Is this the tenth day in a row that you’ve gone to the pasta bar? If so, it’s probably time to admit that you’re in a Commons rut. Narals might be the perfect place for you! This year-old Auburn restaurant promises an authentic taste of the Middle East without being intimidatingly exotic.
Narals is an excellent dining option for less adventurous eaters who are looking to gradually expand their palates. It offers what first-year Mary Anne Bodnar describes as “Americanized ethnic food,” like a vegetarian platter that includes falafel and spring rolls. Because the familiar is mixed in with the new, one does not feel overwhelmed by the menu.
“You might be expecting an ethnically immersive dining experience, but they have onion rings, too,” assures first-year Will Bryer.
However, adventurous foodies or those seeking an “authentic” Middle Eastern dining experience should go there with realistic expectations. Having recently travelled to Turkey, I hoped that the food at Narals would reflect the distinctive liveliness of Turkish cuisine. The falafel and hummus babaganush were certainly tasty selections, but a livelier flavor would have been welcome.
Even so, any Batesie can appreciate Narals’ generous portions. The vegetarian platter includes falafel, spring rolls, pita bread, onion rings, potato wedges, and hummus; it is hard to tackle the dish solo, but sharing it does the trick, and leftovers for the dorm can only be a good thing.
The dining atmosphere itself is vibrant, particularly on the weekends. On a Friday night, the restaurant is buzzing with excited customers with the opportunity to watch belly-dancing performances and bongo drum music. The restaurant offers this lively entertainment every Friday and Saturday night starting at 7:00.
Narals certainly caters to the college student’s hours and needs; it provides free delivery Sunday through Thursday until midnight, and until 2:00 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. The Narals staff also treats any birthday customer with a free dessert.
Another draw is the ten percent off discount for all Bates students. Combined with the image of the restaurant’s generous portions, this concept ensures that one is getting a meal at a fabulous value.
For out anyone looking to try something different, Narals is a worthy option for the next night out. The food may not be an exact replica of what one would eat in Middle East, but the atmosphere provides a fun and lively escape from your usual Commons routine.