beet saladMy taste buds needed a Mediterranean fix, but where to go for authentic food? Luckily I found Momed, Beverly Hills’ newest upscale (yet casual) cafe (short for modern Mediterranean), that serves food highlighting the authentic aromas, tastes and textures of cuisine from Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Morocco.

To find these flavors, Momed’s owner Alex Sarkissian, traveled to the Eastern Mediterranean where he discovered the culinary traditions of the region, which executive chef Matt Carpenter (Bin 8945, Bastide, Josie) then elevates with a modern touch.

A perfect example would be Momed’s version of Baleela (chickpeas). Sarkissian stumbled into a restaurant in Lebanon that normally seats about 1,600 people at once, and found a vat of chickpeas soaking in butter in the back. Momed’s version lightens the load of butter and serves the chickpeas with toasted pine nuts, lemon and a brown butter.

Momed interiorLike the food, Momed’s decor is simple and fresh. Order at the counter and see the chefs prepare your food in the open kitchen. The long bar is dotted with mason jars of herbs, while a glass case displays their fresh salads and spreads. Pick a table on the patio, or share a bottle of wine with new friends at the community table. On the wine list General manager Vasilis Tseros included some delicious selections such as a Moscofilero from Greece, a blend of Cinsault, Cabernet-Sauvignon and Grenache from Lebanon and Chardonnay from Israel.

The best way to experience Momed is to pick from the extensive selection salads, spreads, mezze, skewers and flat breads and share—no easy task because so many stand out. As simple as it is, the Tzatziki (cucumber and yoghurt dip with garlic) sparkles because Momed uses real yoghurt where many other Mediterranean spots cut corners using sour cream as a substitute. The Muhammara spread (made from roasted red pepper, walnuts and pomegranates) explodes with flavor and is addictive, as is the Baba ganoush.

PidaMomed bakes their Pidas (flat breads), along with the house-made pita bread, in a wood burning oven. Sarkissian said he chose the former Rosti Tuscan Kitchen space so they could take over their wood-burning oven, which is a scarce commodity these days due to local zoning laws. I couldn’t stop noshing on a Pida that was covered with oven-rosted wild mushrooms, Coleman Family Farm spigarello and akawi cheese and another that came topped with minced chicken breast, pistachios and oven-roasted peaches.

I’ll be going back for the lamb burger (with crispy shallots and cucumber yogurt on a challah bun served with Momo chips), because I was too full to try it after savoring the duck shwarma pita roll. The roll mingles tender, succulent bits of duck with oven-dried tomatoes and makes it pop with a fig confit.

Follow dinner with an assortment of baklava—my favorite are the buttery phyllo rolls made with pistachios—and moist bread Duck Shawarmapudding. I washed down dessert with a strong, dark Turkish coffee. In addition to the Turkish coffee, Momed serves a full coffee menu that features Intelligentsia coffee. They also have six flavors of Belgian hot chocolate from the Chocolate Box Cafe and traditional Hammam tea, among the chamomile, Moroccan Mint and rose petals selections that round out the tea menu.

Whether you’re dining in or taking out (perhaps a picnic at the Hollywood Bowl), Momed offers a variety of delicious choices for every meal.

Momed, 233 S. Beverly Dr., Beverly Hills, 310.270.4444.

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