Since 1999, Casbah Café has been a popular go-to spot for Middle Eastern food. From freshly-baked meat pies to Baba Ghannouj, the cuisine is authentic to its Mediterranean roots.
“We always prep our food according to our culture. Whatever it tastes like in the Middle East, we get almost the same taste,” said Nicola Barakat, the owner of Casbah Café.
The restaurant replicates the Middle Eastern atmosphere, thus offers many amenities such as limitless Hookah flavors and weekly entertainment, such as belly dancing.
Belly dancer Rayne Dunbar currently performs for crowds and has been doing so for the past 10 years. More than dancing, she enjoys decadent foods from the unique restaurant.
“My favorite dish to order is the hummus. What makes the culture so unique is the environment—truly one of a kind,” she said.
On the other side of the spectrum, Blue Bamboo, combines Southern and Asian cuisine. The owner, Dennis Chan calls it “Hip Asian Comfort Food.”
“My family has been in the restaurant business for over 80 years”, said Chef Chan.
The Chef opened house in 2005 and residents enjoy this pan-Asian fare. This distinct taste of food incorporates quality cooking techniques that he mixes with an Asian twist.
“In my classic French training they teach you to use mirepoix to build every sauce,” said Chan. “And that is onion, a carrot, and a celery product. Well in Asian cooking, the foundation is ginger, garlic and scallion. So I call that the Asian mirepoix.”
Chan garnered the Golden Spoon award and was voted Best Food in Jacksonville. There are plenty of places in restaurants where you can get a taste of international cuisine; you just have to be willing to step a little outside of your comfort zone.