Al Fresco Dining at Cafe Mawal

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Plating the turmeric, paprika and garlic-spiced Mawal-style chicken.

I've yet to eat a meal at Cafe Mawal that I haven't enjoyed outside. A massive wooden deck attached to the rear of the restaurant — which used to be a single-family house in what was once a quiet Galleria-area neighborhood — almost ensures that you'll want to dine al fresco. Owner Abraham Abdallat has attached ceiling fans to the stocky branches of the oak trees that hang overhead, a quirky touch that is just one in a string of idiosyncrasies that make Cafe Mawal such an enjoyably offbeat place to dine. PHOTOS BY TROY FIELDS

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