King David's

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UPDATE: King David's is moving upstairs from its previous location, now residing above Chipotle. The restaurant plans to reopen in September 2011.

King David’s is as synonymous with Middle Eastern cuisine as it gets in Syracuse. The original restaurant is tucked away among the hustle and bustle of Marshal Street near the SU campus, but it offers a drastic alternative to what else is in the neighborhood. King David's is calm and spacious. The food is filling and college student friendly. It’s a dining experience that seems to offer something for everyone whether or not they’ve ever eaten Baba Ganoush.

When To Go: As long as you’re sticking to the hours of operation (Mon-Sat: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Sun: Noon to 7 p.m.), there’s never a bad time for King David’s. The dining room is large enough to accommodate the occasional lunch hour rush. Most of the day you’ll be seated faster than you can remember what’s in a Falafel. The bottom line: You’ll spend more time deciding what to eat than you will waiting for a seat.

On Tap:  The neon Bud Light sign in the front window should give you a clue. King David’s has all the domestic beers you’d expect to be available at a Marshall Street dining establishment (from Bud to Miller Lite and even Spaten, all $3.25 per bottle). There is also a limited wine list that includes (for $3.75 per glass of anything except…) Boutari Moschofilero. It’s a white wine from Greece for those looking to try something authentic (at $4.25 a glass). The bottom line: It’s Marshall Street; of course you can get a beer.

The Scene: On the Marshall St. scale of ambiance, King David’s is closer to a coffee shop than the faster pace of the Varsity or any nearby bar (despite a light classic rock station being the radio of choice). Don’t let the exterior brick fool you either; the interior décor tries to stay loyal to the cuisine. Persian rugs dress up the walls, plenty of flowers line the tables and fancy lighting hangs throughout. The bottom line: Just ignore the giant Coca-Cola refrigerator storing drinks near the register and it’s authentic.

Blue Plate Special: The menu is full of entrees and permanent dinner specials that won’t hurt your wallet (the most expensive thing is still under $16 and it’s a vegetarian dinner for two). King David’s runs daily deals as well. The one must-have menu item is the side order of sweet potato fries. Pair anything with these and there’s a good chance your waiter or waitress will be lamenting how hard it is to resist them every day.  The bottom line: I don’t know why they offer ketchup and Frank’s Red Hot, those fries don’t need anything.

The Crew:  The waitstaff is quick to ask if you need anything and they make sure to follow-up multiple times throughout a meal. Maybe it’s just an evening thing, but the food is ready for you at an alarming pace. For reference, the daily special of white beans and lamb over rice was ordered while the lyrics “a little high, a little low” were heard on the radio during the first verse of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The meal came back to the table right as Freddy Mercury broke into, “I see a little silhouette of a man.”  The bottom line: Don’t be surprised if you overhear other tables expressing some version of “that was quick.”

The Crowd: King David’s won “Best Middle Eastern Food” in the Syracuse New Times 2008 Best-Of Poll because everyone comes here for their Middle Eastern food fix. You’ll see both undergrads and grads, professors and the local medical crowd. It’s a venue you can bring anyone to and not feel out of place. The bottom line: Make sure whoever you bring wants to order sweet potato fries. Seriously.

The Deets: King David’s is closer to the SU campus than some academic buildings with its location at 129 Marshall St. This restaurant is the original and it’s expanded to a total of three locales throughout Central New York for good reason. The food is authentic and affordable, the menu is extensive and the wait is often nonexistent. The bottom line: If you want to impress your friends with a restaurant you’ll get credit for discovering, you’re welcome.


Review by Nathan Mattise.


129 Marshall St. # 1
Syracuse, NY 13210-1893
(315) 471-5000

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