NoJa in Mobile Alabama

July 8, 2015

24  comments


NoJa exterior
In the past 15 years, it was a rare thing for us to make the 30-ish minute drive to Mobile, because there really wasn’t anything there we couldn’t live without. (The Mobile Symphony and Exploreum are exceptions), but recently, several things have changed, and we find ourselves over the bay more and more.

Because . . .

1. I’ll come clean . . . I’m in love with COSTCO! I actually wrote them a letter years ago, begging them to open a location in Baldwin County, but alas, Mobile landed them, and I love shopping there. GIANT BOXES of ALMONDS! When their neighbor HOME GOODS opens later this year, I may have to find a Mobile family to adopt me.

2. Mayor Sandy Stimpson. He’s cleaning up the crime and bringing in more businesses, so we feel safer and find it more fun to go over.

3. Restaurants. I’ve previously told you about favorites Kitchen on George and The Noble South, and now . . . another new favorite . . . NoJa!

 

NoJa courtyardLocated on North Jackson Street, around the corner from another favorite, The Crescent Theatre, NoJa reminds me of some of the big-time places I love visiting in New Orleans. Here’s their gorgeous courtyard which would have been full, but it had just finished storming.

 

NoJabutterNoJa combines Mediterranean with a touch of Asian for what they’ve named, “Mediterrasian” in what amounts to an extremely fresh and unique menu. Above, is the fresh baked bread with butter mixed with Ras el hanout, a spice from North Africa. It reminded me of a mild, but savory pumpkin and was absolutely delicious.

 

NoJa MenuMy husband and I had originally planned to only make a run to Costco, but decided to first swing by NoJa for a quick bite of dinner. We’d never been there before and were surprised to find that reservations are preferred. The staff was so kind and accommodating and suggested we sit at the bar. Of course, I had tossed on pearls for Costco, so I felt better about showing up and having it be “business casual,” while we were “GIANT BOTTLE OF TIDE casual.” Lesson? Listen to your Mother and always wear the pearls. Even to Costco.

DSC02568The dining room was beautiful, with that dark, old building vibe that I love about downtown Mobile.

NoJa KitchenThe building was originally constructed in the 1840’s. That’s 18 – not 19!

 

 

Chakly Diggs, NoJa Mobile ALThe owner of NoJa is Chakli Diggs, who is best known to Mobilians for his previous restaurant, Bienville Bistro. Born in Ethiopia and educated in the United States, Chakli is fluent in several languages and has traveled around the world to sample the best of all cuisines.

 

NoJaSteakI had the Hanger Steak, and it was fabulous. Mouthwatering, grilled perfectly with goat cheese and spiced  potatoes. My husband had an equally delectable Smoked and Sous-Vide White Duck. I cannot tell you how much I love to find a restaurant with truly unique dishes!

 

Dinner at NoJaAs we left NoJa, the rain had finally stopped and we heard the distant sounds of a saxophone. A festive crowd was walking around the area, going into a show at The Crescent and into small pubs. Downtown Mobile, I still love Fairhope, but I’ll be over to see you a lot more often now.

If you are ever in Mobile, Alabama, be sure you make plans to visit NoJa, and to assure you have a seat, call ahead and of course, wear your pearls!

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NoJa is open Tuesday – Saturday evenings from 5:30-9:30pm. To see NoJa’s web site, read their menu and find their phone number along with directions, click HERE.

  • Your pictures are great, really make Noja an enticing place! Love the part about the pearls… a staple for any southern gal, …anywhere! 🙂

  • Whenever I read Southern Living..which I read from cover to cover, I am always ready for a roadtrip to whatever locale they feature for foodies…your plate looked delicious…my hips are quite thankful I could only lick my computer screen rather than actually eat…just kidding didn’t lick the screen, but I was wearing my pearls while reading your post…our mothers had a lot in common.

    • Hey, just looking at these photos makes me hungry for NoJa all over again. When they brought out my plate, I thought for certain I wouldn’t be able to finish it all, but . . . well, let’s just say, there was no doggie bag going home with me.

  • How do you continue to find these amazing eating establishments? The food looks wonderful. This might be reason enough to visit Mobile soon. Thanks for sharing .

    • Thanks Katie. We had just trudged through pouring rain, so I felt a bit drenched, but the good food perked me right up!

  • Thanks for updating the latest shopping and restaurants in Mobile. Noja’s looks like my new must “go there” restaurant on my next visit to Mobile. Food looks really good. Enjoyed your photos…….

  • I don’t know if your Costco is the same as the one in Connecticut but if it is, try their blue crab appetizer – it is wonderful. So is their chocolate covered mango.

  • Its been a while since I would agree with an article like this, but you hit the nail on the head and gave credit to the right people starting with the Mayor. Proud of both sides of the bay.

  • Love that courtyard and agree that it’s very reminiscent of New Orleans. Maybe we could move to Mobile after all . . . !!

  • Hi LBPO! Oh, I’m so glad you found this great sounding restaurant – you food looks scrumptious! I have to tell you, I love COSTCO too and there isn’t one around here. When we go we have to drive to Massachusetts that’s about an hour and a half drive away. But we have to bite the bullet occasionally and go there. We have a BJs here and it’s similar but it’s not COSTCO!
    Be a sweetie,
    shelia 😉

  • Corn bread salad in a jar and Smoked Sous-Vide White Duck in the same week. Only on Fairhope Supply Company!
    Oh, I love Costco, too. I went there yesterday.

    • Yes, I’m turning into quite the gourmet! hahaha! Maybe I’ll run into you on the giant cheese aisle! I bought a huge amount of cheese for my son’s visit and they didn’t eat half of it! Boo Hoo, we’ve been having cheese and fruit snacks every night!

  • We attended a fabulous wedding in May in Mobile. Great downtown, we stayed there and we were shuttled to wedding events. So fabulous! We hit the Mardi Gras Museum and a downtown pub. My personal Costco favorites, their brand of coffee beans – says roasted by Starbucks and delicious. May be a knock off Starbucks, but still is great. Stay away from the white queso, far, far away! It is right next to the artichoke dip, just sayin’….

  • Glenda and I will go to it upon your recommendation.
    Romantic and built in dark woods. Reminds me of France. I remember that the old style restaurants of France where I dined in. A movie celebrating chefs of France, “The Hundred-Foot Journey” that is very funny and apropos.

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