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Ameer's is Bringing the Mediterranean Diet to Atlanta

By Marina I. Jokic

Chef Basem has been passionate about cooking since childhood. After finishing culinary school, he worked in some of the best restaurants and hotels in the Middle East. Basem eventually moved to Atlanta, Georgia and founded his own restaurant, Ameer's Mediterranean Grill, which specializes in authentic Mediterranean food, and has been thriving. Basem hopes that people will learn to love his cooking, learn more about his traditional cuisine, and eat healthy.

Basem's business idea came about during his quest for the food of his childhood, which seemed impossible at the time. "I use to take my kids out in search of a good Mediterranean restaurant, but never could find one," says Basem. He bemoans the fact that all so-called Mediterranean restaurants were adjusted to fit the American taste, and didn't do justice to the real recipes and flavors he knew.

Basem decided he wanted the local community to become acquainted with the bold flavors and bursting freshness of Mediterranean food. Fresh seafood, meats, herbs, ripe vegetables, and pure olive oil are the staple ingredients at Ameer's.

All spices are ground in-house, which is the only way to recreate the essence of Mediterranean food, believes Basem. All the meat used at the restaurant is Halal. "Our dishes are healthy as it could be," he adds. Lamb shank, Kufta Kabobs, whole fish, and a slew of homemade dips like hummus, Baba Ganoush, Foul Mudamas (blended Fava Beans with garlic, olive oil, parsley, and lemon), and the Labani (cream of cheese topped with olive oil and zataar). Their famous falafel is made from scratch, and there is absolutely no powder involved. The kabobs are grilled over an open fire.

The menu has something for everyone: appetizers, dips and sides, meats, salads, sandwiches, seafood, soups, and vegetarian entrees. You can start with the Fatayer, a spinach pie with herbs and lemon, go for the traditional Falafel, or opt for the Kebi, which is made from cracked wheat, lean lamb, and pine nuts.

Vegetarians should stand assured they will have plenty of options such as the Fried Eggplant salad, the Fatoush, Tabouli, the Hummus in Pita sandwich or their very own Vegetarian sandwich made with hummus, garlic spread, tomatoes, parsley, and pickles.

Dessert options will not disappoint either. Ranging from traditional baklava and kanafi, there are also the less well-known Sahlab (Middle Eastern pudding), the Namoura (semolina cake), and Mhalabiyi (a milk-based dessert with rose water and spices).

Basem doesn't want to boast, but he believes Ameer's is the best restaurant of its kind in the city. Bringing his culinary heritage to the people of Atlanta has been rewarding for him and his talented staff. Deserving of its accolades, Ameer's has been repeatedly rated as the top Mediterranean restaurant in the area by numerous social outlets, which have helped grow its customer base in the last few years. Without cutting any corners, Basem has been able to build a successful business.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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