Open Tab: Habibi In is one of Evanston’s hidden gems with great atmosphere and even better food


Luis Castañeda/The Daily Northwestern

Habibi In’s side of chicken shawarma over hummus is absolutely delectable.

Kunjal Bastola and Rachel Schlueter

Habibi In Mediterranean Grill brings authentic Middle Eastern flavors and a cozy dining experience to Evanston.

Since 2019, Habibi In has served Mediterranean food at 825 Church Street. The restaurant is fast-casual style, where customers order at a counter and can dine in or carry out. 

Its menu consists of large entree plates with a choice of meat, salad and pita. Customers can also substitute rice for the salad. Habibi In offers a variety of marinated and roasted meats, including chicken, beef shawarma and kebab.

The restaurant also serves kibbeh ― a blend of ground beef, wheat and onions and beef kofta ― a dish that mixes ground beef with fresh herbs, onion, garlic and a combination of warm spices. Habibi In added chicken kofta to its menu just this January.

If you’re a hummus lover, then Habibi In has the perfect item for you. On its side menu, you can find chicken shawarma over hummus: a bowl of smooth, rich hummus topped with the restaurant’s delicious chicken shawarma. It comes with two slices of pita bread, the perfect accompaniment to hummus. 

If you’re looking for a handheld version of all things Mediterranean food, look no further than the chicken shawarma pita. The fluffy pita was filled with onions and sweet tomatoes, which were complemented with sour Middle Eastern pickles. 

Of course, no sandwich is complete without a delectable sauce, and Habibi In did not disappoint. The pita was served with a side of Habibi In’s “famous white sauce,” which had a subtle sweet garlic flavor. Habibi In also provides a side of its homemade hot sauce but warns customers that it is extremely spicy. On the counter, a sign warns customers to enjoy the hot sauce “at your own risk.”

We found the perfect way to enjoy the hot sauce without burning our stomachs was to mix it with the “famous white sauce,” which created the perfect spicy yet cool condiment. 

In addition to the chicken shawarma pita, Habibi In also serves a variety of other wraps and pitas with beef or falafel. A meal includes a sandwich, a drink and a heaping side of delicious fries. Pro tip: the “famous white sauce” is a wonderful dipping sauce for the fries too. 

The atmosphere is on par with the great food. The walls are decorated with art depicting Mediterranean themes and culture, and there is plenty of seating for customers who want to stay in and enjoy their food. The staff is extremely friendly, and the food comes out at a very efficient rate. 

Habibi In also hosts events throughout the year to bring customers together to enjoy delicious food. Last December, the restaurant held a World Cup watch party and served complimentary tea and baklava for guests. 

Now, if you’re ever in the mood for great Mediterranean food at an affordable price, you know just where to go! 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @kunjal_bastola

Email: [email protected]


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