Lunch at Boulder’s seven-month-old Arabesque is a delight. The tiny, sun-drenched cafe is home to Manal and Saib Jarrar’s made-from-scratch Middle Eastern cuisine.

Sip on rose water while you mull over the chalkboard menu. Order a bowl of the homespun lentil soup and the Med-East sampler. The big-enough-to-share platter arrives with smoky baba ghanoush, hummus garnished with chickpeas, tender, stuffed grape leaves, lemony tabbouleh, tangy pickles, and chicken shawarma that tastes of curry and vinegar. Rip off a piece of warm Arabic bread—essentially pita, but puffier, lighter, and better—to scoop up each bite. (Hint: Order extra bread before your serving runs out).

Service can be distracted, but it’s with an endearing, mom-and-pop charm—and the food more than makes up for it. Pay at the register, but not before grabbing a raspberry strip—a shortbread cookie smeared with raspberry preserves—for dessert.

Bonus: Take home a tub of the fresh mozzarella balls marinated in olive oil and herbs. Slice for salads or sandwiches—or just eat them eat right out of the container.

1634 Walnut St., Boulder, 720-242-8623

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.