Let me be upfront: I reviewed Cedars of Lebanon several times years ago and though my food was great—and I love Mediterranean food—the service was so slow and terrible that I haven’t been back since. But there’s only one thing you can count on in the restaurant business and that’s change, so leaving a show at Modern West gallery across the street, we decided to give Cedars another go.

Just our luck: It was a Friday night and the place was packed, because Cedars of Lebanon features belly dancing on the weekends. Cedars calls its food Mediterranean—it serves Lebanese (kaftan, kibbeh, kebabs), Moroccan (tagines, bistilla, couscous), and a little Greek, though all the Middle Eastern culinary traditions overlap. This is the only cuisine with a culturally relevant show to accompany it, and Cedars of Lebanon is one of the few places in Salt Lake City to feature it. Too bad, because belly dancing is fun to watch and to me just underscores the often neglected notion that dining out is supposed to be fun.

The whole concept of mezzes, a platter of tastes to nibble on for a snack or a meal, is food as entertainment, and we let this restaurant’s versions of hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, plus olives and feta cheese please our bellies while the dancer shimmied hers. For the full experience, eat in the casbah room and enjoy an herbal hookah after the meal.

If you have a party of 25 guests or more, Cedars can even provide a limousine, so you can really play sheik for the night. 152 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-364-4096