Naf naf

Eat Til You’re Fala-Full: Naf Naf Grill Review

Here at Minneapolis Northwest we are very excited about the recent opening of Naf Naf Grill in Arbor Lakes. Our staff visited last week and I can only describe it as Chipotle, but for Shawarma.

naf naf

Here at Minneapolis Northwest we are very excited about the recent opening of Naf Naf Grill in Arbor Lakes. Our staff visited last week and I can only describe it as Chipotle, but for Shawarma.

A fast casual concept for Middle Eastern Food, Naf Naf Grill originated in the Chicago area. Naf Naf was a family-owned restaurant that was quickly grabbing the attention of the community, not to mention the media. Soon Naf Naf was approached by a couple of investors who were so impressed by the food they asked to form a partnership. That they did. Naf Naf began expanding into new locations and now has 12 locations in Chicago. Maple Grove is one of three Twin Cities locations so far. The restaurant features fresh oven baked pitas, hand cut salads, homemade falafel and tahini, and award-winning shawarma.  


>What's the difference between a shawarma and a gyro?<


Naf falafel

Walking into the restaurant the atmosphere was clean, bright, welcoming, and modern… a far cry from the typical late-night falafel joints we’re used to seeing in urban neighborhoods. The food is just as authentic as those tiny restaurants, not to mention fresh. Lots of bright color and clever artwork (Fala-Full… get it?) can be found on the walls.

When we got in line the first step was to pick a base: pita, salad, basmati rice bowl, or hummus bowl. Next they had us pick our shawarma or falafel. The shawarma options are chicken or steak. You can see the giant cones of juicy chicken and beef roasting behind the counter on a rotisserie. The falafel, a vegetarian option, is deep-fried ground chickpea, jalapeno, and onion. I went with the chicken shawarma in a pita.

naf naf falanaf roaster

From there the meal is passed down the line, and we got to choose salads and garnishes to top our creation. The options are chopped salad, purple cabbage, sumac onions, and Middle Eastern cucumber pickles. I went with the chopped salad (freshly diced cucumber, tomato, white cabbage, and cilantro) and sumac onions. For me, pickles don’t belong anywhere except inside a bloody Mary… Finally, we finished with sauces. Tahini is the classic choice, and that’s what I ordered. They also had a creamy garlic sauce and two hot sauces: S’khug, a green sauce which I did not attempt to pronounce, and ‘fire sauce’.


>One to watch: Naf Naf Grill<


Naf Fries

Sides include Basmati rice, lentil soup, and Naf Fries. Their website proclaims the Naf Fries are ‘heaven on Earth,’ I actually won’t take that away from them: they were really good. The fries are hand-cut, thin, and round like chips. Some of them were a little crispier around the edges, like chips, some softer and more potato-y.  

Overall, my Shawarma was delicious. No complaints. A coworker had steak and loved hers too. The Naf fries were perfection. I also ordered one falafel out of curiosity. It was really dang good, but I was glad I only ordered one. The deep-fried breading made it just a little heavy for me to want more than one.

Would I go back? Yes! I foresee Naf Naf Grill becoming a frequent lunch spot for me. I like that they have healthier options as well. If I’m so inclined, I can skip the pita and go with salad or hummus. Plus, I still need to try the hummus!

About the Author
Minneapolis Northwest
  • Becca Schaar

Minneapolis Northwest native and freelance blogger 

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