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Authentic Lebanese Food in Seattle area?

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bigsuff May 9, 2008 12:03 PM

Hi everyone,

I've been living in Seattle for a little over a year and am missing authentic Lebanese food. I grew up in and around Dearborn, Michigan which has countless Lebanese restaurants and am looking for something nearly as authentic as what I could get back home.

I've been to several Indian and Greek restaurants in the area, but haven't found any authentic Lebanese. Does anyone know where in the Greater Seattle Area one might be able to find some?

Thanks!

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    bighound RE: bigsuff May 9, 2008 09:00 PM

    go to karam's on 15th ave east on capitol hill. though it is the only lebanese place i have eaten, my companion fron nyc said it was very authentic. it hought it was delicious. you better like garlic though. you can thank me later.

    5 Replies
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      not the bad Steve RE: bighound May 10, 2008 09:30 AM

      bighound, I think we all appreciate your frequent suggestions, but I, for one, find your ubiquitous insistence that everyone thank you to be ungracious.

      1. re: not the bad Steve
        seattledebs RE: not the bad Steve May 13, 2008 08:27 PM

        I concur. bighound, people will appreciate your advice far more if you don't include that.

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          equinoise RE: seattledebs May 14, 2008 09:14 PM

          I hear you guys, but I actually don't mind it. I take it as bighound's terse signature sign-off, sort of like "good night and good luck".

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            mrnelso RE: equinoise May 15, 2008 06:42 PM

            And that's the way I came to appreciate it, as well, though I, too, take your point.
            And that's the way it is...

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        broksonic RE: bighound May 18, 2008 07:04 AM

        compared to the detroit places (I also grew up there), not much compares. I'd have to second Karam's as the best I have had here though. And second the "you better like garlic" suggestion - they use a ton.

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        kevsea RE: bigsuff May 10, 2008 10:31 AM

        I from Detroit orginally as well. No lebanese or middle easter food here that can compare as far as I have found. Karam's in comparison to what you can find in dearborn may not impress?

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          equinoise RE: kevsea May 13, 2008 04:54 PM

          Lebanese is a lovely and distinctive cuisine that is very tough to find in these parts. I am always looking for something comparable to the now-defunct Bacchus in DC or Lebanese Butcher in nearby VA, which offer/-ed an amazing variety of hot and cold meze. Tough to find any kibbeh around here or proper shwarma even. Med Kitchen is above average fare, but not really authentic IMO. Need to try Karam's but their menu looks pretty standard.

          Middle East food in general is lacking. I recall someone posted about hummus, and the best answer they got was a tub sold at a grocery store. One place I'd recommend trying is Truly Medditerranean in Bellevue, which is like a more upscale sandwich. Decent gyro, etc. at Aladdin in the UD and Santorini in Kirkland.

          1. re: equinoise
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            mrnelso RE: equinoise May 15, 2008 06:44 PM

            But wait. The best answer was "Make it yourself - it's easy"

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              firecracker RE: equinoise May 19, 2008 07:14 PM

              I concur on Santorini Grill in Kirkland, equinoise. I thought the family was Greek though. Their tzatziki (sp?) is terrific. The downside of Santorini is the family goes to Greece every year for the Holidays and the wait for their return in mid-January is too long!

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            burritobelle RE: bigsuff May 13, 2008 07:04 PM

            It's not Lebanese, but there is a GREAT Afghani restaurant in Issaquah. Surprisingly, in Gilman Village. The food was absolutely delicious.

            http://www.bamiyanrestaurant.com/

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              akq RE: bigsuff May 15, 2008 06:29 PM

              I've never been there, but I drove past Omar Al-Khyam Restaurant in Renton last weekend. Has anyone been there? Is it any good? 354 Sunset Blvd N, Renton, 425-271-8300

              3 Replies
              1. re: akq
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                kirkj RE: akq May 17, 2008 12:41 PM

                Omar Al-Khayam has been there forever under the same chef/owner. It's great Lebanese food. Do not pass up the cauliflower.

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                  akq RE: kirkj May 19, 2008 04:08 PM

                  Good to know. I'll check it out!

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                  chazuke RE: akq May 24, 2008 10:18 PM

                  I used to eat there regularly 20+ years ago when I worked in the area, but have not gone nearly as frequently since. I do try to make it there for an occasional lunch or when I'm going home from Seatac airport. Although the menu has shrunk since the days of yore, the food is still outstanding. Their shish tawouk is the standard against which I compare others. With a swipe in their garlic paste, the chicken kebabs which have been marinated in lemon juice explode in the mouth with flavor. The baba ghanouj is the best I've tasted anywhere; I prefer it over hummus, although Omar's version is certainly no slouch. And if you like tabouli, you will love their's, although occasionally it seems the salad might've been sitting too long (wilted parsley). I don't recall what it's called, but on Thursdays, the lunch special is a ground beef entree rolled and pan-fried (or baked?) in a tortilla-like shell that is nicely coated with tomato paste and dolloped with the garlic paste made zingier with the addition of ground jalapenos. One minus is that Omar's heats their pita breads in the microwave (a practice from the beginning) that tends to toughen the bread as it cools.

                3. ericlutzker RE: bigsuff May 17, 2008 03:04 PM

                  gorgeous george's on greenwood and 78th is far and away the best middle eastern food i've had in seattle. but he's not lebanese. he's i think a palestinan israeli. in my experience the palestinian style is pretty close to lebanese right? but i'm not an expert at all. great garlicky falafel, great schwarma (chicken and maybe lamb too), great kafta. and at dinner a lamb kabob he's very proud of but i haven't tried yet. sandwiches and plates. not cheap but worth it i think. lunch and a more sit down dinner menu. he's got quite a personality too.

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                    essman RE: bigsuff May 17, 2008 04:50 PM

                    You might want to try Mediterranean Kitchen in Bellevue. Meze tray has delicious zahrah, labnie, tabouleh, along with their fine hummous, baba ganoush, etc. The dajaj mishwi and its garlic sauce is wonderful. As a result, I hardly ever have their excellent kebobs or shish tawook. Very garlicky kitchen, huge portions, homemade lentil soups, lamb, etc. Owner, decor, and music is Lebanese. Also good for vegetarians.

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                      DTeater RE: bigsuff May 20, 2008 12:24 PM

                      I am pretty certain that the owner of Phoenicia on Alki (Hussein Khazaal) is from Lebanon, although the cuisine seems pretty eclectic. It is delicious and since he always wants to guide your choices anyway (don't know why they even bother with printed menus) you could tell him what you are craving and my guess is he'd come up with something appropriate. Service is S-L-O-W and the ambience and serviceware etc don't match the prices but the food is generally delicious.

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                        smoussette RE: DTeater Nov 13, 2008 05:23 PM

                        Aladdin's Palace in Silverdale/Omar in Rentons are the same menu and owned by the same family. My favorite restaurant EVER. I've brought at least 20 people there over the years and they worship and adore it too. Goregous George's I believe is a family friend of theirs and doesn't compare. I would go their occasionaly when I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like driving there from Seattle. I would definitely think it was good if I had nothing to compare it to.

                        1. re: smoussette
                          allisonw RE: smoussette Nov 13, 2008 09:52 PM

                          King Falafel's mighty tasty, in SEA, as is Med. Kitchen in blahvue. The MK lentil soup is righteous!

                          1. re: allisonw
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                            broksonic RE: allisonw Dec 7, 2008 10:03 AM

                            i just had King Falafel for the first time; definitely takes my recommendation as best falafel in town.

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                              equinoise RE: broksonic Dec 11, 2008 11:19 AM

                              Again, NOT Lebasnese, but good pan-Middle Eastern with an Iraqi flavor is available at Mawadda Cafe on Graham St. just off Rainier Ave. S. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/556547

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                        Scott O RE: bigsuff May 17, 2009 08:06 PM

                        Lebanese is sorely lacking in the Seattle metro area, especially in the realm of kibbeh. Besides Karam's & Omar Kayyam, Mediterranean Kitchen and its offshoots are run by a of a Lebanese family with a heavy hand in garlic but no kibbeh in sight. In short, not many options around here, I'm afraid.

                        On the Middle Eastern front, Byblos Deli in Bellevue (around Northup Way & 140th) has some of the best hummus I've tasted in the area. They sell stuffed kibbeh as a deli item, but the filling is rather bland. I tried their falafel once and it was stodgy.

                        The one Middle Eastern restaurant I never hear mentioned is - wait for it - B&O Espresso in Capitol Hill. They are well known for their bakery, but the owner & his brother are Palestinian and have gradually been broadening their Mid-East appetizers & entrees. Their Egyptian Foul has been around for ages, but now comes with hummus (and an increase in price). Some months ago I had an order of lamb brochette that was exquisite in flavor and technique. Not a guaranteed hit re: menu & specials, but worth a try if you're in the neighborhood.

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