Mediterranean Cruise Cafe
The breathtaking land of the Mediterranean is home to an abundance of beautiful countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Morocco and Greece. Each region offers a genuinely enthralling experience in culture, language and most certainly their perspective on cultural cuisine. Mediterranean Cruise Cafe, owned by Jamal Ansari, is a culinary experience that takes you on a journey through six different countries of the Middle East by offering authentic recipes and food from each of those regions. While the Mediterranean is known for serving the healthiest food on the planet, this Twin Cities restaurant has captured a bit of the essence of the Mediterranean, including its healthy fare, in the heart of Burnsville, Minnesota.
Recently, I dined at the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe to experience an evening of food and entertainment. Named “One of the top places to eat in the Twin Cities” by City Search, Trip Advisor, and Silver Spoon, the wide variety of Mediterranean dishes offered by the bustling restaurant provided a chance for me to experience a little taste of the Middle East, right outside my back door.
The decades-old restaurant, formerly located in Eagan, opened its doors in 1989. In 2009, the city of Burnsville invited the restaurant owner to re-establish his restaurant in the “Heart of the City,” where a brand new building was designed and built as a unique restaurant concept in the south suburbs. Conveniently located on Nicolette Avenue in Burnsville, the charm of this one-of-a-kind restaurant along with its inviting atmosphere of live belly dancing, Mediterranean music, beautifully imported decor, and the aroma of freshly prepared foods make you feel like you stepped onto the floor of a Middle Eastern movie set. Mr. Ansari will proudly tell you that he designed his new location to reflect the beauty and the spirit of the Middle East. Once you experience his restaurant, you will agree that his vision for the decor was a success.
One of the main attractions that bring patrons to the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe is the belly dancing, which has been an integral part of their business since they opened their doors 36 years ago. Set-to-music, the purpose of the dance is for the dancer to express the rhythms and melodies of the music throughout her movements. The spectacular beaded costumes each dancer wears are handmade and designed to emphasize her movements. One of the highlights of this restaurant experience is when a dancer invites both children and adults to join her on stage to learn the art of belly dancing. Traditionally, dancers in the Middle East are a cause for celebration, and these dancers are no exception since they bring a festive spirit of fun and celebration to the unique dining experience at Mediterranean Cruise Cafe. The restaurant offers belly dance shows Thursday through Sunday evenings from 6 pm to 9 pm, and during lunch at noon on Fridays.
The lively entertainment and iconic atmosphere at this exotic restaurant are only one reason why many customers frequent this restaurant. A wide selection of menu options served at the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe including a Greek salad made from fresh seasonal vegetables, slow roasted lamb gyros, delicious chicken kabobs, and a Middle Eastern classic saffron-flavored rice. My personal favorite is the creamy hummus and freshly baked pita bread made by the restaurant’s chef. The baklava desserts came in as a close second for most wanted menu items that night.
Minneapolis can easily boast of its eclectic array of unique dining experiences, and the Mediterranean Cruise Cafe is a definite option if you want to experience a bit of the Middle East.
Mediterranean Cruise Cafe
12500 Nicollette Avenue
Burnsville, MN 55337
Price range: $11-$30
Sunday Brunch / Daily Brunch
Comments from the customers
“Everything was excellent. Atmosphere was warm and inviting. A great evening.”
“Delicious! The kabobs were great!”
“The lamb was deliciously tender. The Greek sauce was amazing.”
“The gyro meat was tender and light, prepared with just the right spices.”
“Excellent food. Flavorful but not overpowering.”
“Loved the walnut mandarine salad!”
“One of the best hummus dips I have ever tried.”
“The baklava was my favorite. Lightly sweet and fresh.”
“ I loved the belly dancing! What a fun highlight to our night.”