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2 Lebanese Restaurants Mark New Era in Naples

Our food scene is benefiting from a recent surge in dining options from the coastal Levantine nation.



Nicole Nixon

 

It may be premature to start polishing a trophy, but based on early feedback, it seems as though Kareem’s Lebanese Kitchen is poised to grab an award or two down the road for its authenticity. People raised in Beiruit and other strongholds in Lebanon have not held back praise for nearly every dish on offer at the restaurant since it opened on the East Trail in March (and people like me, fans amassed over time and plates of tabouleh, respect how chef-owner Rachid Eido is putting on his own sophisticated twist through a delicate touch and inventive entrées that make this so much more than an ordinary falafel joint).

Beef and chicken shawarma at Kareem’s Lebanese Kitchen

The news about Kareem’s is actually the latest in a groundswell of opportunity for hummus, dolma and kebab enthusiasts in Southwest Florida. The first in the wave of Lebanese restaurants to sweep Naples, Moura Bistro, launched in a new strip mall on Pine Ridge and Livingston roads about two years ago. And on May 3, another self-professed Lebanese bistro, the Phoenician, had its grand opening for lunch and dinner in the former El Gaucho Inca space on Immokalee and Airport-Pulling roads (the interior, FYI, is unchanged, down to the trademark umber tablecloths).

With Kareem’s lunch service taking flight in May, and plans in the works at the Phoenician to eventually unveil a pita oven as a functional decorative statement, we’re sure the praise will keep coming.

 

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