[UPDATE 2021: Mazah has moved from the location described here, and is currently only serving dinner.]
Mazah Mediterranean Eatery (Facebook / @Mazah_Eatery)
1453 Grandview Ave. (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43212
Open Mon-Thurs, 11a-3p, 5-9p; Fri, 11a-10p; Sat, 12-10p
Accepts cash & credit/debit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/Y/Y
Visited: Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.
There are a lot of Mediterranean restaurants around Columbus, some of the generic drive-through gyro quality and some more authentic, or at least more elaborate. And of those restaurants, not many serve breakfast. There’s Anna’s in Dublin, Olive Tree in Hilliard, and here: Mazah Mediterranean Eatery in Grandview. Mazah has been open for a few years now, and occupies a small storefront on Grandview Avenue with a small patio. The interior is cozy without feeling crammed, punctuated by warm colors and bits of greenery placed here and there.
The restaurant was not at all busy when we visited (hint), so we were seated in a booth near the front windows right away. Because we were the focus of attention, a couple different servers kept things coming to us pretty quickly. One of the things I enjoyed about this breakfast was the opportunity to try something different than your standard American eggs-bacon-pancakes. For instance, we started with a couple Turkish coffees. Turkish coffee is served in small mugs; the volume is more akin to an espresso shot than a large cup of drip coffee. But good things come in small packages: Turkish coffee is rich, dark, a tad bitter, and sports a layer of sediment at the bottom. The term “Turkish coffee” actually refers to a preparation of coffee that involves steeping hot water in very finely ground coffee, sometimes with sugar, then serving it in a small cup without straining the grounds. Hence the sediment.
The brunch dishes at Mazah are colorful and flavorful, such as the simple Potatoes & Eggs: redskin potatoes with scrambled eggs, a generous helping of parsley, and other seasonings.
It’s a big portion of soft potatoes mixed with the eggs.
The egg dishes comes with pita bread and your choice of sides. In this case we chose tomatoes, pickles, and hummus.
We also tried the Fava Beans, which are mixed with olive oil, onions, fresh herbs, garnished with tomato and cucumber. It’s a very protein-rich meal, very filling. All of these meals are also great for sharing – we passed them around the table all throughout the meal.
With our third meal we ordered sides of hummus, feta, and labineh. Labineh (also spelled labneh) is a strained cheese, made in a process similar to Greek yogurt. It’s flavor is lightly sour and savory, and served with a drizzle of olive oil and za’tar spice.
One of the real stars of Mazah’s breakfast is the shakshouka, a Middle Eastern/North African egg dish made from cooking eggs in a skillet with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and a rich blend of spices. It’s a great way to have eggs in a different preparation than you normally order. Shakshouka is only served at two places in town (as of this writing): the Olive Tree in Hilliard and Mazah.
Good to the last drop.
We very much enjoyed our brunch experience at Mazah, and I think the place really does deserve to busier. Their menu includes a diverse mix of dishes that should please everyone, including anyone that might be hesitant about a breakfast beyond the traditional American one. And it’s a chance to explore something new for your morning meal. Also a bonus: solid options for vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free eaters.
ADDITION: If you want to read more about shakshouka, see my article in the May 2013 Crave Magazine.