Middle Eastern Food in Bogota

The menu is certainly sexy.

The menu is certainly sexy.

Despite the expectation that due to Shakira’s existence, middle eastern food should be common here in Bogota — it’s not. These are the restaurants that I’ve tried and my review of them.

Al Khalifa, various locations, (5/13): I actually was quite awash in memories of Jordan, Bangladesh, and other Muslim and middle eastern countries when I ate here. Instead of Jesus Christ of Superstar, there was a Muslim version on the TV. The food wasn’t great but my memories are.

Beirut, Calle 117 #6-30, Usaquen, (12/13): It’s the upscale version of middle eastern food. Large and lofty.

Panaderia La 85 (Lebanese Bakery), Calle 85 near Carrera 12, (10/13): It’s not fancy. They sell Lebanese pita bread and products. They make kibbeh, hummus, and stuffed grape leaves, but I’m never sure if they have all the products all the time. I went with a friend of the owner.

Chicken on a stick, tabouleh salad, and falafel at Beirut.

Chicken on a stick, tabouleh salad, and falafel at Beirut.

Zatar, Carrera 5 #69-15, Zona G, (12/13): It was described as a hole-in-the-wall to me but it’s not. It’s hard to find only because they are in plain sight. Their awning is black with no signage. Just walk down the street from the Starbucks (oh, right, that doesn’t help). The food is good although a bit on the wet (saucy) and sweet side. The people who work there seem rather nice. At least that’s the vibe I got.

One final gripe… even I can make flat bread hot off the fire/oven… so I can’t understand why all these places serve me cold pre-made bread.

The bread spread at Beirut. The chile sauce is perhaps their version of harissa? It was HOT!

The bread spread at Beirut. The chile sauce is perhaps their version of harissa? It was HOT!

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