Food and dance is an unshakable pair, similar to peanut butter and jelly or face paint and face skin. Brush shoulders with a dynamic duo with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Lebanese food and drinks at Byblos Cafe in South Tampa, which features a heaping side of belly dancing every Friday and Saturday night.
Offering traditional Lebanese cuisine in a setting decorated with classy Mediterranean themes, Byblos Cafe serves up a menu of delicious palatables. Start by sampling a smorgasbord of mezah dishes such as labneh ($5.95), a thick yogurt prepared with olive oil, dried mint, and garlic; tabbouleh ($6.50), Lebanon’s national salad of chopped parsley and cracked wheat; or a falafel ($5.95) with herbs and tahina sauce. For lunch, customers can experiment with a plate of ground-beef kafta kabob ($8.95) or the rice- and vegetable-stuffed grape leaves ($9.95) vegetarian dish, and dinnertime diners can choose from entrees such as the sliced and marinated chicken or beef shawarma ($15.95), baby lamb shanks ($19.95) with vegetables and basmati rice, and a grilled filet of pangasius ($16.95) served with batata harra. Sweet-toothed patrons can satisfy their cravings with a rich baklava ($2.95) pastry or an ismaliah ($4.95), a dish of ricotta cheese and shredded filo dough topped with syrup and pistachios.
Within the walls of Byblos, the eyes are enraptured by the colorful beiges and burgundies springing from walls, draperies, wall-mounted hookahs, and stray paintballs. A full bar is available to quench the fires of flaming throats, and zill-clicking belly dancers entertain diners throughout the restaurant every Friday and Saturday night. Byblos has been featured in various media and was the St. Petersburg Times' Editors Pick and Best of 2006.
The St. Petersburg Times named Byblos Cafe an Editors Pick and a Best of 2006.
- Byblos' food is styled Mediterranean, but the food sticks to the staples of their end of that sea: stuffed grape leaves, falafel, hummus and such, each made on the premises with polish and tradition. – Chris Sherman
- The dips were wonderfully fresh and tasty, as was the delightful tabbouleh, my favorite dish, which gave off a cheery Christmas-y aura, with its deep green parsley and bright bits of tomato. – Sara Kennedy, Creative Loafing
- Byblos Cafe has set a standard in Tampa Bay restaurants that few other Lebanese/ Middle Eastern restaurants in the country can match. – stamad, Citysearch