Moroccan – Petite Pita – 3952 N Sheridan Ave – Lakeview – *
When a Moroccan cab driver recently recommended Petite Pita, a nondescript Mediterranean joint by the Sheridan Red Line stop, I was immediately suspicious. I’ve been past the place 100 times, and I’ve barely seen anyone in it, let alone anyone who appeared to actually be Moroccan. Even still, my drivers have rarely led me astray, so I decided to give it a shot.
Sometimes it’s best to trust your intuition. I walked in for a weeknight dinner to find the restaurant completely empty. Even more disheartening, there was the distinct sound of mariachi music emanating from the kitchen. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m aware that most restaurant kitchens in Chicago are staffed largely by Latinos, regardless of the type of cuisine being prepared, and they typically do a great job. That being said, if I’m going to a restaurant because of its alleged authenticity, I do expect at least one person from that country involved in the preparation of my meal. However, at Petite Pita there wasn’t, and it showed.
The menu at Petite Pita is pretty standard Mediterranean fare, with a daily tagine special serving as the only indication of the owner’s Moroccan roots. We started with an appetizer of stuffed grape leaves, which were fine, but no better than you’d find in the prepared food aisle at your neighborhood grocery store.
From there I moved on to a beef shawarma plate, while my friend opted for the lamb with couscous. When we received our orders, I had immediate food envy, but that was short lived. While her lamb was tender, the vegetables were overcooked and bland. My shawarma, on the other hand, was flat out bad. The meat was tough, gristly and flavorless. If I wasn’t starving and a little compulsive about not wasting money, I wouldn’t have eaten it.
Overall, while Petite Pita may be convenient for those of us living on the North Side, it’s not even worth the easy trip. This is a case where Yelp ratings can be deceiving. I’m completely dumbfounded how 100 reviewers have given this place an average rating of four stars. For a quick, cheap and tasty Moroccan fix, save your money and head south to Zad, near Belmont and Broadway.