A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains. This month, we set out in search of places that venture beyond the usual hummus-and-pita suspects to offer Mediterranean with a twist.
1246 NW Maynard Road, Cary
The twist: Moroccan specialties, including bastilla, tagine, and an assortment of salads (try z’alouk, a lemon-brightened roasted eggplant salad with tomatoes, parsley and garlic).
Cilantro Mediterranean Grill
5400-102 S. Miami Blvd., Durham
The twist: Persian-accented menu features kebabs (try kubideh, a blend of ground beef sirloin, lamb and grated onion) available as an entree, wrap or platter.
Fresh Levant Bistro
8450-106 Honeycutt Road, in Lafayette Village, Raleigh
The twist: Everything is gluten-free, and vegetarian options plentiful on a menu that covers an ambitiously broad spectrum from shakshuka (a northern African dish of eggs braised in a spicy tomato sauce) to grass-fed beef kafta kebabs.
105 W. NC Hwy 54, Durham
The twist: A surefire cure for gastronomic wanderlust in a menu that meanders from Lebanese lamb shawarma wraps to grilled lemongrass chicken skewers to Filipino style spring rolls.
6091 Capital Blvd., Raleigh
The twist: Middle Eastern and American delis collide on a menu whose options range from gyro to Reuben – and even includes fusion creations such as grilled cheese (cheddar and provolone) on toasted pita.
1207 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary
The twist: Check the specials board for the likes of braised lamb shank, house-made stuffed grape leaves, and okra stew (vegetarians, note: this one contains beef; try the vegetarian lasagna instead).