Lebanese Taverna

Rating: ★★★★☆

13383361_10154264557803011_1668764202_oLebanese Taverna is a Lebanese restaurant located at 2641 Connecticut Ave NW, with additional locations outside the District in Maryland and Virginia. My friend and I started with a drink at the bar. The $6 glass of wine was a good happy hour special, but the service was very slow. The bartender forgot about our tab and I had to remind him. Dinner was significantly better. The shawarma sliders were excellent; I was initially worried that they would be on burger buns, but fortunately they were in small pitas, making them much more authentic. The kibbeh was also great, with both a good crust and a tasty filling. 13388946_10154264557658011_2143209091_oThe falafel was less to my taste; I tend to prefer falafel with less parsley inside it (I am very picky about my falafel). We also ordered Arak, which was very well presented and perfectly served the traditional way with water and ice. My Lebanese-American friend hated it, but that’s only because she hates Arak in general (I do not understand that about her). For dessert, we had baklava, which was excellent. The service for our food was very good, though I do wish the place 13334462_10154264557713011_786964121_o (1)had cozier ambiance more like Mama Ayesha’s.

Afghan Grill

Rating: ★★★★

 

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Top: Kadoo Buranee, Bottom Left: Qabili Palao, Bottom Right: Lamb Tikka Kabob.

Afghan Grill is located at 2309 Calvert St NW in Woodley Park. I have never been to an Afghan restaurant that did not have two of the following words in its name: Afghan, Kabul, grill or kabob. Despite Afghan Grill’s typically unimaginative name, its food is definitely better than the average Afghan place (and I happen to love Afghan food). It is located in an unassuming storefront that looks a bit sketchy at first glance, but it is a warm and nicely decorated place inside, appropriate for a date (I’ve brought a date there and enjoyed it). I especially like their Qabili Palao, which is similar to Uzebek/Tajik Plov, but a bit more flavorful and refined. For those unfamiliar with Afghan food, it is a bit of a cross between Persian, South Asian, and Central Asian food (which makes a lot of geographic sense). If you’re only familiar with Indian food out of those three, it’s like a less spicy version of Indian food with a greater focus on meat, as well as pumpkin. The saffron, rosewater and cardamom ice cream is a must for dessert. 

 

Baked by Yael

Rating: ★★★★★

yael.jpgBaked by Yael is a bakery primarily known for its cakepops located at 3000 Connecticut Ave NW. As my friends are well aware, as a Long Island native I am an honorary Jew. I even have a Jewish alter-ego named Rabbi Grovewitz. So I of course greatly appreciate the fact that in addition to cakepops, Yael bakes traditional Jewish baked goods, including ruggalah and black and white cookies, both of which are very tasty. It’s certified kosher, though by a Conservative rabbi, which isn’t strict enough for my Orthodox friends. It has Rabbi Grovewitz’s seal of approval, though!