Menu Please: The Flavors of the Middle East at Anthony’s Mediterranean Cuisine

It has long been the fervent wish of Femme de Joie that some enterprising soul would open up a Middle Eastern/Greek/Turkish restaurant in the Redding area. She vaguely recalls a short-lived one in a food court somewhere in Enterprise back in the 1970s or early '80s, and an equally short-lived one on Antelope Boulevard in Red Bluff. Her two visits in 2011 to The Greek Shack on Hartnell left her underwhelmed (who knew you could buy frozen gyro slices from Amazon?), and never thought of stopping at Xander's when toddling along Churn Creek until she'd already passed by.

At the corner of Eureka Way and Walnut Avenue, right across the street from the track and field shared by Shasta High School and U-Prep, stands a building that has hosted a slew of fast-food joints. M. de Joie can only remember three for sure: one of the Bartel's Burgers chain, a Quizno's, and an otherwise forgotten place that served salami burgers (that would be salami atop a burger) which a friend of hers adored. Last summer Anthony's Mediterranean Cuisine moved in, and so far they seem to be thriving. Serving a simple menu of Middle Eastern salads, sandwiches, and sides, Anthony's is run by the same party behind The Greek Shack and Xander's.

There are some booths and bar tables; eat there or take out. Go to the counter to order and pay and they'll bring your order to you. Staff is cheerful and helpful.

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Lamb gyro plate with Greek salad and hummus, $12.99

It isn't easily visible from the dining area, but Anthony's has one of those vertical spits that holds a big ol' hunk o' packed minced lamb slowly rotating by a heat source; the toastiest part is shaved off for the lamb gyro and cradled in a pita bread with lettuce, tomato, and tzatziki sauce. It was a bite of Nirvana to gyro-deprived folks like Amico del SIgnore and M. de Joie. Almost as good as the gyro was the small fresh Greek salad with feta, Kalamata olives, and a tangy dressing, and the mellow tahini-infused hummus with the nutty flavor of garbanzos.

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Chicken gyro plate with Greek salad and hummus, $11.99

The chicken gyro was the same arrangement as the lamb, but we did not love the pressed rectangles of chicken food product (hard to call it chicken as chickens are not normally rectangular). All wrapped up with pita & accompaniments, the sandwich was adequate but not awe-inspiring like the lamb.

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Babaganouj (served with pita), $4.99

A vegetarian/vegan staple, soft roasted eggplant smoothed out with tahini, garlic, and olive oil was a mild-flavored dip to go with pita wedges. It was pleasant enough but needed more tahini and garlic to ramp up the flavor.

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Vegetarian dolmas, $4.99, with wedges of pita bread

Dolma means "stuffed" and can refer to a variety of vegetables (zucchini, peppers, etc.) filled with rice and whatever else the cook has on hand. Stuffed grape leaves, those cigar-shaped bites common to numerous Mediterranean countries, are usually what we think of as dolmas here in the US. These were on the soft-to-mushy side and the rice filling was bland, even with a squeeze of lemon and some tzatziki to dip into. A disappointment.

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Falafel wrap, $7.99

Though the fried falafel balls were pretty darn salty by themselves, the salt wasn't as noticeable when eaten as a wrap on pita bread with tahini, loads of fresh parsley, a spicy-warm pickled pepper, and - surprise! - a strip of purple pickled turnip (don't knock it until you've tried it). Despite the frying, the sandwich made a light lunch.

Overall, M. de Joie is a fan of Anthony's Mediterranean Cuisine. Though not every dish hit the mark, she'll be back for the gyros, the hummus, and the salads. And there's quite a bit yet to be tried, including the previously unknown-to-her manakeesh (flat breads with various toppings). Prices are fair for portion size and quality and most of the dishes can be prepared quickly if you're in a hurry (the exception being the kebabs). If you've never tasted the foods of the Middle East, this is a good place to give them a try.

Anthony's Mediterranean Cuisine, 2475 Eureka Way, Redding, CA 96001. 530-768-1333. Open every day, 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Cash and cards; no checks. Vegan and vegetarian options. No alcohol (though they have a cold case with a lifetime supply of Red Bull and Rockstar). Parking lot. Follow them on Facebook.

Femme de Joie
Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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8 Responses

  1. Valerie Ing says:

    Madame, I’m so glad you’ve reviewed this place! Like you, I j’adore Mediterranean food, and this is my secret spot! It’s been pretty slow whenever I’ve been in there, so I’m looking forward to more people trying them out so perhaps they’ll stay! If they were located near my office, I’d probably eat lunch there every week. BTW, the flatbread is really good too. Tried it on a whim once, and it was so much better than I was expecting.

  2. EasternCounty says:

    The photo of the lamb gyro looked just like the one served at Xander’s.  I like the flavor, but it’s so huge and messy that I feel I’m in a Carl’s Jr. commercial when eating it.

  3. Barbara Stone says:

    After trying the place on Hartnell and being very disappointed, I am looking forward to this place, which is also on my side of town…so yay!

  4. name says:

    Do they make the dolmas there, or are they from a can?  (good review, thank you!)

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Name,

      The dolmas seemed to be house-made (they did not taste like canned or have that oily coating of the canned ones), though the grape leaves were from a jar. They also have a beef-filled dolma that might be tastier, though we didn’t try it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

      Femme de Joie

  5. Canda Williams says:

    Never knew about this place, and love Mediterranean food, so thanks for the review.  Definitely sounds like a place worth trying!

  6. Marie says:

    Their gyros are very good, and remind of ones I used to eat back east.  The falafel was uneventful, which is too bad.  The tabouli was not very good either.  Too much parsley, not enough garlic or really any other flavor.   I would not order it again. I thought the Babaganoujwas good, though I did wonder about the smoky flavor.  Was it really from roasted eggplant…or was it just liquid smoke?  It seemed a bit strong to be only from roasted eggplant.

    We did go there on a Saturday night once for take-out, and waited 30 minutes for our food.  There were empty tables too.  The one employee was running around and working very fast, the other was not.  Not sure if this is still a problem or not, it was last October.

  7. Sally says:

    My granddaughter was taken there by another Grammy and Papa and raved about it, so I try to have lunch with my adult daughter, always trying to find time in her incredibly busy life (3 teenagers in the house) so suggested Anthony’s.  I had a Lamb Gyro and it was delicious.  We timed it to get there before the high school students so service was fast and friendly.  It was packed when the teens arrived.  We both will go back.

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