Like most Bay Harbor Islands restaurants, Le Pine opened with little fanfare. That was about four months ago. People in the area know about it likely because it's a sizable space that's located on Kane Concourse, so it's hard to miss while driving by. The interior décor won't win any design awards, but the tables are neatly dressed in linen and the chairs are comfortable enough.
The Mediterranean menu boasts traditional dishes during lunchtime -- from falafels and "baba ghannouge" to shawarma and fried kibbeh balls. But the Lebanese-owned establishment also features many of that country's traditional treats (foul moudamas, malfouf, and labneh to name a few), and the dinner menu adds all sorts of meat, fish, and poultry entrées.
For lunch, I concentrated on the basics: falafel, hummus, chicken shawarma, lentil soup, Greek salad, and malfouf. All but the malfouf passed muster.
Malfouf ($6) brought a quartet of cigar-shaped stuffed cabbage rolls filled with rice, beef, and clove-like spices -- a bland rendition. But hummus ($7), falafel ($9), and chicken shawarma ($10) sandwiches were all much better. The falafel is a blend of chickpeas and fava beans, which gives it a bit more depth of flavor than a straight garbanzo ball. The hummus is pretty much textbook. The chicken shawarma sandwich brings moist morsels of spiced meat rolled with pickles. As a sandwich, it's the best of the three.
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Our "Greek" salad ($8) lacked tomatoes and contained quite a bit of romaine lettuce -- not a traditional component. Crumbles of feta, black olives, cucumber, onions, and vinaigrette, with the lettuce, make for a tasty medley nonetheless.
The food is fresh, the ambiance is spacious, the staff is friendly, and the prices are fair. Le Pine is a fine addition for Bay Harbor Island residents (and Bal Harbour shoppers).
Le Pine Mediterranean Cuisine
1052 Kane Concourse, Bay Harbor Islands