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Saladelia Cafe

Posted by MEZ 5 Oct 2009 9 Comments

Saladelia is a staple of Durham’s lunch scene with a bustling catering business in addition to their onsite food. It is a favorite of mine for a late breakfast also, as their breakfast menu is available until 2pm on the weekend. They offer sandwiches, salads, pastries, and desserts with a Mediterranean bent. Order at the counter and your food will be brought to you. Espresso drinks are available.

They recently completed some remodeling of their seating areas and counter. There’s now a lovely row of rich brown half-booths and a waiting area for to go orders. There’s also bar seating across the front window and two huge, attractive red lamps in the side room.

The seating has been improved but the quality of the food has remained the same, which is to say, excellent. Sandwiches sizes here are plentiful. It would be nice if half sizes were available, too. I had the chicken salad on a kaiser roll and opted to upgrade from the included bag of chips to a side of penne pasta salad for $1.


The chicken salad did not contain shredded or diced breast meat but thick strips instead. The mayonnaise was kept to a minimum, pepper was plentiful, herbs were savory, and I think there was a touch of curry, too. Normally, kaiser rolls are more plain than I like for pricey sandwich bread but this one did a great job of keeping the chicken salad on the sandwich and not the plate, which is not an easy feat.

The penne pasta was mixed with sundried tomato, feta, parsley, and scallions. It had plenty of flavor though was a tad dry. Definitely a better accompaniment than a bag of chips, though.

Saladelia continues to be a great spot to get a deluxe sandwich and/or intriguing sides. I’ve yet to try one of their desserts or pastries but they certainly look appealing.

Saladelia Cafe
4201 University Drive
Eastgate, Durham
Breakfast: $3.25-7.90
Lunch: $4.99-7.50

Reviewed 9.30.09.


  • ACW said:

    I’m glad you posted this. For some reason, I had it in my mind that they had closed. Glad to hear they’re open and doing well!


  • enwiebe said:

    I’ve always enjoyed their food, but haven’t been there in a while. Nice to hear they’ve updated their somewhat austere seating.


  • Heather said:

    I have always loved Saladelia – it’s such a hidden gem. Their Rosemary Salmon salad is to die for; the freshest greens, a large salmon steak, bold and flavorful dressing with pita ‘croutons’ and a lemon wedge….YUM!

    On a side note, last year I was looking for the perfect shade of green for my bedroom. As I was sipping my sweet tea in a Saladelia cup, I noticed the lovely (perfect!) shade of green with the logo. Took the cup right to Lowe’s and had them match it!


  • mh said:

    I actually think that the quality of food at Saladelia has taken a dramatic nosedive since the owners bought the Mad Hatter. The food is more bland, the portions and spices inconsistent, and they seem to have adopted the Mad Hatter practice of bring the food out one plate at a time, so some people have food 5 to 10 minutes before other people at the table. I hate that, and they didn’t used to do it.


  • JB said:

    It’s strange, but I’ve found Saladelia’s catering to be much better than their counter food (even if I order the same things). Their roasted vegetables in the deli case are sopping in vinagrette, their hummus isn’t nearly as flavourful, and their desserts have been stale. But on multiple occasions, I’ve been truly impressed by the freshness and flavor of their catering trays. I haven’t had one of their made-to-order sandwiches, as I keep hoping to reproduce the joy of their catering products, but maybe that’s a better way to go.


  • salmon said:

    wow cool place, cozy and i thinks delicious food,, i must try it


  • Lauren said:

    I go there solely for the chicken salad. It is so very good.


  • Paula Breedlove said:

    Saladelia is always my “go-to” place for everything from take-out for me to desserts for a special dinner. The chicken salad and Lebanese green beans are the best!


  • Outdoor Dining Spots | Carpe Durham said:

    [...] Saladelia Café, 4201 University Drive, Carpe Durham Review. [...]

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