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Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

The Orchard Market and Café

8815 Orchard Tree Lane, Towson, (410) 339-7700, www.orchardmarketandcafe.com

Posted 9/19/2007

The label of "Middle Eastern food" is as vague and unsatisfying as "Chinese food" or "Mexican food," and most places that use generic blanket terms like that for cuisines that actually feature a wealth of regional variation are likely to deliver something equally generic on the plate. Towson fixture the Orchard Market is a Middle Eastern restaurant, but it is, more specifically, a Persian restaurant, and makes no apologies for that. Far from it. So while you can order hummus and various forms of grilled lamb or spice-laden ground beef (the superlative koobideh), it specializes in Persian dishes both traditional (chicken fesenjune, stewed in a piquant sauce) and updated (see the specials menu--the evening we last visited it was a Persian-accented paella). Few of the dishes will be familiar to diners who've previously stuck with more standard regional fare, but everything is rendered lovingly, brimming with dense flavors, and full of unusual ingredients (we didn't know what we were missing with curried veal tongue). Best of all, this "café" is actually a serious restaurant, with attentive service and décor--and platings--presentable enough for special occasions. It's not easy to find, but it's worth the look.

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Other Awards for Best Middle Eastern Restaurant:

Baba's Mediterranean Kitchen, 9/16/2009

Orchard Market and Café, 9/17/2008

The Helmand, 9/20/2006

The Helmand, 9/21/2005

Aladdins Shish Kebab, 9/22/2004

Carlyle Club, 9/17/2003

Kabob Hut, 9/18/2002

The Orchard Market and Café, 9/15/1999

The Orchard Market and Café, 9/17/1997

All Awards for The Orchard Market and Café:

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant, 9/15/1999

Best Middle Eastern Restaurant, 9/17/1997

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