Shai Ramli is mainly known for his successful eatery Sultans Market in Wicker Park. His great success at Sultan’s encouraged him to start a new venture and open up Masada. However, he did not rush into this venture like many restaurant owners do. He waited ten years to make sure that everything was perfect.
He took the crumbly building he rented out and transformed it into a beautiful restaurant. His motivation went beyond having a successful eatery. According to Shai, he noticed that most of the Middle Eastern restaurants either had great food but bad atmosphere, or bad food but a beautiful setting. He wanted to show Chicago the uniqueness of Middle Eastern culture by providing his customers with great food, music and entertainment. In my opinion, it’s one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in Logan Square!
Photo: Kailtyn McQuaid
I was out exploring some bars in Logan Square when my stomach started to rumble. Rather than order some greasy food, I opened up the FoodBoss app to look up restaurants near me. Masada was one of the first results. The menu and reviews looked great and seemed like a nice change from bar food.
Photo: Snapshots of Wellness
Masada is easily the most unique Middle Eastern restaurant I have been to in Chicago. When I went it was a busy evening, and you could feel the youthful energy throughout. There was a crowd of people on the first floor that has a small dance floor along with a bar, making it a great place to go and get your groove on! I was seated on the second floor (I am not much of a dancer) where some families were seated watching the people dancing below. These is also a beautifully lit patio on the second floor for those who want to get some fresh air.
Photo: Kailtyn McQuaid
The menu is based off of Shai’s mother's recipes and it hosts a number of classic Middle Eastern favorites such as Falafels, Shawarmas and Kebabs. They also have dishes I have never heard of before such as Tish Tosh (lightly breaded salted cod topped with a savory tomato onion sauce with a side of Angel Hair rice) and Maklouba (chicken, cauliflower, potato, eggplant, rice pilaf served with salata Arabia and some house made yogurt).
If you’re a vegetarian don’t worry; they have a large variety of vegetarian plates that go outside the realm of a typical falafel plate. They also have an extensive alcohol menu that feature beer, wine, cocktails and also Arak (Middle Eastern spirits).
I ordered the Combination Kebab Plate (shish, chicken, kefta, and shrimp) and the Tish Tosh. While waiting for the food, the waiter served a basket of warm pita bread with some olive oil for dipping. The food came just as I finished the delicious pita bread. I tried the Tish Tosh first since this was a new dish to me.
The dish was very colorful with the seasoned angel hair rice and the bright red orange tomato onion sauce. The sweetness of the tomatoes balanced out the perfectly cooked salted cod. The Combination Kebab plate was no disappointment either. The plate was overflowing meat and shrimp, and the aroma was heavenly! There was also a small variety of delectable house made sauces to dip into that were rich in flavor.
I can’t say it enough, this was by far the best Middle Eastern restaurant in Chicago! Not only was the food great but I loved the atmosphere. It’s a restaurant that anyone can visit whether you are out drinking and getting your groove on, taking the family out for something exotic, or just want to take your take your taste buds on an adventure.