DINING OUT: Aya’s Café, 2129 Arch Street, Philadelphia

by Walter Bender

A short walk from some of the more intimate theatres in Philadelphia, Aya’s Café offers a succulent choice of Mediterranean cuisine for lunch and dinner. Chef Tarek AlBasti and family have put together a wonderful establishment, offering good food and quality service.

Looking at their lunch menu, you can choose from their large appetizer menu (I suggest you go for the Aya’s Taster, a collection of their best offerings!), a nice selections of soups and salads (the lentil soup is fabulous, and who doesn’t LOVE a good Mediterranean Salad?), sandwiches (I favor the lamb shawarma, but all of the choices I’ve tasted were wonderful), and entrees (treat yourself to the Grilled Eggplant, but come hungry!) Rounding out the lunch menu is a nice selection of desserts (I am a sucker for their Baklava) and a nice Turkish Coffee to wash it all down. Prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food, and the wait staff is very attentive to your needs.

Their dinner menu is more varied, with the familiar appetizers, soups and salads, but the entrée selection is very large, with choices for all palates. I favor the Musakaa, but the Grilled Salmon and the Aya’s Mushakkil are also delicious. For those whose tastes run to a more Italian style, there is Shrimp Primavera, Linguine Vongole, Lobster and Portabella Ravioli and Penne Marinara to choose from. And there are always daily specials from Chef AlBasti…I love the Pasta Primavera, but there are many other favorites to choose from.

The décor is friendly, with small tables dotted about the dining room. One wall has a long padded bench covered with plush pillows for patrons to relax while dining. The music playing in the background is in line with the décor, and soft enough to encourage conversation.

Aya’s is open Monday-Friday from 11 AM-10PM, and Saturday/Sunday from 5 PM-10 PM. Come to the city one evening prior to your theatre reservation, park the car and take the walk to this hidden gem.

Aya’s Café
2129 Arch Street
Philadelphia PA
(215) 567-1555


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