Constantine's Mediterranean Grill - Closed

Once considered too exotic for the American palate, Mediterranean food now easily ranks up there with Japanese as one of the most popular types of cuisine around.  Whether it's rich and creamy hummus or well-prepared gyro, there's something for everyone.  Mobile has a number of Mediterranean restaurants and each has it's good and bad qualities.  I've passed by Constantine's on Old Shell Road in Mobile a number of times and finally stopped by one afternoon.

Hummus (garnished)
Constantine's has a lunch special right now called "2 for $20." You would get an appetizer, two sandwiches, two drinks, and baklava dessert for $20.  I just couldn't pass that deal up.  

My brother and I decided on the garnished hummus as our appetizer.  According to the menu, it's chickpea dip topped with ground beef tenderloin, tahini spices and toasted almonds.  I thought the hummus was light and refreshing.  It's very smooth and thinner than what I make at home.  There's also much more of a citrus punch.  I enjoyed it a lot.  The beef mixture on top was also good but I didn't get much of the tahini flavor out of it.  There also wasn't any almonds on my hummus and I wish there was because the contrasting crunch would have been nice.  The pita bread served with the hummus was slightly different than others I've tried.  It's much less substantial and kind of wilts when you top it heavily with the dip.  I ended up just wrapping the bread around the dip like a roll and ate it like that.  

Falafel Sandwich, $5.95
If you've read any of my prior posts, there is little doubt I'm a carnivore; very seldom would I chose a vegetarian dish over a nice chunk of meat.  Falafel is one of the those dishes that tempts me to stray from my meat eating ways.  It patties made out of ground fava and chickpeas seasoned with a bunch of spices.  At Constantine's, the patties are fried to a golden crisp on the outside but the inside is still moist.  It's a great combination of texture and flavor.  The falafel is then place in a pita wrap heaped with lettuce, onion, tomato and a tahini sauce.  I wish there was a few more patties in the sandwich because after a few bites it kind of got lost in all the condiments.  I ended up unwrapping it and eating it like a salad instead.  The homemade pita chips that came with the sandwich were awesome.  You can definitely tell these were made in house.  It was very rustic, however it was a little greasy.

Kafta Sandwich
My brother went with a kafta sandwich.  Kafta is like a sausage made with beef and lamb mixed with parsley, onions and Mediterranean spices.  This has got to be one of the best version of kafta I've had.  At another Mediterranean shop in town, the sausage came out a bit dry and too strong on a cumin taste.  Not a problem here.  The spices do not overwhelm the flavors of the beef and lamb.  It's cooked to about a medium so it's slightly pink in the middle and juicy. The kafta is then topped with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and a cucumber yogurt sauce.  My brother thought there was just too much condiments especially cucumbers.  Next time, I think we're going to ask for less toppings.

Baklava is easily my brother's favorite dessert.  It's something about the honey, almonds and phillo dough that calls to his inner (and to be honest outer) fattie.  Constantine's baklava threw us both for a loop.  For one, it's really small, bite size pieces.  For comparison purposes, the larger pieces are about the size of a finger.  I liked the size just because baklava is usually so sweet I can't eat more one bite.  Also, this is a much dryer baklava.  I'm used to the ones where it's literally still dripping in honey.  These has more of a hint of honey and a slight coconut flavor that threw me off. This is definitely not the typical baklava that comes to mind when you're thinking about the Greek dessert but it's delicious all the same.

It was a really pretty day when I tried out Constantine's so I chose to eat outside.  They have a very nice patio area with wrought iron chairs and tables.  I liked the little breeze that was going on but the sound of the tire service company next door was a little distracting.  Also, Constantine's is also serves up hookah - a flavored tobacco product - so the tablecloths had burn marks and holes that makes it look a little tattered.  I was able to snoop a little and check out the inside of the restaurant.  I like that the tables are spread out a little.  There are a few booths that looks super comfy with pillows and such.  

I have to say, the service I got at Constantine's was one of the better experience of late.  The waitress was very nice and attentive considering we were the only ones sitting outside.  She was very knowledgeable about the menu and was quick to tell us everything was made in house daily, which is a big plus for me.  I did have to peek my head in the door to ask for a few things but all in all a great experience.  I can't wait to come back and try out more of their foods. To check out Constantine's menu, click here.

Constantine's Mediterranean Grill & Hooka on Urbanspoon


  1. You must have gone a while back. My wife and I tried Constantine's for the first time a week ago and the waitstaff were all new, which always makes me worry that they are turning waitstaff over very quickly. Our waitress was friendly, but had obviously never worked in a restaurant before, and didn't even know what the special was, much less anything about the menu. It was like management gave here an order pad and said go. Top top it off, I ordered the kafka and after ordering, she came back and said that they were out of Pita! So they wrapped my sandwitch in what looked like lavash. It was spiced well, but how does a medeterranian restaurant run out of pita!?!

    1. That's so strange. I went about three weeks ago on a Saturday. There was only one waitress but she looked like she knew what she was doing. I will have to go back and see if it was a fluke the first time around.

    2. I think they hire many students who work whatever shifts fit their school schedules - that has been my impression at least. Last week we were ordering the appetizer sampler and they have discontinued 2 of the items we wanted to order (a spicy cheese and meat pies), the waitress said they are having new menus printed and they will be available soon.
      We like the restaurant and the atmosphere, also they are very kind to us and let us bring our puppy dog to lunch. The menu could be a little more extensive, in my opinion. I have to watch my sodium intake and many of the items on the menu are too salty to me, I'm stuck with hummus (which I agree is light and delicious) and taboulli salad. When I want a different kind of a salad I go Jerusalem cafe.
      - Angela

  2. Just an FYI - they are closed now and a different restaurant with a simular theme/menu is now in that location - Mint Hookah Bistro


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