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Zara comes to town

Greek Lebanese and Turkish cuisine in downtown Tacoma

ZARA: The view from inside. Photo credit: Jennifer Johnson

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Downtown Tacoma will soon see the addition of Mediterranean to the existing ethnic parade of dining choices. In the former Sea Grill space on Pacific Avenue, fine dining restaurant Zara Mediterranean Cuisine will open in mid-August. General Manager Chip Venzone confirms Zara is scheduled to open to the public Aug. 19.

At Zara, "cuisine will reflect more eastern Mediterranean than west; Greek, Lebanese, Turkish," says executive chef James Barbara. "We want to get back to where good food was simple by using basic ingredients in the right combination. Some spices will have flavors people aren't used to, but will come to love."

As for authenticity, "this won't be bastardized to suit the American public," promises Barbara, who also says "some dishes can be adjusted to accommodate food allergies though that's not our focus."

The a la carte menu will feature traditional items like shawarma, kabobs, baba ghanoush, hummus, mousaka, dolmathes, falafels, tzatziki and breads. Venzone says there will be plenty of vegetarian offerings. For proteins, lamb, chicken, beef and seafood will be prevalent. Pork will not.

The circular bar still has a great view and, yes, there will be belly dancers on Friday and Saturday evenings.

"Food is social. We want people to be wowed by what we do and want to share it," says Barbara. 

[Zara Mediterranean Cuisine, opens Aug. 19, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, open until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 1498 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.779.0222]

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