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Mid-East Eats: La Pita Offers Elegant Yet Casual Dining

From the verdant, crisp house salads to the melt-in-your-mouth-tender chicken shawarma, this west Dearborn restaurant offers an abundance of high-quality food at reasonable prices.

Walking into La Pita, there is no doubt that something special is afoot. The interior is a bombastic celebration of Middle Eastern culture. Booths can be set up for private dining. More intimate than , the feeling is similar at both. Both Habib's and La Pita are trying to make Middle Eastern cuisine an extraordinary event.

In addition to the interior, La Pita boasts a large patio that is half covered. Sure, it has been over 90 degrees lately, but it is always satisfying to dine outdoors. The waitstaff is very quick to refill your ice water, so the heat is always kept under wraps.

Speaking of wraps, La Pita (as the name would suggest) has a number of traditional wrapped pita sandwiches. I gravitated toward the simple falafel sandwich with tomatoes, pickles and sesame sauce. Although the sandwich was a little too dry, the flavors were spot-on. Ask for an additional side of sesame sauce and this would be a great lunch with some fries or a house salad.

For some reason, house salads at nearly every Middle Eastern restaurant I've ever eaten at have been better than house salads anywhere else. Always verdant and crisp, dressed perfectly and simply, house salads are an art. La Pita's are no different.  

However, there is a unique section to the La Pita menu called "gourmet baguettes," a nod to the French influence present in Lebanon.

Let's take unique one step further by sampling the maqaniq sandwich. Maqaniq is a spicy lamb and beef sausage spiced with coriander, vinegar and pine nuts. While the flavor was robust and earthy, I wouldn't recommend this for everyone. The same could be said for maqaniq's less vibrant cousin, sojok.

While the sandwiches are normal in size, the portion sizes of entrees are monstrous. The shawarma combo for two includes heaping piles of beef and chicken shawarma. Both are expertly seasoned. The chicken is melt-in-your-mouth-tender and the beef still has a satisfying chew.  

There something especially satisfying about diving into each pile with a piece of fluffy pita bread and finishing the mini-sandwich with some toum. Not only are you eating with your hands, which gives primal satisfaction, but also each bite has a little of everything fantastic on the plate.

Overall, La Pita offers an abundance of high-quality food at reasonable prices. Everything sampled was good to great with the standouts being the house salad and the chicken shawarma. La Pita's interior design makes it perfect for special occasions, but it is also a casual spot.

If you haven't tried La Pita, it is definitely worth a visit.

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