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MIDDLE EASTERN

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BABYLON CAFÉ
7724 Maple St. 314-0010
Located in a trendy Uptown neighborhood, this caf — dwells on simplicity, with a Mediterranean menu that has no pretense. The rosemary-infused lamb chops is a signature dish served with fragrant basmati rice and vegetables. There are tons of vegetarian offerings as well. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BYBLOS
3218 Magazine St. 894-1233
Serving updated regional Mediterranean dishes, Byblos has found its niche with dishes like chicken shawarma: thin strips of marinated chicken accompanied by Arabic rice and fresh hummus. The sleek surroundings attract a cocktail crowd at the bar area. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

BYBLOS MARKET
2020 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 837-9777
Line up at the counter and order from a variety of Mediterranean goodies. Watch the owner, Mitwali, slice tender meat from a gigantic rotating cylinder for your gyro. Watch for daily specials and try something new. You can shop for meat or spices in the market area while you're waiting. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

CASABLANCA
3030 Severn Ave., Metairie 888-2209
You won't find Bogart here, but you will find Moroccan culinary presentations. Tanzia, usually a Passover or holiday dish, is served here. This roasted chicken dish is cooked with figs, apricots and plums that turn into a luscious marmalade glaze. Reservations recommended. Lunch Sun.-Fri., dinner Sun.-Thu. Credit cards. $$

DIXIE GYROS
110 Carondelet St. 523-6614
Gyros aren't the only thing this Greek eatery in the CBD offers. It also serves up a variety of Middle Eastern dishes for a reasonable price. For breakfast, you can get a Greek omelet and for lunch, you can order spaghetti and meatballs, soup or a shish kebab. No reservations. Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

LEBANON'S
1500 S. Carrollton Ave. 862-6200
Riverbend has become an ethnic restaurant haven, and authentic Middle Eastern vittles rule at Lebanon's, from the musabaha to the killer kebabs. The chicken shawarma is perfectly spiced and the hummus is made. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MONA'S CAFÉ
1120 S. Carrollton Ave. 861-8174; 504 Frenchmen St. 949-4115; 2820 E. Causeway Approach, Mandeville (985) 624-2977; 4126 Magazine St. 894-9800; www.shopno.com/monasMiddle
Eastern comfort food is what diners of every ethnicity crave from Mona's. The Mona's Special is full of Meze items Ñ hummus, baba ghanoush, grape leaves, tabouli, falafel, kibby and labneh Ñ to quell even the most ravenous of appetites. If you have any room left, order the juicy lamb chops. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $

MOONLIGHT CAFE
1921 Sophie Wright Place 522-7313
Moonlight Cafe opens for lunch and dinner, but this Lower Garden District restaurant really shines after midnight. Into the wee hours of the night the kitchen happily turns out Middle Eastern dishes, like tuna, salmon or shrimp kebabs, and the signature Moonburger with mozzarella, sauteed mushrooms and grilled onions. From midnight to 3 a.m., this night owl's paradise runs a happy hour drink special. No reservations. Call for hours. Credit cards and checks. $

PHOENICIA
4201 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie 889-9950
Phoenicia is tucked away from the busy boulevard, but inside awaits a Lebanese culinary feast. Those in the know come for the grape-leaf dishes, large green grape leaves are stuffed with basmati rice, fragrant herbs and spiced ground meat and cooked. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

SALT 'N' PEPPER RESTAURANT
400 Iberville St. 561-6070
This no-frills Quarter eatery is home to northern Indian food. You can smell the fresh-baked naan or the aroma of chicken biryanee coming from the kitchen. American fare is available as well, including pizzas and fried seafood. No reservations. Lunch, dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

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