Food + Dining Main

First Look: Phoenician

There are grape leaves, falafel and veggies galore at Naples' latest Lebanese eatery (with plenty of shish, kibbeh and shawarma for good measure).

BY August 14, 2018

Because we’re now in the lucky position of having not one but three Lebanese restaurants populating Naples zip codes (not to mention, even a few more with similar culinary influences, like Bha! Bha! and Olympia), here’s a run-down of the merits of Phoenician, the most recent to open up.

It’s the furthest north of the bunch, in a plaza on Immokalee Road just east of Airport-Pulling. It’s a more classically elegant dining room and bar than what you may expect from a narrow strip mall space. And if you have an episode of déjà vu when you enter, it’s because everything down to the terracotta table cloths was left in place from the previous tenant (El Gaucho Inca Bistro, which is now up in Fort Myers)—the only noticeable change is that the framed photographs of Argentina were swapped with those of Lebanon.

There’s a full bar with some pretty creative cocktails, like the Lebanese Limonada ($12), which drinks like a sophisticated spiked lemonade with hints of rose and mint. But what left the biggest impression was this: It’s so easy for vegetarians to find something to eat that it should be shouted from the rooftops. Witness the first page of a two-page menu: It is broken into two neat and equal sections, vegetarian and non-vegetarian—plus, anything that’s fully veggie is denoted with a cursive green “V.” Pita bread, which is ultra-thin and light, is delivered with an herbaceous sumac-spiked olive oil, so you can justify eating a helping or two more.

Everything is highly sharable, and I have a feeling I’ll be coming back just for the lunchtime falafel sandwich ($9) or platter ($14). The fried chickpea nuggets were not even a hint dry—perfectly moist to the core and crunchy on the outside. The Tour of Byblos platter ($19, with thick hummus, an appropriately smoky baba ghanouj, leafy tabbouleh, tart grape leaves and two of those falafel with tahini) and a lunch order of chicken shawarma ($14, with a unique, unfamiliar blend of seasoning) were enough to carry two of us until a late dinner, and we’re planning to return again for another tour of Lebanon.

To plan a visit:
2700 Immokalee Road, Naples
(239) 431-7928



Related Images: