It's been quite a while since we've had a middle eastern dinner; in fact, it was almost exactly two years ago that we had a Lebanese dinner at this very restaurant. But since then, a new owner has taken Layla in an interesting direction, different enough from the original that it's virtually a new restaurant. And the cuisine: Middle Eastern fusion? Who saw THAT coming?
Cuisine - There is no question that Layla is Middle Eastern, with all the usual dishes like hummus, baba ganoush, falafel, and such. But they expand the palate a great deal, offering incredible kebobs, chicken and beef shawarma, and a favorite of mine, fatayer (flash fried pastries stuffed with beef, spinach, or cheese). For something truly different, try the lemon guacamole with avocado, Mediterranean pico, preserved lemon, and pita chips! But what you usually won't see at a place like this is burgers! Layla has a slate of Middle Eastern-influenced burgers; try the Beirut with beef, lamb, jack cheese, apricot ketchup, sumac onions, and flash fried kale! My own favorite is the Turkish BBQ; but for you vegetarians the Jane Says can't be beat. Or try their trademark dish: Pitza! That's right, it's Middle Eastern pizza served on a pita bread crust! I'll just let your mind think about that one for a while, as I mention they also have an assortment of "pressed rolled pitzas" which might also be called wraps. Finally, Layla has a selection of incredibly delicious... shakes! My favorite is the cherry habibi with cherries and shaved dark chocolate, but a close second is the Turkish delight with strawberries, rose water, and pistachio ice cream! Bottom line... you're in for a delicious treat!
Cost - It's impossible to go wrong with the crazy low prices at Layla. Most dishes max out around $12, the appetizers are pretty much $5 or less, as are the salads. You could easily have a main dish, an app, and a salad and still not break $20! Cheap eats, indeed! The shakes are a relatively expensive $6 but trust me, they're worth it!
Other Info - Layla is on the north side of Manchester in the heard of the "Grove" between Kingshighway and Vandeventer. They do have a small parking lot right next to the restaurant, otherwise there is lots of onstreet parking.
As with many of the smaller restaurants we've visited, please spread your arrival out between 6:30 and 7:00 in order to ease the load on the kitchen! Plan on having a relaxed and enjoyable social meal!
You might notice this dinner is on both Tuesday and Wednesday night, you're welcome to attend one or both but make sure you know which one(s) you've RSVP'd for!
Looking forward to seeing lots of my frugal foodies on Tuesday the 29th for some Middle Eastern fusion!