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Review: Aziza's on Main

By 6:02 AM ,

I forgot my lunch this morning so I needed somewhere to go in Shockoe Bottom relatively close to the office. I didn't feel like walking up to Millie's and wanted something healthier than Poe's. The new subway wasn't hitting the spot and there's never good parking around the farmer's market.

Our office had a menu from Aziza's on the fridge - we've had them cater some lunches here and have brought in their desserts a time or two, but I hadn't eaten there before. They had a lentil bean and rice soup that sounded perfect with the cold weather.

I went down with a guy from our office. Aziza's is located at 2110 East Main Street in Shockoe Bottom. They usually have a folding chalkboard out front, and they share a wall with Honey Whyte's. Aziza's is really three venues in one. You enter through the deli, with desserts and homemade dishes in cases on your left. The dining room is the room on your right and there is a market in the room on your left. The restaurant side is quaint, with a small bar in the back.
A chalk board on the wall serves as the collective menu. It's separated into Soups, Quiches, Salads, Sandwiches and Specials. There aren't prices on the menu, but the soup and sides are about $3.00 each. The way it is set up, the waitress explained is that the Specials are small "side size" portions and most people order 2-3 different specials. You can't beat the price for lunch.

I opted for the Lentil Bean and Rice Soup and the Orzo with Feta, Asparagus and Tomatoes. Outstanding. The soup was hearty, but not heavy and had plenty of flavor, but not overly salty. The orzo was served cold. It had a hint of olive oil as binder no doubt. It was filling without being heavy and there was feta throughout. One of my pet peeves is when an ingredient is advertised in a dish and then nowhere to be found, or not consistent throughout. Not the case here. Portions were generous and each plate came with fresh bread.

They guy I went with ordered an olive and pancetta quiche and red pepper hoummos (they also had regular and Thai chili).

The hoummos (their spelling) was great and came in a bowl with a ton of pita. It too, was great.

They do dinner on select nights, I believe Thursday-Saturday. Everything I had tasted homemade. I've had their deserts before, although I opted out today, and can say that if you don't try one of their creme puffs, you are truly missing out.

I'd return in a heartbeat, and if lunch was this good, I can't imagine what dinner is like. Wine prices on the wall looked reasonable and it looked like they offered a good selection.

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