The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 24, 2003


Café Levonya
Russian-Armenian cuisine
795 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington
Wednesday - Sunday 4 to 10 p.m.

On the menu is a quote: "The taste of quality is long remembered" This is a delightful small new restaurant that certainly can fulfill that. The joint owners are a Russian wife and an Armenian husband, so this is truly an authentic food production.

There are small tables with white tablecloths and candlelight and grape vines near the top of the warm, orange painted walls. On our request, they changed the background music from American to Armenian, which we most appreciated.

Our server was both efficient and helpful with menu recommendations. We each had a glass of a red Armenian wine called Areni at $6.50 per glass. It was light and fruity, reminiscent of Greek wine and a good accompaniment to the meal.

We started with vegetarian grape leaves, which were stuffed with a spicy walnut mixture and garnished with pomegranate seeds. They were so filling we decided to eat one each as otherwise there wouldn't be room for anything else. These were large and could have made a meal alone. Naturally we took two home.

Next we decided to order two different entrees to share. We had the Summer Dolma, vegetables (peppers, squash, tomatoes and eggplant) stuffed with ground beef, rice and greens and served with yogurt garlic sauce, and the Khinkali, ground lamb dumplings served with yogurt garlic sauce. Each was $14. We ordered two side dishes at $2 each and got very generous portions of fresh homemade sauerkraut, and marinated eggplant with red pepper. The sauerkraut, as our server promised, was different and extremely light, as well as delicious. The eggplant was a nice balance to the dumplings and stuffed vegetables.

Desserts were offered in several styles, but we decided on a traditional rugalah. We split an order and this had five delicious pieces. With this we had Armenian coffee, which is a little like a Turkish coffee and is poured from a tiny copper pot. It is lighter and also can come decaffeinated.

I would highly recommend Café Levonya, and I think you too will remember the taste of quality.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito