In 2010, we briefly talked about our love for the Groupon and Living Social programs, but in case you missed the post, I’ll refresh your memory. Both of these websites give out daily local deals and coupons that you can purchase, with the catch that your offer will only be accepted if enough people sign on. We started using them last year, and although we have once seen a place go out of business before we got to use the Groupon (they gave us a full refund, for the record), we have never seen a deal not get picked up for lack of participation.
Typically, the deals are something like ‘$10 for a $20 giftcard’ or ‘buy-one-get-one admission to ____ event’. We have found that they are great for trying out new restaurants and attending expensive events we wouldn’t have otherwise been able to check out.
So this year, we decided to take on at least ten of these deals. We love saving money, and we love trying new things, so this should work out perfectly.
Tonight, we used our first Living Social of the year and had dinner at Tyma’z restaurant in the North Hills.
Tyma’z is a Middle Eastern restaurant that opened recently just down the hill from West View (I remember it being a cake decorating place when I was little, and I think it’s undergone some other transformations between then and now). We went with my parents, who had been once before out of curiosity, because the name of the restaurant is also my mum’s maiden name.
My dad (who is a pretty simple eater) decided he does not like Middle Eastern food, but we were determined to prove him wrong.
The restaurant itself is quite charming, with authentic, knowledgeable servers and some great Middle Eastern decor and music. It’s also BYOB, but since we live in the city and had to drive to dinner, we unfortunately had to skip that part of the experience.
We started off with the small mezze platter, which allows you to choose three appetizers to split at your table. We got the tabbouli (that’s the yummy salad-looking stuff, which is kind of like a parsley, onion, tomato, and lemon salsa), babaganoush (that’s like hummus, but made with eggplant instead), and falafel (those are the little crispy donut things). I’d only ever once before had falafel, from a campus food truck back in college, and it wasn’t very good. I was super pleased to try Tyma’z falafel and find out that it’s actually quite good if done well! All three of these appetizers were so flavorful and delicious (even though my dad was a little too afraid to try any of them).
Each of our meals came with side salads, and I tried their delicious house dressing. It was a simple olive oil base, but they spiced it up with mint, garlic, and lemon. I really appreciated how lemon flavor made its way into much of the dishes at Tyma’z. The salads also had feta cheese, which really heightened the flavor.
For my entree, I got the spicy fish, which was a baked tilapia in a yummy red sauce with button mushrooms. Again, the lemon and garlic flavors worked quite well together, and there was enough for me to have at the dinner, and also for my husband to finish up as leftovers tomorrow!
Michael got the lamb kabob, which he really loved, and I was afraid to try. I’ll try most food, but goat and lamb really weird me out for some reason. I think I spent too much time at petting zoos as a child and cannot imagine cooking up those sweet little animals!
My mum got the chicken shwarma, which she thought was excellent. Again, it was more than enough for a dinner serving and a second (or third!) meal as leftovers. The sauce has a vaguely-cinnamon-like flavor to it, which gives it a home-y, comfort food taste, but the sauce is still light.
Since my parents had been here once before, my mum insisted that we try their baklava. Typically, Michael and I are not big on this dessert, but what we loved about Tyma’z version was that it wasn’t that too-sticky-sweet flavor and consistency that much baklava is. The crust was flaky and light, and the filling was sweet, but not overly-so. We were sold!
And here we are at the table after dinner. We were so pleased with the food and atmosphere at Tyma’z, and we highly recommend it! It is a little pricier than other comparable Middle Eastern restaurants we’ve tried (like Sababa here in Squirrel Hill), but if you can get a deal like we did with Living Social, by all means, take the opportunity!