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Maroosh: The Best Mediterranean Restaurant in the City

February 01, 2008 By Doug in Miami: Local News  | 3 Comments


Maroosh Mediterranean Restaurant (223 Valencia Ave., Coral Gables, FL 33134, 305-476-9800) occupies a fanciful Middle Eastern palace in the heart of tony Coral Gables.  My friend Dave and I discovered it on the advice of some friends, and had been predictably impressed by the opulent facade.  The interior, suffice it to say, was no less imaginative.


Once inside, a vast collection of Middle Eastern art and decorative accents dazzled our eyes, as quickly as the pleasurable aromas whetted our appetites.  Owner Samir Al-Barq, a native of Lebanon who’s been manning Maroosh since 1985, takes a hands-on approach with his customers.  He instantly whisked us through the main dining area, up the stairs to a quieter location, beneath a lavish green chandelier.  Indeed, he was so gracious and unassuming, I had no idea at first that he was the owner! Our waitress was equally accommodating, happy to explain many of their lesser known delicacies to us as we sorted through the extensive menu.




We followed our waitress’s suggestion and ordered the appetizer combo ($29.95).  We had the option of selecting our own items, or letting the house decide.  Being a little rusty on such matters, we deferred to the house.  In addition to some uncommonly good selections of more commonly known items such as hummus (a blend of chick peas, sesame seeds and lemon juice), falafel (Ground chickpeas and broad beans, deep fried and served with tahini sauce) and tabouleh (chopped parsley, onions, tomatoes, and crushed wheat, blended with lemon juice and olive oil)—all of which are prepared from fresh, home-made ingredients—we also sampled some more exotic dishes, such as:

Fried Kibbeh, which consists of a meat and crushed wheat shell, stuffed with pine nuts, onions, and minced meat.  While it bore a resemblance to the much less flavorful Southern staple, hush puppies, the taste was out-of-this-word delicious! It can also be ordered in a baked version, and is available a la carte for $6.95;


Nekanek, sumptuous Lebanese sausages served in a tangy gravy, perfect for dipping with our serving of hot pita bread, available a la carte for $6.95;


Mahamra, roasted red peppers with nuts and seasoning, similar in consistency to hummus, $5.95 on its own, and nearly as delectable (I have a special thing for hummus!).


The appetizer combo was so filling, we barely had room for more, but the best was yet to come!


Dave decided on the Chicken Kabab ($15.95), which, consisting of two skewers’ worth, was served with onions, green peppers, and steamed veggies, along with perfectly seasoned rice garnished with roasted nuts.


I tried out the Lemon Chicken ($16.95).  Leave all your preconceptions of the lemon chicken you may have become accustomed to at the Chinese buffet at the door; this is a vastly different interpretation!  Cooked with artichoke hearts for a wonderfully exquisite flavor, the meat is sauteed in garlic and lemon oil to produce a taste just this side of Nirvana.


In addition to these entrees, you can also choose from a variety of lamb, steak, and vegetarian possibilities.  For the complete menu, click here.


The crowning glory of this garden of sensual delights is the belly dancing show (Friday and Saturday nights from 8 pm to closing).  Regrettably, we arrived too early to catch it, as we’d already planned to finish off the evening at the Viernes Culturales celebration on Calle Ocho, but our experience was very satisfying as it was. 

After polishing off our merlot, we left our Middle Eastern paradise with a bag of take-home boxes nearly chin high! Our menu was set for the following week.


Try out Maroosh Tuesdays - Thursdays 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM; Fridays - Saturdays 11:30 AM - 11:30 PM, or Sundays, 12:00 PM - 10:00 PM; CLOSED MONDAYS.  Highly recommended!

Have you dined at Maroosh? Would you agree they serve the best Mediterranean food in Miami? Do you know restaurant that’s better? Please tell us what you think in the comments below.

Related Categories: Miami: Local News,

Douglas Eames is a freelance writer, homespun philosopher and budget bon vivant who divides his time between Southern California and South Beach.

See more articles by Doug.

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3 Comments on

"Maroosh: The Best Mediterranean Restaurant in the City"

Tere says:

I had a b-day dinner there once, and it was awesome. Great review!

Posted on 02/09/2008 at 11:23 AM

Willyam says:

I Went To Maroosh, and it was an incredible experience, the flavors are fabulous, great prices, a nice show and great ambiance. it was a really nice experience.

Posted on 05/01/2008 at 8:37 PM

Michelle says:

I have been there twice and got the same thing both time - the appetizer combo and the grill sampler. I don’t know if the grill sampler is actually on the menu but the chicken and beef are outstanding. The Mahamra looks delicious too and I can’t wait to try the lemon chicken.

Maroosh is one of those restaurants you want to invite people to so they can experience fabulous food and service in a uniquely, decorated room.

Posted on 05/08/2008 at 9:46 PM

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