The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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Archive for the ‘Mediterranean’ Category

Tucked away in a little strip mall on East Bay Drive in Clearwater, you’ll find the flavors of the Mediterranean.  The East Bistro is a small, casual restaurant where they definitely know how to marinate and season tender cuts of beef and chicken.  We started off with the baba ghanoush and pita and then split the trifecta plate.

The Baba Ghanoush had a wonderful smoky flavor with just the right amount of garlic, tahini, & lemon juice.  The pita was fresh and perfect for dipping.  This was a small order and just the right size for the two of us.  The Trifecta place normally has beef kebabs, but they had run out, so they gave us beef shwarma instead.  It was so tender with just the right blend of Mediterranean spices.  The chicken was also incredibly tender and tasty.  The plate also came with Kibbeh, rice, salad, and hummus.

Everything we ate was amazing and there were a few other things on the menu we wanted to try, but that’ll have to wait until next time.  And there will definitely be a next time.  The restaurant is small and there aren’t a lot of tables.  The food is fresh and takes a while to come out of the open kitchen and it was certainly worth the wait.  Total bill with a drink was $24.

East Bistro
4100 E Bay Drive, Unit B34
Clearwater, FL
727-798-4567

East Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food5/5
Service5/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value5/5
4.7/5

Looking for a new Mediterranean restaurant and ended up at Mirage Restaurant in Clearwater on Gulf to Bay.  Normally, we’re not too keen on buffets, but this one was surprisingly fresh and tasty.

The buffet had a variety of salads and dips, my favorite being the babaganoush.  There were several different rice and vegetarian options, stuffed grape leaves, plus chicken and beef kababs.  We tried a bunch of different things and the meats were all very tender and everything had a good mix of flavorful spices.  The baklava for dessert wasn’t too sweet and had a warm cinnamon flavor to it.  The restaurant itself is just a big open dining room, plus a patio out front.

Total bill was $47 and we’ll definitely be back again.

Mirage Restaurant
2284 Gulf to Bay Blvd
Clearwater, FL
727-724-3604

Mirage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value4/5
3.9/5

Tasty Lunch


We went back to Cafe Mezze Mediterranean in Oldsmar for lunch today.  We were surprised that there wasn’t anyone else in the restaurant.  I guess people haven’t found it yet; but the food is definitely worth a visit.  For lunch, they have a appetizer & entree special for $10.

Loren got a salad with the vegetable stew with lamb and I got the gyro with babaganoush.

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This was a lot of food for lunch and I had leftovers.  Everything was very flavorful and cooked perfectly.  I really liked the babaganoush.  It was creamy and light with a subtle smokey and lemony flavor.  The gyro was delicious and Loren said the lamb was tender in the stew.  For $21, it was a very tasty lunch.

Cafe Mezze Mediterranean
4013 Tampa Road, Ste 19
Oldsmar, FL
813-510-4080

Cafe Mezze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

Food5/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.4/5

We decided to check out Cafe Mezze Mediterranean in Oldsmar for dinner tonight.  It’s at the other end of the parking lot from Flamestone and the food was tasty.  They started us off with some bread & we ordered the fried calamari.

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The bread was thick and good for dipping in the oil.  Loren thought both the oil and calamari needed a bit more salt.  The calamari was perfectly cooked in a light batter.  It was served with a taratora sauce.  It had sort of a mayonnaise consistency, but not a strong flavor of any kind.  We both ordered kebab combos.  Loren got the adana & kofte and I got the lamb & chicken.

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They were all very flavorful and delicious.  The meats were tender and it was served with some veggies, a cabbage type slaw and rice that neither of us could stop eating.  Although we were both pretty full, I couldn’t pass up the kanefe.

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We’d had it at a different restaurant before. It’s crispy shredded phyllo dough with a soft cheese in the middle, pistachios and a honey sauce.  It’s not overly sweet, but has a bunch of different textures to it.  It’s so good.  It does take 15 minutes to cook, so either order it early or let your meal settle first so you have room for it.  So good.  Total bill with a $10 off coupon (check their website for latest coupon) was $40.  We’ll definitely be back again.

Cafe Mezze Mediterranean
4013 Tampa Road, Ste 19
Oldsmar, FL
813-510-4080

Cafe Mezze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food4/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.0/5

There are some restaurants where after the first bite you just know that you’re going to come back again.  That was our reaction at Zaytoun Mediterranean Grill.  When a basket of fresh baked pita is placed in front of you and steam actually pours out when you rip into it, you know life is good.

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It was so light and fluffy that I couldn’t stop eating it even though I knew there was a lot more food heading our way.  We decided to try the stuffed grape leaves.

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I’m usually the picky one about stuffed grape leaves, but I really liked these.  They were served cold and had this intense lemon flavor throughout.  The filling was rice, parsley, onions and tomatoes and it was soft and flavorful.  Loren thought the rice was a little too soft, but for me, they were perfect.   We also got a bowl of the lentil soup.

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It needed a touch of salt, but otherwise very good.  We decided to split the mixed grill platter.  It had grilled kufta, steak, chicken, rice and veggies.

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There was plenty of food for two.  The meats were all tender and full of flavor.  The beef was a little too spicy for me, but the kufta and chicken were so good.  They have a signature dessert on their menu that you order 30 minutes ahead of time.  It’s called a knafeh.

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It’s shredded dough with homemade cream served with pistachios and drizzled with an orange honey syrup.  We didn’t know what to expect.  The exterior is crunchy and there’s this smooth cream on the inside and the whole thing has this warm honey taste to it.  It was different than anything we’ve had before and with each bite, you savored all of the flavors and textures.  It wasn’t overly sweet either.  We ended up taking half of it home.  Overall, the food was excellent.  It did take some time to come out of the kitchen, but it was worth the wait.  I just wished they were located closer to where we live.  Total bill with a drink was $44.

Zaytoun Mediterranean Grill
10970 Cross Creek Blvd
Tampa, FL
813-345-2515

Zaytoun Mediterranean Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Food5/5
Service4/5
Atmosphere4/5
Value4/5
4.4/5