Spell it kebab, kabob or kebap. Just as long as the meat is skewered or secured on a spit and roasted over an open flame, you’re taking part in a proud cooking tradition that goes back millennia and spans multiple cultures. Sure, LA has plenty of Armenian bakeries, Persian restaurants and falafel spots to get your fix of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food, but sometimes you want a good ol' stick of meat. The people of Armenia, Greece, Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and more have all contributed to the kebab diaspora in LA—here are 15 leading skewers.
The best kebab dishes in LA
Looking for a juicy skewer of kebab? These 15 options will have your mouth watering starting...now
Where to find the city's best kebab plates
For nearly four decades, Elena Petikyan and her family have set a standard for Middle Eastern comfort food on a primarily residential stretch of Glendale. The space is fairly spare, except for the provocative mural that features a nude woman on the back of a bull surrounded by frolicking dolphins. Elena’s grill masters can do no wrong, but Lamb Shish Kebab ($10.99) is a star among stars. Pieces of naturally red leg meat are marinated simply with salt and pepper and seared over charcoal in a gas-powered grill. Kebabs come with chicken; chicken-flavored rice, toasted pita and garlic paste; pink pickled cabbage, carrot, turnip and celery; roasted pepper and tomato; raw parsley and white onions; and a choice of either salad or stupendous lentil soup.
When making the drive between Hollywood and the Valley, most people drive straight through, but we recommend making a stop at Joe's Falafel, a little Universal City strip mall kebab joint. In addition to whole-wheat laffa bread baked in-house, which is well worth the extra $1.50, the star of the menu just might be Beef Kafta ($9.75). Owner Joe Mattar folds ground beef with chopped onions, parsley and spices on skewers. Each plate comes with rice, tahini, pita, rich hummus dressed with olive oil and paprika, and a Greek salad of tomato, lettuce, red onion and feta.