Dining Out With...Benjamin Harzallah - East Valley Tribune: Dining

Dining Out With...Benjamin Harzallah

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Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 5:41 pm | Updated: 3:43 pm, Fri Jan 10, 2014.

Benjamin Harzallah

Chef and owner at Zorba’s Greek Mediterranean Cafe

1964 N. Alma School Road, Suite 10, Chandler. (480) 814-7317 or ChandlerZorbas.wix.com/menu

Q: Tell us about your restaurant.

BH: It’s been open in this place for eight years, but I’m the new chef and owner, for about six months now. I’m from Tunisia, and I have a diploma in cuisine. I worked in Paris, on the Champs-Élysées, for five years.

We do all the Greek and Mediterranean foods — lamb shanks, shawarma, gyro, lots of pitas — and we do big portions, big plates, so people can eat and take a doggie bag, something to go, home with them.

Q: What are some of your specialties?

BH: Lamb shank. Moussaka, which is Greek lasagna. Falafel plates. My favorite dish is the souvlaki kebab with chicken, lamb and beef. We also do spanikopita, with spinach and mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta, so it’s creamy. We do hand-made dolmades, a grape leaf stuffed with ground beef, rice and spices. And Greek meatballs with beef, bread and spices. Spices are very important.

Q: What do people order like crazy?

BH: Actually, a lot of healthy things. We do a Greek salad with my own Greek dressing which uses a lot of lemon and oregano. We make Tabouli Salad, too, with bulgur, parsley, tomato, onion and lemon dressing. And we do roasted veggies — green beans, eggplant, red pepper, roasted red potatoes with lemon.

Q: When you’re not at work, where do you like to dine out?

BH: I like sometimes to try the Persian Room in Scottdale. It’s very close to my food.

Q: What do you like to order there?

BH: I order something different every time, and I learn. I found they use a lot of garlic in the marinade for their chicken kebab before they cook it, and that’s a very good way to do it, to get good flavor.

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