Not long ago there were great places to eat in Baghdad. Like Nabil's, with first-rate Lebanese cuisine and fine wines, even belly dancers on holidays. It was blown up by a suicide car bomber. Thin-crust, wood-oven-baked pizza at the Napoli was a hit with both press and troops stationed at the nearby Green Zone checkpoint called the Assassins' Gate. It was machine-gunned in a drive-by, fixed back up, damaged by a suicide bomber and reopened again. Now takeout is strongly advised. Dragon Bay offered Chinese food so good even NEWSWEEK's Beijing bureau chief, on a visit last year, praised it; it soldiered on until militants delivered death threats because it served liquor. Sheish Shaban, a garden restaurant on a downtown boulevard, offered discreet tables behind some bushes. By the end of summer, any foreigner foolish enough to venture out was turned away by Iraqis who didn't want bullets for dessert. Iraqi diners had it bad themselves. Downtown Fallujah's Al-Haj Hussein was famous for the best kebabs in the western desert; unfortunately, it was also popular with insurgents, who used it as a meeting place, so the U.S. Air Force flattened it on the eve of the offensive on Fallujah. And the Green Zone Cafe, best burger in the four square miles containing thousands of Americans, was blown to bits, along with the clientele, by a suicide bomber. The kitchen was spared, so it reopened as a takeout place, but U.S. Force Protection officers now raid it periodically, looking for U.S. government employees who aren't permitted to be there. For a good meal now, trade a beer for an MRE. We recommend the curry.
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