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Best High-End Middle Eastern 

Le Mediterranean

4955 N. Sabino Canyon Road

STAFF PICK: One of the best bets for a quick bite is a falafel sandwich and some hummus at one of Tucson's many casual eateries. But if you're looking for Middle Eastern food in more sophisticated surroundings, Le Mediterranean is the place to go. The specialty here is Lebanese cuisine, served on linen tablecloths in the glow of candlelight and live entertainment. The extensive menu ranges from simple to sublime, with so many delectable lamb dishes it's dizzying. But don't let the elegant ambiance fool you -- the kitchen retains all the hominess and flavor of the mom-and-pop joints you love. The smoky eggplant baba ghanouj is a splendid way to begin a meal here, a peerless dip for the accompanying basket of pita bread. Grilled lamb cooked to your specification makes a stellar kabob, tender and redolent with the spicy tang of a garlic marinade. The stuffed cabbage rolls are delicious, wrapped around a discreet packet of rice, tomato, onion and a seasoning distinguished by a pinch of clove. Moussaka (layers of eggplant and ground lamb baked in a creamy béchamel sauce) is a classic and delicious preparation. The entertainment is usually provided by a belly dancer, who circulates throughout the dining room at intervals with her finger symbols and flowing scarves to the delight of some and the shy discomfort of others (the latter being a vicarious delight unto itself). Service is efficient and well-informed about the menu.

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