Samaras Woonona NSW

Community feasting is marked by the sharing of not just food but also an opportunity to meet up, catch up and chat up.   Contemporary society takes up much of our individual time with the pursuit of the means to survive, save and prosper.  Our daily regime is marked by periods of commute,  working with other people, carrying out what seem to be chores, restoring ourselves and with what little time left to saviour the moments with loved ones.  Joining in a feast around a table, round, rectangular or square shaped,  we listen, partake and articulate.

So it was with a delight that I could join an extended family on a mid-week evening for a Middle Eastern feast, we all oblivious to the rain and wind outside on the coast south of the Big Smoke.    Dips make us use our hands  - we swipe, we carve up and we smear on to our breads.   The dining area was almost full at this branch of Samaras  - perhaps it was the coincidence with the first night of the Eid Festival, after a month of fasting and disciplined reflection for the Muslim community.  

By the end of the night, we had sang the traditional Happy Birthday song, sampled Italian cannoli (from Pasticceria Massimo Papa in Fairy Meadow)  and drunk the rather yummy passion fruit concoction.    Our tables were an relaxing mess, with the youngsters scattered all over.  I met young infant Emily for the first time and as always, shared a light bulb joke with ten year old Tom.   London and Bridget loved to dance and they did.  Jack and I shared our recent similar experiences.  It was always a pleasure to chat with the two sets of grand parents.  Gangling tall Adrian often made a point to converse with me and we did again.  Teenage Ben sampled the food, drank lots of water and displayed a maturity above his age.   Kim related about puppy George and Liz talked about her son James.

At Samaras, I always love the shish kebab, skewers of grilled meat, well marinated, packed on the stick and always rewarding on the palate.   My next fond dish is the Tauboli, fresh with an uplifting dressing, highlighting the parsley, lemon juice and fresh mint.   To round up the top three for me , it is the Lebanese spring rolls, which have texture on the bite, flavour in the fillings and bite size for snacking.

Lebanese breads may be the staple but I reckon it is the salads that are the star.  They do provide a contrast against all the char grilled meats and showcase the flavours of this cuisine.  The Woonona restaurant can also be considered for private functions as it is neither too large nor too small and sits on its own private level above the street.

Samaras visited is located at  417 Princes Highway, Woonona NSW, opposite the BP petrol station and it has vehicle parking both outdoor and indoor.

Opening hours are from 11am to 930pm  every day.
Contact   +  61 2 4284 9422

There is also another outlet of Samaras in Wollongong city centre NSW.

Samaras also participates at the Foragers Markets in Bulli every Sunday morning.

My impressions of Samaras at Woonona NSW:
Ambiance:  3.5 out of 5

Customer Engagement: 3.5 out of 5
Culinary Delight: 3.5  out of 5
X Factor:   2.5 out out of 5
Overall:     13/ 4  out of 5

My recommended dishes from the menu are:

Kible Mikliyeh  - a crushed wheat crispy shell containing tender lamb, herbs, caramelised onions and pine nuts.
Kafta wraps, with lamb, chickpea based Hummus and Tabouli.
Fatoush - crispy Lebanese bread laden with shallots, cucumber, tomato, fresh herbs and lettuce before being drizzled with olive oil and dressing.
Shish Tawook with grilled marinated chicken.
Spring rolls
Shish Kebab with grilled marinated lamb.


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