The Daily Gamecock

Arabesque Lebanese Cuisine provides casual, exotic dining


Looking for great Mediterranean food in Columbia? Look no further than Arabesque Lebanese Cuisine, a casual yet fine-dining restaurant serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern meals.

The front dining room of Arabesque is set up with authentic decorations and relaxed seating, complete with couch-like booth seats and comfortable chairs. The decor makes you feel as if you have been taken straight to a restaurant in the Middle East. Low lighting adds to the relaxed vibe for a comfortable dining experience. The back dining room is less traditional, but the seats are still adorned with decorative covers that add to the Mediterranean feel.

Mediterranean food is one the healthiest diets because it consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, olive oil and whole grains.

The menu at Arabesque features all kinds of Mediterranean dishes such as a falafel — patties made of chick peas and spices — kofta beef, chicken skewers and regional salads, such as the fellaheen salad — a mixture of cucumbers, onion, tomato and mint. Of course, no Mediterranean restaurant is complete without house-made hummus, and Arabesque’s is to die for.

Arabesque also serves Damascus bread, a flatbread baked in a brick oven and topped with sesame seeds. At only $4 as an appetizer, the Damascus bread can serve several people and is about the size of a small pizza. The bread comes out warm from the oven and is served with a blend of olive oil and spices. The Damascus bread is also great alongside a meal or with some hummus.

For those who don’t want too large of an entree, Arabesque offers wraps and sandwiches. The hummus wrap is one of the most popular, with hummus, feta cheese, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers. Some other wraps on the menu include a kofta burger or a pita turkey melt.

For the pizza lovers, Arabesque offers both traditional Mediterranean and less traditional pizzas. The Omar Fatayer pizza is Mediterranean, with feta cheese, parsley, mint and olive oil. Many of the traditional pizzas don’t come with the classic tomato sauce and include many unique toppings. However, there are a classic cheese pizza and a barbecue chicken pizza for anyone who may not want to try the more exotic varieties.

Arabesque is near Half Moon Outfitters and Eggs up Grill. The location is right outside of Five Points — a short drive or bike ride from campus. The menu is moderately priced and affordable for students, and the food is made in a timely manner. Arabesque is a great restaurant to try out with friends or to go to on a date night since it is both casual and delivers a fine dining experience. To anyone in Columbia who loves Mediterranean food, Arabesque is definitely worth a visit.