If you find yourself in downtown Chicago and hungry for Middle Eastern food, there’s only one place to go: the Wabash Jewelry Mall. There’s something oddly satisfying about making your way through a crowded bazaar of gold chains and pinky rings to suddenly encounter a paradise full of shawarma, falafel, lentil soup and hummus.
Oasis Cafe has a steady lunchtime crowd of Loop workers who have been clued in to this hidden gem (now back in its original location after a stay around the corner). The menu focuses on Lebanese Moroccan dishes, all of which cost less than $7. Daily specials like couscous with grilled vegetables or Moroccan chicken may tempt some, but loyal Oasis customers trudge through the jewelry store for one thing only: the falafel sandwich ($4). Deep-fried ground chickpeas, tahini sauce, cucumbers and tomatoes wrapped in pita make the perfect picnic food. If you don’t feel like hanging with the jewelry vendors, take your grub down the block to Millennium Park and lunch in the sun. Save room for dessert; homemade baklava is prepared every Tuesday by owner Suleiman Ahmad.
21 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago
Tel: (312) 558-1058
*Originally published in Centerstage Chicago.