Alina's Lebanese Cuisine
2250 S. Archibald
Ontario, CA 91761
If Katie does not know how I feel about her after this, she never will. She managed to get me to agree to go with her to a work event, on my day off. That is no big deal, because I actually like the people that she works with. The big deal was that this event was all the way out in Rancho Cucamonga, in August, during a heat wave in the Inland Empire. It must be true love.
True love, or maybe it was the fact that she agreed to take me to one of her favorite restaurants in Ontario, Alina's. She might have learned my secret. Just bribe me with food, and I will do pretty much anything, even go out to Rancho Cucamonga. So we grabbed two of Katie's friends, Julie and Laura, and headed to their favorite lunch spot, Alina's.
Alina's is located in a small shopping center, in an industrial area. We arrived at about six on a Thursday night, and there was a steady stream of people picking up orders and eating in the ten table restaurant. The menu at Alina's was pretty good sized, but not too intimidating for a novice Lebanese eater like myself. Everything was described well, so I felt comfortable in what I was ordering. Let's see how it came out.
I deferred to the girls when ordering the appetizer. They went with the Fatayer, which they lovingly described as a cheese hot pocket. The dough was very good, and the inside was not overly stuffed with cheese, so we did not need the extra plates that Julie had asked for. I would definitely get this appetizer again.
The girls really made writing this review easy for me, because all three of them ordered the same thing, the Chicken Kebab. They all really seemed to enjoy the chicken, and called it tender and flavorful. Laura described it this way, "the chicken was more chicken". Okay, not sure what that meant, but it added comedy to the meal, and I told her I would for sure make that part of my post. Your welcome Laura. The chicken was also served with humus, rice, fattoush, pita bread and garlic spread. They liked the rice, and used it more as a condiment, rather than on its own. Katie liked the tangy dressing used on the fattoush. They all seemed very pleased with their choice of entree.
So of course I did not just want to have a kebab, so I ordered the Beef Shawarma. The beef was not so tender here, but what made this dish was the garlic spread. You might be able to put that spread on an old tire and make it taste good. It really saved this dish from being average and elevating it up the flavor scale. I was also pretty impressed with the humus, very smooth with decent flavor. I was less impressed with the rice and fattoush. The rice was okay, but I was not a big fan of the fattoush. Unlike Katie, I did not find the tangy dressing to my liking.
This was a very good introduction to Lebanese food. The food was definitely fresh, the serving sizes were very generous, and the prices were not bad at all. Almost all of their items are under the $10 mark. The service here was good, and unobtrusive. Julie did want me to point out that they were all out of lemons for her iced tea, so take that for what it's worth. Man, some people are so hard to please. Eating here has made me want to find other Lebanese places that are closer to home, so if you know of any, please let me know of good ones.
Out of five cedar trees, (because that tree appears on the Lebanese flag, and is an emblem of Lebanon), five being best to zero being worst, Alina's Lebanese Cuisine gets 3 cedar trees.
For more information on Alina's, click here: http://www.alinaslebanesecuisine.com/default.html