The word "Levante" is derived from "Levantine" which describes the eastern Mediterranean coastal region that today includes: Turkey, Greece and extends into Lebanon and Israel. The era of the Ottoman Empire and Alexander the Great, past rulers of the Levante region, is now history, but the culinary and cultural traditions live on.
Levantine cuisine is the traditional cuisine of the Levant, known in Arabic as the Bilad ash-Sham. Centuries-old Levantine cuisine continues to influence the modern states of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Syria, and parts of southern Turkey near Adana, Gaziantep, and Antakya (the former Vilayet of Aleppo), northern Iraq and Cyprus. Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of this cuisine are meze including tabbouleh, hummus, baklava, lentil soup, pita, falafel and baba ghanoush.
The tastes and flavors of that golden age come alive at Levante's in Washington, DC. All dishes are made in the Levante tradition using only fresh ingredients. For centuries, these qualities have allowed people of the Mediterranean to eat well and live long healthy lives. Today at Levante's diners can enjoy the variety, freshness and the natural health benefits of this legendary cuisine. Levante's is the first restaurant group to offer eastern mediterranean cuisine in a casual dining environment.
Natural stone and light wood interiors envelope guests. Open kitchens and wood-fired ovens produce charcoal-grilled meats and vegetables, which are prepared in full view of diners. Pita and flat breads are baked fresh. Unique Turkish pides with generous size and homemade crusts offer a unique alternative to Italian-style pizza. Foods that are lovingly prepared and served in a contemporary, relaxed environment. All of this contributes to a unique dining experience.
The original concept for Levante's as a restaurant originated in 1984, in Austria with a mission to introduce foods from the eastern mediterranean region in a casual, full-service restaurant format. It proved so successful that consequently other locations have since opened, making Levante's one of the most successful chain restaurants in Europe as well as enjoying a high level of repeat patronage and strong customer loyalty. In 1994 Levante's began to offer limited franchises to qualified applicants worldwide. The first Levante's restaurant in the U.S. opened in February, 1998 in Bethesda, Maryland.