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Mediterranean in Orlando - Must give this place a try if you haven't already

Maraya at Sabrina’s

I and my traveling companion were tired and hungry after a long day at a convention in Orlando. We stumbled outside of the hotel zone and found this wonderful restaurant. My travel companion loves Greek food so we anything in the general area we were willing to give a try.

The sign is a bit hard to read and we initially thought it said Maraya at Sabina’s (which we couldn’t figure out the med and german aspect) but it’s actually Maraya at Sabrina’s Mediterranean Cuisine. It has an awkward entrance from the road in that you have to go up the driveway for the strip mall and then do a u turn (there is no direct access to restaurant from the road) and we weren't sure about the place from the outside but boy are we glad we went!!!

It was fairly empty which was hard for us to comprehend as it was Saturday night around 7:00ish. The owners were fabulous. Took the time to explain the dishes, made us a little plate of samples. Everything is home cooked, made on premises.

I ordered the kibbeh, kefta dinner and for desert – kenafa. I enjoyed all of it but especially couldn’t get enough of the kenafa . I have had kefta before but this was a first for me with kibbeh and kenafa. Everything tasted like heaven. I didn’t want to leave and wish I lived closer so I could every week.

The whole restaurant experience was great - the food to die for. I don't understand why more chowhounds in the Orlando area have not found this place and raved about it.

Will definitely go back the next time I'm in Orlando.

They also have a hookah terrace but it was a bit cold when we were there so did not explore.

They are located at 8100 Crystal Clear Lane in Orlando, FL

Website is www.marayarestaurant.com

Check it out – you won’t be disappointed.
Bethany

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Maraya Restaurant Corp
8100 Crystal Clear Ln, Orlando, FL 32809

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  1. Schoenick,

    Good call! I always keep a list of recommended places from the Chowhound boards for when I travel on business and your recommendation appeared just before a trip to Orlando. You said that this place was Greek, but I would describe it as more Middle Eastern, but perhaps I got that impression because my waitress said that she was from Lebanon.

    I had three dishes. Two were excellent and one was good. The good one was deep fried U6 butterflied shrimp, which were fresh, huge, delightfully sweet, shrimpy tasting, and not overly breaded. The shrimp came with a rather thick, red sauce, which was much more spicy than typical seafood sauce and loaded with minced vegetables. I identified onions, garlic and something that made it hot (chili?) but couldn't figure out what else was in the sauce.
    The sauce came in a little metal cup. They needed to have served more with the huge shrimp.

    The second dish was hummus. The waitress insisted that I try this dish and I am glad that I did. Hummus tends to have slightly gritty quality to it, but this was smooth as peanut butter, although thinner, and did, in fact, have nutty quality to it. It came topped with a non-bitter olive oil and was served with a moist pita bread.

    The third dish was center-cut lamb chops. These were, maybe, the best lamb chops which I have ever had--juicy, tender, with a slight crust. The waitress told me that they came from "his" farm, pointing vaguely toward the back of the restaurant. This place was certainly worth the trip for the lamb chops alone.

    Maraya at Sabrina's is located at the corner of Sand Lake Road and Orange Blossom Trail right in front of a mall. It is, essentially, in the mall's parking lot. Business seems light, which is a shame, because the food is very good to excellent. Give it a try, especially the lamb chops! And thanks, Schoenick, for the tip!

    -----
    Maraya Restaurant Corp
    8100 Crystal Clear Ln, Orlando, FL 32809

    2 Replies
    1. re: gfr1111

      Looking forward to giving it a try.

      1. re: herbert1

        I'll check it out this weekend. It definitely looks promising!!!!

    2. Thanks for the recommendation! We went last weekend and it was really good :) They brought us hummus and warm pita to start and we had some babaghanoush as well - both excellent. We had the house specialties - Kibbeh then kefta, (meat skewers) and tabouleh salad. Everything was delicious and such a refreshing change from the usual fare you find around Orlando. It's about a 15-minute drive from Universal, great value for money and well worth a visit.

      1. Finally made it by tonight. The apps were outstanding. (taboueh and a eggplant spread). entrees were mixed, My chiken kebob was very good, my friends eggplant parm was poor. We had the baklava for desert, it was dry and stale. The service was mediocre, and the temp of the restaurant was pretty warm. I will give it another shot and stick to the more traditional foods next time.

        1. I took my mom here last Saturday, and I have to tell you, I was TOTALLY impressed! We were treated like special guests by the owners, given free wine and extra appetizers, as well as little samples of what they had. The tabouleh, hummus, and babaganoush were some of the best I have ever had anywhere! And the lamb........WOW!!!!! It was juicy, flavorful, and plentiful. It came with Lebanese rice seasoned perfectly and a small salad of mixed field greens with house-made dressing. Dessert was the kenafa (a fried cheese dish with syrup). Totally unique (at least to us) and absolutely wonderful.

          I intend to go back and have recommended it to many of my friends. They have a 3-4 man band that plays on Fridays and Saturdays (and other days, but I don't have the specifics). What a great find. Thank you, schoenick (aka Bethany), for this great find!!!!!!

          1. True lebanese cuisine, fresh food, authentic dishes!

            Visiting from DC, came across the place as we were in the mall next door. I actually came across this post and decided to give it a try.

            The chef and owners are from lebanese origin, extending the lebanese welcoming culture. You can expect fresh prepared dished, daily baked bread, extra virgin olive oil cooking, all the flavor of lebanon.

            I have been to multiple lebanese places (in metro areas: DC, NY, Chicago, Boston) and this is hands down the best lebanese food I have had since a long long time!

            Must give it a try.

            1. I was in Orlando the other week for fun and brought my partner to the restaurant. We were the only ones there on a Wednesday at 6:30pm. As per my last visit, the food was amazing - I wanted to keep eating as everything tasted so wonderful.

              In speaking to the server who I believe is also a co owner in the restaurant, unless things signifigantly change, they will be unable to keep the restaurant open. I find this a travesty. To have such amazing food and a really nice space go out of business seems so sad. It blows my mind that chain restaurants that serve mediocre food are extremely busy and a place like this with a great staff and awesome food will most likely have to close.

              So, spread the word - wouldn't it be a nice success story to say that Chowhound helped keep a great restaurant open?

              3 Replies
              1. re: schoenick

                I agree, schoenick, it would be a shame to see this restaurant close. They have such excellent food and attentive service! By the way, restaurant.com has gift certificates for this place, and if you use the code "STEAK" each certificate comes out to be 70% off (good 'til 8/23). It's a great way to try this out-of-the-way restaurant.

                1. re: schoenick

                  We swung by to try it but there were no cars in the parking lot - we hate being the only ones is a restaurant, kinda creeps us out. So we passed and went across the street to Middle East Market for counter service as well as a store for take home ingredients like manaeesh bi zaatar and pickled turnips. Highly recommend this place as well when you want some good food without the need for a sit-down meal.

                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/middle-east-m...

                  1. re: YosemiteSam

                    Give it a chance, you won't be sorry! Really!!!