GLENDALE—Ara Kalfayan, Owner of the Phoenicia Restaurant in Glendale, was recognized by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association as Owner/Entrepreneur of the year for 2011 on March 20, 2011 at the annual award banquet where he received his certificate and medal for the “Distinction” Award.
Phoenicia Restaurant is a lovely Lebanese restaurant located in nearby Glendale. It is an oasis where one of the world’s most beautiful cultures is celebrated with refined cuisine, spirited music, and sensual dance. One might say that the cuisine of Lebanon has been in the making since pre-biblical times when the Mediterranean Sea was roamed by Phoenician traders.
Situated between the East and the West, Lebanon is and always has been a culinary and cultural crossroads and the cuisine of modern day Phoenicians is the epitome of the Mediterranean diet; fresh, diverse, flavorful, simple and delicious. Phoenicia is the latest venture of veteran restaurateur, Ara Kalfayan who is known for his expertise in a variety of international cuisines and knowledge of fine wines.
Phoenicia’s spacious dining room is elegantly and simply appointed. There’s a stage at one side for the weekend entertainment which includes a popular belly-dancing show. The main attraction, however, is the fabulous food that is offered in quantity and amazing assortment.
The extensive menu provides a wide variety of choices for a true Lebanese feast. The menu lists more than 25 hot and cold appetizers, but most of the classics are offered as part of several set menus designed for parties of two or more.
This is a terrific way to really sample the Lebanese culinary specialties. Delicious and very popular is kibbeh naye (Lebanese tartare) spread on the freshly baked pita bread. Also enjoy a feast of baba ghanoush (roasted eggplant dip), hummus, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, Lebanese cheese baked in filo dough, dumplings stuffed with seasoned beef, tabbouleh, Lebanese sausage, eggplant moussaka, and a variety of pickles including purple pickled turnip.
The tabbouleh is wonderful and almost entirely chopped parsley with a tiny amount of fluffy bulgar wheat and lots of lemon. It is a very refreshing salad and a perfect accompaniment to the meal. Also there is a delicious salad of cucumber, tomato, onion and cabbage salad. For an entree, consume marinated and grilled lamb chops that are perfectly spiced and absolutely delicious.
The marinated beef and chicken kabobs are tender and flavorful as well. There is a notable wine list with some excellent Lebanese wines to accompany your meal. The owner, Ara Kalfayan, will help guests select the perfect Lebanese wine to accompany their meal. Be reminded that dining Lebanese style is to “taste” not eat the entire amount of food presented as it is very tempting to overeat the mezze. The main courses are not to be missed particularly the grilled items such as kebabs, steak and the lamb so don’t indulge on the first courses.
Phoenicia is open for lunch and dinner. Phoenicia Restaurantis located on 343 N. Central Ave. (corner of Lexington), Glendale, CA (818) 956-7800. To make reservations, please call (818) 956-7800.
Southern California Restaurant Writers Association
Southern California Restaurant Writers, Inc., was formed in 1975 to improve the quality of the restaurant industry in this region. To further this objective, the organization bestows awards upon restaurants and individuals whose standards of quality and service deserve special recognition. These awards are presented at an annual ceremony and published for the general public. The members of the Southern California Restaurant Writers meet monthly over dinner to share information about new restaurants and industry activities. One member is then appointed to write a brief review of the evening
The annual awards winners are were chosen from among restaurants stretching from Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, that were evaluated by our members during the year. All were judged on food, service, ambiance and appropriate beverages, according to the organization’s standardized score sheets, which have a scoring range of 1 to 100 points.
The highest honor, Four Stars, is given to a chosen few, the grandest of the grand, which receive between 95 and 100 points and are elected by special vote of the members. In addition, individual awards are voted from among those nominated as Restaurateur, Chef, Maitre d’, Manager and Server of the Year.
- Three Stars are awarded to restaurants that score an average of 90 or more points on the accumulated evaluations of the members.
- Two Stars go to restaurants scoring between 85 and 89 points.
- One Star is awarded to those with scores between 80 and 84 points.
- Restaurants serving top quality food in simple surroundings at low prices received Special Value awards.
Southern California Restaurant Writers has also established a fund for scholarships to further the education of worthy individuals in the fields of restaurant service, the culinary arts, and enology. Over $140,000 has been awarded.