Restaurant of the Week: Aladdin Jr.

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There’s a sequel to this restaurant in downtown Pomona named Aladdin Jr. 2, but this is the original, up on North Garey below Foothill Boulevard. It’s in a slightly blah shopping center that nevertheless boasts a couple of very good restaurants, notably Los Jarritos.

Aladdin Jr. has a big, landscaped patio for eating or hookah smoking. Inside, there are booths and tables in the dining room, which is decorated by murals that highlight the Disney version of a romanticized Middle East. Kitschy but cute. If memory serves, the staff used to wear vests and fezzes, but they no longer do.

Aladdin has a lunch buffet that’s popular, but on a recent mid-afternoon visit, two friends and I opted to order off the menu for fresher fare. A lamb shawarma sandwich ($6.50) was tender, flavorful and practically as big as a football. The lamb kabob ($14) and chicken kabob ($12, pictured) had generous portions of meat, plus rice and a small salad. Good stuff. The lamb guy took half of his order home.

Aladdin is priced between, say, Saca’s on the lower end and Casablanca or Mes Amis on the higher end. You get a good amount of food for the money.

Service, by a man I believe was the manager, was friendly and joshing. He kidded the ones in our party who arrived late (who deserved it, which I can say because it wasn’t me). Our only complaint were the persistent flies in the window. Maybe they liked the look of the sand in the murals.

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