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Our picks for the sometimes less obvious winners.
Best Middle Eastern (2012)
Amir’s Kabob House
794 Lighthouse Avenue, Monterey
With its hookahs (and requisite outside heat lamps) and happy hour, belly dancers and a soon-to-be-expanding bar, Amir’s Kabob House continues to add to its offerings and the food—like the tender lamb kabob (marinated in pureed onions, garlic and spices), vegetarian platter (of pan-fried eggplant baked with tomatoes, onions, and garlic served on sour cream, sautéed spinach with onions and garlic), and cauliflower (steamed with tomatoes, onions, and crushed peppers)—never disappoints. Enjoy $9.99 lunch specials Tuesday through Friday and $4 draft beers and half-off glasses and wine 5-7pm Monday through Friday. What to pair with mantu, soft pasta shells filled with ground beef, onions, and herbs? Belly dancers of course. Make rezzies for one of two dinner shows every Saturday night.