Pop quiz: What makes the Mediterranean diet such an awesome blueprint for healthy eating? Is it the oodles of olive oil? The focus on fresh produce? The emphasis on lean proteins? The liberal use of herbs and spices?
If this were a real exam, we’d want to study for it at Yalla Mediterranean, a new Chipotle-style restaurant where the food encompasses all of the above. The growing chain’s first L.A. outpost just opened in Burbank and is serving cuisine that cruises from Greece to Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and beyond while incorporating local, sustainable ingredients.
Start this build-your-own journey with your skewer of choice; selections run the gamut from vegan, gluten-free falafel ($8) to hormone- and antibiotic-free steak ($9) and wild-caught salmon ($9). Proteins are quickly cooked on the Turkish-style grill that spins them over hot lava rocks so they arrive on your (compostable) plate sizzling.
Have your skewer as a pita wrap, over a chopped salad or as a plate ($2 extra) with basmati rice and a choice of grilled vegetables or spiced lentils. Whatever format you choose, you also get to select three bright side salads, such as Moroccan carrot salad, Turkish red cabbage slaw or kale salad with grape tomatoes, cucumbers and non-GMO garbanzo beans. Top it all off with sauces like tahini, tzatziki or harissa.
Olive oil, spices, citrus and herbs (from the restaurant’s live lemon tree and herb wall) guide the preparations, so just think of Yalla as your Mediterranean diet cheat sheet.
1781 N Victory Pl., Burbank