In honor of Omar Sharif’s birthday …
Friday is the birthday of Omar Sharif, born Michel Demitri Shalhoub on April 10, 1932. Sharif is of Syrian and Lebanese descent, but has spent most of his life in Egypt. In honor of the award-winning actor and acclaimed bridge player, here are five Eastern Mediterranean eateries worthy of Lawrence of Arabia:
ALI BABA RESTAURANT
2545 E. Speedway Blvd., 319-2559, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays
Menu features Persian specialties at this popular midtown destination, which veers toward Lebanese/Syrian cuisine.
EL SAAGE RESTAURANT
1800 E. Fort Lowell Road, Suite 168, 319-5554, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays
Lebanese-style fare includes excellent Naan and Lahem Bajjin, cooked beef layered in phyllo dough.
LUXOR CAFE & HOOKAH LOUNGE
3699 N. Campbell Ave., 325-3771, 5 p.m.-1 a.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 5 p.m.-4 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays
The three Bs – Baba Ganough, Baklava, and “Baa” (as in lamb) – are excellent at this Egyptian-style eatery.
SHISH KEBAB HOUSE OF TUCSON
5855 E. Broadway, 745-5308, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays
The fare at this longtime favorite features traditional Jordanian specialities such as Magloubeh, beef or chicken with rice, crispy fried cauliflower and potatoes.
ZANYA MEDITERRANEAN CAFE
9095 E. Tanque Verde Road, Suite 181, 749-4465, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily
Syrian specialties at this East Side eatery include Mujadara, a pilaf of Basmati rice and lentils topped with caramelized onion and onion-infused olive oil.