Cedarland Bakery

The east Dayton suburbs hold many surprises, especially in the world of little local restaurant operations. Cedarland Bakery is a great example; offering a specific flavor in Lebanese food amid a larger backdrop of Mediterranean dishes that might be a bit more familiar. Very popular with the immigrant community in the city, the grill enjoys relatively little fanfare from the suburbs because of its low-key presence. Very much a hole in the wall, this place has lots of sweets to take home with you, but you’ll want to try that lunch menu.

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Istanbul Cafe

A downtown Cincinnati destination that specializes in Mediterranean, specifically Turkish, cuisine, Istanbul Cafe is popular with groups and larger crowds, specifically for events that might be a little nicer and more upscale. It’s got a following with tourists, a space popular with the local Turkish American population, and brings people in quantity on weekend nights. Plenty of great dishes from kebabs, falafel, lamb dishes, chicken and more. It’s a delightful place, a nicer restaurant that still delivers with friendly service and good food. The restaurant has landed some good reviews in local media, but where it continues to find good ratings, really, is with crowd-sourced reviewing sites.

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Taza – A Lebanese Grill

With many restaurants in the western part of downtown Cleveland, Taza is still a relative island for the uniqueness of its Lebanese food concept among a sea of bars, grills, and other kinds of food. In fact, you set foot into the cavernous interior of the restaurant, and you’re almost blinded by the glitzy, gold interior. But turn your eyes quickly to the oversize bar and the wide menu of vegetable and Middle Eastern dishes, and you’ll find something great cooking up.

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Salar Restaurant & Lounge

A new restaurant anchoring the west end of Dayton’s Oregon District, Salar has a menu that it a little hard to describe as any one genre. With ravioli, empanadas, duck, pizza, burgers and quinoa, you’ll also find many of the dishes blur the traditional lines between the classic ethnic recipes. Whether it’s pork belly and sweet potato, pizza topped with chorizo, or quinoa topped with pine nuts and cilantro lime dressing, this is the kind of place you’d want to drop by if you had a hankering for something you’ve never tried before. Lunch or dinner, cocktails or a feast, I have been impressed every time I have come back.

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Gyro Palace

It’s the epitome of a hole in the wall; this modest-looking dive nestled into a tiny space in the Airway Shopping Center on the edge of Dayton serves a ton of people from nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the surrounding neighborhoods, people who value a humble establishment like Gyro Palace for its variety of dishes, its value-minded pricing and its quick service. There are a ton of reasons you might pass by this place and never drop in; it’s hard to spot. It doesn’t advertise aggressively. People outside of the internet don’t seem to know it very well. But Gyro Palace is absolutely worth a try.

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Pasha Grill

Marketing itself as “authentic Turkish cuisine,” Pasha Grill is an upscale restaurant and bar right in the middle of The Greene shopping district in Dayton’s eastern suburbs. It’s actually the second in a family chain, preceded by Cafe Istanbul which opened in Columbus in 2001. With an intimate interior, an arid and picturesque outdoor patio and a variety of drinks in between, Pasha gives a simple feel to a ritzy location. Its food is distinctly ethnic, and in spite of a number of Americanized options, it’s all going to be a new experience for the unfamiliar customer.

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Restaurant Salaam

One of the more exotic options for Athens cuisine, Restaurant Salaam (“Salaam” is Arabic for “peace”) offers “fine world cuisine,” a thorough mixture of Indian, Mediterranean, and African dishes. A mixture of spices and seasonings from such places as Morocco and Turkey garnish prominent dishes in Salaam’s menu. A healthy variety of lamb, chicken and beef options are served in gyros, kebabs, and assorted other dishes. Make no mistake, you won’t find a menu like this anywhere else in the region. Salaam specializes in bringing to the table things few other places offer.

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