Soumarelo dishes Mediterranean fusion fare

soumarelo food

When asked about this Armenian-Lebanese-Greek restaurant’s best menu picks, the friendly, talkative Chef Tigran replied matter-of-factly, “everything is good.” All smiles and confident about his cooking, the chef recommended the bountiful, house made, pre-packaged appetizers (perfect to take home) such as ja-jek (yogurt cucumber) and mutabel (eggplant dip). According to the chef, the restaurant, which went by another name for seven years, has provided good, healthy food (including salads, kebobs, gyros, and rotisserie chicken) for 30 years – “fresh meat, fresh stuff every day,” said Tigran.

It may take awhile for the food to be brought out after you order at the counter, but find a seat at one of the indoor tables and relax. Enjoy the complimentary, hot, comforting lentil soup sprinkled with crunchy pita chips and paprika. Browse products for sale, including fruit nectar for $1.99, small bags of chips, canned Arizona iced tea, and sodas. Shoplifters need not eat here – a sign declares the premises are under 24-hour surveillance.

The food is worth the wait. Try kufta (savory fried ground beef tucked inside a thick, crispy dough) appetizer. Soujouk (garlic-laden, spicy ground beef skewers in a sandwich or as part of a plate), a spicy entree, hits the spot. The generous quarter chicken plate – juicy, flavorful chicken breast or dark thigh meat with hummus, rice, pickle slices, and salad (tomatoes, cucumbers, and pink radish spiked with freshly ground pepper) does not fail. As for dessert, look elsewhere. An out of place ice cream shop-like area of the restaurant advertises $2 for 4 scoops and $3 for 9 scoops of an unknown brand.

For now, Soumarelo (a combination of the owner’s sisters’ names) Pasadena is the one and only. Another location may open in Marina Del Rey soon. Locals should take advantage of free delivery within three miles and a minimum order of $25. Register your phone number and receive a $5 off coupon for every $50 you spend.

Monday – Friday, 10am – 8pm

Price range
 (view the full menu here)
$3.99 (falafel sandwich) to $9.99 (lamb shish kebob plate)

1090 N. Allen Ave., Pasadena, Calif., 91104

*A version of this post was first published in July 2012. Changes in menu offerings, etc. may have occurred since then.

{Photo by Howard Lee}


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