It was late. We were hungry. All the restaurants seemed to have huge queues or were closed for carnival. In this state we found ourselves at Yalla, an ‘arabe’ restaurant on the popular strip of Dias Ferreira. The others had tried it before and knew it had vegetarian meals.
We ordered and enjoyed a beer while waiting for our food to arrive. It was a balmy night but the streets stank after a street party that day with the streets yet to have the garbage collected and pavements scrubbed.
There are several vegetarian dishes. The mousakka is not vegetarian and is not tasty (as my friend discovered). I chose the falafel ‘no plato’ rather than in bread.
The dish was very interesting and I liked it, yet I was disappointed not to find it filling enough. The falafel was a single round with the usual herbed chickpea. The labne had been hidden in the centre and it was a pleasant surprise to see it oozing out as I cut the lightly fried short cylinder open. To top it off was a sweet mango chutney that was more like an ice-cream topping than a condiment but complemented both the falafel and labne.
It was a pleasant meal but I left a little unsatisfied. To be enjoyed fully, sharing several dishes would be the best, but (displeasingly when travelling on a budget) more expensive.
Rua Dias Ferreira, 45
Leblon, Rio de Janeiro Brazil
(21) 2275 4395