Smoky eggplant, sweet dates, lemon-splashed lamb—these are just some of the flavors on display at the best DC restaurants specializing in the cuisine of the Middle East. Whether you’re willing to travel for life-changing baba ghanoush, or you’d rather stick closer to home, we’ve found the best Middle Eastern restaurants in DC.
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Best Middle Eastern restaurants in DC
This is the perfect place for a quick bite, whether it’s two in the afternoon or two in the morning (although beware the long, hungry lines that form in the early hours). The choices at the counter are simplicity itself: small or large? Wholewheat pita or white? Fries with that? (Say yes—they’re the best in town.) You’ll face tougher decisions at the extensive toppings bar, which includes houmous, grilled eggplant, marinated cucumber, and more—much more, sadly, than can fit in one pita. This might be the best deal in town.
This family-owned operation, part of a local mini chain, starts filling up early for dinner. The friendly crowd is a mix of families, couples and more formal business groups. Make a meal of appetizers, which are quite substantial, fun to share and a bit more of a bargain. There’s the familiar tabouleh and falafel as well as more interesting variations, such as houmous bel shawarma (houmous with pieces of lamb) and shankleesh (herbed and spiced feta with a tomato salad). Save room for baklava, and round things off with an Arabic coffee scented with cardamom.
This tiny establishment, like its many cousins throughout the metro area, serves simple, traditional Middle Eastern dishes—felafel, houmous, kebabs of chicken or lamb—with little fanfare and to many fans. You order at the counter, get a number, and then take your place at one of only two small communal tables—sit even if you’re getting takeout, because this fast food isn’t necessarily fast. The houmous is exceptionally creamy; the pita bread, made fresh throughout the day, manages to be simultaneously lighter and more substantial than the ordinary.Other locations throughout the city.