A taste of the Middle East in Texas

After quietly opening its doors last month, Zituna World Food Market
is still in its soft-opening phase. But a recent visit and early word
on the local blogs suggest it’s going to be a popular destination for
shopping and eating.

many ways, it’s like any modern grocery store, with big, colorful
signage on the walls to designate departments (such as meat and dairy),
and pristine deli, dairy and frozen cases. But here the emphasis is
Middle Eastern, Persian and Balkan-Russian, with more Indian
specialties on the way.

Some items are niche favorites, such as
Russian KBAC cola. And some make Middle Eastern food easier to prepare
at home, such as the za’atar seasoning mix available in bulk.

is a sumac-thyme-sesame spice blend that you dust on pita after a smear
of olive oil; then give it a quick turn in the oven. (Don’t leave it in
too long, or you’ll end up with pita crisps.)

I picked up the
makings for a simple red lentil soup with onions and lemon to go with
the za’atar pita for a light supper. To complete the menu, I added some
jarred red peppers stuffed with cheese, one of dozens of such products
lining one wall, which range from grilled zucchini to roasted eggplant
and peppers.

At Zituna’s entrance (pronounced zai-too-na),
a nut bar nestles up to an olive bar, where I purchased the bulk
za’atar. Besides the usual suspects, the nut case held slender
Portuguese pine nuts ($24.99 per pound) as well as Chinese pine nuts
($9.99 per pound), spicy barbecue almonds (more peppery than barbecue,
with a long, full finish), red melon seeds, sesame-coated peanuts and
much more.

Many kinds of feta are available either packaged or
from a deli case, as are halloumi cheese (which you can grill), brined
Spanish cheese, California farm milk and goat cheese and labne, a soft
Lebanese cheese that resembles yogurt.

Olive oils range from
Sicilian to Turkish, and my significant other found a half-liter of
unfiltered Italian Paesano (2005 and 2006 award-winner at the Los
Angeles County Fair) for $11.39. We also checked out pasta (including
tiny Greek squares), packaged fresh meats (such as ground lamb for
kebabs), a bakery case with house-made sweets, jarred sauces, spices,
juices, tahini, chocolates, even frozen halal beef salami and

If you don’t have time to shop, you can always drop
by for the $6.99 lunch or dinner buffet served daily in the store’s
Tangier Mediterranean Grill. I’ll be back for both.

Kim Pierce is a Dallas freelance writer.



970 N. Coit Road

at Arapaho, Richardson

Store: 972-470-0101

Restaurant: 972-470-0550