Want to try some international cuisine? Lucky for us, you don’t even need to leave the North to find some global flavor. With options as varied as Lebanese, Malaysian and more, the North has options for every palate. We picked our favorites and hope you enjoy them, too. Bon appétit!

Phoenician Taverna
7944 S. Mason Montgomery Road,
Mason, OH 45040
513-770-0027
phoeniciantaverna.com

In ancient times, the Phoenicians were known as seafarers who traded goods throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Centuries later, you can still experience the spices and flavors they collected by enjoying a meal at Phoenician Taverna.

“The secret to Phoenician food is you can’t have too much of one ingredient, but you have to have enough of all,” says Owner Wassim Matar. “The key is striking the right balance.”

It’s an important practice when enjoying dishes fashioned for a communal setting and include rich ingredients like garlic, basil, cilantro and lemon among others.

For the newcomer, Matar recommends sampling the mezza, or appetizers. Whether it’s a vegetarian plate that includes falafels filled with garlic, cilantro, tomatoes and chickpeas, or sujok, a homemade lamb, beef and garlic sausage sautéed in hot tomato sauce, the concept of small-plate sharing is essential.

“You can act like an artist with all these different plates in front of you and paint your own portrait,” says Matar. “Everything is based on simplicity and it has to be fresh with the right proportions so all the flavors show through.”

Matar says the key to the whole meal is 100 percent extra virgin olive oil.

“If you use cheap olive oil, it will show through in the dishes,” says Matar. “Olive oil is the backbone to Phoenician food.”

Straits of Malacca
202 W. Main St., Mason, OH 45040
513-492-7656
straitsmalacca.com

With influeces from Spain, China and India, Malaysian food is hard to define.

“It’s difficult, so that’s why I ended up with, ‘It’s Malaysian, you have to come and find out,’ ” says Susan Giovengo, who founded Straits of Malacca with her two brothers and sister.

To introduce locals to the cuisine, the family created three restaurants inside of the old Mason municipal building. Tioman Café is “very authentic Malaysian street food,” says Paul Liew, one of Giovengo’s brothers and the executive chef. It serves food like Nasi Lemak, their national dish.

“It’s rice cooked in coconut milk, but then [it] is multi-textured, multi-temperature,” says Giovengo.

Blue Intan is a jazz and tapas bar that opens for happy hour and dinner. It includes street food, Malaysian snack food (like their flaky flatbread) and dishes that Chef Paul created himself.

Langkawi Spice is where Chef Paul merges his Malaysian background with his fine dining experience.

“It’s a perfect way for me to showcase the Malaysian food but with a more familiar look,” he says. His black pepper filet mignon, for example, uses Sarawak pepper grown in Borneo.

“It’s very hard to define Malaysian food,” adds Chef Paul. “Malaysians are spoiled for choice.”

Anthony’s Bar and Grille
7641 Voice of America Centre Drive
West Chester, OH 45069
513-779-3455
anthonysofwestchester.com

In West Chester’s sea of retail stores and commercial restaurants, you can still find a locally owned bar and restaurant where everyone knows your name.

“People that come here say this place is like their Cheers,” says Greg Varacalli, owner of Anthony’s Bar and Grille.

The proud Italian-American takes pride in owning an establishment where friends can commiserate and drink good alcohol, buy quality cigars and enjoy a southern Italian meal in an eclectic and cozy bar.

“Everything here is homemade like my grandmother used to make it,” says Varacalli, “If you come in here and expect bar food, you will be pleasantly surprised. I’ll take my kitchen staff over anyone else in the city.”

From surf ‘n’ turf to potato gnocchi, Anthony’s mixes classic Italian with contemporary dishes that can satisfy all tastes. Even his meatball sliders have gained a following, earning a nod from former NFL Running Back Merril Hoge.

“He claims it’s the best meatball sandwich in the U.S.,” Varacalli boasts.

After filling your stomach with some culinary treasures, cap off the meal with Anthony’s selection of bourbons, whiskey and scotch. Don’t forget to compliment it with a cigar from Anthony’s humidor, where you can peruse cigars made and rolled in Latin America and Europe.

“A cigar can last you an hour, and it’s an hour of enjoyment,” says Varacalli. “It’s the essence of this place.”