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click to enlarge meze_marayas_labneh_3.jpg

Mezze madness: Three Orlando restaurants where sampling is key 

Ever feel like the best choice is, well, a little bit of everything? Here are three places to indulge in the art of sampling. Because happiness is knowing you can have the labneh and the muhammara. And pickles.

Maraya Restaurant
If owner Violette Haddad is in the kitchen, she'll fashion the best falafel in the city and plate it along with hummus, tabbouleh and, depending on what she has on hand, any combination of baba ghanoush, kibbeh, muhammara, shanklish, pickles and if you're really lucky, her silky, swoon-inducing labneh (pictured above). 8100 Crystal Clear Lane, 407-856-8155; marayarestaurant.com

Flame Kabob
We've long been fans of Rafat Hamdeh's Palestinian delights (particularly the beef kebabs and rice), and his mezze platter of hummus, baba ghanoush, grape leaves, tabbouleh, kibbeh and falafel is an absolute take-home fave. 7536 Dr. Phillips Blvd., 407-248-2280, kaboborlando.com

Cedar's Restaurant
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of driving along Sand Lake Road in Dr. Phillips, you'd do well to pop into Cedar's and sample the first-class sampler of hummus, tabbouleh, baba, spinach pie and falafel. Plus you'll get some of the best fresh-baked pita anywhere. 7732 W. Sand Lake Road, 407-351-6000, orlandocedars.com.com ­ —FK

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