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Filfillah, which means "green pepper" in Arabic, has been serving traditional Middle Eastern and Turkish cuisine for four years to locals and others who come to Columbia Heights from as far as Lakeville on a regular basis, manager Atef Maarouf said.

"The food is the draw," Maarouf said. The restaurant's most popular dishes — "Adana Kebab," a lightly spiced charcoal-grilled lamb and beef dish, and the chef's special, "Iskender," marinated lamb and beef shawarma served in tomato sauce and yogurt — satisfy cravings for authentic Turkish food.

Filfillah's buffets, held every few weeks, attract large crowds. Maarouf said that 65 people came to the most recent one. The buffets' communal setup brings people together, he said: "People interact more."