Thursday, December 22, 2016

Lilit Cafe Review

On my last D.C. trip of 2016, I had less than 24 hours to check out new restaurants or visit old favorites. I decided to use the time to trek up to Bethesda (via the red line Metro) to finally pay a visit to a gluten-free friendly restaurant that I have only heard good things about for years.

A little off the beaten path (especially on foot), Lilit Cafe proved to not only be worth the journey, but a place I regretted not coming to sooner. With oodles of gluten-free options and a staff that went above and beyond when it came to friendliness and allergy knowledge, this is definitely a must-visit for those visiting or living in the area. Eating out should be as effortless as Lilit Cafe makes it, and it goes above and beyond to be both a restaurant and convenience store for gluten-free eats.

When I first stepped into Lilit Cafe, I definitely was overwhelmed by such an extensive menu. Gluten-free diners can choose from pizzas, entrees, sandwiches, and more for savory eats, and can choose among croissants, baklava, and authentic gelato (among others) for a sweet treat. Check out their menu right here to get an overview of all the options. Gluten-free pizza crusts and bread are available to make those items gluten-free. Additionally, the gluten-free menu is marked to indicate vegetarian, vegan, and dairy-free items.

While having gluten-free options is amazing, what matters as much (if not more) is gluten awareness by the staff. After speaking to them, I definitely felt comfortable with their ability to handle gluten-free diners, and love that the owner decided to offer gluten-free fare because he saw firsthand the struggles of his own friends and family members to eat safely. 

Beyond the menu of prepared items, Lilit Cafe offers a dazzling array of gluten-free pantry and frozen products. Pastas, crackers, breads, sweets, and more are stocked, with several local producers featured prominently. Baltimore-based Sweet 27 (my review here) is represented heartily with their full line cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and cookies on display. Croissants from D.C.-based Rise Bakery (my review) are in the freezer section, but are not dairy-free. As another local spotlight, Virginia-based Triple Oak Bakery's gluten-free baklava (another dairy-containing item) were displayed prominently. 

It was truly amazing to see such a great mix of products from local and national brands alike. It's a rarity to be able to eat out and cross items off the grocery list at the same time.

For my meal, I decided to order the chicken kabobs, which come with basmati rice and side salad. I decided to get take-out as I needed to catch a train from Union Station in an hour. Before I could even take my first bite, I knew the meal would be delicious from the tantalizing smell that tempted me as I rode the Metro from Bethesda to Union Station. I got several compliments along the way from curious fellow travelers who were intrigued by my meal.

The chicken kebobs were tender and well-seasoned, with tasty grill marks. Marinara sauce allowed for tasty dipping of the chicken, and contrasted well with the spices used to flavor the meat. The salad was fresh, with a zesty balsamic vinaigrette to dress it. The rice was fluffy and fragrant with peas mixed in, which provided a nice neutral item to offset the salad and kabobs. Overall, I found the meal flavorful, satisfying, and affordable.

Lilit Cafe wowed me with their food and selection of gluten-free items. However what will bring me back is the dedication and friendliness of their staff. They were patient as I debated what to order, and really cared about me as a gluten-free consumer. It's rare to find a place with both understanding and options, and Lilit Cafe has plenty of both. Dining here was a treat, and I am already anticipating my next visit.

The Basics

Address: 7921 Old Georgetown Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814
Cuisine: Pizza, Middle Eastern, Sandwiches
Ideal For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert
Price: See prices on menu above
Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
Special Features: Sign up for their email list to get specials sent right to your inbox

Disclaimer: This review is based upon the information I have at the time of the review and does not reflect changes in ingredients or availability of items. Please contact the restaurant directly for up-to-date information and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I was not compensated for this review and it is a reflection of my personal opinion.

Lilit Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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