By the BYOBandits

A beloved taste of Lebanon, Semiramis is a neighborhood favorite—even on the Kedzie Middle Eastern strip—that’s just a baklava's throw away from the Brown Line street-level stretch. Chef Joseph (ZouZou) Abraham plays host with his Lebanese cuisine, and there’s no better way to complement your first cloudy glass of Arak (BYOB) than with mezze, including the parsley-predominant Lebanese-style tabbouleh and that other Middle Eastern fava bean staple, ful. If you happen to be dining with one of those Humboldt Park independent music-writer types, you’ll find many dishes vegetarian-friendly, like the crispy falafel in tahini. A perennial favorite is the succulent rotisserie chicken accompanied by a gum-defying garlicky toum, served atop a bed of lavosh. Beware: the in-the-know crowd snatches up these birds early. And watch out for the Arabic coffee, a cardamom-spiced brew so strong it could have you bouncing off the richly-textured, whitewashed dining room walls—like a tossed baklava.

sweet seats

Pulling tables together in the back for a big group encourages sharing both your food and the mismatched booze you all brought. They’ll even put your Champagne (or cheap champagne derivatives) on ice.

chew on this

While the chef (called ZouZou by regulars) specifies his cuisine as Lebanese, he does say it’s not strictly so. You’ll find French, American, Middle Eastern, and even Midwestern influences the most in his specialties of the day, but even subtly in the untraditional rosemary he adds to chicken shawarma.


Mon.–Thurs. 11 AM–10 PM; Fri.–Sat. 11 AM–11 PM;
closed Sunday

price range

$9 (half roast chicken) to $16 (seafood of the day)