3405 Payne St.
Falls Church, VA 22041
Neighborhood: Falls Church
Cuisines: Middle Eastern
Open Monday through Friday 10 AM to 11 PM; Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to midnight.
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes
Price Range: Inexpensive
Reservations: Not Needed
Starters, $4.95 to $16.95; entrées, $8.25 to $27.95
Special Features: Wheelchair Accessible, Kid Friendly, Outdoor Seating, Good for Groups
Scene: Food Specials, Outdoor Seating
Not even the food of the Middle East is enough to bring people together; disagreements over the provenance of many dishes—as well as which people’s version is better—are legion. But in Falls Church, such zesty staples of the Mideast table as baba ghanoush, kibbe, and the fava-bean dish called foul are free of political baggage and can be appreciated purely as culinary art.
The kitchen works with a light touch—a must when it comes to such hearty fare as braised lamb shanks and lamb makluba (an upside-down rice casserole). The mostly Lebanese desserts, displayed under a heat lamp near the cash register, are among the best reasons to visit; a few bites of baklava or basboosa, a sticky semolina pastry, with a cup of mint tea are a wonderfully civilized ending.
Also good: Veggie combo platter; harira, a Moroccan lentil soup; chicken shawarma; kinafa, a pastry made with vermicelli threads.