Yogurt Plate Lacey Thacker

Layla’s, which has locations in both Little Rock and Conway, serves Mediterranean food in a casual environment. The Little Rock locations get quite a lot of love from the community, so I thought it time to visit the Conway location, found at 2755 Dave Ward Drive.

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My friends and I stopped in around 5:30 on a weekday. The hour was a bit early so there were no other diners, leaving us our pick of tables. After a moment with the menu, we were ready to order at exactly the moment the server returned with our beverages. I selected zataar bread for an appetizer and the yogurt plate with gyro meat, while my companions ordered a Spanakopita Plate and a Spicy Plate from the specials menu listed in chalk.

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Zataar is my soul spice, and so on the rare occasion I am able to order it from a restaurant, I look forward to it with great anticipation. Layla’s is certainly worth that anticipation, as its simple version is how zataar is meant to be eaten—thickly layered on fresh, warm pita. The only thing that would have improved the experience was a little olive oil to dip it in.

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Similarly, my yogurt plate—a pile of gyro meat, mushrooms, and yogurt sauce served with turmeric rice and a side salad—was quite good. The creamy sauce with onions really made the dish, as while the meat was nicely cooked and balanced in its seasoning, it was also somewhat underwhelming on its own. Interestingly, I didn’t note much difference between my own plate and my friend’s Spicy Plate, save the heat level and inclusion of pita with his.

The spanakopita offered a warm, cheesy comfort dish that, while not overly exciting, was flavorful and certainly enjoyable. The hummus, too, was not heavily seasoned, but rich, oily, and delicious.

While our food was pretty good and our server friendly, the atmosphere was odd, to say the least. The floor was deeply worn under each table, and the ceiling was noticeably dirty. As we were the only customers during our visit, we didn’t feel particularly at liberty to discuss, well, anything, as we were easily overheard by employees in the exposed kitchen.

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Overall, Layla’s in Conway makes Mediterranean food that’ll save you a trip out of town, if you don’t mind the slightly awkward dining experience.