My husband and I enjoyed outdoor dining with another couple at Suraya in Philadelphia. The Lebanese restaurant makes frequent appearances on many local and national Best Of lists, including being named Best Restaurant in Philadelphia by Philadelphia magazine.
Suraya has a dedicated parking lot, next to the back entrance of the restaurant. We all parked there and walked to the front entrance, but were told we needed to enter through the back patio for outdoor seating. We were ahead of our reservation time and waited for a few minutes before our table was ready. The hostess took all of our temperatures before bringing us to our table.
There was a sign with a QR code to access the menu and ordering system. Our waitress came over shortly after we were seated to explain all ordering was to be handled on our phones and she was available if we had any questions. Unfortunately, the system won’t let you enter more than one credit card, so we needed to split the orders and handle paying each other via Venmo.
To start, we ordered a bottle of Lebanese Syrah/Cabernet blend to split. We all decided to take part in the “taste of Suraya” menu. This tasting option includes a set selection of cold mezze plates for the table, an additional mezze plate per person, an entrée per person and a set selection of desserts for the table.
First came the cold mezze of hummus, baba ganoush, muhammara, labneh, taboulé and pita. For our other mezze plates, we decided to share crispy potatoes with long hot peppers, beef dumplings, pita salad and a warm chickpea and eggplant dish. Each of the dishes packed complex flavors. I particularly enjoyed the muhammara (roasted red pepper and walnut dip) and the crispy potatoes. Already getting full from the mezze plates, our entrées arrived next. I selected the kawarma, a slow-roasted lamb with dill yogurt and a pomegranate cucumber salad. It was too good to leave any on the plate, so I opted to pack what I couldn’t finish to save room for dessert.
The chef’s selection of dessert included a milk pudding, ice cream terrine and a traditional Lebanese dessert of crispy cheese curd with rose blossom syrup. Like the other dishes, all were delicious; however, many were difficult to split, particularly during COVID. We asked our waitress for extra utensils to safely portion servings for our individual plates.
Overall, the flavorful dishes, ambiance and service made for an enjoyable dining experience. I’m looking forward to my next meal at Suraya.
1528 Frankford Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19125
tel 215 302 1900
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