Food from the Fertile Crescent

Posted on January 2, 2018 by

There’s a little taste of the Middle East on Habersham Street, and it’s unlike anything else in Savannah. With fresh meat and vegetables arriving every day, and every meal made to order, Al Salaam Deli has served the freshest Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes in the city for nearly 18 years.

“We have people coming from all over because we have the halal, which is like kosher,” said Meqbel Salameh, owner of Al Salaam. “People come traveling from Chicago and New York, going to Orlando, and they stop by here because we provide halal food.”

Al Salaam Deli’s gyro platter offers plenty for one—or two, if you want to share! Photo by Amanda Surowitz.

Gyros are, of course, a top-seller at Al Salaam, but the restaurant also caters to vegetarians and vegans with falafel, fatoush, baba ghanoush, stuffed grape leaves and house-made hummus.

“You see hummus everywhere at the grocery store, but the way we make our own hummus is totally different,” Salameh explained. “We make it from scratch. It’s not like a dry powder with added water. It’s the real deal. It’s a process, but the hummus is good and creamy.”

Al Salaam also doubles as a small market for international groceries that can be hard to find. Whether you’re looking for tahini or eggplant to make your own baba ghanoush, or grape leaves to stuff, Al Salaam has what you need. Other items for sale include dates, olives, spices, falafel mix and rose, mint and orange blossom waters.

For those unfamiliar with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Cuisine, it can be surprising to discover its health benefits. Many of the dishes are made with olive oil, which is heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory. Other herbs and spices that add to each dish’s flavor—curry, turmeric, garlic, cayenne, cilantro and parsley, to name a few—also double as part of ancient remedies for minor ailments.

“Our food is really healthy and very delicious,” Salameh said. “When you have quality items and products, people like it. That makes you feel much better and makes you appreciate it. We are helping to change the diet of people, to introduce them to healthy food.”

After tasting the difference made by fresh ingredients and authentic recipes from Salameh’s life in Jordan, many keep coming back to Al Salaam.

“People come in, they get a gyro,” Salameh said. “They think the gyro here is going to be like everywhere. They go try somewhere else, and then they say I have the best.”

Al Salaam Deli is located at 2311 Habersham St. The restaurant is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. For more information, visit alsalaamdeli.com or call (912) 447-0400.