Cuisine: Lebanese

This noisy, friendly neighbourhood eatery may well become your favourite Leb, for both food and fun. You’ll love Emma’s lamb kibbe $15 and she’ll even make you a kibbe neyeh, the raw version, if you ask nicely. The lady fingers here may win the prize for the best in town, made of filo pastry wrapped around spiced minced lamb, pinenuts and pomegranate molasses $15. But before you get onto that, you might want to start with a platter of mixed dips with crisp Lebanese bread and fried cauliflower $18. Samke harra, whole spiced fish $17, is a real highlight. If you want kanefe for dessert $8.50, go in winter; the rest of the year, try Emma’s halvah or dates stuffed with walnuts, also $8.50.

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Cuisine: Lebanese,Halal,Indian,Pakistani

Heat and light characterise this perennial favourite. The heat is from chilli, the light from unflattering fluoros, but who cares when you’re tucking into slow-cooked haleem, the king of curries $12 — if there’s any left over after hordes of hungry cab drivers, musos and roadies have been through? You can see the yoghurt-marinated fish and meat awaiting the fiery tandoor oven — cooked on order, of course. Chicken tikka $12 and sheek kebab of minced beef with ginger, garlic and coriander $10 are firm favourites. Vego options abound, among them spiced chickpeas or eggplant and potato, both $10. We’ve loved this place ever since we kicked off Cheap Eats — before many of you were born — and it’s a love that keeps its heat.

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Cuisine: Lebanese,Halal,Indian,Pakistani,Greek

Not your average souvlaki joint, Kafenes offers dishes you won’t find elsewhere, many from the north —  which is where owner Maria Trian’s family hails from. Case in point the cabbage salad $8/$12 which tastes a lot better than it sounds. Other starters include kaftedakia, meatballs in a tomato-based sauce on rice $15, and our favourite, spanokopita $8.50. More substantial is the stamnato, lamb cooked in a clay pot with potatoes chilli and a combination  of cheeses. And yes they do souvlaki, chicken or lamb $19 and a good way to try the offerings is order a set menu from $35 a head — and enjoy. But be warned: Maria says Friday and Saturday nights are noisy “like a Greek restaurant should be!”

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Cuisine: Lebanese,Halal,Indian,Pakistani,Greek,Italian

One of Enmore’s pleasant surprises is this elegant tratt with fine food, reasonable prices and a separate vegetarian menu. The secret is Duncan Florean, an owner/chef who believes in buying fresh from the market, a practice that results in such simple seasonal pleasures as insalata caprese $12.90 and bruschetta of gorgonzola and chopped rocket $5.80. Duck ravioli with sage and burnt butter $17.90/$21.90 is a delight, as is saltimbocca alla romana, veal with prosciutto, bocconcini and a white-wine tomato sauce $20.90. The pasta incazzata $12.90/$19.90 with garlic, chilli and basil is an example from the vegetarian menu, and wallow in nostalgia with a zabaglione $9.90 before leaving.

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Cuisine: Lebanese,Halal,Indian,Pakistani,Greek,Italian,African

This more casual eatery from the crew behind Newtown’s Kilimanjaro similarly invokes a vivid sense of Africa, with traditional music playing softly, food served on wooden dinnerware and the hosts wearing traditional dress. A glass of bissap $2.50, made from an African hibiscus flower, is refreshing. Vegetarians are spoilt for choice with Lat Dior’s Delight, a plate of green beans with African spices and a blended celery sauce $6.50. Highly recommended is yassa, chicken off the bone, marinated for hours with spices and fried with onions $12.50. Wipe up the curry with African bread, similar to a pancake $2.50. With meal choices from all over the African region, it’s good to mix and match.

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Cuisine: Lebanese,Halal,Indian,Pakistani,Greek,Italian,African,Thai

This unassuming little Thai takeaway opposite the Enmore theatre is further proof that flash doesn’t necessarily mean good. Other larger, sparklier Thais up the road don’t offer food half as good as little Seeda. Try something simple to start for proof: say, tender chicken satay $7.50 or the rustic pepper and garlic rice noodles $10.90. We love the prawn and sweet pumpkin $14.90 and are amused by the Holy Duck and the Duck on Earth, both $14.90 — both dishes made with roasted duck accompanied by different scrumptious sauces. Drop in for a pre-theatre meal or dinner when you just can’t be bothered cooking and it’ll probably cost less than the home-cooked meal, anyway.

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Cuisine: Lebanese,Halal,Indian,Pakistani,Greek,Italian,African,Thai,Indian,Pakistani

Cricket and curry are the twin themes at this long-stayer (since 1996) and late-opener (drive by around 2am and you’ll often see a line of cabs parked outside). There’s a signed jersey from Brett Lee as well as, as you would expect, signed photographs and memorabilia from many Pakistani players. But we’re here for the food and it is damned good — which is probably why the cricketers come. The platter of starters for two is still terrific value at $19.99 (hey, every cent counts) and rogan josh $13.99 is rich and satisfying. Try the chicken Madras $14.99 if you dare and all the parathas and naans are available as well as a good selection for vegetarians. A good late-night alternative to Chinatown.

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Cuisine: Lebanese,Halal,Indian,Pakistani,Greek,Italian,African,Thai,Indian,Pakistani,Turkish

Another takeaway that also functions as a sit-and-dine, with surprisingly comfortable and colourful banquettes as well as a hidden covered courtyard: very Turkish. A large menu of stuffed pide — housebaked out front, of course — offers something for vegos and carnos alike: for the former, eggplant $11, mushroom $12 or the lot $14, and for the other lot, sucuklu stuffed with spicy sausage $12 and pastirmali with smoked beef $14. There are all the dips you’d expect, such as baba ganouj, homous, colourful beetroot and carrot $7, and zucchini fritters $4.50 and a beef kebab $13 that comes with salad. The banquet $35 is for those who have not eaten for a week. So don’t take away; sit and stay and end it all with a Turkish coffee. BYO fez.

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