Mediterranean cuisine meets southwestern cooking at Kabbab House, where natural marinades, gourmet ingredients, and a mesquite grill flesh out a savory menu. Pita bread accompanies each appetizer, including a quintet of stuffed grape-leaves ($4.99) and hummus ($4.99). Guests can slurp a bowl of harira soup, which contains fresh tomatoes, celery, cilantro, chickpeas, and lentils sprinkled with mouth-opening Moroccan spices ($3.99). To keep stomach muscles from atrophying, dine on merguez kabbab, an entree of grilled lamb and beef sausage soaked in house spices and served with rice and house salad ($11.99), or vegetarian couscous ($8.99).
Born in the Lebanese city of Tripoli before moving to Canada in the '80s, Frank Ishraki was raised on the traditional cultures and flavors of his homeland. Ishraki dedicated himself to sharing the classic, healthy flavors of Lebanese cuisine, first in Canada, then at his family of restaurants around Orlando. The Lakeland location is a convenient, quick-service shawarma stop complete with chicken, lamb, and beef loaded on rotating spits to cook evenly and slowly hypnotize diners. Guests can enjoy meats wrapped in pita or served on a platter with tabbouleh and hummus or go vegetarian with rice-stuffed grape leaves and fried falafel.
At 50 calories per serving, the only things missing from d'Lites ice cream are artificial sweeteners and sadness. Each day at the shop, two specialty flavors guest star (chocolate and vanilla are available every day), including concoctions such as honey-roasted pecan, piña colada, English toffee, blackberry, and more. In all, d'Lites has more than 200 flavors in its recipe Rolodex. The shop slings soft serve into cups ($2.39–$4.19), cake cones ($2.99), and luxurious chocolate waffle cones ($4.09), as well as into specialty creations such as shakes ($3.09), sundaes ($3.89), and their signature Banana d'Lites ($4.19). If you want to shower a newlywed in sprinkles, order them and any other extra toppings for $0.55–$0.75 each, and if you're on the run, grab a to-go pint ($5.09).
The mealtime maestros at Maza Restaurant orchestrate a menu of clay-oven baked tandoori entrees, flavorful curries, and biryani dishes from Afghanistan and India. Appetite adventurers can kick-off culinary excursions with crispy samosas ($5), which pocket seasoned potatoes, green peas, or minced lamb inside a golden puff pastry shell that’s accessible to humans, but impenetrable to disoriented sea otters. Smoky clay-oven flavors infiltrate tandoori feasts, including lamb chops ($28) and chicken tikka marinated in a fragrant yogurt, garlic, and ginger sauce ($14), or opt for an Afghan kabob such as the lamb gosfand kabob ($18) or sirloin soltani kabob ($16). The lamb vindaloo entree stews tender meat with ginger, onions, and potatoes in a spicy vindaloo sauce ($16), and the murgh biryani buries chicken, nuts, and raisins in a mound of fluffy saffron-infused rice ($13). For dessert, sweet teeth can sink into the ras malai dumpling swollen with honey and ground pistachios ($5), or scavenge through crispy layers of baklava for nuts and honey-covered antiquities ($4).
When Paul Russo moved from New York to Florida, he gained year-round beautiful weather. On the other hand, he lost access to his favorite food, New York?style pizza. So, he opened a new pizza joint to celebrate his home town and beloved food. He called it NYPD Pizza. His pies?discs of fresh dough topped with a housemade marinara sauce?thrilled the community, and have continued to win awards. Most recently, the eatery was ranked the #1 pizza place in Orlando according to Trip Advisor. His restaurant even earned 24th place on the same site out of all the city's 2,882 restaurants, much to the chagrin of 2,858 restaurateurs who now wish that they, too, could just make pizza like a proper New Yorker.
Baklava Grill takes a comprehensive tack when it comes to Mediterranean cuisine—the restaurant's menu includes foods plucked from countries all around the Mediterranean, including Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon. Stuffed grape leaves and spicy muhammara give diners a taste of the area's piquant flavor profiles before entrees such as kufta kebabs and vegetarian eggplant parmesan. The zuppa di pesce is a classic seaside offering full of seafood served atop lightly marinara-sauced linguine.
Chefs also build specialty pizzas in 17 varieties, including a pesto pie with fresh basil, pine nuts, and olive oil. A selection of hot sandwiches tempts patrons with everything from chicken shawarma to beef gyros. Aside from its dinner menu, Baklava Grill also offers custom Carvel ice-cream cakes and catering services for parties of 10 or more people, or at least 5 people who can clone themselves at a moment’s notice.