06 September 2012

Pera Fresh Food

Pera Fresh Food is a fast-casual Mediterranean eatery located in the old Ali Baba space on campus. As would be expected, they serve inexpensive, healthy Middle Eastern eats on the fly.

Where Ali Baba offered a full service menu that focused on variety, Pera makes a small number of healthy lunchtime standards. 

The set-up at Pera is similar to Chipotle, where customers choose combinations of rice and vegetables as the foundation of their bowl, salad or flatbread wrap. Prices are reasonable. Falafel wraps are less than $5 at select times.

 The wraps are made on lavash bread that is warmed in the oven when ordered. It can be customized with veggies, including cucumbers, black olives, onions, spinach, tomatoes and more, as well as sauces like tzatziki, hummus and harissa. The falafel lacked a little crispiness, but had a pleasant flavor. The wrap is a full lunch if a side dish is added.

The hummus has a deep herbal flavor that also picks up spice from the dollop of harissa that floats on its surface. While the hummus is good, it is difficult to eat in the shallow take-out cup in which it is served, and it is challenging to order because bread must be ordered on the side a la carte. Bread probably should be included in the purchase price.

Desserts mostly lacked character. The rice pudding was bland and mealy. The baklava was good, but wasn't fresh or house-made.

Overall, service at Pera is fast. The prices are reasonable, but considering that most Mediterranean food is inexpensive, Pera may find it difficult to stand out. A plethora of restaurants have opened in the past few years that make better food for essentially the same price. 

Pera Fresh Istanbul Food on Urbanspoon

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