Cafe Izmir’s pomegranate shrimp spicy

Restaurant Review: Cafe Izmir

Don't settle for the kebabs. Explore the other offerings of this Mediterranean menu.

You could argue that this intimate Mediterranean tapas restaurant started the hummus craze when it opened in 1996. Versions of the mashed garbanzo bean dip were available around town, but Cafe Izmir’s garlic-and-sesame-laden recipe ignited the Dallas palate. Take a seat and a server will hand you a menu, asking if you’d like hummus and pita. Be warned: it’s not complimentary, and if you say yes, you’ve already spent $7.95. If you ask for recommendations, expect upsells. Listen to them, but look at the extensive menu of Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, and Persian appetizers, dips, salads, small plates, and entrées. Instead of going with the obvious and suggested beef or chicken kebabs, choose a delightful veggie pirashki: lavash bread wrapped around mushrooms, pineapple, okra, yellow squash, and bell peppers, then panfried. The long list of vegetarian options also includes fiery sautéed serrano peppers bathing in fresh lemon and lime juices and olive oil, and falafel, which, on this visit, was severely overcooked and dry. Tender diced lamb mixed with pico de gallo and rolled in a tortilla was a delicious bargain ($4.95). The high-back upholstered booths provide privacy and make a nice space for a first date or small celebration. They offer discounted tapas and wine on Tuesday nights and live Spanish guitar music on Fridays and Saturdays.

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