Survey Results 2011: Best Lebanese Restaurant
The results of this question in the survey don’t surprise me at all. I think the order should be switched, with the third place coming in first, but I understand that most people are going to go for the least expensive choice.
This question had the smallest number of different restaurants receiving votes – only nineteen restaurants in the list. Most of those just received one vote. This category also had one of the lowest number of people voting – 566. I can’t help but wonder if this is because the food isn’t popular in general, or if many folks just don’t recognize the vast difference between restaurants as you get away from the most basic dishes of the cuisine.
Out of 566 votes cast:
- Nicholas – 37% of the vote. 318 Southeast Grand Avenue, Portland, OR 97214 (503) 235-5123. 3233 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232 (503) 445-4700 Map
- Ya Hala – 23%. 8005 Southeast Stark St. Portland, OR 97215 (503) 256-4484 Map
- Karam Lebanese – 19%. 316 Southwest Stark St. Portland, OR 97204 (503) 223-0830 Map. My review (updated 1/11)
There are several other Lebanese restaurants that are at least equal in quality to the three mentioned here, and arguably better than choices one and two. Hoda’s on Belmont Street is excellent (have not tried their second location on Fremont.) The recently expanded Habibi is in the same league as the favorites here. And the nearly invisible Hush Hush in downtown is inexpensive and delectable. Their pita-producing machine is a delight to watch, and the breads come out piping hot and fresh.
“if many folks just don’t recognize the vast difference between restaurants as you get away from the most basic dishes of the cuisine”
I would put myself in that category. Lebanese/Middle Eastern is not a cuisine that I choose all that often because of the apparent sameness in offerings and quality for the benchmark dishes across different restaurants, and those dishes just don’t thrill me enough to come back and delve deeper into the menu. But I would kill for a really good Persian restaurant to come to Portland, because living in Orange County for three years I developed a palate for what differentiates good from mediocre Persian joints, and for whatever reason I find the flavors of staple Persian offerings more compelling than Lebanese.
For Persian cuisine, suggest you check out Shiraz. They just opened a new location in the Pearl where the Everett St. Bistro used to be. Haven’t tried the new place yet, but their other location in Beaverton is terrific. We plan to try their new location just as soon as we can.
seconded. seriously good food. dying to get into the new location.
I used to go to Abou Karim on SW 2nd and Pine all the time, but the place closed and came back as something else. Otherwise, I would have answered the question. :-) I hope to find a new favorite place soon, maybe this survey/discussion will help.