This story is republished from resy.com, your source for restaurant bookings and discovery.
Whether you want fast-casual or fancier dining with white tablecloths, Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs have plenty of variety when it comes to Middle Eastern cuisine, which encompasses food from Iran, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, and beyond.
As Atlanta’s dining scene gets better and better, many of us are looking for even more Middle Eastern restaurants, and thankfully there are many worth celebrating all over town (plus several are slated to open next year, including a new Lebanese restaurant in Buckhead). Persian food dominates, and there’s been a notable increase of casual spots like Yalla, Jerusalem Bakery, and New York transplants Mamoun’s Falafel and Halal Guys. The recent proliferation of upscale Modern Israeli and pan-Middle-Eastern restaurants rounds out Atlanta’s dining scene nicely.
Indeed, there are so many we couldn’t include them all. So in the likelihood that you’re getting hungry at this very moment just thinking about your next round of hummus, meze, or kebabs, we limited this list to sit-down restaurants with table service, and we made sure to feature the great ones. Here’s where you should be dining on Middle Eastern cuisine in ATL.
Aziza was one of the first high-end Israeli restaurants to open in Atlanta. Maybe the first modern Israeli restaurant in Atlanta, even? Owner Tal Baum has made a name for herself across town with numerous concepts (including Rina, down the list) with her Oliva Restaurant Group. The best part of this restaurant is its cocktail program, which is a reason to visit on its own. Nearly every drink is perfect on the ever-changing menu, where color and herbs play a vital role in drinks like the Schug Shake. The menu is rife with classic Israeli ingredients, like lamb and eggplant transformed by the wood fire. And don’t miss the newish patio installed during the pandemic. It’s the best place to sit.
Chef Shay Lavi became an underground sensation with foodies before most people knew his name. But his Buford Highway restaurant has everyone talking now. Lavi grew up in Yehuda, a city in Tel Aviv, before coming to the United States. Half-Libyan and half-Turkish, Israel-born Lavi cooks from the heart with Turkish, Libyan, Moroccan, Persian, and Israeli accents. He has become known for his modern interpretations of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern classics from roasted cauliflower to chicken shawarma to chicken schnitzel. But he also knows how to make a silky hummus and fluffy pita.
Call 678-691-3821 or visit NurKitchenUSA.com to find out more.
You have to feel sorry for people who have never experienced the Turkish food and hospitality at this Buckhead institution. What began as a tiny slip of a restaurant is now a full-fledged sit-down neighborhood spot with a parking lot. The meze are the star here, with the carrot salad an undeniable sleeper hit. Look for all of the Turkish classics like lamb kebabs with salad, rice, and the soft-as-a-pillow flatbread. They also have halal meat if that is something you seek. Don’t miss the layered coconut cake and others in the dessert case.
Call 404-949-0900 or visit CafeAgora.com for more details.
Delbar Middle Eastern Restaurant
Dining at Delbar transports you to a place that feels somehow anywhere but Inman Park. The bustle and energy are contagious, and the restaurant seems to move to a beat all its own. The menu here is a love letter to all Middle Eastern cuisine, from grilled hunks of chicken breast to luxurious yogurt dips, such as mast-o-khiar (yogurt with cucumbers). The table never seems without bread, as servers come by with plates of fresh-baked thin slips of Persian naan and slide them expertly onto your table before you ever notice you are without. Cocktails are strong and fruity, the exact type of thing you want to pair with the cool digs. Look for a second location in Buckhead soon.
Old Fourth Ward
When you want to sit on the beltline to see the action and eat something fresh with a cocktail, Rina is the spot for you. Yet another offering from Oliva Restaurant group, Rina recalls the laid-back vibe of Israeli beach towns tinged with a definite Atlanta attitude. The falafel salad, spiced fries, and lamb burger are standout offerings, but you can customize a plate of meze salads or grab a pita full of the crispy falafel. The location is hard to beat because it is a direct shot across the Beltline to Ponce City Market for a dessert or window shop while you digest.
Call 404-343-0362 or visit RinaKitchen.com for more details.
Ask any Atlantan their favorite Persian restaurant, and they’re highly likely to say Rumi’s Kitchen. Rumi’s began as a small restaurant on Roswell Road and eventually moved to a larger space that never seemed to be not busy. Since the pandemic, Rumi’s has upped its takeout game, employing DoorDash to deliver its heavenly rice and grilled steak, or sea bass kebabs, roasted eggplant dip, and freshly made Persian naan all over Atlanta. It recently opened its second location in Colony Square Park, which was part of the renovation of its dining offerings, but loyalists say the original is still the best.
Call 404-777-9807 or visit RumisKitchen.com to see the menu.
Tip Top Kosher Restaurant
You gotta love a restaurant that is hidden in the back of a Chamblee Israeli market off of a 285 access road. But beyond that, the food at Tip Top Market is, well, tops. Expect Israeli specialties like a platter full of crispy chicken schnitzel, a separate menu of perhaps 10 different hummus varieties served with ridiculously soft pita bread, and pargiyot (a popular Israeli skewered chicken dish). Everything is also kosher here, including the grocery in front where you can find snacks and treats from Israel.
Call 678-395-4324 or visit TipTopMarkets.com for more details.
Truva Turkish Kitchen
Intown residents love the flavors and vibe at this Morningside Turkish spot. Truva’s Turkish-born chef celebrates all of the Mediterranean in his cooking. After crafting your own assortment of cold and hot meze (small plates and spreads), move on to the main course options, which include such kebab treasures as chargrilled octopus, hand-chopped lamb, and doner. The restaurant’s design is contemporary, with touches like a soothing array of blue tiles that recall the Mediterranean.
Call 404-228-1007 or visit TruvaHighland.com for more info.
Not every Persian restaurant is all about kebabs: The big salads are the must-order at this Sandy Springs Persian spot just off the main strip of Roswell Road. Each order comes in an enormous white bowl filled with combinations such as Mediterranean salad chock full of red grapes, sliced toasted almonds, feta, shaved onion, crunchy romaine lettuce, and an oregano and feta-laced dressing. While the fresh baked cracker-like bread and sabzi (fresh herbs, walnuts, olives, and feta served with most Persian meals) keep coming, a side of fluffy, buttery Shirin polo (orange-scented rice with orange peels) is a great side dish.
Call 404-255-7402 or visit PersianRestaurantSandySprings.com for more.