99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Carousel

photo by Danny Liao

Of all the notable Lebanese restaurants in L.A., Carousel is, arguably, the best — although how much you enjoy the place might have something to do with how much you like live entertainment with your excellent plate of kebbeh nayyeh. On weekends at the Glendale Carousel (the original East Hollywood location being not nearly as pretty or as fun), there are dancers outfitted alarmingly like Laker girls on the dining-room stage — maybe reason enough to take male relatives with you to dinner. With or without the dancing, though, Carousel is a fantastic place to eat. The mezes are outstanding, particularly the many variants of kibbeh and labneh and kebabs, and the larger plates are just as good, making this a wonderful place for a family gathering (Shawarma! Yogurt-style kebabs! Frog’s legs!), or even just to pick up a tub of excellent muhammara on your way home.

-- Amy Scattergood