Top five Lebanese restaurants in South Florida

Gourmet hummus dish t (Layan Abu Tarboush/ SFMN)

Authentic Lebanese cuisine is a doorway to Middle Eastern culture with a taste of rich Levantine flavors and a notable influence of Mediterranean and French cuisines.

If you are on a healthy diet but still want flavorful food, a Lebanese restaurant should be your first choice. Instead of using butter, Lebanese cuisine makes extensive use of olive oil, which adds nutritional value while enriching the flavor. This unique cuisine has gained popularity in South Florida because of its transformative use of spices and herbs that add flavor, fragrance and color to any dish. But beware, if you do not like garlicky and citrus flavors, it is not for you!

Lebanese barbeque including kebabs and grilled vegetables. (Photo courtesy of Layali Miami)

Layali Miami
11402 NW 41st St.  
Miami, FL 33178
(305) 403-0188

Layali Miami, which translates to Miami nights, is a traditional Lebanese restaurant and hookah lounge in Doral. It was designed to showcase Lebanon’s wild nightlife with its pop Arabic music and trendy décor. This is a spectacular spot if you are looking to spice up your dining experience. You get to watch a belly dancing show while enjoying a three-course dinner. They also meals that include a number of appetizers, kebabs, rice and a soft drink on the side. these range from $29 to $60 depending on the quantity. There is a selection of lamb, beef, chicken and shrimp kebabs. They also have a range of Middle Eastern desserts including knafeh, and baklava.

A plate of kibbeh nayyeh garnished with olives, fresh onion and mint. (Photo courtesy of Magdoos)

Magdoos
30 NW. 34th St. 
Miami, FL 33127
(786) 703-8155

Located in Wynwood, Magdoos serves its food in “mezze” style which means a variety of small plates featuring a combination of cold and hot food, including vegetables, meats and dips. They are most famous for their kibbeh nayyeh, priced at $16, which is made of minced raw lamb mixed with fine bulgur and spices. It is often served with mint leaves, olive oil and green onions. Magdoos has an energetic ambiance a seamless fusion of authentic Middle Eastern food and urban modernity. It has indoor seating and an outdoor terrace that makes it ideal for casual or fine dining. You can enjoy a hookah with a cocktail or go for their soulful Middle Eastern food, or simply do it all!

Chicken shawarma sandwich. (Photo courtesy of Delights of Beirut)

Delights of Beirut
7400 SW. 57th Ave.
Miami, FL 33143
(786) 558-4954

If you are looking for the most authentic shawarma in Miami, this is the place to go. Delights of Beirut, in Coral Gables, brings a taste of home with their popular chicken shawarma sandwich. At $12 a sandwich, you get grilled spicy chicken covered with a signature garlic sauce or “toum,” some homemade pickles all wrapped in a fresh pita bread. Because shawarma is usually eaten as fast food, Delights of Beirut relies on takeout orders but has a table or two for dining in.

Shakshuka topped with  arugula, sumac and chili pepper. (Photo courtesy of Amal)

Amal
3480 Main Hwy Suite 100
Miami, FL 33133
(786) 369-0846

On the higher end, Amal puts a contemporary twist on traditional Lebanese cuisine.  Incorporating core Middle Eastern ingredients like lamb, chicken, yogurt, and chickpeas into state-of-the-art recipes. Amal stands out with its breakfast selection or “terwika” by serving manakish which is a popular Lebanese flatbread topped with cheese, za’atar and minced meat. They also serve fatteh and shakshuka, two prominent Levantine breakfast items.

Grape leaves with potatoes and fresh mint. (Layan Abu Tarboush/ SFMN)

Caffe Tonny
192 NE 3rd Ave.
Miami, FL 33132
(305) 539-0100

Even though Caffe Tonny is a cafe and a deli, it just had to be on the list. Located ainthe heart of downtown, this humble place serves great Middle Eastern platters with hummus, falafel, grape leaves and a spinach pie for $13. They also have Arabic tea, which is a staple in any Lebanese outing.

Layan Abu Tarboush is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism and a minor in international relations. She is an international student from Jordan interested in reporting on middle eastern politics and affairs. She also likes singing, writing and watching movies.