On the rare occasion my wife and I get to have a lunch date, one of the first places that comes to mind is Le Monde Cafe & Deli.
Open since 1993, its a favorite of many on the west side. Le Monde serves French, Italian, and Mediterranean fare in a small building on north West Street. The sign out front says fast take out, which may lead you to think the dine-in experience would be lacking. However, it is quite pleasant.
Le Monde is always crowded, and the tables are small but intimate. On a recent visit, we were seated quickly upon arrival. Gentle music played overhead, and while it was noisy, I still could carry on a conversation with my wife. It reminds me of a small cafe you might visit when traveling through Europe.
Our server quickly greeted us and brought to the table a favorite treat Le Mondes signature buttermilk biscuits, which are warm and flaky with just a hint of sweetness. I could eat them for a meal or snack. Le Monde always brings one biscuit for every diner at the table, but they also offer them by the dozen.
Le Monde serves several Mediterranean appetizers that range in price from $4 to $7, and it also offers a wide selection of salads, sandwiches, pastas, and grilled meats including lamb and fish. Entree prices range from $6.29 to $15.99. I also noticed a kids menu with traditional American items, so even the pickiest kid should be able to find something.
We decided to try the hummus, and as soon as it arrived, we knew we made a wise choice. The pita bread was warm and soft, and the hummus was smooth.
I ordered one of the cafes specialties, the gyro, and my wife, Jenn, ordered the Le Monde burger, another signature dish noted on the menu. The food came out while we were still finishing the hummus, and the server offered to bring out more warm pita, which was a nice touch. Theres nothing worse than having more hummus left but having to pay for another plate of bread.
I opted for the fattoush salad instead of the potato wedges to go with my gyro. The generous portion of salad was light, tasty and fresh and coated with Le Mondes homemade dressing and topped with black olives, dill pickle chunks and feta cheese. The gyro was well seasoned. The lamb in the gyro was tender, and the cucumber yogurt sauce was tangy but not overpowering.
Jenns burger was cooked to her liking, and she was nice enough to let me try a bite. I really liked the toasted bun it was served on, and it all just fit together well. The potato wedges were warm, crispy, and soft on the inside just like my mom used to make them.
Our waitress was attentive and pleasant but also very discreet. She never interrupted our conversation. Overall, I recommend Le Monde because of its great-tasting authentic Mediterranean dishes, fast and professional service, and reasonable prices. In a town where there are many restaurants to choose from in this category, Le Monde has carved their own niche being both affordable and fast while not sacrificing a pleasant dining experience.