BEST MIDDLE EASTERN GROCERY - 2008
Holy Land has set the bar so high for Middle Eastern groceries that it's hard to imagine who could possibly compete. The first sight upon entering is the deli, where we are easily sidetracked by the well-stocked buffet and plates heaped with hot gyros, kabobs, samosas, and spinach pies. Then it's the racks of bread—pillowy pita, garlicky Afghan—and an endless variety of hummus (plain, eggplant, red pepper). How about dates? There's every kind imaginable, pitted to giant. The desserts—flaky phyllo pastry filled with honey, nuts, and chocolate—are akin to ambrosia. Spices, halal meat, canned goods from around the world, olive oil by the gallon, huge bags of rice—Holy Land is truly an international marketplace where all of the senses are constantly engaged. South Minneapolis now has its own Holy Land outpost at the Midtown Global Market, and while the selection isn't as large as Northeast's, the all-you-can-eat buffet is still inspiring.