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Mediterranean Food Imports

Posted by cmh gourmand on January 20, 2011

Mediterranean Food Imports. The name says it all. We Clintonville insiders usually just refer to it as Mediterranean Imports or MI for short. This business has a long and hallowed history in our community. It’s roots dates back to a restaurant, Sinbad’s, which was a local favorite and the first bite of hummus and falafel for many in the early 1980’s. The restaurant gradually morphed in to a store with a restaurant then solely a store. (For those of you that still miss Sinbad’s, relatives opened Mazza in Grandview last year, check them out). The vast horde of merchandise at the bazaar that is MI largely hails from countries bordering the Mediterranean, with the very strong slant towards the Middle East. The store can be counted on to carry core staples at all times but I always seem to discover something new on each visit.

MI is located by Hounddogs Pizza and Sage on North High Street. It is best to enter MI via the shared parking lot in the back of the building. Do watch out for some of the surrounding lots because there is a tendency for one evil business owner in the area to tow with a vengeance. Entering through the backdoor, you are greeted by the diverse aromas of a very diverse market.

The meat counter is well stocked with a variety of Halal Meats (different from Kosher) including goat, leg of lamb and Mortadella. I have found the staff here to be very willing to talk in depth about their meats and they will offer suggestions when asked.

Moving down the counter, the next stop is for olives, there are sixteen or more varieties at any time. If you thought you had had your fill of Feta think again, there is a selection of fresh Feta cheeses from Egypt, Turkey, Bulgaria, France and Greece. You can also plan on other great items behind the counter including homemade hummus and desserts (several types of Halveh).

The MI business card I have reads “Middle Eastern, European, Persian, and North African foods” that is a fact. The cornucopia of foods from these countries is packed throughout the store. The shelves stock an impressive variety of dried beans, legumes, olives oils and hard to find canned and packaged food from the known world. If you like sardines – this is the place. If you like having a diverse assortment of dates, cheap access to dried limes and five grinds of Bulgar wheat, MI has you covered.

Locally and regionally made pita bread and flat breads are for sale. The spice rack would please the three wise men since it is stuffed with the standard spices as well as Frank Incense, Hibiscus flower, saffron (Persian and Spanish) and spices you may have only read about. The freezer section offers cheeses from everywhere and all types of items from the Fertile Crescent. MI even has a selection of hard to find European and Middle Eastern Candy bars and well as six types of licorice such as green apple.

In addition to foodstuffs, there are cookbooks, cookware and usually one random item I would never expect to see. The prices for all items are reasonable with many being a very good value. A few prices go beyond the concept of bargain. If winter has you in a rut, this is the place to go to mix up your diet as well as add some spice and culinary adventure to your life.

Mediterranean Food Imports
2647 North High Street
Old(e) North Columbus (at the Clintonville Border)
614.263.9400

3 Responses to “Mediterranean Food Imports”

  1. Nick said

    sounds awesome.. as i’ve dined at Hounddogs and driven past this place many-a-time back in my undergraduate days, i always found it a curiosity, and it seems to be deserving of a visit.

    have you been to any of the north campus indian eateries?

    CMH G Reply: This comment is why I write the blog: “driven past many-a-time…”

    I need to get back to Taj Mahal – for their buffet, I am a little rusty on my North Campus Indian food knowledge.

  2. Yes, MI is an awesome place for inspiration and low cost imported goods. The staff is very willing to allow tastes of feta and olives and usually give my daughter a sweet treat when we’re there too.

  3. Jane said

    I had never heard of Egyptian Feta before I went to MI. It is creamy and salty perfection, and I still dream about it.

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