Layali Halab in Creve Coeur offers a taste of Mediterranean and Syrian cuisines

Creve Coeur has a new spot offering Mediterranean cuisine. Layali Halab opened in January at 10477 Old Olive Street Road in Creve Coeur. With the opening of the restaurant, co-owners Shiran Aosou and Mustafa Mustafa, aim to introduce Syrian food and culture at the eatery.

Aosou worked as a chef in Syria for 10 years before he came to America, while Mustafa and members of his family have worked in several restaurants since coming to the U.S. seven years ago. About a year ago, Aosou and Mustafa decided it was time to take their experience and venture out on their own. After searching for an ideal location, they landed on the Old Olive Street Road space since there currently aren’t a lot of other eateries serving similar menu items in the area. Many of those menu items are staples of their home country.

“We want to give St. Louis a taste of Syrian food,” a member of the Layali Halab team told Sauce in a phone interview.

Some of that cuisine includes a large selection of vegetarian items, as well as grilled meats, soups and salads. Guests can expect familiar Mediterranean staples and small bites like falafel, baba ghanoush and hummus, as well as grilled chicken, beef and lamb kebabs. There are also different salads to choose from, including tabbouleh and fattoush, along with a lentil soup, and the latter is served complimentary to dine-in customers who purchase an entree before 4 p.m. each day.

In addition to the small bites and main courses, there’s also pastries and desserts, including baklava and knafeh, a Middle Eastern dessert that’s both sweet and slightly salty, since it’s made with a sweet, flaky pastry crust, layered with a creamy filling and topped with crushed pistachios and a drizzle of syrup for an extra crunch and sweetness.

The drink selections range from soft drinks like soda and lemonade, to a fresh fruit juice made from strawberries. You can also find Turkish coffee on the menu, served in small mugs, similar to Italian-style espresso.

When it comes to the inside of the eatery, the goal is to give guests a glimpse of the owners’ home country by highlighting parts of the city of Aleppo through photographs. Each picture is displayed in frames crafted by the team at Layali Halab and are made from wood that’s been painted black and trimmed in gold accents.

In addition to the framed photos, there are artificial trees in a pink hue, a faux floral wall perfect for selfies, plush burgundy seating at each table and a few fountains nestled throughout the space to complete the ambiance. And there’s room for guests to enjoy their meal inside or out, when the weather permits, with 13 tables indoors that seat up to 50 guests and an additional four tables on the outdoor patio that seat up to 16 people.