Glendale, especially as it follows the mundane but ubiquitous "Mediterranean" adjective that restaurants from the Balkans to deep into the Middle East add to their description. This is of course an effort to attract a wider crowd with a word that may be less intimidating, but it hides the uniqueness of what is on offer.

Inside the restaurant, Akkad is much larger than it appears, taking the general format of a normal casual place. A counter with the cashier separates the dining area from the kitchen and prep zone, but you can immediately see and smell the food that is being cooked when the door is opened. Some TVs show the dishes on offer while others are flipped to the news, the wall opposite the kitchen is covered by a row of photographs from Iraq.

With its clean design and pleasant Arabic music playing, Akkad is a nice break from a hot Glendale day at any time, but it may shine brightest during breakfast. At 10am when the doors open, you can find otherwise rare items on a special breakfast menu section which is actually available all day long. Amongst these is makhlama ($8.99, above), a flat omelet of sorts that is cooked with ground beef, tomatoes, onions, parsley, and a very subtle spicing.

Despite answering "Mild or spicy?" with the latter and even seeing it on the bill, makhlama remains a mild dish. Squeeze in as much of the lemon juice as you can, and maybe add a dash of the sumac or black pepper that is on every table. A bottle of Yucateco is there as well, for this is Los Angeles after all. The dish is served with a gigantic piece of just-baked khubz, and meant to be eaten together. This flatbread is quickly cooked, remaining soft and fluffy on the thicker outsides and very crispy in the thinner center.

For something sweet during breakfast, try the bombshell kahi ($1.50, above), a light as a feather puff pastry. This flaky delight comes looking large but is mostly filled with air and tears apart easily. Their homemade syrup is very thin and more parts water than usual, making the drizzle not overly sweet and just right.

Often in Iraq, kahi is topped not only with syrup but with a clotted cream made from water buffalo milk called geymar. Water buffalo are rare in Glendale, although geymar is sometimes found in Middle Eastern groceries.

For lunch and dinner, Akkad does not disappoint either, with daily rotating specials hung above the cash register and a menu that has much more depth than a standard place that calls itself "Mediterranean," whatever that may mean. On future visits with a group, shared meals of quzi lamb, dolma, and magluba are very much looked forward to.


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