Mid-City: 3901 Banks. 504-482-7743. Map.
AE DS MC V
WHY IT’S NOTEWORTHY
Mona’s is the most numerous of the several small chains of Middle Eastern restaurants. Its menu originally was in the Palestinian style, which meant among other things that the hummus was the best around. Since then the cooking has become more generic. It’s always good, rarely brilliant.
The main distinction of the platters here is their ampleness. Even if you eat only an entree, it’s impossible to leave without being full. Mona’s pioneered the serving of lula kebabs, made with lamb instead of the usual beef found in the similar kafta kebabs.
Mona’s began in 1990 as an outgrowth of the Daily Pita Bread Bakery and Middle Eastern store on Banks Street. It originally had only outside tables, an arrangement that endeared it to a lot of customers. After a fire, the restaurant took over most of the grocery store space. Mona’s then began expanding to some half-dozen locations, some of which closed or relocated over the years. As the empire spread, the consistency has declined, though the food has always been good enough and an outstanding bargain.
All of the restaurants have a rustic, hand-built quality in their furnishings. The locations on Magazine Street and in the Marigny are a shade crowded when busy, which is most of the time. The service staff is a little aloof and uncermonious, but they get the job done.
»Red lentil soup
»Arabic salad (tomato, lemon, cucumber, green onions, parsley)
Fatouche (greens, olives, green onions, cucumbers, parsley, pita chips)
»Tabbouleh (parsley, cracked wheat, green olives, tomato, lemon)
Yogurt salad with cucumber
»Grilled chicken, beef, gyro, or lamb salad
»Musabaha (like hummus, with whole chickpeas)
»Foul (like hummus, with fava beans)
»Qudsia (humus and foul mixed)
Lebna (yogurt, mint, sumac, olive oil)
Stuffed grape leaves
Pickles and olives
Feta cheese and olives
»Fried haloumi cheese
Safeilha (like pizza, with ground lamb and beef, tomatoes, parsley, onion, on pita)
Four-cheese pita pizza
Basmati rice with saffron
Veggie grape leaves plate
Sauteed vegetables plate
»Shawarma (chicken or beef) plate
Chicken tecka (skinless half chicken, marinated, grilled)
»Chicken kebab plate
Boneless herbed grilled chicken
»Lula kebab (ground lamb) plate
»Beef kebab plate
»Lamb kebab plate
»Chicken kebab plate
»Chicken shawarma plate
Sauteed veggie sandwich
Kufta burger (ground beef, parsley, onions)
»Spiced ground lamb and beef with tahini sauce
Fried kibbe (two loaves)
»Hummus with lamb
»Meat grape leaves plate
Burma (shredded wheat, pistachio, honey)
»Nammura (semolina, almonds, rosewater, honey)
FOR BEST RESULTS
A meal of appetizers is a good way to go here. The restaurant encourages this with a combination platter of many appetizers. They also are happy to make combo platters of many of the entrees.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
The seafood could use an upgrade.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency -1
- Value +2
- Wine & Bar
- Hipness +1
- Local Color +1
- Sidewalk tables
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open most holidays
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- No reservations