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Zonzo

When you think of Edgware Rd you tend to think of Arab foods and shisha. However, has anyone told you about a nice little Italian called Zonzo.01c525b74c11996b8714ca41541389c05a852318f2
Admittedly it’s on the other side of the flyover near Church St and sits next to a place called Chicken Valley so it’s easily missed. However, when you step in through the doors your are transported into an odd Italian themed space with lots of references to Italy, Hollywood and vineyards. What a miss match of worlds. Now usually when I’m faced with such decor my expectations of the food are minimal and I mean no expectations at all but I was surprised that I left feeling full and content.

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I can in no way sell this to you as the best Italian in the world as it isn’t. It’s nice and it’s cheap and the staff are friendly. The food is nice and with development it could be a whole lot better.

We had ordered some garlic bread to begin with and to be honest the year 7 students at my school could make better bread with their eyes closed. The bread was still really doughy so stuck to your palette. The portion of this dish was a tad ridiculous, four really thin slices for £4.95, not worth the money. We also ordered the Avocado Al Forno which is avocado in a passata topped with cheese which was marginally better but then it could be my love of cheese blinding me.
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I’m glad to say that as we got to the main course things started tasting a lot better. We all ordered pizzas, I did fancy pasta but the offerings were a tad limiting. The pizzas were lovely and filling and totally worth the £10 stamp on each. This is definitely a pizza place and the other bits they have are there really to fill up the menu which is good to know. The base of this pizza was lovely and fluffy and actually tasted of something which is better than your Domino’s or Pizza Hut bases.

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So, go straight for the pizza and avoid the rest.

Zonzo
342 Edgware Rd, London W2 1EA

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Al Arez

When we go to Edgware Rd in the late evenings it’s like we have entered a place where time doesn’t exist. The streets are always busy, families are out with their children, the restaurants are packed and open at all hours and there is a friendly hug and ‘salam’ between passers by on rotation. It is such a happy street of Arab cultures and best of all Middle Eastern food.

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We have been going to Al Arez since we were teenagers. The charm of shisha being smoked outside and well cheap food is always an attraction to an adolescent. However, the food is what keeps us coming back as our lungs can’t handle the shisha pipes anymore.

The menu is Lebanese and the service is Middle Eastern in style, very friendly and charming. Depending on the day and what they have to offer you are served complimentary dishes upon arrival. One staple complimentary item are the Middle Eastern pickled peppers and olives which are a treat.

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This is the restaurant in which we fell in love with the fattoush salad and since no one has been able to match up to it. So naturally it is the first thing we order. The crunch, the hit of sour and tangy flavours, the juiciness of the salad vegetables, so mouth watering. I always as for extra croutons for that extra crunch.

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When we go to any lebanese or Middle Eastern restaurant we always opt for a tapas style of dining so lots of little dishes and maybe one meaty main to share. It’s the best way to make the most of all the dishes that they have to offer. Don’t know be scared to get stuck in with your hands and make a mess, it’s the thing to do at Al Arez.

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Staples to recommend are the hummus shawarma which is freshly ground hummus with grilling lamb on top, great to scoop up with the fresh Lebanese bread they have on tap. We would also recommend the Arayes Al Arez which is grilled lebanese bread stuffed with spicy minced meat, the bread is uber fresh and my meat just melts in the mouth. I suggest you smother it in the delicious garlic sauce they make in house. The kibbeh is also a lovely dish which has a cracked wheat shell and a juicy meaty centre. Perfect combination of protein and carbs.

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Al Arez are also known for their fresh juices. Zero additives, just pure fruit juice and some ice of course. I love the fresh strawberry juicy but the Lebanese are known for their lime and mint juice which is really refreshing and zesty but far too strong for my delicate tongue.

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Like all Middle Eastern hospitality all bills are handed over with a plate of complimentary baklava. Fresh and crisp. Perfect way to end your fabulous meal at Al Arez.

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Al Arez are so popular they have about five different locations on the same street but we always prefer the original which is closer towards the Marble Arch end.

So when you are lost and hungry in the middle of the night, day, morning, head on down to friendly Edgware Rd and give trust worthy Al Arez a go.

Al Arez
101 Edgware Road, London W2 2HX
alarez.co.uk