Sometimes, getting together for a meal in D.C. with friends is all about sharing. There is no better place to do just that than one of the many delicious Middle Eastern restaurants in D.C.
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What is Middle Eastern Food?
If you didn’t know it all ready, Lebanese, Afghan, Israeli, Turkish, Palestinian, Moroccan, and even Mediterranean and Greek cuisine are all about the family-style meal. There are small, medium and large plates, all meant to be placed in the middle of the table and shared.
Hummus and labneh, along with other spreads with pita bread are just the start. Dig into lamb, rice, halloumi cheese, whole fish, za’atar and olive oil drizzled flatbreads and salads for a healthy meal everyone in your family actually will enjoy, even kids.
And yes, there is dessert, and you should definitely save room to enjoy it.
Middle Eastern Restaurants in D.C.
Middle Eastern restaurants near me in D.C. are not a dime a dozen. Each has its own unique take on what the family meal should look like and include.
While you may think all hummus, halloumi and labneh are created equal, they aren’t. It’s all about the spice, timing and love put into each dish.
Just as the chef and staff take their time to prepare each dish, so too are we savoring every restaurant we visit, giving it the time and attention it deserves to find our favorite(s).
- Address: 1346 Florida Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
- Cuisines: Moroccan, Lebanese
Named one of the best restaurants in Washington DC, Maydan has one Michelin Star and is consistently written up as THE place to get Middle Eastern food in the District. While the interior is exquisite and the outdoor dining is divine, be prepared to pay a hefty price for dinner.
Most people dig into the Tawle menu (Arabic for “table”), which is similar to a prix-fix menu (set price per person). Guests enjoy various spreads, salads, olives, cheese, kebab, seasonal vegetables and a protein (or grilled cauliflower for the vegetarians) all included in the price.
Make sure you try one of their signature cocktails, too. The combinations are intriguing, with ingredients like Dragon green tea, Ottoman Spice, orange blossom water, paprika salt, rose water and baharat used to enhance the flavors.
- Address: 701 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001
- Cuisines: Greek, Turkish, Lebanese
Grab a date and wander over to Zatinya for a fresh and delicious meal on the patio or inside this bright and airy Jose Andres restaurant. Order a trio of spreads (htipiti, labneh and tzatziki are our favorites), a pite or two (flat breads), lamb baharat and cocktails to start, but save room for dessert.
- Address: 1527 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20036
- Cuisines: Mediterranean, Greek, Turkish
Bring friends so you can get a variety of dishes, because you will want to order EVERYTHING on the menu, from the za’atar flatbread to the whole-fish special, lebnah, htipiti, saganaki (flaming cheese!) and three-hour, slow cooked lamb shoulder.
Finish it off with kunefe, a sweet cheese and phyllo pastry dessert smothered in syrup and pistacios.
- Address: 1346 4th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
- Cuisines: Eastern Mediterranean: Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey
We stumbled upon Albi for the first time just after it had opened. We didn’t expect much, but were blown away by the service, hot pita bread coming straight out of the oven, and of course, the lamb.
Order the hummus for any pick eater kids, a few cocktails and get ready to roll home after one of the best meals in The Yards.
Yellow The Cafe
- Address: 1346 4th St SE, Washington, DC 20003
- Cuisines: Middle Eastern coffee, tea and sandwiches
Bagels (on weekends), orange blossom croissants, Lebanese olive oil basbousa, specialty lattes and a pomegranate shrub are just the start of your day when you visit Yellow, the Cafe.
Lunch staples are on the menu as soon as the brunch hour hits– pitas, salads and spreads– if you need something more savory.
- Address: 3311 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
- Cuisines: Israeli
Sababa in Washington, D.C. might have the best hummus in D.C., but don’t take my word for it. Pop into this Cleveland Park restaurant for slow roasted lamb, salmon kebabs with pomegranate, and garlic labne.
Wash it all down with one of their signature cocktails, using Middle Eastern spices and flavors, with some very entertaining names.
- Address: 1967 Calvert St NW, Washington, DC 20009
- Cuisines: Middle Eastern, Mediterranean
When you are hiking through Palestine and your guide tells you that he eats at Mama Ayesha’s every time he is in D.C., you know the food is good. The lamb and chicken are our favorites, but the mezze is perfection too, so order up!
- Address: 1320 19th St NW, Washington, DC 20036
- Cuisine: Levantine Cuisine
If you are free on Monday through Thursday, go for DC happy hour at Ala. You won’t be sorry when you sip some of these gorgeous cocktails and enjoy a nice discount on the entire food menu. Be sure to nibble on mezze, like duck prosciutto, labne with beets, tabbouleh and chard flatbread.
- Address: two locations
- 655 K St NW, Washington, DC 20001
- 395 Morse St NE, Washington, DC 20001 (The Edison at Union Market)
- Cuisines: Vegan Middle Eastern/ Mediterranean
Shouk is a modern vegetarian take on Middle Eastern food that will delight the taste buds of vegans/vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
Try one of their delicious burgers (on pita bread of course!), hummus, salads or sides (all certified DC Kosher). They will even come to you with their HoodDrop program that makes the rounds of DC neighborhoods doing deliveries.
Although it might seem a bit off-brand for a Middle Eastern restaurant, no meal from Shouk is complete without their mouth-watering Choco Cardamom Cookie.
— review by Erika Drazen
- Address: 1847 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC 20009
- Cuisine: Afghan
- Address: 1425 I St NW, Washington, DC 2000
- Cuisine: Turkish
Middle Eastern Counter Service
- Yafa Grill: two locations
- 1205 19th St NW
- 1400 I St NW
- Charcoal Town Shawarma, 2019 11th St NW
- Little Sesame (hummus): 1828 L St NW
DC Chains and Takeout
- Address: 2641 Connecticut Ave NW
- Cuisines: Lebanese
- Address: multiple locations
- 707 H St NW
- 1222 Connecticut Ave NW
- 1921 8th St NW
- 523 H St NE, Washington
- 4237 Wisconsin Ave NW
- 50 Massachusetts Ave NE
- 52 M St SE
- Cuisines: tapas-style Greek and rice/salad bowls