Sunday, December 06, 2009

Middle Eastern Cuisine in the LV

When I was in Easton last week, I noticed a sign announcing Phoenicia Restaurant (154 Northampton St., Easton) would be opening soon. I saw on a blog this week that the restaurant recently joined the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Chamber is hosting a ribbon-cutting event for them. I checked out the web site and learned that it will be opening on December 10, and the Grand Opening Friday & Saturday nights, December 11 & 12 , will feature live entertainment and belly dancing.

I was thinking to myself that it might be the only Middle Eastern restaurant in Easton. Both Olive Branch Cafe & Restaurant (355 Broadway, Bethlehem) and Petra Mediterranean (81 W Broad St, Bethlehem) feature Middle Eastern dishes, but I think Allentown has cornered the market on real Middle Eastern food in the Lehigh Valley: Damascus Restaurant‎ (449 North 2nd Street, Allentown); Habibi Sweetheart Restaurant‎ (1429 Lehigh Street, Allentown); and Aladdin Restaurant (651 Union Boulevard, Allentown). I know there are some loyal LVT blog readers who are big fans of Middle Eastern cuisine - what's your favorite? I know that Petra's food is a little Moroccan and a little Jordanian, Habibi is Jordanian, and Phoenicia will be Lebanese. From where in the Middle East do the others originate?

Also, does Easton have room for another fabulous restaurant? (Sort of a rhetorical question.)


  1. Topperwein12/06/2009

    Easton used to have Cliff House which was sort of homey Lebanese cooking. Damascus is Syrian cooking and I think Aladdin is as well, which is basically the same thing as Lebanese and Jordanian food - it's called Shami cuisine, or Levantine in English. We all eat the same things at home (and speak the same dialect, etc), but with a few regional variations.

    I did a review of LV ME places here, from the POV of a Middle Eastern home cook who recently moved here from the ME. Personally, from that perspective, I wish people who go into the ME restaurant business would branch out to Egyptian, Yemeni, even Iraqi style food. Maybe Phoenicia will be different and I am willing to give it a try at some point.

  2. Anonymous12/06/2009

    Unfortunately, Habibi closed :(

  3. Anonymous12/08/2009

    Gyros Queen, 16th & Liberty has Egyptian, started 20 years ago in Wescoesville as Gyros King, sold and moved to present location, doubled in size. Also has dancers on weekends.

  4. Aladdin is my all time #1, but the desserts at Olive Branch are pretty insane. ACI Halal in Allentown is a Turkish deli with delicious middle-eastern style salads. Also disgusting meat, but I know that most people don't share my feelings on that subject.

  5. I received this comment via e-mail:

    I took a quick glance at your blog recently and wondered if you have discovered the Elias Market on Fullerton and the Soumaya Bakery. I apologize if you mentioned them on the blog already and I missed that. I will tell you that we went to Petra on a Friday night when their Belly Dancer was there and she was exquisite. The best I have ever seen. Young, beautiful, talented and friendly.
    BTW, I had a conversation with the owner (Elias) after a group of 8 of us had dinner there and we were charged $25 in corkage fees. Although their menu states a $5 per bottle fee, it totally discouraged me from bringing in large groups. He immediately sat down and wrote a gift card for $25 for me and the next time we ate there with a party of 4 he waived our corkage fee.