Gut Reaction | Lebanese served up fresh at Habibi’s

Habibi’s Sampler plate. Photo by Lisa McLaughlin for The Surge.
Habibi’s Sampler plate. Photo by Lisa McLaughlin for The Surge.

I love a family-friendly restaurant with reasonable prices and huge portions. Habibi’s Café and Market offers great Middle Eastern food with a familiar friendliness. I took my family to Habibi’s and enjoyed the small, clean restaurant and freshly cooked food. The Middle Eastern market adjacent is an added plus!

Although they serving pizza, the Lebanese dishes are the draw. The menu is small featuring traditional dishes such as Hummus ($5.99), Baba Ganoojh (smokey eggplant dip, $5.99), Falafel (10 pieces, $7.99), Labneh (Kefir cheese spread, $5.99), Kibbe (6 piece Bulgur wheat/ground meatballs, $11.99), Gyro (with Tzaziki sauce, $12.99) and Grilled Chicken Kebab on pita (marinated with garlic sauce, $7.99 and $12.99) make up the majority of the menu. Grilled wings (teriyaki, BBQ and mild or hot, $10.99 for 12), Stuffed Grape Leaves (hand-rolled, $5.99), Falafel (10 pieces, $7.99) and Greek salad ($6.99) also offered.

I wanted the taste of more than one dish so I ordered the Sampler plate which arrived to the table overflowing with stuffed grape leaves, hummus, Tabouli, Falafel, Baba Ganoojh and pita ($10.99). I ordered a hot sauce to go with.

Dippin’ that pita in everything, the hummus was creamy but needed a bit more garlic and flavor. The Tabouli was heavy on the parsley and light on the wheat berries. Lemony with tiny marinated onion bits (not authentic but delicious), it was fresh-tasting and pretty on the plate. The stuffed grape leaves were soft, just the way I like (nothing worse than tough grape leaves) and rich with lemon flavor. Full of the delicious rice filling!

Falafel is so good when freshly cooked and so bad when fake tasting and stale. These chickpea patties were hot and flavored with the garbanzo, fava beans and spices.

My family ordered the grilled wings … better than many wings restaurants … and grilled chicken kebab in pita. The homemade garlic sauce smeared on that pita was unusual and appreciated.

We ordered the famous Aloe King drinks (craving one now) and didn’t order the baklava but wish I had.

The restaurant is small with only eight tables but comfortable with an open kitchen. Kid friendly, which I love.

Habibi’s Café isn’t really cheap but where else can you get homemade Lebanese food?

My bill was approximately $39 and with tip almost $47.

If you eat

What | Habibi’s Café and Market

Where | 3310 Waccamaw Blvd., Myrtle Beach

Info | 843-236-0140