Hours: Lunch, Dinner: seven days
Open Late: Every night till at least 4
Late-night Egyptian restaurant with live music and a belly dancer on weekends.
By the time the janky Lawrence bus pulled up at this Albany Park Egyptian restaurant, the neon OPEN sign was dead and the light was dimmed to a cavelike setting, but we glimpsed a few people smoking hookahs inside and figured we'd made it right before closing. Turns out we were early: Nefertiti gets going around midnight, when the cavernous room becomes a dance floor replete with DJs and belly dancers. Most of the menu items we wanted were unavailable--the focus is clearly on smoking and dancing--but what we got was well worth the rickety ride. My friend said her falafel and hummus on pita reminded her of a favorite Arab street vendor when she lived in Paris. The falafel was perfect--crisp, with a paper-thin batter, and green and creamy on the inside. The rice with my lamb shawarma was reminiscent of dishes at shisha parlors in Cairo: oily, salty with the taste of chicken broth, and topped with slivered almonds and brown Italian semolina. The shawarma itself was tough and stringy; most of our attention went to dipping warm, fluffy pita in hummus and ful madammas, warm mashed fava beans tart with lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil. Dessert was overly sweet baklava and bland rice pudding, but my karkade--sweet hibiscus tea, like the pomegranate drinks ubiquitous at Whole Foods--and the fruity tobacco smoke wafting across the room carried me to the end of the meal.
Payment Type: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa