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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The travel ban may be blocked for now, but you should still explore the cuisines of the 7 nations

Posted By and on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 3:39 PM

click to enlarge travelbanflags.jpg
So your palate was piqued by the seven nations on Trump's travel ban list (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Yemen and the Sudan), but you can't make it to Cress' 7 Courses, 7 Countries dinner? Here are a few places around town serving the food of some of those countries.

It's not the most complete list – for one, many Iranians and some Iraqis identify as Persians, so it's tough to classify them; for another, often restaurateurs serve the food that's most recognizable to potential customers, even if it's not their own country of origin (like Pakistani-run Indian restaurants, or Korean-owned sushi bars).

Plus, Orlando isn't quite there yet on some of the less omnipresent ethnic cuisines. We have just the one Ethiopian restaurant (Nile), which we pray never closes, where most big cities will have dozens. By comparison, Minneapolis has almost 50 Somali restaurants – there's even one at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport – but then, Minnesota is home to the largest Somali diaspora in the country. It's kind of sad to say, but the closest Orlandoans might get to Eastern African cuisine similar to that of the Sudan and Somalia would be at Sanaa, at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

And Columbia, South Carolina, of all places, has a Libyan restaurant (though their menu reads just like any Middle Eastern restaurant, full of babaghanoush and ... gyros?), but no such joy for Orlando. So although we can't steer you to all the cuisines of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, here are some places you can explore some of the flavors. If you know of others, please send them our way.

click to enlarge Kebab platter at Zora Grille - PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • photo by Rob Bartlett
  • Kebab platter at Zora Grille
Iranian Restaurants/Markets
Shiraz Grill
Zora Grille
Ali Baba
Shiraz Market

Yemeni Restaurants
Kabsah Grill

Syrian Restaurants
Ruby’s/Baba's Mediterranean Grill

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