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Eba's Lounge and Bistro

Pan-Mediterranean restaurant opens in Hillcrest.

Walking into Eba’s (142 University Ave, Hillcrest, 619-269-0123), I was surprised to find that it was a Mediterranean restaurant and not a French place. The purple walls and curlicue decor gave off a sense of Parisian cafe, or at least a romanticized vision of one, but the menu read like another gyros shop; with tabouli, shawerma, falafel, etc.

But Eba’s went way beyond that, by leaps and bounds. It’s hard to capture the warmth and kindness that Eba and Wisam (the cook) extended me. I could not have felt more welcome. They shared the duty of taking my order in a way that was more familial than professional, but I didn’t mind the friendliness because it came off as perfectly natural and not the mock-camaraderie of “cozy” service styles.

I talked about language and transliteration with Eba as I worked my way through an order of lahm bi ajeen ($3), which I’ve always known as “lahmajun.” It’s a simple flatbread topped with spiced, ground beef and lamb. Alongside that, I tried a plate of salads, hummus, and baba ghanouj that I did not order, but which Wisam insisted I had to try anyways.

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None

Wisam and I talked about love and loss after I finished my “chicken cream chop” ($13), which was a peculiar name for a delicious chicken cutlet served with tangy salad and a miraculous barley dish that made the average mushroom risotto pale in comparison. For $10, a Greek pizza came on the same tender flatbread as the lahm bi ajeen, but included olives, tomatoes, and cheese.

None

None

After that, I ordered Turkish coffee, strong and laced with cardamom.

None

Sitting there with my Turkish coffee, talking to the soft-spoken Wisam about the future and the crazy ways the world works, I can honestly say I had one of the coolest and most random dinners ever.

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Walking into Eba’s (142 University Ave, Hillcrest, 619-269-0123), I was surprised to find that it was a Mediterranean restaurant and not a French place. The purple walls and curlicue decor gave off a sense of Parisian cafe, or at least a romanticized vision of one, but the menu read like another gyros shop; with tabouli, shawerma, falafel, etc.

But Eba’s went way beyond that, by leaps and bounds. It’s hard to capture the warmth and kindness that Eba and Wisam (the cook) extended me. I could not have felt more welcome. They shared the duty of taking my order in a way that was more familial than professional, but I didn’t mind the friendliness because it came off as perfectly natural and not the mock-camaraderie of “cozy” service styles.

I talked about language and transliteration with Eba as I worked my way through an order of lahm bi ajeen ($3), which I’ve always known as “lahmajun.” It’s a simple flatbread topped with spiced, ground beef and lamb. Alongside that, I tried a plate of salads, hummus, and baba ghanouj that I did not order, but which Wisam insisted I had to try anyways.

None

None

Wisam and I talked about love and loss after I finished my “chicken cream chop” ($13), which was a peculiar name for a delicious chicken cutlet served with tangy salad and a miraculous barley dish that made the average mushroom risotto pale in comparison. For $10, a Greek pizza came on the same tender flatbread as the lahm bi ajeen, but included olives, tomatoes, and cheese.

None

None

After that, I ordered Turkish coffee, strong and laced with cardamom.

None

Sitting there with my Turkish coffee, talking to the soft-spoken Wisam about the future and the crazy ways the world works, I can honestly say I had one of the coolest and most random dinners ever.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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