Best Kibbe Miami 2008 - Michael's Cafe
This Middle Eastern restaurant in Kendall is not a mirage. It was once a gas station next to the railroad tracks but has been transformed into an outdoor café that serves as an oasis for locals. There is live music almost every night and a vast assortment of ice-cold Middle Eastern beers. The large-screen TV sets are all tuned to Lebanese stations (in Arabic). You can get a hookah with flavored tobacco, and smoke while watching the live belly dancing Friday and Saturday nights. But best of all is the food, especially the kibbe, which costs $4.95 for two pieces. They make it fresh by combining crushed wheat with minced beef or lamb, sautéed onions, and pine nuts. The combination is then rolled into a ball and deep-fried, kind of like falafel. The kibbe platter comes with grape leaves, hummus, tabbouleh, lentil rice, and pita bread, and sells for $11.99. Wash it down with Michael's special Turkish coffee ($1.50), and forget about taking that trip to Israel.