Chicago >Maza Restaurant
2415 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061441.925669 -87.667822
“Restaurant is extremely clean, cozy and well decorated.”
“For being our first time visit we got on the house dessert which was delish!”
“They have excellent wine as well.”
“For dessert, the baklava is authentic: flaky, somewhat buttery, and delicious.”
“Such a nice place to bring guests for interesting, healthy, great tasting food.”
“will never go back and not only will I not recommend Maza, but I will warn against coming and having such a traumatic, awful experience.”
“is eclipsed by the very poor service we received.”
“The portions are not too big nor too small - absolutely perfect for sharing.”
will not go again!. When we walked in the waiter looked upset....he barely made a smile or welcomed us to the restaurant. Finally seated us after 5 minutes even though half the restaurant was empty. Once seated another waiter came to ask us for our drinks. He was kind of friendly (atleast nicer than the first one)....we gave him our drinks. As he was leaving he saw that we had a coupon....instantly his mood shifted to the worse as well. We had no idea what was going on.... We got the drinks and our appetizer...we gave our order for the meal. The owner made sure we ordered 4 separate meals even though nothing was on the coupon to say that. We got our food.....it was okay. We were really dissappointed. The lamb was okay...but everything else was very salty and toooo lemony. Finally we get our bill and i could not tell you what was written on it....it was all scribbles.....with lines and something that resembled numbers...but not really. When i asked how they got the total the owner got a little shocked and right away said that the bill included gratuity...even though it was only the 4 of us....Even still it looked wrong.....but we did not feel like arguing so we decided to pay with our debit card and the waiter almost shouted that we do not take credit card with a coupon.....again nothing on the coupon to say such....we were really upset by then. I did not have enough cash to pay the bill so we asked where the nearest ATM was....we were kind of rude as well by now....then the owner realized and told us that he would accept the debit. Once he saw that we were really upset he tried to small talk and ask us where we were from.....it was tooooooo late. We did not enjoy this place at all and would not recommend going there...Especially with a coupon!!
WOW! What a find.
Having lived in Chicago, and on both coasts, I've been to countless Middle Eastern restaurants. I go back to Maza every time I'm in Chicago - this is absolutely the best restaurant I've been to when evaluating an overall dining experience.
Food - Incredible. Authentic Lebanese food - the "maza" style gives you a little taste of everything; otherwise, every regular entree I've had is delicious. If you can handle raw meat ("steak tartare") go for the Kibbeh Nayeh - unreal. All lamb and chicken dishes are excellent. They have seafood & vegetarian items as well - something on the menu for everyone. For dessert, the baklava is authentic: flaky, somewhat buttery, and delicious. The mint tea (brewed with real mint, not in a bag) is a perfect way to top it off.
Price - Very reasonable. Entrees run from $12-$18 and portions are more than adequate. A complete dinner for two will average about $50-$60 ($80-$90 if you get the Lebanese wine, which I highly recommend).
Service - Top-notch. Joe is the owner of the restaurant and the only waiter (he has additional staff that help serve food & drink, clear dishes, etc.) He's incredibly nice (one reviewer said otherwise - has to be an anomaly - I promise he's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet). Food is served promptly and courteously, and the whole staff goes out of their way to make sure you have a great dining experience.
Ambiance - Excellent. It's a somewhat small, semi-romantic place. I've taken dates there, but also had dinner with groups of 6 or 8 - it works well for both.
Again, considering EVERYTHING: food, service, price, ambiance, etc - this is the best restaurant I've been to. I highly recommend this restaurant, and I look forward to going back every time I'm in Chicago.
Excellent food, diligent owner. The one and only waiter, who I believe was the owner, was diligent, didn't hover needlessly, but wanted to make sure we had a good experience. He was concerned that we wanted to order an entree that we had never tried before and recommended that we order it as an appetizer instead. The lamb with rice and toasted almonds was excellent. If it's on the specials menu, I highly recommend it! The orange rice pudding with pistaccios was unique and refreshing - kinda like a rice pudding creamcicle :) and the baklava was not cloyingly sweet like many are. The wine was apparently only available either in Lebanon or at this restaurant. But the owner will overnight UPS them to you if you ask. A good find if you have the quarters for the meter.
Sub par food, AWFUL Service. After dinner, I mentioned I had a gift certificate and our server/ the owner yelled that it's only for 4 or more. The certificate doesn't say this. I offered to order another entree, but he kept yelling, "No!" over and over. I wouldn't treat another human being so rudely, let alone a paying, new customer. I was humiliated and just asked if we could have the bill. We waited while the whole restaurant sat in unease. He took the gift certificate off, but we had to pay ($60+ after the gift certificate) in cash, with gratuity (though I was close to tears, we tipped.) Not enough cash for a tip, so my boyfriend had to run across the street (while the owner waited and could've offered to let us use a credit card anytime). Our experience at Maza ruined our day. The lamb was overcooked, gray and tough and everything was salty & vinegary.I will never go back and not only will I not recommend Maza, but I will warn against coming and having such a traumatic, awful experience.
One fo the best restaurants. I used to live around the corner, and this place always amazed me! Make sure to try their specials, and the Lebanese wine. If you're into strong coffee, check that out as well.
Highly recommended, but...
The food is good, perhaps the best Lebanese in Chicago. The service, however, is maddening--not because it is slow, which I don't mind in the least, but because, if your table contains two or three people, you may invariably watch as larger tables are given, shall we say, better attention.
This has happened too many times to be an aberration. I've often waited twenty or thirty minutes to order, while larger tables that have arrived later have already received appetizers; and I've waited even longer to receive appetizers, while the same tables have already received entrees.
Authentic Lebanese, Heartfelt Service.
As someone with a Lebanese background, I am pretty picky with my Lebanese cuisine. Maza certainly didn't disappoint. The dishes are authentic and many are difficult to find at most "Americanized" Lebanese restaurants. Yes, the service is a bit slow for American standards but given that Joe, the owner, is often the only server, you trade off speed for pride and knowledge of the cuisine. Just don't go there if you are pressed for time. The food not only tastes wonderful but the presentation is beautiful.
Be patient, and I guarantee that if you have an "open" palate and a calm spirit, I think you will really like Maza. The portions are not too big nor too small - absolutely perfect for sharing.
Poor service, Boring food, Won't go again. My wife and I had an 8:30 reservation. We showed up at 8:25 and waited for ten minutes with no host approaching us and asking if we needed help. When she got fed up, my wife told a waiter that we had a reservation and he replied "just sit over there" pointing to an empty table ten feet away. We were given menus after another 10 minutes, but were so hungry that we decided to stay. The appetizers were bland and overcooked, the pita was store bought and the hummus had no taste. The lentil soup was outstanding, however. We both ordered chicken dishes from the "Authentic Lebanese" side of the menu and were not overwhelmed. My wife's dish had WAY too much sauce to the point of being overbearing. Mine was just okay. The Lebanese wine was average. Overall, I wouldn't recommend it especially since the tab ran up $100 (with a good tip for a below average experience all around).
Mediteranean cuisine. Although this restaurant advertises itself as having Lebanese and Middle Eastern cuisine, the food is actually more mediteranean than anything else. I would not say that this restaurant has genuine Lebanese cuisine because it does not. Being Lebanese, this was a turn off for me but it might not be the case for others. In addition, although the owner is nice and friendly, the service is not up to american standards. There is often not enough waiters (if any) and the service suffers as a result. I do give thumbs up however for the nice atmosphere and the decor.
The first time I tried Lebanese food in Spain three years ago I hated it! But over the years I grew to liking mediterranean food.
My friend brought us to this place. She and her boyfriend stumbled upon this place in the internet and decided to try it and just loved it! So they brought us here. We made reservations but had to wait for all members of our party in order to be seated. However, when everybody was already present we still had to wait for an hour for our table, despite having made reservations. It was a Sat. night and the place was packed.
After we were seated though it was hard to dislike the place. Excellent food for really cheap price. Every dish you order comes with soup already. I had ordered the carrot soup instead of lentil, despite my friend's insistence on ordering the lentil. (I remember when I was in Spain three year ago my se?ora would cook me lentil soup every so often and I didn't like it much.) When we got our soup I decided to try my friend's lentil soup and it was so yummy that I had to switch my carrot soup for her lentil soup. I forgot what I had but it pieces of diced lamb chunks with bell peppers and onions-- that was okay. And at the end of our meal they offered us free baklava, I guess they felt bad that we had waited to long for a table. My friend told us it was the owner himself who served us our desserts-- very gracious man.
Good location too because it's not at the busy part of Lincoln Park.
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