Chicago, US

If it weren’t for the all-American SUVs nipping by the window, you could easily be in Tel Aviv, Beirut, or perhaps Istanbul. The cosy-cool dining room with its printed textiles and mid-century styling evokes warmth from the get-go. Add in Zach Engel’s warm hospitality and modern Middle Eastern cuisine and you might not leave. The concept’s simple: scan the menu and pick a favourite from each section to craft a tasting menu all of your own. Some dishes are made for sharing, meze style, as is the custom, and the main event takes place over coals. The origins of the region’s cuisine are lifted with clever twists along the way. Labneh is kissed with hyssop and sumac, cinnamon-braised brisket tops hummus, and blintzes are laced with foie gras, arak and urfa and joined by pillowy puffed pitta. Meanwhile, the iconic smoked turkey shawarma is joined by plum, beets and carob molasses for the ultimate sweet, savoury and earthy hit.

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2429 N Lincoln Ave, Lincoln Park, Chicago, Illinois , IL 60614