When you think of healthy ethnic eats, Mediterranean usually comes to mind. Along with Japanese, I've always considered Medi food to be fresh, basic ingredients prepared with care. With lots of fresh veggies, olive oil and herbs for a little bit of flavor punch. And when you think of Mediterranean food in the Triangle, most people think of the long-standing Neomonde, located off of Beryl Road. Even though the location is a bit off the beaten path, Neomonde's is usually very busy so beware if you need to get in and out for a quick meal!
Out front, Neomonde's entry way goes through a covered patio, great when the weather is decent. Inside you'll find a small grocery area for Middle Eastern type food stuffs, baked goods and a counter up front with a cold table, salads and more. Put in your order if you want one of Neomonde's wraps or sandwiches, you can grab a side off the cold table which is charged by weight. I order up a full beef-lamb shwarma (which also comes in half sizes) along with a side of roasted corn salad. Around the corner is a pastry case where you can get some sweets, of course I can't resist a pistachio bird's nest! You pay up, grab a glass and number, it's now time to find a table.
Service is decent at Neomonde but I've always found their grill items to take a bit of time. My shwarma takes about 15 minutes but thankfully I got to pick on my delicious corn salad that's flavored with pepper, cilantro and more. The shwarma is two half-moons of pita bread stuffed with diced meat, tomato, onion, pickle, cilantro and marinated in lemon tahini sauce. The one challenge with Mediterranean fare is there are obviously a lot of countries in the region and each may do a particular item differently. Neomonde has Lebanese origins so expect as much. The shwarma is good, full of spice, tang and flavor but I admit to preferring a shwarma made with flatbread. The pistachio birds nest pastry was probably the highlight of my meal! Super crunchy, buttery with just the right amount of nuts and honey, awesome stuff. Overall a super flavorful and healthy meal!
It's really hard to argue with the formula at Neomonda: healthy, flavorful Medi eats prepared with love and care. But I admit that the crowds, cafeteria like setting and location make it less of an automatic choice for me. I prefer my meals on the hot side and Neomonde tends to favor cold items. However, if you're hitting up the Raulston Arboretum next door, Neomonde is a great stop for a picnic lunch. The family that started Neomonde also runs Sitti which I reviewed earlier. And I admit to preferring to pay an extra $5 or so for my meal and enjoying the much more stylish and civilized setting downtown at Sitti. Odd to think that they may sort of be competing with themselves! So if you are in the area, Neomonde is definitely worth a visit if you're willing to venture off of Hillsborough Street, bon appetit...
3817 Beryl Rd
Raleigh, NC 27607