Nazareth Restaurant & Deli has been a favorite for Middle Eastern food in Columbus for over 20 years. Just last year, they moved their restaurant from Rt. 161 N (between Cleveland Ave. and Westerville Rd.), to a new location near Gahanna, which sits among a sleeker, trendier row of shops along North Hamilton Road.
This was my first chance to visit their new digs. The dining room is a long, slender space, decorated in modern styles and neutral colors. Stylish light fixtures accent each booth, and as you can see, there is plenty of seating available. And it’s a good thing, too – we stopped in around lunch time, and were met by a packed house!
The actual lighting inside is dim, but the front windows lend some natural lighting to brighten the place up. The vibe inside does have a rustic, Middle Eastern feel to it, as does their menu. It features many traditional, Middle Eastern dishes like kabobs, stuffed grape leaves and a killer Spicy Chicken on Rice dish. They also serve favorites like the Nazareth Salad, gyros, hummus, and more.
I started my meal with a cup of Homemade Lentil Soup ($2.95), which came with a stack of fresh, warm pitas for dipping. This soup was really delicious. The lentils were soft, without being overcooked, as were the carrots and other veggies inside. The thin, flavorful broth complimented the girth of the soup nicely. The cup-sized portion was perfect as a side to an entree salad or sandwich.
For my actual meal, I ordered the Grilled Bologna Sandwich & Greek Salad Combo ($8.95). Nazareth’s version of this deli classic comes in the form of a huge slab of thick-cut bologna, nicely charred, with two slices of American cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and topped with their homemade horseradish sauce.
I was impressed with the size of the sandwich when it was delivered to our table, as it could easily be split and shared by two people. The bun was super fresh, the veggies cold and crisp, and the horseradish sauce was creamy, and had a very mild bite. My intention was to order something that I wouldn’t normally order, and I’m glad I chose this.
The other half of my combo was this deliciously fresh Greek salad. Like the bologna sandwich, the portion size was large which made me happy, since I was really in a salad mood (I was originally contemplating order a full-size salad as my meal). It was a cool bowl of crisp iceberg, sliced cucumbers, banana peppers, tomatoes, Calamata olives and tons of feta cheese. It was served with a side of their house dressing. Excellent!
The Chicken Shawarma & Home-cut Fries Combo ($7.50) was another popular choice at our table. The Shawarma arrived on a warm pita, and cradled succulent slices of marinated, grilled chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, banana peppers, and house dressing. Again, the portions size was very generous.
The side of hand-cut fries was shared by several people, and all agreed that they were excellent. Fresh, home-cut potatoes, fried to a perfect, golden color and doneness, and sprinkled with salt. Just yum. These guys dipped in the house dressing was sooo good!!
Admittedly, there are many, many options in Columbus when it comes to Greek/Middle Eastern/Mediterranean cuisine. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, but Nazareth Deli has been standing head and shoulders above the rest for decades. If you’re in the Gahanna, or north Columbus area, and are in the mood for some great falafel, gyros, or Baba Ghannoug, check out Nazareth for some good eats!!
Nazareth Restaurant & Deli is located at 5239 N. Hamilton Rd, Columbus, OH 43230. They’re open Monday – Sunday, 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM. For more information, you can check out their website or on Facebook.