Nestled behind Koffenya near the corner of Beech and High street is one of Oxford’s best kept culinary secrets. Open past 4am with live music, cozy nooks, and quite possibly the friendliest owners in town, this particular spot serves latenight patrons long after the dance floors clear and the last pizza shop locks its doors. Did we also mention they have a BYOB policy and feature the occasional bellydancer? Yes, it’s Oxford Hookah Lounge. Surprised? Well cling to your keyboards because, no exaggeration, Oxford Hookah has the best latenight menu this side of Pulley. So drop your chili dogs and walk past Will’s Pizza, Oxford Hookah is about to smoke the competition for your midnight drunchies.
Founded by three charming Jordanian brothers, Mohammad, Rami and Ahmad, Oxford Hookah stays true to it’s roots serving falafel and kebabs along with other Middle Eastern streetfood classics. The excellence of Oxford Hookah’s food has been a well kept secret among Miami hookah enthusiasts, but Spoon is willing to let our favorite hidden gem hit the mainstream for the benefit of our fellow Miami foodies. Oxford has amazing Middle Eastern cuisine, it’s just not where you’d expect.
Remember that scene at the end of The Avengers where Tony Stark diverts a thermonuclear missile, cheats death, and upon regaining consciousness in a crater asks “Have you ever tried shwarma?” Not only is the ethnic food Iron Man approved, but it’s on the menu at Oxford Hookah. If you’re new to the shawarma phenomenon, imagine a gyro on steroids: spicy, spit roasted chicken, shaved off in savory cuts which are wrapped in warm pita and smothered in tangy garlic sauce.
Shawarma is best paired with a demitasse of authentic turkish coffee, which the brothers brew fresh for every order. More palatable than an espresso but with a velvety texture and an exotically spiced bouquet, turkish coffee is brewed in a specialized pot commonly called a cezve which gives the coffee it’s unique taste and consistency. The beverage has an equally rich history and is widely regarded as the grandaddy coffee concoction, the primordial brew that paved the way for nearly every caffeinated creation since. Turkish coffee is such a distinct (not to mention delicious) cultural phenomenon, it boasts the UNESCO title of “intangible cultural heritage.” Best sipped from the comfort of Oxford Hookah’s outdoor patio, a far cry from the congestion and overpriced lattes of other uptown cafes.
There are so many things to love about this place, just ask Rami how difficult it is to find quality falafel in Ohio or sample his homemade za’atar, an aromatic herbed flatbread that’s his hometown equivalent of an everything bagel. If Spoon’s unending obsession with hummus (Exhibits A, B, and C) isn’t an indication that this restaurant totally in vogue, I don’t know what is. The beauty of Oxford Hookah’s secret restaurant status is it’s authenticity, it’s personality, and the fact that literally no matter how deep into the night your squad rages Oxford Hookah is always open to serve your nightcap needs. If you’re looking for a new favorite Oxford hideout, seeking an exciting switch to you uptown restaurant routine, or have been searching for the ultimate answer to your nocturnal eating habits, look no further than Oxford Hookah.