Holy Land is located in a stretch of Central Ave where you can find a great selection of India, Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Latin restaurants.
The restaurant itself is hard to miss – it occupies a large brick building and there are yellow awnings on both the street and the second floor. About a third of the first floor is occupied by the Deli and the kitchen, and the rest is the Middle Eastern Grocery store. The ambience is nothing special but the place sure has a vibe from the diverse clientele that frequent the restaurant – we ran into people of five different ethnicities in the half hour we were at the restaurant! The chefs in the open kitchen are always active and the soft Middle Eastern music in the background only adds to the energy. Holy Land is owned by the Wadi family, whose sons own Saffron.
2513 Central Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418
second location in Midtown Global Market on Lake Street
Rating (Scale 1-10, with 10 being the highest):
Service: N/A (we did the buffet)
Holy Land serves a buffet lunch buffet seven days a week and a dinner buffet on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For less than $10, the buffet gives you ample variety and allows you to try several delicacies. We loved the Lamb with Yogurt – the meat cooked to tender perfection and the yogurt mixed with the rice and meat gives this dish a hint of creaminess. The Falafels are the best we have had – cooked to a light golden brown and not dry from the inside. The Fried Chicken was slightly crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and smacking of flavor. The Lamb with Tomatoes is another favorite and we loved the selection of salads and sauces that accompanied the meal. The Meatballs in Tomato Gravy were a tad overcooked and the Gyro Meat in Curry wasn’t out of the ordinary. There were another 4-5 dishes (Eggplant, Beef with veggies, Chicken Curry, Pastas) on the buffet that we didn’t get to try but they all looked great. For dessert we would highly recommend the Honey Cake – dense pound cake where the honey adds just the right amount of sweetness. We’ve had the Gyros here before and they’re great – a hefty serving of either chicken or beef/lamb gyros really hits the spot. This place is self serve – you pay for the buffet and get a plastic plate, plastic silverware and a cup for soda and seat yourself at the one of many ordinary chair and table placements.
The adjacent Middle Eastern market is a treat to browse through. Apart from the selection of home made flat breads (Pita, Injera), which are some of the best in the Cities, the olive and cheese counter is great – a nice selection of bulk olives and 3-4 types of Feta caught our eye. The Halal meat section has unique delicacies including cow tongue, lamb liver and kidney and cow stomach. You can also get a selection of canned goods, teas, rice, frozen foods and olive oils. And if you need tobacco and charcoal for your hookah/shisha, this market can’t be beat.
Recommendation: A perennial favorite of locals; and we have to agree. The Deli serves awesome Middle Eastern food at cheap prices, and the adjacent grocery store is one of its kind in the Twin Cities.
$. Most entrees are under $10. The buffet is $8 Mon-Thur and $9 Fri-Sun.