By Han Okcuoglu
La Marsa Mediterranean Cuisine opened its doors three months ago in Coral Springs, and it is absolutely fantastic.
Originally opening in Michigan back in 2006, three friends—Adel, Fadhel, and Mohamed—joined together to introduce the Southeast Michigan community to their vision of healthy and flavorful food in an atmosphere of Mediterranean hospitality.
Since then, La Marsa has expanded to 12 locations, serving thousands of satisfied guests.
“La Marsa prides itself on using high-quality ingredients to make our authentic dishes shine,” said Yousif Elsebaei, Managing Partner of La Marsa, to Coral Springs Talk in August.
The restaurant features a variety of Mediterranean classics, like the organic Fattoush salad, zesty Chicken Ghallaba, and decadent Koshary.
The space is not huge but simple and tasteful. There was no wine or alcohol, so we dug into some smoothies and blended fruit and vegetable drinks instead of soda or tea. The Cobra had a bit too much carrot for our taste, but still very good and healthy. The strawberry smoothie was perfect.
My brother warned me that the garlic sauce was addicting, and he was right. We barely ate anything that didn’t have the sauce slathered onto it.
I had to ask the accommodating manager what are the ingredients, and I almost wish I didn’t know. As a person who hates jalapeños in most ways I’ve tried it, I was shocked to find out it is just garlic, jalapeños, and lemon juice that balances out the garlic overpowering the palette and completely cancels out the heat of the jalapeño. It’s incredible.
The lentil soup was hearty and proper. I am more accustomed to Turkish versions of most dishes, so the grape leaves with meat was interesting considering the sauce was slightly sweet. We were convinced it was cardamom, cinnamon, or even nutmeg, but it’s just how they prepare the cumin. Still, it was excellent.
We had the meal for two with lamb chops, kafta, and chicken shish kabob. The lamb chops were unreal. Cooked perfectly, soft, and kissed by the fire grill. They give no separate sauces, so we ordered our third plate of garlic sauce. I’m used to and prefer juicier almost hamburger-like consistency to kafta like in Turkey and Greece, and I’ve noticed that Lebanese and Egyptian kitchens prefer a drier recipe. That’s a personal preference.
The chicken was moist and delicious. The fries were crisp on the outside and soft on the inside; they were a treat and among the best ones I’ve ever had. Rice and pita bread are notably great, too.
The manager was kind enough to let us try the Oma Ali. It’s a French bread pudding with Middle Eastern spices, pistachio, and honey. The inside consistency reminds me of the wavy filo dough found in Turkish borek. It was a little less honey away from being savory instead of sweet, and we had a moment just appreciating how amazing it was. I’ve never had anything like it.
It’s always exciting when a really good restaurant opens up close to home.
La Marsa Mediterranean Cuisine is located at 6268 W Sample Rd, Coral Springs, FL 33067. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- Han Okcuoglu is a curious foodie, Turkish-American and resident of South Florida for over 35 years. He graduated from FAU with a degree in Information Systems Management. He also writes food reviews on various websites and social media groups. He loves to see new restaurants and mom and pop shops get the attention they deserve and flourish.
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